“If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” -Ernest Rutherford

It’s a difficult thing to do, to go against your gut instinct. It’s even more difficult when your gut is backed up by the facts you’ve found doing your own independent research. But the greatest hallmark of science isn’t digging into your conclusions and finding all the evidence you can to support them; it’s to constantly challenge them, to attempt to knock them down, and to see where your present knowledge can be superseded or improved.

Whether through libraries, archives, traditional media, the internet or other forms of new media, independent research can be informative, but only to a point. Image credit: Washington, D.C. OWI (Office of War Information) research workers / U.S. Government.

Whether through libraries, archives, traditional media, the internet or other forms of new media, independent research can be informative, but only to a point. Image credit: Washington, D.C. OWI (Office of War Information) research workers / U.S. Government.

It may seem that there’s a battle on as far as who you can trust for information, but scientific thinking isn’t about trusting one camp over another. Rather, it’s about looking for the expertise, at the full suite of facts and at the recommendations of those who are more knowledgeable than any of us can ever be ourselves. It’s a difficult and humbling path to take, but it’s how we can arrive at truths that are greater than any of us, individually.

Decades ago, many households switched from butter to margarine, believing the latter was healthier. As new evidence accumulated, however, it was determined that trans fats, not saturated fats, were the fats that were linked to heart disease. Image credit: Bill Branson.

Decades ago, many households switched from butter to margarine, believing the latter was healthier. As new evidence accumulated, however, it was determined that trans fats, not saturated fats, were the fats that were linked to heart disease. Image credit: Bill Branson.

Come get the full story on how each one of us can value science in our daily lives, and how doing so just might save the USA.

Comments

  1. #1 Denier
    United States
    January 31, 2017

    @Ethan wrote

    …proposed that scientists take a scientific oath, similar to the Hippocratic oath that doctors take. What would a professional oath for scientists include? Here’s what I would pledge:


    I will not distort facts to promote a particular ideological agenda or financial purpose.

    You want to deal with the devil? Let’s talk.

    In exchange for your voluntarily giving up your First Amendment protections to gain an increase of esteem afforded to your voice, what retribution can society seek from oath breakers?

    Let me give you an example:

    One of the most contentious speakers on the college circuit right now is Milo Yiannopoulos. For those unfamiliar, Milo is a conservative, white gay male who exclusively dates black guys. His lectures are often anti-Feminist, anti-Safe Space, anti-Identity Politics, and religiously bigoted against followers of Islam.

    Milo is not Fascist. He’s not a Nazi. He’s not Alt-Right. He’s not racist. Milo is not a White Nationalist.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywmd8kR-AmI

    Wherever Milo Yiannopoulos speaks, protesters come out in force to try and shut down his lectures. They carry signs and chant various accusations of Fascism along with all of the above. These charges are directed not only at Milo but at anyone going to see Milo.

    All of that is fine. Protesters have freedom of speech too. My question is this: What can society do to Scientist caught at the protest or voicing something similar? It is an empirically false statement in the promotion a particular ideological agenda.

    Improperly call someone a Fascist? Lose tenure, job, and have any teaching credentials revoked. Improperly call someone a Racist? Have all published work pulled and lose your PhD. Improperly call someone an idiot? You get the idea.

    You don’t get to build a wall between professional and personal. That is a cop out. If want your voice to be valued at a higher standard, what do we get when you fail to live up to that standard?

  2. #2 Wow
    January 31, 2017

    “In exchange for your voluntarily giving up your First Amendment protections”

    More fantasist bollocks from denier, unable to let go of the bone that they made up and want to argue against forever more.

    If you’re so pissed off with losing first amendment, what about Trump muzzling scientists?

    You’re a vapid moron, denier.

  3. #3 dean
    January 31, 2017

    “Milo is not Fascist. He’s not a Nazi. He’s not Alt-Right. He’s not racist. Milo is not a White Nationalist.”

    That single sentence has more lies in it than any other single thing you’ve written.

  4. #4 PJ
    Perth, west Oz
    January 31, 2017

    I agree with the scientific approach to many (most) encounters in life. I had a full hip replacement after nearly a year of research on the subject. Having read on others outcomes (good and bad) after their ops, and discussions with a sports surgeon or two, the deed was done. I know what to expect, and how to combat most side effects that may occur.
    For those, however, who do not have that inclination to investigate (or do not know how), the task of decision making is more difficult. Education, or a lack thereof, tends to determine a persons level of scientific acuity.

  5. #5 Julian Frost
    Gauteng North
    February 1, 2017

    You mention deferring to expert opinion. I think this quote by Isaac Asimov is pertinent.

    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

    And it’s not just in the United States. There are climate change denialists, AIDS denialists and antivaxxers all over the world. All of them ignore the expert consensus and the evidence.

  6. #6 mikeb
    February 1, 2017

    “Milo is not Fascist. He’s not a Nazi. He’s not Alt-Right. He’s not racist. Milo is not a White Nationalist.”

    That’s correct. So what is he? An infantile publicity whore.

  7. #7 eric
    February 1, 2017

    If want your voice to be valued at a higher standard, what do we get when you fail to live up to that standard?

    Loss of reputation and professional standing in various societies. IMO the system doesn’t need additional penalties heaped on it for mindcrimes. The way the science community treats discovered frauds is a pretty good example; the loss of professional standing is enormous and in some cases can be career ending.

    This is also directly analogous to the legal and medical communities, where professional misconduct is primarily judged and regulated internally by the various legal and medical societies. An M.D. doesn’t got to jail for breaking the Hippocratic oath, they just have to answer to the AMA for it. Lawyers must answer to the ABA. The government’s role is to regulate and prosecute crime, not the breakage of a professional society’s internal rules of conduct. There may be some cases where those things overlap, but in general I don’t see any reason to treat science any differently. If some scientist distorts facts to promote an agenda, let them answer to their professional peers for it just the same way a doctor or lawyer does.

  8. #8 Wow
    February 1, 2017

    “That’s correct. So what is he? An infantile publicity whore.”

    Maybe Milo’s name is Robert Polson.

  9. #9 Wow
    February 1, 2017

    “IMO the system doesn’t need additional penalties heaped on it for mindcrimes.”

    Histrionics and conspiracy thinking isn’t helping your case, eric.

    Should I be able to get your attention when you’re talking to your accountant and insist MY word on how to fill out your tax forms should be treated with the same respect as theirs?

  10. #10 eric
    February 1, 2017

    Should you be able to get my attention? Can you insist I pay attention to you? These seem somewhat meaningless questions, as you have no real world and only tenuous web-based access to me (as is also true for most scientists, and most accountants; they couldn’t “insist” either). How I make decisions isn’t up to you or them, and they really have no way to make it up to them. I will give my attention to people I think have reputable expertise in their field, and I think scientists who don’t ‘distort the facts to promote an agenda’ are going to have a leg up on getting my attention compared to others, at least when it comes to science. The same would be true of doctors who I think have good records in medicine or accountants with a past record of honorably and successfully helping their clients.

    The crux of the problem that Ethan is describing – at least the way I see it – is that while most people who want legal advice or understanding will go to a lawyer/law web page, and most people who want medical advice or information will go to a doctor/medical web page, a lot of Americans who want scientific advice will go to Answers in Genesis. Or the political pundit they hear on the radio. I think that’s the problem that we need to fix. Very much like alternative medicine, there seems to have grown up a set of ‘alternate science’ sources that a lot of Americans access, and that’s concerning. Some of this may be caused by scientific corporate-guns-for-hire and expert-witnesses-for-hire, and the pledge Ethan is suggesting might help with that. But some of it is just non-scientists talking about science or donning the trappings of science in order to make their agenda more credible, and obviously a pledge said when you get your PhD or whatever isn’t going to help with those folks, since they never got one anyway.

  11. #11 Denier
    United States
    February 1, 2017

    I should have called Ethan on it the first time but I let it go because I felt saying something would distract from the point. It is like nails on a chalkboard. Just to keep it from being repeated any more, MD’s do not swear to uphold the Hippocratic Oath. The Hippocratic Oath includes prohibitions against surgery and vows to teach Medical School for free. It is not relevant today. Surgeons aren’t prosecuted for breaking the Hippocratic Oath.

  12. #12 Denier
    February 1, 2017

    @eric

    IMO the system doesn’t need additional penalties heaped on it for mindcrimes. The way the science community treats discovered frauds is a pretty good example; the loss of professional standing is enormous and in some cases can be career ending.

    I agree with you 100%. The way it works now is fine. Scientists are not now swearing to uphold an oath and yet still suffer a loss of reputation and professional standing when they stray too far. Additional rules are not needed.

    The idea Ethan keeps coming back to lately is how to oppress society. He may not even be willing to admit him to himself but that is what he keeps coming back to. First he started with wanting the government to oppress speech until he learned the First Amendment prevents the government from doing so. In the subsequent conversation he mentioned ‘Shouting down lies with truth’. While completely legal, it is still winning an argument by thuggishly oppressing a dissenting view. This time around he wants to oppress the relative value of non-certified voices by elevating oath bound voices.

    Julian Frost has a pertinent quote from Isaac Asimov that is almost 40 years old, but anti-intellectualism goes back much further than that. Puritan John Cotton wrote about it over 100 years before the US even existed. We know vastly more now that we did in the 1600’s or even in 1980 when Asimov penned his quote. Anti-Intellectualism exists but so what? It hasn’t stopped anything. It is not a problem.

    You know what can be a problem? Oppression. When you look at the world it is easy to see a direct correlation between scientific progress and how liberal a society is. In the US and Western Europe, we rule. In the highly oppressive cultures of the Middle East, not so much. It seems complete lunacy to me that a highly intelligent person such as Ethan would look at this situation and think the solution to this non-problem is more oppression. He thinks we need to increase oppression for the sake of science.

    To his credit, at least his proposals keep getting a lighter and lighter touch. I fully understand the concept of playing with an idea to see if it works. I just hope in the end he comes around to the conclusion that the best way forward is to keep educating, to continually put more and better science out into the marketplace of ideas. This blog is a great example of that and I fully support it. When Ethan tries out ideas that are not great, even if no one else does, I’m still going to call him on it.

  13. #13 Denier
    February 1, 2017

    @mikeb

    That’s correct. So what is he? An infantile publicity whore.

    You could say that. I think the better term is ‘troll’. I personally believe Milo’s popularity is a pushback against a campus climate that is reaching the ridiculous.

    Here is a great example of that climate published earlier this morning:

    http://reason.com/blog/2017/02/01/a-student-felt-traumatized-because-his-p

  14. #14 Wow
    February 1, 2017

    “Should you be able to get my attention? Can you insist I pay attention to you? These seem somewhat meaningless questions,”

    Well if you don’t, then you’re heaping additional penalties on me for mindcrimes.

    Because I’m not thinking like your accountant.

    I want you to STOP goose-stepping over my thoughts with your Anti-not-accountant gestapo DOGMA!!!!!

    It seems I may have to over-hype the histrionics to get you to see how you look to others, eric.

  15. #15 dean
    United States
    February 1, 2017

    reason – the site with the most dishonest name for its content around. No real facts in the article, just a bunch of morons who’ve never had an issue in their lives mocking people who have.

    I can see why ignorance of facts appeals to you denier – you demonstrate it constantly.

  16. #16 eric
    February 1, 2017

    Denier:

    The idea Ethan keeps coming back to lately is how to oppress society.

    No, the idea Denier keeps coming back to lately is how Ethan wants to oppress society. After you’ve been told repeatedly, by both posters and the person you’re characterizing, that your characterization of his position is wrong. You go so far as to inject this subject into posts on unrelated subjects, which is nearly the definition of “troll.” In fact, now that I think about it, you’re providing a pretty good example of what “distorting facts to promote an agenda” looks like.

  17. #17 Ragtag Media
    United States
    February 1, 2017

    @ Denier:
    “Anti-Intellectualism exists but so what? ”
    EXACTLY. But as Eric the the new modernday do gooder abolitionist just stated above in post #10 ” I think that’s the problem that we need to fix”

    Why? Why does eric feel compelled to “fix” a persons desire to read Genesis for his own view anymore than a Genesis reader should leave eric alone to his own books of choice.

  18. #18 Wow
    February 1, 2017

    It’s especially ironic that this thread title is “How thinking like a scientist can improve your daily life”, and he’s here, not thinking like a scientist, but like a partisan who needs to justify their anger. And if he’d thought like a scientist, he would have backed off and looked for evidence for and against his theory, and discarded it if it didn’t fit, and an alternative fitted better. Resulting in his life, for these few days, in this small way, better.

    Indeed one of the methods science is using is the supression of the short-cut of assumption reactive thought, which is essential for survival in a dangerous world, with the long drawn out consideration thought which results in better planning.

    And tribal thinking is part of that reactionary thought process. As is cognitive dissonance and self deception. All of which can be ruinous to our modern safe first world lives. Where we have plenty of time to reflect.

  19. #19 Wow
    February 1, 2017

    “Why does eric feel compelled to “fix” a persons desire to read Genesis for his own view ”

    Because that genesis reader wants to brainwash their children and other children into believing it before they can understand it. They want to have others ruled by its teachings. They want subsidy from government to operate, yet avoidance of the perks of their organisation. They want to invade where they do not apply and will kill or main or mentlally scar others because of what they read in there.

    READ it all you like, moron.

    But keep it, like your cock, to yourself. And stop shoving it down your children’s throat.

  20. #20 Ragtag Media
    United States
    February 1, 2017

    “But keep it, like your cock, to yourself. And stop shoving it down your children’s throat.”

    BUT the religion of progressivism is allowed shove their black mamba of eutopia down the throats of those who disagree and that’s OK?
    Roe V Wade??? States Rights??
    Abort babies all you want fuck wad. JUST DO IT IN YOUR OWN STATE!! (Or Country) And Not FORCE your will on others.

    Hmm, But see, that what you dipshit minded progressive do. You loose the argument and then run to the next largest authority of government to strong arm those who differ from you. You in effect seek out a sharia law draw up within your own confines and then foisted upon society through deceptive means.
    Like for instance how California’s Prop 8 was circumvented by a sodomite Judge. And that’s fair HOW?

  21. #21 dean
    February 1, 2017

    States don’t have rights.

  22. #22 Wow
    February 1, 2017

    “BUT the religion of progressivism is allowed shove their black mamba of eutopia ”

    Goodness. Example, please. For all I can tell, you’re griping about being told that things are OK, really.

  23. #23 Wow
    February 1, 2017

    “Roe V Wade??? States Rights??”

    Roe v Wade??? Are you talking about the right of some woman do disobey another godotherer tring to force them to do differently?

    States rights? What about them? Trump is already running roughshod over them. And when it comes to legalized weed or gay marriage, none of your lot gives a fig for states rights, you want the federal law to trump the state law allowing them.

    “Abort babies all you want fuck wad. JUST DO IT IN YOUR OWN STATE!! (Or Country) And Not FORCE your will on others.”

    Nobody is forcing anyone to abort babies. You fucking morons insist on killing anyone who operates on a mother who agrees to have an abortion, and demand that no women be allowed to be owner of their own body.

    And SOMEHOW you put forcing you NOT to interfere as being FORCING YOU to do something????

    Fucking idiot.

    THAT is another reason why we want that reading stopped before cognitive abilities have grown enough to think independently, because people become fucking morons when they’ve been forced to read their parents bible at a young age and only get dumber and dumber as they get older.

  24. #24 Wow
    February 1, 2017

    “You in effect seek out a sharia law ”
    Says the shitheads who want the 10 commandments in courts across the country and want all laws to be made from them.

    Fucking idiots.

  25. #25 Wow
    February 1, 2017

    “Like for instance how California’s Prop 8 was circumvented by a sodomite Judge. And that’s fair HOW?”

    Because gay marriage has nothing to do with non-gay people, only gay people.

    Fucking rights man. IT’S IN THE CONSTUTION. EQUAL PROTECTION.

  26. #26 Ragtag Media
    United States
    February 1, 2017

    “Says the shitheads who want the 10 commandments in courts across the country and want all laws to be made from them.”

    Umm Dick Face Dumbass The 10 Commandments ARE Throughout the Supreme Court.. Ya fuckin half witt:
    http://www.itwillpass.com/law-Moses-Ten-Commandments-US-Supreme-Court.shtml

    But then your a fuckin queer whose sexuality is so perverted you have to try and distort the narrative. You have NEVER Told the Starts With A Bang What’s your Queer On THANG is?
    What Is It QUEER? What”s Your Queer Eye? What’s Perverts You From Reality???

  27. #27 Julian Frost
    Gauteng North
    February 1, 2017

    @Denier #12:

    Anti-Intellectualism exists but so what? It hasn’t stopped anything. It is not a problem.

    Have you lost your mind?
    Anti-intellectualism means that people listen to ignoramuses (ignorami?) about vaccines, fail to vaccinate their children, and that those children then pass diseases on to those too young to be vaccinated who sometimes die. Google “Dana McCaffrey”, “Kailis Smith” and “Kaliah Jordan”.
    Anti-intellectualism means that creationism is taught in biology classes, despite being scientifically discredited. You think that that isn’t damaging?
    Anti-intellectualism means that good evidence is rejected because it doesn’t fit preconceived notions. Look up Lysenkoism. How much further along would biological science have gone had it not happened?
    If you genuinely believe that anti-intellectualism “hasn’t stopped anything [and] is not a problem” then you are an ignorant fool and an example of anti-intellectualism.

  28. #28 Denier
    United States
    February 1, 2017

    @eric wrote

    you’ve been told repeatedly, by both posters and the person you’re characterizing, that your characterization of his position is wrong.

    No. I’ve been told repeatedly by you that I’m mischaracterizing his position. Am I? I don’t think so. Allow me to put my characterization next to Ethan’s words so you can more easily look at them.

    Here is what I just wrote that seems to have you so triggered:

    he started with wanting the government to oppress speech

    Now, here is what Ethan wrote:

    I suggested that perhaps the government should pass a law to regulate this

  29. #29 Wow
    February 2, 2017

    “The 10 Commandments ARE Throughout the Supreme Court.. Ya fuckin half witt:”

    And YOU complain about wanting sharia law (which is a lie)…

    Who’s the frigging dumbass.

    Now take your bullshit over to the dump thread where this crap belongs. You know where it is.

  30. #30 Wow
    February 2, 2017

    “No. I’ve been told repeatedly by you that I’m mischaracterizing his position.”

    No, you’ve been told by me, eric, dean, SL, Ethan and PJ among others that you’re doing that, you lying crapsack.

    ” Am I? I don’t think so.”

    But you don’t think that anyone other than eric has told you you’re wrong.

    You don’t think.

    Since you’re CLEARLY not willing to visit reality here, YOU can go off to the dump threadwhere you don’t have to constrain yourself to reality and where the adults can talk freely without triggering you.

  31. #31 Wow
    February 2, 2017

    Ethan, please ban Ragbag. Just go look at his idiocy and homophobic ranting.

    Shut the door on the idiot.

  32. #32 Wow
    February 2, 2017
  33. #33 Ragtag Media
    United States
    February 2, 2017

    “homophobic ranting.”? Wrong, Milo is a great American Patriot..:

  34. #34 dean
    February 2, 2017

    10 commandments in the Supreme Court building? Not according to the man who designed the inscription:

    In a letter on file in the archives of the Supreme Court, Adolph Weinman, the designer of this frieze, states that the tablet visible between the two central male figures, engraved with the Roman numerals I through X, represents not the Ten Commandments but the first “ten amendments to the Constitution known as the ‘Bill of Rights.‘”

    Moses is represented as a law giver, along with representations from other cultures. It is often argued he is holding the 10 Commandments – but that is at best partially correct and typically an intentional misrepresentation.

    Moses is not given any special emphasis in this depiction: his figure is not larger than the others, nor does it appear in a dominant position. Also, the writing on the tablet carried by Moses in this frieze includes portions of commandments 6 through 10 (in Hebrew), specifically chosen because they are not inherently religious. (Commandments 6 through 10 proscribe murder, adultery, theft, perjury, and covetousness.)

    The notion that the Christian religion is emphasized in the Supreme Court is simply not true. The right is well known for pushing what they believe is in the Constitution rather than what actually is in it – mostly because they’ve never read it, sometimes because they simply can’t understand it. the same is true about the issue of what is and is not represented on the entrance and exterior of the Supreme Court.

  35. #35 dean
    February 2, 2017

    “Anti-Intellectualism exists but so what?”

    Anti-intellectualism is at the heart of the tea-baggers and libertarians both. In each group actually thinking about the issues they discuss would lead to the conclusion that what they say has no relation to reality, and they can’t have that.

  36. #36 Denier
    United States
    February 2, 2017

    @Julian Frost

    children then pass diseases on to those too young to be vaccinated who sometimes die. Google “Dana McCaffrey”, “Kailis Smith” and “Kaliah Jordan”.

    As a father of someone who is under 5 years old I can’t imagine allowing anything to endanger my kid, but the fact is some kids are born to shit parents. 29000 kids under the age of 5 die each year. That is 21 kids every minute, most from preventable causes.

    The fact of the matter is that our liberal society has developed vaccines that save millions. Good science hasn’t been stopped and your odious use of the names of 3 dead children as a political football to imply otherwise is wrong. Bad parents who beat their kids to death or leave them locked in hot cars or otherwise endanger their kids should be prosecuted.

    If you really care about what is nothing short of an atrocity, there are far more effective courses of action than advocating the abolition or curtailment of the First Amendment.

    Look up Lysenkoism.

    Remember where I wrote that increased oppression could be harmful to science? Perhaps you should look up Lysenkoism.

    Once the instruments of oppression are built it is folly to assume those at the levers of power will always be the most intelligent and moral our society has to offer. It doesn’t matter how noble the original intent. History has shown time and again, and again, and again, and again how that power can be perverted. The safest and sanest course of action is to resist such proposed constructions.

  37. #37 Ragtag Media
    United States
    February 2, 2017

    The ” letter on file in the archives of the Supreme Court, Adolph Weinman” is anomalous at best or an outright forgery.
    He also sculpted The Liberty of Worship, Oscar S. Straus Memorial Fountain:
    http://www.christianheritagemins.org/articles/Ten_Commandments.htm
    Now zoom in real close and see that tablet there he is leaning on?
    Same styled tablet as the east wall frieze he is resting his arm on And in fact he calls the Tablets the 10 commandments in the The Liberty of Worship sculpture.
    So You’re WRONG AGAIN dean

  38. #38 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    February 2, 2017

    @Denier, you are an utterly dishonest, strawmanning distorter.
    You said:

    Anti-Intellectualism exists but so what? It hasn’t stopped anything. It is not a problem.

    I pointed out THREE examples of anti-intellectualism causing harm.
    You then responded with a statement that was a complete and utter straw man, including an insinuation that I want to repeal the First Amendment. You have been corrected on this matter before. Stop responding with ad hominem lies that we wish to introduce censorship.

  39. #39 Denier
    United States
    February 2, 2017

    @Julian Frost

    The full context of the post containing the line you cited was about the merits of oppressing speech in how it effects societal scientific progress. It was about the value of introducing censorship as weighed against the existence of anti-intellectualism. My response to you was keenly on topic.

    Don’t get upset when you pull quotes out of context and the resulting dialog doesn’t go the way you want it to. If you don’t want to introduce censorship then we’re in agreement. I don’t want it either. If on the other hand you want to use the names of dead children along with a misinterpretation of a throw-away line simply to pick a quarrel, then we are at odds.

  40. #40 dean
    February 2, 2017

    Julian, denier decided (wrongly) that Ethan was somehow endorsing restricting free speech. Don’t expect facts or any acceptance of science from him after he’s demonstrated he has no respect for either.

  41. #41 Wow
    February 2, 2017

    “As a father of someone who is under 5 years old I can’t imagine allowing anything to endanger my kid, but the fact is some kids are born to shit parents.”

    Yours are.

    Mind you, they may not exist, which is probably a relief for them.

  42. #42 Wow
    February 2, 2017

    I pointed out THREE examples of anti-intellectualism causing harm.
    You then responded with a statement that was a complete and utter straw man, including an insinuation that I want to repeal the First Amendment. You have been corrected on this matter before. Stop responding with ad hominem lies that we wish to introduce censorship.

    Don’t expect any more accuracy from him when you read his proclamations about Ethan’s post on free speech either.

  43. #43 Denier
    United States
    February 2, 2017

    @Wow

    Yours are.

    Tis amazing that something as amazing as he is comes from me. I’m blaming my wife.

  44. #44 Wow
    February 2, 2017

    You may not even have a wife.

  45. #45 Denier
    United States
    February 2, 2017

    Maybe I’m you and you’ve been trolling everyone this whole time arguing with yourself. Or maybe you’ve suffered some psychotic break and don’t even know that you’re trolling yourself.

  46. #46 eric
    February 2, 2017

    Denier:

    [eric]
    you’ve been told repeatedly, by both posters and the person you’re characterizing, that your characterization of his position is wrong.

    [Denier] No. I’ve been told repeatedly by you that I’m mischaracterizing his position. Am I? I don’t think so.

    You may not think so, but yes you absolutely have been told by Ethan himself that you are. I don’t know why you would even deny this, it happened just a few weeks ago, in print, on this website. It’s not like demonstrating that you’re wrong is even hard. The only real question about your denial of this is whether you remember it happening and are just maliciously pretending it didn’t, or whether your memory is so selective and biased that you don’t even remember when the blog owner takes several long paragraphs out of a post to tell you why you’re wrong.*

    For the record, since you seem to be sincere in denying climate change my guess would be you just have a highly selective memory which only remembers the data and posts which support your bubble. So let me jog your selective memory out of its bias. Here, from “Comments of the Week #143,” is Ethan telling you point blank that you’re misrepresenting him:

    Hello, strawman. So there is a way of arguing that I like called steelmanning, where you take the argument someone made exactly as they made it, refute it, and then you yourself look for ways to make that argument stronger. The ones you disagree with; you look for the holes in it and then you plug the holes yourself, and then you argue further even against that, attempting to refute the strongest version of the argument possible. Strawmanning is the opposite, where instead of taking the argument as someone made it, you take a weaker, twisted version that you’ve made into an absurdity and blow it over, as one would some straw in a moderate wind.

    I never said that reporting on misinformation posing as truths should be banned. I said that unscrupulous, misleading, lying or otherwise twisted reporting on such matters should be discouraged or perhaps even punished. I suggested that publishers should band together and create a code of ethics, I suggested that journalists should have an ethical code they abide by, I suggested that a public watchdog group should get involved, and yes, I suggested that perhaps the government should pass a law to regulate this. You and others pointed out that this last option would violate the first amendment, and while I didn’t understand that argument, I acquiesced because it’s outside of my area of expertise. You then suggested that the “power” one has to fight this should be limited to scrupulous, honest, contextual, nuanced and truthful reporting, which is what I already do my best to do. I pointed out that this isn’t working. This is where the argument stands now.

    Was “Hello, strawman” not clear and direct enough for you? Regardless of whether you think you’re strawmanning, it is absolutely, crystal clear that he thinks you’re misrepresenting his position, and that he told you that. Which is what I said in @16.

    So, now, do you want to concede this, or do you want to try some more mental and verbal gymnastics to try and explain how being referred to as “hello, Strawman” was Ethan’s way of agreeing with your characterization of his position?

  47. #47 Denier
    United States
    February 2, 2017

    @eric

    The whole first paragraph was projection on the part of Ethan. When Ethan first voiced his support for what he later termed government regulation of speech, I pointed out that ran afoul of the First Amendment. Ethan’s repose in CotW#140, which you quoted back to me several times, was that because I believed in First Amendment protections it also meant I ‘abhorred’ non-legal measures such as:

    1 – search engines and social networking treating fake news like spam
    2 – establishing an obligation for journalists and publications to report the truth
    3 – people out-shouting lies with truths

    Support for the First Amendment doesn’t mean any of that. Ethan was building a strawman. When Ethan later wrote CotW#143 about strawmen and how he likes to ‘steelman’, I mostly just rolled my eyes and said “Yeah, Okay, Whatever Ethan”. I let it go because ad homs and chirps on style are tedious.

    The most important line in your CotW#143 quote was this one:

    yes, I suggested that perhaps the government should pass a law to regulate this.

    The word ‘yes’ does not mean ‘you’ve mischaracterized what I’ve said.’ It is an admission of validity although Ethan preferred the term ‘regulate’ rather than ‘ban’. Fine. I can live with that. Ethan didn’t want the government to ‘ban’ a certain type of speech. He wanted the government to ‘regulate’ a certain type of speech.

    Going forward I never again used the word ‘ban’. ‘Oppress’ does not mean ‘ban’. ‘Oppress’ generally connotes an abuse of power, which such a ‘regulation’ would be because of speech’s protected status. I didn’t even say Ethan still wants it. I was very clear that his desire to regulate via an abuse of power was prior to learning it violated the First Amendment.

    The line ‘First he started with wanting the government to oppress speech until he learned the First Amendment prevents the government from doing so’ is not unfair or in any way mis-representative of what Ethan said.

  48. #48 eric
    February 2, 2017

    The whole first paragraph was projection on the part of Ethan.

    I see. He states you’re strawmanning his position, and you insist that’s projection on his part. Because evidently you know what he believes better than he does? Your best defense is probably to claim that his initial post on the subject did not denote what he was trying to connote, and you were responding to his denotation. But that would not excuse your continued hyperbolic characterization after he explained to you that he did not mean criminalizing speech or any other such matter.

    Going forward I never again used the word ‘ban’.

    No, you only accused Julian a few hours ago of “advocating the abolition or curtailment of the First Amendment.” You’re still doing it. You’re still straw manning your opponents by interpreting their words in the most hyperbolic manner you can. Maybe Ethan wasn’t your target this time, but you’re still doing exactly the same thing.

    Get the heck over it. Nobody here is advocating the abolition of the first amendment. Nobody is advocating giving the federal government the power to criminalize speech. Come out of your survivalist bunker already, the liberal caricature you are fighting against is all in your head. The real liberals on this site have said that anti-intellectualism and distrust of mainstream science – such as anti-vaxx – is a social problem because it’s lead to deaths and other social ills. They’ve said ‘hey, why not a Hippocratic oath for scientists’ – *not* “voluntarily giving up your First Amendment protections to gain an increase of esteem afforded to your voice.” Just look at those two statements side by side! Doesn’t it embarrass you to have taken the former and “paraphrased” it (scare quotes intentional) as second? It would me. They’re so different, the second is so much more extreme, that I’d be ashamed of having done that to someone else’s words.

  49. #49 Denier
    United States
    February 2, 2017

    @eric wrote

    Maybe Ethan wasn’t your target this time

    Thank you for that concession.

    They’re so different, the second is so much more extreme

    They are the same idea couched in different terms. I fully admit that my phrasing is extreme, but it is not inaccurate. I’m stress testing the idea to more easily see where it breaks.

    Scientists do not need to pledge to any oath. They already have an air of authority and have voices considered to be more knowledgeable in their fields of expertise. So, why the proposed change? It isn’t really explained in the article. In fact the thought doesn’t even seem like it fits in the article.

    I wanted to understand the thought processes. Why is it on Ethan’s brain? What does he hope to gain from instituting such a thing? What are the acceptable drawbacks for not living up to this newly proposed standard? Ethan put it out there and I want to see how far he’s thought it through.

  50. #50 Wow
    February 2, 2017

    “”Maybe I’m you”

    If your first comment to eric didn’t prove to any lurkers that denier is in lala land, that will.

    No, denier, you’re a fantasist who re-concocts reality to fit whatever mood you happen to feel reality should be this time.

    Like Orangina Little Hands.

  51. #51 Wow
    February 2, 2017

    Denier, since you’re clearly not here to be in reality at any point here, as eric has proven and your posts have confirmed, please take this empty prattle of yours to the dump thread.

    You know where it is.

    Ethan, please help eric out and clear this moron off this thread with this BS regurgitation.

  52. #52 eric
    February 2, 2017

    Denier:

    I’m stress testing the idea to more easily see where it breaks.

    “Stress testing” other people’s ideas sounds an awful lot to me like “attributing to them extreme ideas they never actually espoused.” IOW, strawmannig them. You can make an argument ad absurdum response to someone’s argument, but the intellectually honest way to do that is to say something like “if we take your idea to it’s logical limit…” or something like that, to show that you are no longer discussing what they proposed, you’re discussing a new idea.

    I wanted to understand the thought processes. Why is it on Ethan’s brain? What does he hope to gain from instituting such a thing? What are the acceptable drawbacks for not living up to this newly proposed standard?

    Well I’ve suggested this to you one other time, and you ignored it, but I”ll suggest it again. Call me completely crazy, but if you want to know what’s on something mind, you might try asking them what’s on their mind instead of taking some extremist version of what they said and proclaiming its a terrible idea because x y and z.

    Just think through the golden rule as applied to discussion. If you say “I don’t think Bob’s data is valid” and I wasn’t sure what you meant by that, would you rather me (1) ask you “what do you mean by not valid?”, or (2) proclaim “Denier called Bob a fraud and wants him banned from society”. Because hey, #2 just tests the ‘don’t think it’s valid” idea to extreme, right? If you prefer people do 1 to you instead of 2, then do 1 to them instead of 2.

  53. #53 Julian Frost
    Gauteng North
    February 2, 2017

    The full context of the post containing the line you cited was about the merits of oppressing speech in how it effects societal scientific progress. It was about the value of introducing censorship as weighed against the existence of anti-intellectualism.

    Since nobody was arguing for censorship, this is a straw man.

    My response to you was keenly on topic.

    Since nobody here was arguing for censorship or the repeal of the First Amendment, no it wasn’t.

    Don’t get upset when you pull quotes out of context and the resulting dialog doesn’t go the way you want it to.

    The only person pulling quotes out of context here is you. As has been pointed out to you several times, nobody here is advocating for the abolition of the First Amendment, yet you continue to comment as if they were. Not only are you dishonest but a hypocrite.

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