Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by georgegassaway, Jun 8, 2019.

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  1. Jun 12, 2019 #31

    burkefj

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    A lot of people are talking about the facts, the problem lies many times in the conclusions and causes and trends that are derived from facts that may or may not be correct. This applies to both sides of many arguments lately.
     
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  2. Jun 12, 2019 #32

    OverTheTop

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    You can always use statistics to clear up the facts ;).
     
  3. Jun 12, 2019 #33

    burkefj

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    True, however that won't get you to the causes necessarily....:)

     
  4. Jun 12, 2019 #34

    jqavins

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    It's nice to know that there are some people who are still susceptible to facts. I had a conversation yesterday with a coworker who said that she doesn't know whom to believe on the moon landing, because some of the hoax proponents' arguments seem to make sense. Like the waving flag thing. So I explained, and when she thanked me for the information she seemed to be sincere.

    Later I saw this thread from Winston, so this morning I sent her links to the video there and the MythBusters' moon landing episode.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Jun 12, 2019 #35

    Onebadhawk

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    Wonderful thread..
    And thank you Eric..
    That's super interesting, taking a course in that subject..
    Wonderful conversation..
    I love being a student of human nature..
    That really helps you understand the things you see every day around you..

    Teddy
     
  6. Jun 12, 2019 #36

    jlabrasca

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    The "both sides" thing is not itself a fallacy, but it is challenging thing to deal with when trying to explain some abstruse or surprising conclusion. In science the question is -- frequently -- "Is this thing happening because of this one other thing?"

    This is an important distinction, because winning an argument is not the same thing as being correct on the facts.

    That is to say, research is not like a debate or a court proceeding. A plausible alternative explanation, that may raise reasonable doubt, is not sufficient to refute a scientific hypothesis.

    4 or 5 years ago, a student approached me after an astronomy lecture in which I'd mentioned the retroreflectors left on the surface of the moon by the Apollo missions. She challenged me "But you know the moon landings were faked, right?"

    I tried to engage her with the usual appeals to absurdity (like "How did we get the Soviet Union to go along with the hoax?") but she surprised me by asking me "If it wasn't faked, then why did Buzz Aldrin punch that reporter?"

    It took me a moment to parse her argument, but I was not at a loss. "Because he trained and studied very hard so that he could do something very dangerous, and he didn't like being called a liar." She smirked at me, and sloped off to fail somebody else's class.

    edit: I was wearing wrong glasses to look at the computer screen.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  7. Jun 12, 2019 #37

    Mushtang

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    I enjoyed watching Mythbusters, but the Moon Landing Hoax episode did not prove the landing.

    It did show how a flag moved on the surface without wind because the astronauts were touching it when it was moving or shortly before - but that could have been done in a vacuum chamber or something. It showed how the dust clumped together without being wet, but those pictures of the footprints with the clumped dust could have been taken on earth any number of ways.

    And it showed that there was a mirror on the moon's surface because it reflected a few photons (the low number of returned photons really surprised me). Unfortunately that doesn't prove that an astronaut placed it there in person. There had already been several probes land on the moon before humans arrived so what's to say the probes didn't have a reflective surface on them, or that the probe didn't place the mirror without an astronaut required to be there?

    I don't believe it was faked, just pointing out that this episode of Mythbusters (like many others) didn't have enough information to lead them to the conclusion they announced at the end of the show.
     
  8. Jun 12, 2019 #38

    jqavins

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    I agree that the episode didn't prove the moon landings happened. What they did demonstrate, quite persuasively, is that the alleged evidence against the landings does not hold water. It's my single favorite episode because it's the only one of particular importance. "Teaching people to hold their beliefs up to experiment" is the important thing that the whole series was about, but that's the only single episode whose subject mattered for itself.
     
  9. Jun 13, 2019 #39

    BDB

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    for the Feynman zombie.
     
  10. Jun 13, 2019 #40

    JohnCoker

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  11. Jun 13, 2019 #41

    jlabrasca

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  12. Jun 13, 2019 #42

    slohand

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    Very interesting conversation everyone. Thanks!

    Related TED Talk for you John about losing democracy to social media.
     
  13. Jun 13, 2019 #43

    RocketRev

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    Just gotta say folks that I love this thread. You all probably know that I'm a pastor, so believing in God is for me one of those non-negotiables. Science is all about the observable universe which is in my humble opinion one of the gifts that God gave to humanity: the ability to observe, think, reason, and wonder "why." But there are without question those who refuse to accept reality even when its staring them directly in the face. Some people just can't get past their feelings which usually says more about their personality than it does about reality. One of my favorite on-line personalities has a great tag-line, "Facts don't care about your feelings." I agree with that sentiment completely. Unfortunately far too many people today prefer its opposite, "My feelings don't care about the facts!" Until we can find a way to get back to dealing with each other from the basis of actual reality, rather than "my own personal subjective reality" we will continue to go down the path towards cultural destruction which will be the end result of ignoring reality in favor of subjective reality.

    Just my 2 cents worth...
    Brad, the "Rocket Rev.," Wilson
     
  14. Jun 13, 2019 #44

    jqavins

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    And strangely, quite a few people will happily espouse both positions. Occasionally they do it knowingly and it's OK*. More often they don't realize they're doing it.

    * My then young daughter told me one spring evening "Santa Clause may not be really real, but I've decided to believe in him anyway." All I could say was "OK".
     
  15. Jun 13, 2019 #45

    Onebadhawk

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    +1...
    Wonderfully said Rev..

    Teddy
     
  16. Jun 14, 2019 #46

    kevindcornwell

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    And science is about observable fact and repeatable experimentation. There is no clash between a support for evidence and fact-based scientific positions and also supporting non-scientifically founded, non-science positions. What is not valid, is calling the latter science. (Which no one here has done, perhaps I'm just stating the obvious - in a world full of fact-oblivious thinking that has led to a loss of deductive reasoning.)

    BTW, there is indeed no Santa clause that gives Santa Claus his authority to annually scrub my chimney. But he does a good job so I choose to let sleeping dogs lie. (Along with most parents.)
     
  17. Jun 14, 2019 #47

    jqavins

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    Oops. If spell a checker doesn't catch it then I'm often in trouble.
     
  18. Jun 14, 2019 #48

    Mushtang

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    There's so much irony in this post I don't even know where to begin.
     
  19. Jun 14, 2019 #49

    jqavins

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    Then don't. That road leads to moderator intervention.
     
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  20. Jun 14, 2019 #50

    mbeels

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    Yes, calling them "echo chambers" was an apt description. One's own pre-conceived biases are reinforced, and there is the privilege of avoiding different and uncomfortable perspectives from other's experiences. Learning and stretching opportunities are lost. Unfortunately, those are often discomforting.
     
  21. Jun 15, 2019 #51

    ThirstyBarbarian

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    If you're a scientifically minded person, what the Rocket Rev said might sound ironic or contradictory, but I don’t think so. He made a pretty strong defense of fact-based reality and believing empirical evidence. I’m not going to put words in his mouth, but it sounded to me like he meant a person can believe in God but should also believe what they observe in the “observable universe”. To me that’s fine. I’m agnostic about the existence of God, because I just don’t know, and I like things to be proven to me empirically. But I think you can certainly also believe in things that can’t be proven, just so long as you don’t twist facts to try to prove something that can’t be proven or use your faith in something not observable to try to deny something that is observable. Faith and science deal with different realms, and they get messy when you try to use one to prove or disprove the other, but if they keep to their own side of the street, they aren’t necessarily contradictory.
     
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  22. Jun 15, 2019 #52

    jlabrasca

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    Not a rebuke of slohand, nor a critique of Carole Cadwalladr's talk, but TED is part of the problem.



    The world is long-form and nuanced. (Almost) Nothing worth knowing can be transmitted by a 12-minute talk in front of a 10 slide PowerPoint deck.

    Its not just TED though. There is a LOT of pseudo-educational stuff floating around. Khan Academy is the worst offender. But too much of it is produced by outlets you'd expect to know better.
     
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  23. Jun 15, 2019 #53

    muddymooose

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  24. Jun 15, 2019 #54

    Ez2cDave

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    That is precisely how the indoctrination is implemented through our public "schools" and "colleges". Students are not taught historical facts, anymore. Rather, the are taught "alternative viewpoints" that undermine and refute known recorded facts. Through long repetition, from grade level to grade level, the "slanted" material of the agenda being presented becomes the only "facts" they know. Social Media and Mass Media "back up" those intentionally distorted teachings and fully reinforce the "replacement truths" that children are being "taught" ( indoctrinated with ). Now, the problem is generational, since their parents and grandparents were taught the same false concepts. The results are the Millennial's, Generation Z, and the "Snowflakes" . . . With "who knows what" coming, down the line !

    https://sonsoflibertymedia.com/normalization-indoctrination-degenderization-are-sweeping-the-nation

    This video, from 1984, is an eye-opener . . .



    Dave F.
     
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  25. Jun 15, 2019 #55

    stealth6

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    Have any of y'all read Neal Stephenson's latest, "Fall, or Dodge in Hell" yet?
    Highly recommended for a variety of reasons, one of which is one theme (of many) dealing with this topic. It comes more from an angle of how misinformation, media (social and otherwise), "fake news", and in particular the state of the internet have shaped (and horribly damaged) society. And where this all seems to be leading. The interesting thing is that for all the outrageousness and crazy situations, you realize that the fiction is not very far off from our current reality.
    Oh, and my own (real world) hometown gets obliterated by a nuclear weapon(*), which I found pretty fun.
    (*= except that it's actually just a hoax....except that the hoax story itself is a conspiracy....the "facts" are perfectly clear!!)

    Remember Moab!!,
    s6
     
  26. Jun 16, 2019 #56

    dhbarr

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    That's a lot of plot points for a book that just came out :-/
     
  27. Jun 16, 2019 #57

    stealth6

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    Hmmmm, I see what you are saying.
    Unfortunately, I can't seem to edit the post.....the "edit" feature is missing.
    I'll keep trying, but right now nothing is working.

    That said, in all honestly this is a typical Neal Stephenson book...meaning that the overall scope is enormous, even that amount of plot points revealed is relatively small.
     
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  28. Jun 16, 2019 #58

    jqavins

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    Don't bother. The edit button goes away afyer one hour.
     
  29. Jun 16, 2019 #59

    jlabrasca

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    Agnostic is an interesting word. Your meaning here is clear but -- in the context of this discussion -- I've encountered a few "climate agnostics" where the word is used to indicate a suspension of judgment, sometimes honestly, sometimes disingenuously, about the anthropogenic hypothesis.

    When scientists use it, it has come to mean something like "non-perferential"; antigen-agnostic vaccine, task-agnostic machine learning, etc.

    Its a shame, because its original meaning does not have a succinct synonym. Huxley coined the term to mean someone who rejects the idea that the answers to essential questions about reality (why does the universe exist?) can be known. A very specific rejection of information received by supernatural means (gnosis, esoteric , or occult knowledge). It is an (arguably redundant) extension of ontological parsimony to excluded divine inspiration along with all other unwarranted assumptions when evaluating competing hypotheses.

    Used in this sense, it is possible to be an agnostic believer. Such a person does not assign any authority to revelations or insights that arrive through some immaterial or mystical mechanism.

    I know a few devoutly religious scientists. I probably know more scientists who are theists or deists, but who are not religious.

    It is worth mentioning, I think, because RocketRev made the point that rejection of facts can be willful and arguments against scientific explanations can be framed by characterizing such explanations as attacks on religion and the "traditional values" supported by various faiths. It is an ad hominem attack, and a way of othering scientists, to cast the profession of scientist as a kind of religious apostasy. Since many religions hold that moral and ethical behavior requires belief in the supernatural, an apostate must be immoral. It helps the cause of anti-fact demagogues to call scientists "unbelievers" and, therefore, untrustworthy.

    edit: got tangled up about who was arguing and who was attacking...
    edit2: ..yeah, I made it worse...
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  30. Jun 16, 2019 #60

    stealth6

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    Aw dang it. This is a relatively new change, yes? I used to be able to edit/delete posts with no problem in the past.

    Anywho, apologies about any reveals I let slip. Sorry folks. Again though, I wouldn't worry too much about it as any "spoilers" are in fact relatively minor in the overall scheme of things. In fact, I'm now about 3/4+ through the book, and the events and subjects I posted about actually seem like a LONG time ago. Like I said, Stephenson's books tend to be pretty wide reaching in terms of plot/themes/etc.

    Hold on, wait a moment....I just thought of a much better response! How about this?:
    I never posted anything about Neal Stephenson's new book. In fact, there IS no book.

    I feel much better now.
    s6
     
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