Dr. Henry Bauer, Why We Shouldn’t Trust Science [Esp. Historical Science]

Just under an hour- Absolutely worth listening to! via Skeptiko with many thanks for providing a great interview so freely
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Henry Bauer: We have to be skeptical about what scientists say, because what scientists tell you is not necessarily the same as what science can tell you.

A selection of quotes from the interview

Henry Bauer: Right, thanks. I was turned on to science in high school and I studied chemistry and I taught chemistry and did research in chemistry [he is emeritus professor of chemistry and science studies, and emeritus dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, “Virginia Tech”]

Henry Bauer: Exactly, thank you. The thing is that even as science is accepted as being the hallmark of a true understanding, the fact of the matter is, the history of science shows quite clearly that scientific consensus, at any point in time, can’t be accepted as absolutely correct.

Henry Bauer: I love that one because on the one hand we have the scientific method, which supposedly says that we don’t accept theories until the evidence has proved them. On the other hand we say, science is self-correcting. Well, if it was right the first time, why does it need self-correction? And if it is self-correcting, that is an admission that scientific consensus, at any particular time, can’t be given too much credence.

No acceptance of unproven theories in science? That’s what people actually believe?!
If so that explains why so much nonsense is believed. Like the carbon and AGW concept. Which is discussed in this interview. The theory of evolution was never proven either for that matter.  How did it gain widespread acceptance? Why were other theories tossed to the wayside? Was it politics? Sure it was! Same as the AGW theory.  Politics and science shouldn’t mix.  Yet, they do. And we are all poorer and unhealthier in or minds and bodies for that mixing.

Henry Bauer: You get competition becoming more and more fierce and as competition gets fierce, human beings start to, maybe fudge a little bit, cut corners and so on.
Around 1980 there was a book published by two science journalists, Broad and Wade, called Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science and they claimed that dishonesty was an inherent part of scientific activity.
Now imagine: traditionally, science had been regarded as about as honest an endeavor as you could ever find and here were people saying the absolute contrary, that fraud and deceit were inherent in it.
The scientific community and that includes me, did not take kindly to that book, but as it turns out they had noticed something that was really going on.

Henry Bauer: Sure, and you know, people in power can find all sorts of rationalizations as to why they suppress other people’s points of view. For that matter, the story of Galileo and the Church, is often presented as science versus the Church, but actually The Pope didn’t like what Galileo was doing because he was challenging authority and if you challenge the authority of our scientific establishment, then they will react just as badly as The Pope or the Catholic Church reacted against challenges to its doctrines on everything, not just theological doctrines but what they were saying about how the world works, about the science.

Henry Bauer: Well, that’s right and one of the main points I make in the book is how drastically scientific activity has changed, in particular around the time of the Second World War, mid-twentieth century. I think up until then, it wouldn’t have been all that wrong to say that science is a fairly independent activity that tries to discover or get the best understanding of how the world works. But the Second World War, the atomic bomb and all the other things like radar started this era in which science is involved in just about everything. I mean, medicine is said to be scientifically based or seeks to be scientifically based, and there’s been an enormous expansion of money going into scientific research. So that nowadays, what you find is, that the activity of doing research is actually being controlled from the outside, it is no longer independently precarious about how the world works, looking into stuff.

Somewhere in the interview Dr Henry Bauer discusses peer review- Of course I’ve a particular “bone to pick” with this concept!

Peer Review = Conspiracy

 Because really that’s all a peer review can be-

Peer Review at it’s most basic means people who appear as equals based on arbitrary
(subject to individual will or judgment without restriction; contingent solely upon one’s discretion )
 parameters (limit, boundary)  sharing some common attributes who conspire together (breath/work together) toward a common result or goal.

 The conspiring in “peer review” makes very clear how we end up with papers such as this getting glowing peer reviews: The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct: A Sokal-Style Hoax on Gender Studies

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