Fatal Flaws of the Scientific Establishment

An archived post from an anonymous message board

Science, formally known as natural philosophy, is a branch of philosophy. It always has been, and it always will be. What we mean when we refer to science is that it is the realm of investigation that seeks truth in the empirical realm: that which we know through our senses. This is a posteriori knowledge meaning that it comes from an external source, rather than a priori knowledge which originates from within. What a lot of people don’t seem to understand today is the vast numbers of assumptions one has to make to assume that this is at all any way to make any definite claims of truth. As philosophers have contemplated since the days of Plato, we can never be sure that we observe the material world as it is, in fact most philosophers would argue that we don’t and even modern science would agree. Ultimately, the best science can hope for in terms of confirmation is that other people perceive things in a similar enough way to you that you can come to the conclusion that it is indeed something along those lines. Of course, this all falls apart when you meet someone with a completely dissimilar perspective of the world, such as a native tribe somewhere who still sees the world through the lens of their spirituality, or when you consider that you might not be accurately perceiving your interactions with other people.

Now, getting back to my fuming anger, I really can’t stand the way in which the foundational knowledge that science rests upon is completely dismissed today by these ignorant, indoctrinated imbeciles. You tell me to learn “some scientific method”? Christ almighty, how many scientific methods are there now? I learnt about THE scientific method at uni, sure. The one where you follow an endless cycle of observation, hypothesis and testing, right? It never ceases to amaze me when scientists claim over and over that science has proven something or that something is a matter of scientific fact. There is no such thing as fact in science because your method doesn’t allow it. Now this is often cited as the saving grace of the scientific method, but obviously things aren’t as noble and humble as that. You even claim that the word theory has a new meaning when used by a scientist, that it pretty much means fact for all intents and purposes. This is nothing but a devious means of falsely inflating the claims made by scientists while also allowing them an out when their theories are once again shown to be false.

I have demonstrated some of the fallacies of the scientific theory before, but why not get them out there again.

1) The requirement of the falsifiability of your theory sounds good – in theory – but it’s a completely backwards approach to proving something. In philosophy we use logic and reason to PROVE our point. If your reasoning is flawed, someone will call you out on it and your theory will be discredited. If your reasoning is sound, then you have proven your point and you can move on to something else. In science, instead of proving anything you’re meant to come up with ways in which it could be proven wrong and then proving that these are in fact wrong. In philosophy we refer to this as a logical fallacy and we call it a strawman argument.

2) No inventor has ever used the scientific method. In fact invention uses a reversed method of investigation that on the whole makes a hell of a lot more sense than your backwards approach. Let me demonstrate. The inventor:

  • Makes observations about the world
  • Forms a hypothesis about how they might improve something to make it more efficient
  • Tests their hypothesis
  • If they succeed, hypothesis proven. If they fail, back to the drawing board.

As you can see, invention is about proving theories by testing them in reality and measuring the results. Science cannot compete with this approach.

3) Science relies on “facts”, which is a nonsense word as I will demonstrate. Science has long been at odds with the humanities, which include subjects like philosophy, anthropology and history, claiming that they’re not as factually sound. But what exactly is a scientific fact? When we say scientific fact we are referring to the observations or data that a scientist has written in a paper and had published by a reputable scientific journal. That’s it. Nothing else really qualifies in science. The humanities are somewhat similar except they take their facts from just about anywhere and everywhere they can, only they don’t rely on a “peer review” panel to ascertain their credibility, they must use their own resources of critical thought to cross-check and reference as many sources as they can find from that era as well as the entirety of human history to come up with a credible framework of historical fact. If they make too many assumptions or leap to conclusions, you’d best believe that there will be a real review of their work by their peers in the form of a critique. Because they’re working with a much larger timescale of information than most scientists, the historically based thinker has a much greater testing ground for any theory they would like to put forward and their critics likewise have a much greater arsenal for pointing out its flaws.

4) “Scientific fact” relies too heavily on one’s faith in the intentions of individual scientists and the institutions that fund their research and experiments. I often hear scientists spoken of as though they are these pillars of nobility and virtue, with no motives in life other than the pursuit of truth. I’ll admit that there are a good number of scientists who this can be said about, but that they are vastly outweighed by those with less pure intentions and are probably not the ones any of us are taught about. These virtues can certainly be more readily applied to your average philosopher, which literally means “lover of wisdom”, as history shows that the philosopher is generally at odds with the popular consensus of their time and often have to fight a seemingly impossible battle in their purporting of truth with little reward to gain other than the satisfaction of the task itself. On the other hand, the scientist is praised in modern society simply for their title, they are assumed to be smarter and more knowledgeable than their peers and they can publically dismiss the views and opinions of others.

That isn’t to say that it’s all that great being a scientist today, it simply isn’t. Because it has been promoted for so long as one of, if not the, highest achievements one can aim for, there is a huge glut of them and work for the qualified scientist is scarce. I know a number of PhDs who cannot find work, have to travel interstate for work if they’re lucky or overseas if they’re less lucky to find work, or hate the work they’ve been lucky enough to find. They often work long hours in cramped laboratories doing menial and repetitive tasks that are nothing like what they thought they were training their minds for for so many years. Not to mention the copious amounts of debt you wrack up just to get yourself qualified enough to be considered any use to anyone as a scientist and the time you must surrender to get there.To fully understand the state of modern science, one must consider the sources of scientific funding. The three main sources are: militaries, private corporations, and to a much lesser extent universities. The first we can all probably write off as having more-or-less evil intentions, or at the very least, intentions to do harm to humans of one walk of life or another. The second we can write off as having selfish intentions as it only takes a cursory knowledge of the corporate structure to understand that the bottom line is always profit. If profits aren’t rising, the whole thing collapses and there isn’t any more scientific funding for anyone. There is obvious bias inherent in privately funded science as people only invest in this sort of thing with the expectation that they will get their money back with interest. So if something is discovered or disproven which harms the potential for this profit, it stands to reason that it will be swept under the rug, sealed off and incinerated, rug and all. And maybe a few of those pesky scientists along with it. The third is probably the most trustworthy of the three, but its funding is minuscule compared to the other two. On top of that, university science departments are run by the previous generation’s scientists and thus there is an undeniable potential for institutional bias to skew the way in which experiments are conducted and then received. After all, these people’s reputations are on the line, and that’s about all they have going for them.

There is a fourth source of funding but it is so small that it barely warrants mentioning: independent altruistic funding. This is where the true lovers of science reside, either by donating their resources to its honest pursuit or on the scientist’s side, donating their time or taking the lesser paying job, refusing to work for nefarious institutions altogether, and often just funding their own research entirely. This is fringe science that probably won’t make it into any of those “reputable” journals and will be dismissed as pseudoscience or “bad science” as the scientific zealots will say today.

5) Scientists are not trained to be critical thinkers. What people often don’t understand about an Arts degree is the huge amount of thought required to get one. It may be easier to get into at university but that’s just part of the bias against it. The difficulty of a science degree is not in the use of one’s logical faculties, but rather in the mass absorption and rote learning of reams and reams of “facts”. Unlike the humanities which require independent research and thinking to come up with your own original ideas and conclusions, scientific studies mainly require you to repeat the information that you’re told is important, avoiding of anything you’re told is unimportant and staying between the lines of current scientific consensus when you are asked to work something out yourself. You are tested mainly with multiple-choice questions which test only that you have memorized the “correct” information and ignored the “incorrect” information. You are not asked to consider in any deep manner why we believe one theory to be correct and all of its alternatives incorrect, this sort of thing is generally brushed off with an authoritative paragraph at the beginning of the chapter of your textbook. The result is classrooms of bright students who either work at filling the holes in the official theories or are otherwise weeded out.

This is a particularly important point to note because it is the basis of the problem of modern-day science. It relies on “facts” even though this is contrary to the scientific method, it discourages any new theories that drastically undermine the previously established theories, it encourages the blinkered maintenance of these old theories (we have a few centuries of this that explain the current scientific model of the universe which is why they seem to have an answer for everything, even though none of it makes a lick of sense and it rests on the flimsiest of foundations), it continually destroys the scientific careers of anyone who dissents to any of this, and it creates unthinking drones who blindly do the bidding of some truly despicable people. I earlier alluded to the glut of scientists we have today all vying simply for employment in their fields. This is how they want it. They want desperate people in crippling debt who have invested so much time and effort, spending much of their youths feverishly cramming through the long hours of the night, not sleeping or socializing, not getting any sense of reality by ever setting foot in the real world. They want this kind of person looking for whatever jobs they can find so that they will willingly put aside any sense of self-respect or morality and do horrible experiments on living creatures, design things that are meant only to harm, or work out new ways to manipulate the masses. This might sound outlandish and dystopian but it’s the truth. Think about it. Think about like your schooling has never taught you to before. Think about everything I have said here, try to find my flaws, and fit together everything you cannot fault. You will see that I am right and that this explains a lot about the world we live in.
In philosophy we make arguments to support a theory. The integrity of one’s argument rests solely on its own strength, unlike a scientific theory which generally rests upon what is declared as factual, what has been set as precedent and who has been declared the current authorities on a subject. The “facts” that a scientific theory chiefly rests upon are in themselves only as trustworthy as the journals that publish them and the scientists who report them. In trusting a scientific “fact” we must put a great deal of faith into this system of peer review and repeatability, assuming in general that if something is wrong that it will be found out before any real damage to the progress of humanity is done. This should be seen as an erroneous and dubious means of asserting fact. When you read a philosophical treatise, you are either convinced of its content by the content itself, or else you disregard it for its apparent flaws. This is not possible with science. To disagree with a scientific theory, you must conduct the same experiments yourself and compare the results. This ignores the problems of funding I outlined earlier and it ignores the very real institutionalized bias that exists in the scientific community. If you want your experiment to be taken seriously in the scientific community, you must rely on it being accepted by the “peer” review panels of “reputable” scientific journals. This isn’t a jury of your peers, these are elite members of a scientific fraternity who stand to gain a lot through the power that they wield over what is declared as factual, what is acceptable to believe in and what sort of avenues our investigations are allowed in.

I would like the staunch defenders of modern science and the scientific method to answer these questions:

  • Why is the scientific method the best means of ascertaining truth?
  • How deep is your trust in scientists, scientific institutions, the funders of scientific research and the “peer” reviewed scientific journals?
  • What are your scientific credentials?
  • What experiments have you ever conducted for yourself?
  • What is required for you to believe something?
  • Have you ever experienced a paradigm shift where what you once believed whole-heartedly turned out to be completely erroneous?
  • If so, why did you hold that belief in the first place and what made you change your mind?

When I say “in light of all I have said”, I mean that I would like proper responses to what I have written, not cherry-picked quotes and off-topic answers that completely avoid the actual points I have made. Don’t think that dishonest tactics will get you anywhere. They might confuse any TL:DRers out there, but they probably don’t care enough about any of this stuff to be swayed anyway. I only care about the people out there who give a damn about truth, who enjoy challenging their preconceptions and who think for themselves. You will not fool these people with your bullshit shill tactics, so please don’t try to waste my time with them. I’m done wasting my time with them. I simply will not any longer.

[Download] OpenStreetMaps OSM Key/Legend (PDF)

I’ve been using my new smartphone primarily as a hand-held GPS unit. My favorite GPS application by far is the excellent OruxMaps. It costs nothing, is ad-free (I’m fairly sure) and extremely feature-full while still maintaining lightning-speed performance.

Oruxmaps

OruxMaps can read just about any map format, but the best one I’ve found is OpenStreetMaps – or OpenAndroMaps when we’re talking about Android smartphones. These maps are extremely detailed, you can see in the picture above it even shows the footprints of individual houses.

One major frustration for me was not have a map legend that shows what the various icons mean. A lot of them I can safely assume, such as the blue P meaning Parking, but what does this icon mean?

Screenshot_2015-05-18-13-33-02

There was never any map key provided with OpenAndroMaps, but they do have a wiki page that can -sort of- be used as a map key, but it has waaaay too much information on it, as it’s written for map developers and has about triple the number of entries as corresponding icons.

So what I’ve done here is taken that wiki page and cut out all the extra stuff not needed for the “end user” and turned it into a PDF that can be read right on your smartphone.

Downloads

Hacked again and what I’m doing about it

I probably start 5 new sites a year and only kill off 1 or 2. Over time it adds up to an unbelievable bulk of outdated 3rd party plugins, useless WordPress themes, and way too many instances of Hello Fucking Dolly. 

The digital landfills my servers are slowly becoming attract a vermin more irritating than my cat – automated hack bots. At least I assume they’re automated because I’d rather be the victim of an excel spreadsheet than a brilliant Russian hacker out for my blood personally.

It’s like cleaning up oil spills in an ocean that constantly grows bigger and more populated  with leaky tankers.

So I’m draining the ocean. From now on every wordpress install will sit within the warm and cozy confines of a wordpress multisite install. So instead of remembering to update 20 different installs at once, something I’ve to this day not done, one click will update everybody. One wordfence scan, one plugin install, and one Dolly witchhunt.

Yeah I know I should have done this 8 major updates ago but I’m a slow learner ok? And I’m even slower at taking action. I still haven’t bought salt and we’ve been out for almost a month.

Next the good news. For the first time in years, the spammy payday loan links haven’t returned to my main site’s header.php file. Whatever I did last time seems to have plugged the last of my security holes. I guess there’s no better time to turn that one into many.

Changing the Work Routine

For the past few months, I’ve set myself a quota of an article a day -every day- no exceptions. Except…. Facebook Fridays. If I wanted a day off I just wrote less of an article. Sometimes, these piddling articles were only a few sentences long. Laziness was winning more and more often.

After publishing an embarrassment of an article this time last week, I knew I had to change my workflow to inject some give-a-shit into this thing I do once again.

So now I work on a post for 30 minutes a day, no exceptions except for…. you already know. It’s ok to spend more time, but probably not less. I’m still thinking that one through.

I’ve also stopped posting for now on the 2 smaller sites and am focusing only on the big site. Each hour of work spent on an article there pays much greater dividends in the short term – and I assume the long term as well. This means I’m leveraging my time more aggressively at the risk of less topic diversification.

Although in the past 6 days I only published 2 articles, they’ve been longer and higher quality – not the rush jobs that I often put out at the 6 article a week pace. Today I published the 2nd article with 20 minutes yet to spend on extra tidbits like posting to Pinterest and writing this post.

I like some of the advice Ed Dale spurts, including that showing up for at least 30 minutes every day with months or years of consistency is a much greater constructor of success than blowing your entire load working like a banshee until your brain just can’t take it any more. That’s why I started, and have so far stuck to, working a little bit every single day without exception. Except…. for 3 days when my server was hacked in June while I was speaking at a Blogging Conference and the day I got married this September 7.

The best and most unexpected result of this schedule is that I now have a keen insight to how much time I spend “working on the business” – if this counts as a business. I can even calculate how much I earned in a day against how much I worked that day, and watch my “wage” grow with great satisfaction.

My Dream of Getting a Real Job

That’s “dream” in the literal sense. I had this dream a few nights ago and wrote it down. I’ll keep it brief because I know that other people’s dreams are just about the least interesting type of story. So here it is, in dream italics.

I had just started working for a tech startup with a weenie of a boss. I think it was my third day on the job. Boss told me he was worried for the last two days because traffic numbers to the site had been low. I guess he expected his new traffic ninja to deliver results instantaneously as soon as my butt hit his cheap office seating. But he was happy because today traffic numbers seemed to be at a record high.

I told him different days of the week were better for visits, and that traffic growth takes time, done right it can take a lot of time.

He admitted he didn’t really understand Google Analytics that much so I told him to sit down I would teach him. Right now if you like.

Sat down to show him and he immediately dismissed himself saying, “haven’t eaten yet today.”  He invited me out to lunch. I accepted We ended up in an enormous dining hall, set up hogwarts style. At this point I realise I forgot to wear a shirt to lunch.

Weenie and I sat across from each other at the table. People in the dining hall were playing a mixer game where you have to write something down on a piece of paper.

Weenie boss is starting to distance himself from me as I talk loudly to the people around me.

I start talking to this girl and tell her that we are in a dream, because I’m not wearing a shirt and that happens in dreams.

Find a bunch of friends from high school and hit it off. Tim and I start impersonating Sean Connery singing a traditional scottish war melody while forcing our way down a crowded staircase. This is despite a sign that clearly states “No Sean Connery beyond this point.”