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Talking science

Discussion in 'Physical & Life Sciences' started by mindlight, Jan 25, 2022.

  1. mindlight

    mindlight See in the dark Supporter

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    At a time when mainstream science is increasingly rejected by people on the fringes of society, how can science promote facts and evidence, relating to matters of pressing concern, like covid19?

    How can we distinguish between credible scientists and noncredible scientists when scientists are employed on both sides of partisan and politicized debates on vaccination for example?

    Are the best methods to support the credibility of scientific theories, like for example that vaccination saves lives, nonscientific ones like:

    1) This scientist is just annoyed that Big Pharma did not give him the big money he wanted for his research.

    2) These scientists' articles were peer-reviewed by marginalized scientists.

    3) This scientist is paid for by the person whose opinion his "facts" support.

    4) This scientist got vaccinated and then joined the anti-vaxxer movement.

    Is science now merely one tool in the hand of honest or dishonest people who behave as they do for entirely nonscientific reasons?
     
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  2. AV1611VET

    AV1611VET IN GOD WE TRUST Supporter

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    Personally, I think so.

    As long as what is being studied can remain controversial, I think you can hire a scientist to give an expert opinion on a subject in your favor.

    Ain't nothing new.

    Judges 17:7 And there was a young man out of Bethlehemjudah of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there.
    8 And the man departed out of the city from Bethlehemjudah to sojourn where he could find a place: and he came to mount Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he journeyed.
    9 And Micah said unto him, Whence comest thou? And he said unto him, I am a Levite of Bethlehemjudah, and I go to sojourn where I may find a place.
    10 And Micah said unto him, Dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a priest, and I will give thee ten shekels of silver by the year, and a suit of apparel, and thy victuals. So the Levite went in.
    11 And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons.
    12 And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah.
    13 Then said Micah, Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest.
     
  3. The IbanezerScrooge

    The IbanezerScrooge I can't believe what I'm hearing...

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    To be fair, #3 actually happens. See effects of tobacco studies from the 70's and 80's, who funded them, and the conclusions they reached.

    One could argue that these studies and ones like them are, in fact, not science, but propaganda, which would be correct, but they go thru the channels like most legit science papers and are presented as such.
     
  4. FrumiousBandersnatch

    FrumiousBandersnatch Well-Known Member

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    I think all of the above are problematic and must be countered or avoided wherever possible. Having said that, I think they're very much in a minority overall.

    Like all valued enterprises and institutions, science requires work to be put in to counter the effects of human entropy.
     
  5. durangodawood

    durangodawood Dis Member

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    Corruption in science seems to have a half life.

    Physical facts come out sooner or later.
     
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  6. Mountainmike

    Mountainmike Well-Known Member Supporter

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    One problem is the lack of honesty by scientists and medics in the limitations of what they don’t know.

    In the U.K. sage epidemiology modelling has been woeful. Actual results have always been way inside the lowest bounds. No realistic error bounds were given, which should have said errors of +-80% on occasions.

    These models have wrongly used to shut down society.
    The modellers have tried to discredit all policy that isn’t the harshest possible. By failing to admit where guesses are guesses and allowing leaders to lead, these scientists have brought science into disrepute.

    Indeed we are now at the point where militant health unions use pseudoscience for pure political control.

    sad.


     
  7. SkyWriting

    SkyWriting The Librarian Supporter

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    ...Health Unions? Which hospital has unionized? That would be news. (About 10% are union)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2022
  8. Mountainmike

    Mountainmike Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I’m talking U.K.
    The RCN are as left and militant as you can get. Wanted a pay rise as all others lost money.

    The GPs unions conspired to hide in covid using as it an excuse to reduce an already pathetic service. On official figures NHS had only 70% output, ( “to protect staff”) , when they wouldn’t even vaccinate.
    We protected NHS. When we needed 130% output from it it gave 70.

    Sage academics used covid to try to control the narrative on NHS funding , not the disease.

    Net result is NHS doctors/ nurses killed thousands unnecessarily with avoidable cancers.

    It’s public sector wide. Teachers unions used covid as an excuse to destroy education.

    but this thread is about science.

    BMA used pseudoscience to claim that austerity killed. It was the worst abuse of science I ever saw.

    Until sage covid modellers came along, to abuse it more.

    back in reality:

    England ranks along side Belgium with the most dense populations in Europe amongst big countries.
    Both are too interconnected and not self sufficient to shut covid out.
    Inevitably they come off worst in COVID.
    Boris did well overall.
    Meanwhile the east clearly has immunity from past coronas. You cannot explain it any other way.
    It was regardless of health service wealth or policy.

    So even the table you present below un commented is an attempt to abuse stats for political purposes. What point were you trying to make?
    The west is depressingly similar in outcome regardless of policy other than vaccination.


     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2022
  9. Ophiolite

    Ophiolite Recalcitrant Procrastinating Ape

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    This, and your post #6, are big on assertions, light on support. Indeed, I see zero support for any of your contentions. Generally, such assertions can be ignored.
     
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  10. Hans Blaster

    Hans Blaster E pluribus unum

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    This seems to be his thing. If you let this fester maybe he'll come back with loads of "data" from motivated sources. It turns out he's a UKer, which might explain some of my comm difficulties with him. (He also dumps in acronyms that he expects [incorrectly] his readers to know.) Since he already thinks I'm some sort of reflexive "sceptic [sic]" I'm not worried that I'll lose credibility with him here.

    As for the OP, I don't know what do here. It used to be that certain institutions had credibility and policed their representatives in ways to maintain that credibility, but the acceptance of "authorities" is definitely on a steep decline. Some of it is from legitimate scandals others from outside attacks.

    The tobacco industry sponsored false research to avoid connecting their product with its addictive and deadly reality.

    The fossil fuel industry spent decades (and billions) building counter narratives to the reality of CO2 driven climate change.

    Social media companies just don't care about the truth of any postings, only their ability to keep their uses "engaged" and using the product. Their algorithms exploit the psychological weaknesses of humanity for profit at the cost of comprehension or truth.

    We also have a massive disinformation problem that will be hard to fix. Some spread disinformation because it amuses them, others because it profits them. Then the social media algorithms just make it all worse.

    Scientific reality barely has a chance in this environment.
     
  11. Mountainmike

    Mountainmike Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What assertions? they are facts. Hard to know what you can contest.

    Modelling figures were ridiculous and have damaged the reputation of epidemiology specifically and science in general unnecessarily.

    Take the ridiculous prediction for omicron that used omicron infection rate , but using delta mortality rate when they knew from south africa the death rate was way lower.
    It was yet another case of project fear to lock back down.
     
  12. Ophiolite

    Ophiolite Recalcitrant Procrastinating Ape

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    They may be facts, they may not be facts. But until you have provided clear, detailed, relevant support, from reliable, authoritative sources, then they are nothing other than assertions.

    It seems you are unable to understand that simple concept. It is easy to make a claim. Some claims are so widely known and well established that no support is required. If you assert that a day lasts around 24 hours, I won't disagree. If you claim that George Washington was the first president of the USA, I shall not deny it. But if you claim that:
    then you need to provide support. That is not a fact. That is an opinion. You need a pile of evidence, quality evidence, to take it to the point where it may be even considered as a reasonable possibility.
    You may believe it is true, but that does not make it true.

    Put another way, posting opinions and claiming that they are facts is a form of self delusion. If you wish to persuade anyone that your opinions have any validity you need to support them.

    I shall be happy to engage with you further in this, or any other discussion, if - and only if - you provide support for your opinions.

    There is no reason to think a species capable of witch hunts a few centuries ago, would have advanced very far in less than half a millenium. I am, at heart, optimistic. The nay-sayers are exactly that: destructive reactionaries. Advances in science and society come from creative and constructive individuals.
     
  13. drtime

    drtime Member

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    Hire a doctor or scientist or lawyer to say anything you like. All will use and claim science.
     
  14. Hans Blaster

    Hans Blaster E pluribus unum

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    This is what we're trying to prevent. Random, unsupported claims of "science".
     
  15. FrumiousBandersnatch

    FrumiousBandersnatch Well-Known Member

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    The modellers give a range of projections from best-case to worst-case estimates on a number of parameters (transmissibility, virulence, social restrictions, public compliance, etc). The worst-case projections used the initial transmissibility figures for Omicron with the potential virulence of Delta, because transmissibility is known several weeks before lethality. The early Omicron virulence figures from South Africa were uncertain, and the country has a different demographic, so initial worst-case projections were conservative, assuming a Delta-level virulence.

    Who do you think would want more lockdowns and why?
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2022
  16. drtime

    drtime Member

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    Looks like you didn't succeed
     
  17. Hans Blaster

    Hans Blaster E pluribus unum

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    What's your problem with science?
     
  18. drtime

    drtime Member

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    Your reply was in regards to this quote from me
    "Hire a doctor or scientist or lawyer to say anything you like. All will use and claim science."

    So since there are doctors and scientists and professionals on both sides of the issue, it does look like a fail. If there was 'science' on the issue, why would both sides claim it for themselves?
     
  19. Hans Blaster

    Hans Blaster E pluribus unum

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    So you're "post-truth"? Nothing means anything? Is that where you are?
     
  20. drtime

    drtime Member

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    If there was truth in the way of science on the covid issues, where is it? Both sides claim it. I think the truth is that there seems to be something at work internationally here that is not about science.
     
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