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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

Tremendous achievements and advances in understanding what surrounds us and about us too have been made since early civilizations because of scientific discoveries. But at this time, science seems to be bandied about often erroneously or without backing or proofs.

I would like to hear what are the references of what I hear constantly "according to science" or "it has been scientifically proven".  The words "I believe in science" are so common, sometimes I think it's almost like saying "I believe in the god science".

I am a skeptic by nature and if somebody tells me "that it has been scientifically proven", there is still a question mark in my mind.  Where did that statement come from ?  Can you give me any references (valid ones) and how they reached that conclusion, well if I can understand it which I hope I will do.  I would like to know what kind of research it entailed;  has it been warped by people misunderstanding, misinformed or maybe tainted by people retelling each other ?

Some popularization work or popular scientific work often presents mind shattering developments.  But what about their sources or proper referencing by reliable researchers well know in their field.

To me, scientific development and innovations should be rigorously done, properly researched and subject to cross-examination and tested properly before being considered as valid.

The field of meteorology is one where conclusions are drawn has always been a bit suspect to me; predictions appear to me dubious at least.  Correct me please if I'm wrong.

I am all for scientific achievements and developments, by no mean am I anti-science but I believe that before being published for general consumption as scientific truths, it should be subjected to much scrutiny.

When people make assertions that because it is science it is true, I raise my eyebrows and these "sayings" have definitely become a popular trend.

But, let me conclude by writing that I am all for proper scientific achievements, so often an eye-opener...

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Comment was by Chris on August 30, 2014 at 12:36am

I wouldn't say that science has become the new god, but has become the new knowledge.

Early warning system for earthquakes.

Comment was by Chris on August 30, 2014 at 12:07am

I recently tuned in to ABC/KGO channel 7 in San Francisco about the earthquake in Napa. I thought they did a good job covering the earthquake damage. I liked that they did it without commercial interruption.

Here's a map of the earthquake damage in Napa.

Comment was by Tom Sarbeck on August 29, 2014 at 7:46am

Marianne, about meteorology, you're not wrong. More in a few moments.

What do you say to the idea that when you were learning to crawl without bumping into things in your path, your mind was learning how to do differential equations?

If you were crawling fast, your mind had to "compute" fast to tell you to slow down or change directions fast.

Then, learning how to walk without falling required more complex equations.

As to weather prediction, my differential equations professor said so many things affect the weather that no one knows how to write the equations and no computer is fast enough to solve the equations.

And so, continue to doubt weather predictions.

When I lived in San Francisco I heard people say they listen to Channel 7 weather predictions and prepare for the opposite.

Comment was by Doone on December 19, 2012 at 5:28pm

THE NEW SCIENTISM

Scientism

In contrast to reason, a defining characteristic of superstition is the stubborn insistence that something — a fetish, an amulet, a pack of Tarot cards — has powers which no evidence supports. From this perspective, scientism appears to have as much in common with superstition as it does with properly conducted scientific research. Scientism claims that science has already resolved questions that are inherently beyond its ability to answer. Of all the fads and foibles in the long history of human credulity, scientism in all its varied guises — from fanciful cosmology to evolutionary epistemology and ethics — seems among the more dangerous, both because it pretends to be something very different from what it really is and because it has been accorded widespread and uncritical adherence. Continued insistence on the universal competence of science will serve only to undermine the credibility of science as a whole. The ultimate outcome will be an increase of radical skepticism that questions the ability of science to address even the questions legitimately within its sphere of competence. One longs for a new Enlightenment to puncture the pretensions of this latest superstition.

more from Austin L. Hughes at The New Atlantis here.

Posted by Morgan Meis at 10:42 AM | Permalink |

Comment was by Marianne on December 13, 2012 at 10:41pm

What I meant to convey was that distorted science, fallacious science, using science almost as a god word in cases where it has no place to be can also be harmul, first to proper science and also to misleadng people. I agree that the word science doesn't equate with religion or religious beliefs and it's probably more fun to use but my blog was to be aware that caution is needed when using science as a know it all...

Comment was by Doone on December 13, 2012 at 8:50am

The nice thing about science as a supposed god is that it is fun (unlike the alternative), informative (unlike the alternative) and good for you (well, sometimes the alternative is also good). Science as a process also helps us improve our lives and the lives of your children etc etc 

Comment was by Matttammar on December 12, 2012 at 2:32pm

If a theory has been scientifically proven, peers have done their best to find fault but couldn't. The theory is then accepted until it can be replaced by a superior theory. I find that system infinitely
less dubious than religious doctrine! Meteorology is based on probabilities and
can never be more than that.  
 

Comment was by Chris on December 12, 2012 at 4:19am

Good points Adriana.

I think newspapers are also culprits of sensationalism, or maybe at least reaching for conclusions that haven't actually been made yet. Watch the following video 

Cosmic Journeys Supermassive Black Hole in the Milky Way Galaxy is covers

Janskky discovered the buldge in the universe at the constellation Sagittarius in the 1930's. Becklin marks the center of the andromeda galaxy and calls it Sagittarius-A-star.

Genzel narrows the search in 1990

Becklin and Gates narrow it further in 1993

In 2002 is proof of a black hole. It may have been written that proof of the black hole was found during the previous work.

Comment was by Adriana on December 11, 2012 at 12:07pm

Comment was by Adriana on December 11, 2012 at 12:06pm

Well, if you hear "it's been scientifically proveN" and you still have doubts, that means you are thinking like a scientist! One should always ask for references and ask questions about the methodology and strength of the conclusion. The nature of scientific truths is always provisional, by definition. And let's not forget that a lot of pseudoscience gets propagated as it they were scientific truths because they use sciencey lingo and give their "facts" the aura of science.

I don't think that science has become a god, I think that simply too many people don't know what evidence means or don't know what the scientific method entails. and many people do not like uncertainty so they prefer to accept something as valid rather than a "we don't really know this yet" response. 

Also, people tend to be lazy and like shortcuts; let's not forget critical thinking is effortful and most people avoid efforts when thinking (Daniel Kahneman makes this point over and over in his excellent book "Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow").

But I think the biggest culprits in inducing this type of bad habits are the sensasionalistic science journalists who oversimplify scientific facts or over-embellish them in order to attract readers. 

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