Talk:War on Science/Archive1

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Anti-science movement[edit]

I think the anti-science movement referred to at the end has been around a lot longer than the 60's and 70's. Think of Frankenstein, for example. And the current movement against GM crops. As the article points out, though, these are usually not movements that deny the validity of the science - they decry the way it might or is neing used.

If stretched to technology as well, the Luddites would be another old example. humanbe in 17:00, 16 June 2007 (CDT)

There's always been suspicion of science, but the group in the 60's and 70's actually called themselves anti-science. I didn't want confusion in the names, is all. --Kels 17:14, 16 June 2007 (CDT)
Ah, ok... what was the group called? humanbe in 17:24, 16 June 2007 (CDT)

I wonder about the meaning of "anti-science" here. I would prefer to say that anti-science can mean any of the following:

  1. Opposite to contemporary scientific position on a matter touching on the physical or life sciences.
    • For example, any doctor in the 18th or 19th centuries who disagreed with leeches, blood-letting, etc. and who promoted what was than a "proto-scientific" theory of disease transmission by invisible substances. This actually led in time to the germ theory of disease, which is now universally accepted by science.
  2. Ideological refusal to accept scientific findings.
    • For example, young earth creationists who dispute the authenticity of the fossil record on the grounds that the Bible indicates that human beings, animals and plants were all created by God less than 10,000 years ago.
    • The Soviet Union held ideologically to some ideas about evolution - such as acquired physical characteristics being passed on to one's descendants.

So whether opposition or support for various global warming theories is "anti-science" depends on which of the two meanings you give the term anti-science. If it's opposing the so-called mainstream view, then your usage is correct. But it's hard to say whether it is conservatives and independent scientists like Lindzen, Christy, Singer, Seitz, Baliunas, etc. - or liberals and environmentalists like Al Gore - who are the ones who ideologically reject scientific findings. --Uncle Ed bug me 09:41, 26 September 2007 (EDT)

I wouldn't call your second example "anti-science". I would be "anti-establishment". When science is used to disprove something that is scientific, it is just as valuable as when it proves something. The overall knowledge is increased. Your third and forth examples are right on the nose if you ask me. Though the Soviets held to those beliefs to further a politcal goal not for any scientific reason.--Edgerunner76 10:03, 26 September 2007 (EDT)
Anti-science is an epistemology that actively advocates that the methods that sciences uses to acquire knowledge are more limited than they are or completely false. They also argue for methodologies that are contrary to reason. It is not an argument on specific theories, but rather epistemology and methodology. Concepts such as measureability, predictability, falsifiability, and observability are abandoned for subjective and epistemologically trivial and useless concepts such as personal belief, anecdotal evidence, incredulity, and arguments from authority. Then they try and legislate it and ram it down politically when they are ignored by real scientist. 11:55, 26 September 2007 (EDT)
I agree. Anti-science indicates a position which does not accept the usefulness of the scientific method to obtain valid information about the world.--Bob's your uncle 12:44, 26 September 2007 (EDT)

Citation requested[edit]

Someone's requested a citation on a statement that (I assume) asserts that the anti-scientists engage in outright denialism, but does not give an example. There are so many examples, can we pull one out and put it there? Researcher 21:59, 27 December 2007 (EST)

How about just a link to CP? Or maybe Huckabee's official site? --Kels 22:00, 27 December 2007 (EST)

Definition bias[edit]

I think your definition is biased. It makes it seem as if any criticism of a particular theory is an attack on all of science, or on the institution of science itself.

Possibly a critic could accept scientific principles but reject a particular theory as contradicting the evidence of observation, or just not having sufficient explanatory power.

Another criticism could be that physical science has overstepped its bounds by assuming that all phenomena are physical, including the mental state of human beings who use rational thought to question religious dogma. --Uncle Ed bug me 21:57, 17 April 2008 (EDT)

I don't really see what you are referring to in the article... do you mean this: "Anti-science, in modern terms, refers to largely ideological attacks on the teaching of evolutionary theory and other sciences in schools, and their use in the world at large."? Or something else? By the way, all "phenomena" are physical, by definition. Perhaps you mean "noumena"? humanUser talk:Human 22:31, 17 April 2008 (EDT)
Ed, Ed, Ed. Science is based on the concept that "all phenomena are physical". And that all phenomena are natural. Which rules out the supernatural as an area of scientific study. That might be why NOMA makes sense if you want to understand the difference between religion and science, faith and reason. Rational Edevidence 11:19, 18 April 2008 (EDT)
Well science has attempted to study the supernatural - ghosts, ESP, clairvoyance etc. - and not found any evidence. So until someone actually comes up with evidence then there is little point in pursuing supernatural explanations. Jollyfish.gifGenghisOur ignorance is God; what we know is science. 11:31, 18 April 2008 (EDT)
If science managed to find a way to detect and quantify ghosts or anything else classified as supernatural, it would no longer be regarded as supernatural. By definition. Science only deals with the physical and the natural. Ghosts (and god) are classified as supernatural phenomena because they cannot be scientifically studied. Rational Edevidence 12:07, 18 April 2008 (EDT)


I have expanded the definition and removed/edited the following text in italics.--Bobbing up 12:24, 31 October 2008 (EDT)

Advocates of ID and global warming skeptics are often accused of being "anti-science." However, it is unclear exactly what exactly one has to do or be to be "anti-science." The phrase could mean:

* "Opposed to a particular paradigm currently dominant in the scientific community," in which case Einstein, Darwin, Pasteur, Galileo, and Copernicus would also meet the definition of having been "anti-science;" * "Expressly opposed to the scientific method itself," in which case the accusers would be hard pressed to find any examples of ID advocates who expressly oppose the scientific method; * "Wrong," in which case every scientist holding to a hypothesis that is ultimately shown to be untrue would meet the definition of being "anti-science."

None of those definitions seem to simultaneously provide a meaningful distinction and categorize advocates of ID as "anti-science." Perhaps if the "pro-science" crowd were clearer about what exactly it means to be "anti-science," the term might come to hold some meaning.

In the absence of a clear definition, the term "anti-science" appears to be simple empty rhetoric along the lines of the term "Anti-American," which raises emotional hackles among believers, but falls limp among those not already "in the camp."

I'm curious why you found it necessary to remove those portions, without addressing them on the merits. Ungtss 11:59, 31 October 2008 (EDT)
Basically because I, as you requested, expanded/clarified the initial anti-science definition to explain why they were included. As I understood it your additions were motivated by your perception that the term anti-science was either insufficiently vague or did not refer to the two issues you hi-lighted. My edits were an attempt to answer that criticism. That done I moved your edit here out of fairness so that you could defend them if you wished - to have done otherwise would have left the two halves of the article arguing against each other.
I think that my edits were also in line with rationalWiki's prime mission statement of "Analyzing and refuting the anti-science movement."--Bobbing up 12:24, 31 October 2008 (EDT)


The definition of "anti-science" in the article is:

"Anti-science, in modern terms, refers to largely ideological attacks on the teaching of evolutionary theory and other sciences in schools, and their use in the world at large."

This fits into the box of "opposition to current paradigms." According to your definition, anti-science types do not run around burning down labs or telling their children not to be scientists -- they are not expressly opposed to science itself. They are simply opposed to particular paradigms currently prevalent in the scientific community (e.g. common descent and the belief that global warming is primarily human-caused. Seems to me that calling them "anti-science" for that is equivalent to calling someone "Anti-American" for wanting to nationalize healthcare -- basically defining private health care as "American" and inferring that anyone opposed to it must be opposed to America itself. It's just rhetoric. Ungtss 15:01, 31 October 2008 (EDT)

Well, opposition to evolutionary theory is not based on science - but on ideological reasons. The same goes for opponents of global warming - though they probably have more economic reasons for trying to dismiss the science.
Yes, that means that opponents of evolution, anthropogenic global warming deniers and those who object to common descent are arguing against the current paradigm - but they are not doing so from a scientific basis. Consequently it is legitimate to refer to them as anti-science.
If you feel that there is a scientific basis to any of these pseudo-scientific ideas you refer to, then you might wish to take it up on the appropriate article pages where we have more detail on each one.--Bobbing up 15:57, 31 October 2008 (EDT)
(ec) A key word appearing in that definition is "ideological". I interpret the definition to mean that anti-science includes rejecting and/or actively attacking scientific studies that are unpalatable to one's worldview. Critical analysis of current paradigms on an evidentiary basis can be scientifically valid. Opposition to current paradigms on an ideological basis is unlikely to be.--Bayes 16:17, 31 October 2008 (EDT)
So as I understand it, the only difference between someone who is an authentic dissenter and an "anti-science" person is the motivation. A dissenter is motivated by a genuine, scientifically based difference of opinion, while an "anti-science" person is motivated by an ideology which they consider to be more important than science.
  • How do we determine what their motivation is? They of course deny rejecting science, and believe instead that science (when properly understood) supports their ideology. And of course atheists like Dawkins also deny rejecting science, and believe instead that science (when properly understood) supports their ideology. How do we determine how much is ideology and how much is genuine difference of opinion? Ungtss 01:38, 1 November 2008 (EDT)

See below. It's a question of actions - not hypothesised motivation.--Bobbing up 06:02, 1 November 2008 (EDT)

  • Doesn't it seem to you that calling them "anti-science" kind of overstates the case? It's not that they're against science; isn't it rather that they're against certain parts of science? If an individual is, for instance, "pro-astronomy, but anti-common-descent;" or "pro-anatomy, but anti-uniformitarianism," why do we call them "anti-science?" Doesn't that smack of rhetoric? Accusing them of rejecting the whole when they only reject a very small part? Ungtss 01:07, 1 November 2008 (EDT)
If they claim to be using science while rejecting the scientific method then it would seem reasonable to call them anti-science.--Bobbing up 06:02, 1 November 2008 (EDT)
How is it that they "reject" science while "claiming to use it?" Do you mean they're expressly rejecting it -- like "Science sucks?" Or are they simply applying it incorrectly? If the former, who's saying that? If the latter, why are they "anti-science" instead of just "bad science?" If something else, what exactly are they doing to reject science? Ungtss 12:40, 1 November 2008 (EDT)
If they claim to be "scientific" while not using the scientific method then this would be an example of "anti-science". I'm afraid that I can't make it any plainer.--

Bobbing up 14:05, 1 November 2008 (EDT)

  • Interestingly, if you read Copernicus, his opposition to geocentrism was in large part ideological. He wrote pages and pages on the aesthetics of a heliocentric universe -- how the sun was much more beautiful and powerful, and how it was much for fitting that the sun be in the center of the universe. The Copernican Revolution by Kuhn is a great start on this. It turned out he was closer to the truth than Ptolemy was -- but he was definitely ideologically motivated, at least in part. Does that make him anti-science?
Our concepts of what is involved in the scientific method have involved over time. It may not always be appropriate to use modern yardsticks to judge historical figures. In any event, if he based his conclusions on empirical observations then he was following part of what we would today call the scientific method.--Bobbing up 06:02, 1 November 2008 (EDT)
So what was revolutionary science 500 years ago would now be considered "anti-science?" Ungtss 12:40, 1 November 2008 (EDT)
Definitions of the scientific method did not exist 500 years ago. Nevertheless if Copernicus based his work on empirical observation he would have been following part of the scientific method. Again, I'm not able to make it any clearer.--Bobbing up 14:05, 1 November 2008 (EDT)
  • How does one differentiate between the ideological motivation of a theist to defend Creation and the ideological motivation of an atheist to defend Common Descent? Both accuse the other of ignoring the evidence for ideological reasons. What is our measuring stick to differentiate? Or is it possible that both of them are ideologically motivated? Ungtss 01:38, 1 November 2008 (EDT)
Motivation is not the main issue - actions are.--Bobbing up 06:02, 1 November 2008 (EDT)
Which actions? Ungtss 12:40, 1 November 2008 (EDT)
The actions of following or not following the scientific method and avoiding pseudo-science and such like.--Bobbing up 14:05, 1 November 2008 (EDT)
  • Isn't it a bit of an overgeneralization to refer to all advocates of ID and anthropogenic global warming as being anti-science. How do we know that every single one is? Isn't it possible that there are some out there who authentically read the evidence a certain way -- even if they're wrong -- and are not ideologically motivated? Ungtss 01:07, 1 November 2008 (EDT)
Almost everything is possible at some level. The description applies to the majority, if you know of specific exceptions you might bring them up in the talk pages of the relevant articles. And again - it's not about motivation.--Bob
I like to think I'm one of the exceptions:). Ungtss 12:40, 1 November 2008 (EDT)
Hi Ungtss. I'm a bit rushed at the moment so I'll post a longer answer later. (responses later inserted above) Suffice it to say that I disagree with your original premise - "the only difference between someone who is an authentic dissenter and an "anti-science" person is the motivation." I disagree in part because it's very difficult know the "real" motivation of anybody - which would make it a very difficult measure. But more importantly I disagree because the judgement is made (or should be made) on what people actually do and say - not on what we imagine they think. Do they follow the scientific method? Are there elements of pseudo-science in their work? etc. I have added a couple of lines to the article to cover this point and I shall respond to your individual points later. (Unless somebody else does first.)--Bobbing up 04:55, 1 November 2008 (EDT)
If they claim to be "scientific" while not using the scientific method then this would be an example of "anti-science". I'm afraid that I can't make it any plainer.
That seems more like "pseudoscience" than "anti-science" to me. The prefix "anti" implies opposition, express or implied. Nobody calls a person "anti-abortion" because they claim to be pro-abortion but not actually performing abortions. Nobody calls a person "anti-american" because they claim to be American but actually are not. You are "anti" something if you are against it. Ungtss 14:13, 1 November 2008 (EDT)
It is certainly improbable that anybody would self-identify as being involved in "anti-science". Indeed any of the individuals involved would probably strongly assert that they were pro-science - despite failing to use, or misusing, the scientific method. Nevertheless, pseudoscientists actually damage science by misrepresenting it (I'll even accept that some of them may do it unintentionally), but the end result is to devalue or damage science. Consequently pseudoscience is anti-scientific in the sense that it damages science.--Bobbing up 17:16, 1 November 2008 (EDT)
Interesting -- how does the impersonation of science actually damage science? Those who didn't understand science in the first place are no worse off than they were before, and those who understand science recognize non-science for what it is. Science continues unabated in the labs and fields, and marches on merrily. What tangible harm does the ICR or DI do to science? Ungtss 17:35, 1 November 2008 (EDT)
Your first statement is in error. Those who do not understand science rely on interpretation. Impersonation or misrepresentation is essentially a lie to them, a distortion. Dishonesty, in other words. It's dishonesty anyway, but in the first "case" you present, a viler dishonesty. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:07, 2 November 2008 (EDT)
Wait, did I misread that, or did he actually write that? How does it damage science? I honestly can't believe someone with any education at all could write that without being a parody of someone like Andy. --Kels 00:45, 2 November 2008 (EDT)
Did I mistakenly take the previous ediotr seriously? Well, shit happens, I guess. Heck, maybe it was serious? Hi Kels :) ħumanUser talk:Human 00:56, 2 November 2008 (EDT)
Hey, Huw. Been pretty dull without you around. And yeah, I hope it was a joke, or he mis-worded something. I know there are people who actually think that way, but it's scary anyway. --Kels 01:16, 2 November 2008 (EDT)
Aw, thanks... but seriously, me being gone for four days makes this place boring? Thanks for the props, though [smooch]. And, yeah, I hope it was joking, although I suspect it was serious. Scary & stupid. Oh well, we welcome all types on here! ħumanUser talk:Human 01:09, 2 November 2008 (EST)
Would you geniuses please answer my question instead of dodging? I don't understand how DI does any real harm to anything that matters. Are they out taking funding away from "real labs?" Are they out burning libraries? What? Where would science be today that it isn't because DI exists and does what it does? Would creationists believe in evolution if it weren't for DI? Ungtss 13:13, 2 November 2008 (EST)

I assume that "DI" stands for Discovery Institute. It seems to be to intuitively obvious that people trying to hand off fake science as real science are doing science a disservice. To answer your last specific series of questions.

  • "Are they out taking funding away from "real labs?" They are probably not taking cash from real labs, but that could happen if an even more fundamentalist religious government took over in the US. It is important therefore to ensure that people are able to tell the difference. We try to do our little bit.
  • "Are they out burning libraries?" Not in the sense of burning them down - but one could argue that spreading false information is in the same class of activity.
  • What? What?
  • "Where would science be today that it isn't because DI exists and does what it does?" It may have persuaded some young people not to follow the path of "evilutionist science".
  • "Would creationists believe in evolution if it weren't for DI?" I'm not sure. Their objective is certainly to stop people believing in evolution and the Wedge Document claims they are being successful.--Bobbing up 13:37, 2 November 2008 (EST)
Thanks for the response -- I appreciate it. So our harm is not so much to the process and mechanisms of science, but rather in that some people may have been led to disbelieve in evolution from DI propaganda. Do you really think there are people out there who think so uncritically that if DI gets them them first they believe uncritically, but if PZ Myers gets to them first they believe uncritically? People whose opinion is determined entirely by which set of propaganda they're exposed to? Personally, I think people make their own choices, based on which set of evidence they find more convincing. How do you explain all the people raised catholic that become atheists, and all the people raised atheist that become evangelicals? And perhaps most importantly, if a person just accepts what their teacher tells them (even if it happens to be right) are they thinking scientifically? I would think that pseudoscientists would give a great opportunity to teach critical, scientific thinking in the classroom by contrast. No? Ungtss 14:04, 2 November 2008 (EST)
Actually I thought that we were discussing anti-science in general and not the DI in particular. I only mentioned them specifically as you specifically asked questions about them about them. Perhaps you would prefer to take this up on the DI page?
With regard to your statements about people believing whatever they hear first I disagree with you. The vast majority of people who grow up in a Muslim environment become Muslim for example. The vast majority of people who grown up in a Christian environment become Christian. In an ideal world with ideal people perhaps it wouldn't work like that, but most people certainly believe what they were taught as children. It is the minority who really analyse their beliefs and change them.
I like to think that we are doing our bit to help people think critically however. And yes, I agree that critical thinking should be taught in schools.--Bobbing up 14:42, 2 November 2008 (EST)
I guess what I'm getting at is that as I understand science, it is not the conclusions so much as the approach and process. If a person accepts a conclusion uncritically, they are not thinking scientifically. Even if they believe in common descent, if they're not thinking critically but only accepting what they've been told, they're not thinking scientifically. If people are swept blindly into ID propaganda, they aren't scientific. But if they don't know how to think critically, it doesn't really matter what their conclusion is -- they're already lost. I don't see what harm ID advocates do -- if people think critically and reject them, there's no harm. If people think uncritically and accept them, there's no harm because they were already lost in the first place. Ungtss 14:49, 2 November 2008 (EST)
I agree that science is an approach and a process. Every theory is a "work in progress" which only express our knowledge at this point and science is a matter of "asking ever better questions". As I said before I agree that critical thinking should be taught. I disagree that it's reasonable to teach people things that are wrong on the basis that they would never believe things that are correct.--Bobbing up 14:57, 2 November 2008 (EST)
I'm not saying it's reasonable for DI to teach things that are wrong. I'm saying it doesn't harm science for them to do it, because science is about critical thinking more than "right answers," and DI does (and can feasibly do) nothing to prevent people from thinking critically about their ideas as well as the other ideas available on the topic of origins. Basically, I still don't see how they (or any other "anti-science organization") actually do any harm to science. Ungtss 15:12, 2 November 2008 (EST)

What I've learned so far.[edit]

Here's what I've learned so far about the anti-science movement.

  • The anti-science movement is not anti-science because of any expressed opposition to science itself or because of any "hypothesized motive" to hinder science -- they are anti-science because their actions "harm science."
  • They harm science not by taking funding away from scientists, burning libraries, or telling people science is evil. They harm science because their teaching may have led some people who would otherwise have believed in evolution or anthropogenic global warming not to believe.
  • However, science is not about "right answers" so much as observation, analysis, and critical thinking. And a person who accepts evolution uncritically is no more "scientific" than one who accepts ID uncritically. Both are accepting based on authority and rhetoric, rather than observation and analysis. Therefore, science is not harmed if one person unscientifically accepts ID instead of unscientifically accepting Common Descent. Further, no "anti-science" organization I'm aware of does (or can do) anything to prevent people from thinking critically. Therefore, I don't think the anti-science movement hinders scientific activity or scientific thinking in any way, and so I don't think it harms science.
  • Any more explanations as to why exactly the "anti-science movement" is so "anti-science?" Ungtss 00:26, 3 November 2008 (EST)
Actually, I don't think point two is really true. In situations like in the US (and there are some who are trying in Canada), eroding public confidence in science is pretty important, leading to things like global warming denialism and vaccination denialism, to say nothing of distrust of medicine and other aspects of science beyond whatever the hobby horse of the anti-science group in question is resisting. Off the top, that leads people into problematic behaviours, such as dangerous alternate medicines, not vaccinating their kids, not doing things to offset global warming, etc., but also when it gets to the point where it's affecting public policy (and it is) then yes, there is an effect on funding of scientific research. This all undercuts science itself quite badly, both from the point of view of the ability to perform science, and the effectiveness of its findings. Plus, of course, if indoctrination in such views is introduced in schools, that interferes with the development of critical thinking in the first place, depriving science of promising new scientists who'd otherwise be able to add to the field. Altogether, not good. But then, what do I know? I'm not a scientist. --Kels 06:10, 3 November 2008 (EST)
Kels, you forgot to mention stem cell research, and area of endeavor where funding has clearly been denied to (US-based) scientists. ħumanUser talk:Human 13:49, 3 November 2008 (EST)
I mentioned I'm not a scientist, isn't that close? Besides, I'm an artist (well, working on it), which makes me even more under-funded! --Kels 13:59, 3 November 2008 (EST)
Okay, I'm tracking, Kels. If I understand you correctly, you're saying that:
  • The anti-science / anthropogenic global warming skeptics harm science because policies undergirded by science (such as mandatory indoctrinations and environmental regulations) are not emplaced. That I can see. But isn't this harm to science incidental, rather than primary? That is to say, nobody calls a person who favors tax hikes "anti-wealth" or someone who favors reducing welfare "pro-poverty." The harm is incidental to the group's purpose -- why then do we label them by an incidental harm, except for propagandistic purposes?
  • Indoctrination of such views in schools leads to a reduction in critical thinking. If such were the case, I'd agree. But I think that teaching children the "right answer" without teaching them all arguments made pro and con leads to the stunting of critical thinking skills, regardless of the point of view being taught. I'd rather have somebody be taught the wrong answer in the context of a debate than the right answer in the context of "We are scientists, and we know what is best for you." If people are equipped to think, they can wade through wrong answers. If not, they become fundamentalists of one type or another.
  • These movements hurt funding for research. I'm curious what evidence you have for this.
  • Human chimed in with the old fetal stem cell research meme. But I wonder, is it "anti-science" to oppose certain research on moral grounds? For example, I'm sure useful research could be done by genetically engineering humans the way we genetically engineer mice -- but if I'm opposed to that on moral grounds, does that mean I'm anti-science? As the opposition to fetal stem cell research is clearly morally based, does that make them "anti-science" or believers that "science must come second to human rights?" Ungtss 15:46, 3 November 2008 (EST)
Don't regard me as an authority here, I'm just a passerby who thought that your point didn't really work. But I'll do the best I can. You seem to be equating the concept of science with the effectiveness of science. What I'm saying is misrepresentation by anti-science types undercuts confidence in the scientific method (for instance by devaluing the concept of "theory") and equating woo and pseudoscience with science itself. By doing that, it takes away a lot of the effectiveness of science, although the scientific method still exists. As to the schools thing, teaching someone that Creationism with a fresh coat of lipstick is equivalent to a well-documented science like evolution is misrepresentation at best, and again leads kids away from simply saying "this is hogwash" about things that are hogwash, and buying woo on equal footing with evidence-based research. As to funding, it's hardly a secret that conservative governments aren't really pleased with funding climate change research, although without public policy changes they can't do too much about it. But should those changes take effect, then research into things like climate change, evolution and so forth would stand at risk. As to stem cells, debating ethical issues does not equal turning them into a political football. --Kels 17:29, 3 November 2008 (EST)

"As the opposition to fetal stem cell research is clearly morally based, does that make them "anti-science" or believers that "science must come second to human rights?"" - Ungst. And also described the issue as an "old meme", for what that's worth. The opposition is based on putting religion over science and politics, not, as you claim, "morality". Also, what does human rights have to do with not pursuing embryonic stem cell research? There are plenty of excess fertilized eggs lying around in fertility clinic freezers... ħumanUser talk:Human 18:29, 3 November 2008 (EST)

"The opposition is based on putting religion over science and politics, not, as you claim, "morality"." Presumably in that case, the moral position originates in a religious position. Where is the problem in that? --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 18:59, 3 November 2008 (EST)
Arguing that ones' religion ought to hold sway over the rest of us. Politics is how we work out our "ethics in common", not blithely assuming that a "moral" objection is somehow of a higher priority than working on our science and politics free from claims to greater knowledge that come without evidence. ħumanUser talk:Human 19:59, 3 November 2008 (EST)
I'm not sure I entirely understand what you're saying, but it seems like there's a significant between on the one hand "Arguing that ones' religion ought to hold sway over the rest of us" and on the other developing a political opinon on the basis of a moral stance which in turn builds on one's religion. If for instance my religious convictions lead me to believe that the state should provide benefits for the poor, would that also be a problem? --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 20:09, 3 November 2008 (EST)
I think it may be an issue of perspective. Of course I agree with the "mental process" you describe. Here in the US, this issue did not go through such a vetting process, the fundamentalists form a solid chunk of the GOP base, and the stem cell thing is one of their pet peeves. As a relatively monolithic, centrally-directed, sound-bite driven mob, not as thoughtful people building their opinions on careful consideration of their religious and philosophical persuasions. Also, we are arguing with the artful IDer, who's well-constructed sophistry has the added quality of making his interlocutors chase ponies through a daisy field as he misinterprets whatever he can in order to make cdesign proponentsistsism seem like a harmless thing. ħumanUser talk:Human 21:35, 3 November 2008 (EST)

That is to say, nobody calls a person who favors tax hikes "anti-wealth" or someone who favors reducing welfare "pro-poverty." - Ungst. Actually, Ungst, that is exactly what they do. ħumanUser talk:Human 21:37, 3 November 2008 (EST)

Why is it that no scientist make any attempt to investigate claims of the supernatural, or magic, or whatever else you want to call, instead of instantly dismissing it as bullshit without even looking at the phenomenom? There might be a real reason for why that's happening that does not necessaril fall into the supernatural, magic or any other thing you want to call it.16:30, 5 August 2014‎ — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Do you have any specific examples where there might be data that can be gathered, hypotheses that might be tested, etc.? Science only outright dismisses things that it has evidence against. Things that there exists no solid evidence for or against and where it doesn't seem likely that any evidence will appear any time soon is mostly ignored as they are not promising leads. Nullahnung (talk) 15:52, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
I'll add that there have been plenty of supernatural or magic claims that science has investigated. We can write off orbs, EMF readings, and other purported indications of ghosts because scientists and/or skeptics have taken the time to look through these sorts of procedures and have found evidence linking them to perfectly mundane causes. Similarly, skeptics and scientists have done a number on quite a few supposed magicians and psychics by showing how sleight-of-hand and social psychology can reproduce the works of even the best of said magicians and psychics. - Grant (talk) 16:15, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

What I have learned from Ungtss[edit]

  • We can use any modern philosophy to criticize people living in past ages. This is still the case even when the philosophy didn’t exist at the time.
Nobody ever said that. I said that if we're going to call "being motivated by ideology rather than purely evidence" a symptom of being "anti-science," then some pretty famous scientists magically become "anti-science." That's not criticizing people living in past ages by present philosophy. It's criticizing your definition of "anti-science" by pointing out that highly pro-science people fit the definition in this age and others. Ungtss 15:32, 3 November 2008 (EST)
  • We should be able to understand people’s motivations and make decisions about the validity of the work based on what we imagine their motivations to be.
You were the one that said one of the key elements in being "anti-science" was being motivated by ideology. I took my cue from you. Ungtss 15:32, 3 November 2008 (EST)
So your understanding was wrong when you wrote: So as I understand it, the only difference between someone who is an authentic dissenter and an "anti-science" person is the motivation.--Bobbing up 16:25, 3 November 2008 (EST)
That was a summary of what I understood your position to be. You said anti-science people were motivated by ideology rather than evidence. Ungtss 01:00, 5 November 2008 (EST)
  • It doesn’t matter if we teach people things that are wrong so long as we think they are likely to believe things that are wrong anyway.
Nobody ever said that. I said I don't see how it hurts science, since people who accept things uncritically are not thinking scientifically, no matter what opinion they have.
When talking about ID you wrote:If people think uncritically and accept them, there's no harm because they were already lost in the first place.
Harm to science -- no, I don't really think there is harm to science if all the ideas are laid out for critical consideration. For the longest time, the Ptolemaic system was the best science around -- and it was science, developed based on evidence for secular reasons. But people were taught it as fact, rather than taught how to think -- and so it took 1000 years to finally grow out of it. Ungtss 01:00, 5 November 2008 (EST)
  • Most people come to their beliefs as a result of extensive deliberation - and it is pure and complete coincidence that people born into Muslim families become Muslims and that people born into Christian families become Christian.--Bobbing up 03:49, 3 November 2008 (EST)
Nobody ever said that either. I just argued that if the ability to give the "right answer" is not as important as the ability to think scientifically. Ungtss 15:32, 3 November 2008 (EST)
When talking about the basis of peoples' ideas you wrote: Personally, I think people make their own choices, based on which set of evidence they find more convincing. --Bobbing up 16:25, 3 November 2008 (EST)
That does not mean it is a "pure and complete coincidence that people born into Muslim families become Muslims." A number of factors determine what set of evidence is most convincing to you -- not the least of which are family influences. But the point is that science is about getting kids to get beyond those cultural, familial, and historical influences, and begin to view the world as objectively as possible. I don't think that spoonfeeding people the "right answers" does that. I think that people need to be given the tools to analyze the situation for themselves, or it doesn't really matter what their "answer" is -- they're already sheep ready to be led along by the most persuasive demagogue. Ungtss 01:00, 5 November 2008 (EST)

Shagie's take[edit]

Sorry about a new section if that bothers anyone.

I'm going to back up for a moment and look at what is the goal of science in general. The goal of science is to increase the knowledge of the universe through systematic study of the structure and behavior of the natural world using the twin tools of observation and experiment. Using this knowledge one can make a prediction about some aspect of the universe. For example, using quantum mechanics one can predict the radioactive decay of an atom.

Anti-science is counter this goal. It is not trying to increase the amount of knowledge humanity has access to, but rather to disprove something that runs against some belief. The methods for this disproving are not observation and experiment but rather selectively finding data that matches the desired outcome.

An example of where science and anti-science collide can be seen in "RATE" - Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth - attacked radiometric dating. The way that this was done by selecting rocks where radiometric dating won't work (for example, a metamorphic rock)

Side note, I am very amused that PJR removed the reference in radiometric dating[1] of an article that otherwise attempts to support YEC. Just that they actually said something truthful in the article: "Metamorphic rocks are not always easy to date using radioisotopes"[2] - so what do they do? They take 27 samples of [wp:amphibolite|], a metamorphic rock. They got back different answers for the samples with huge errors - and then claim that radiometric dating is wrong because of that.

If you wish to read about the difficulty of dating a metamorphic rock, . Furthermore, RATE used the most error prone for the rock samples:

  • K-Ar dating which has large error[3] with potassium moving around during a metamorphic event.[4] It is not reccomended to be used for rocks older than 248 million years ago. The metamorphic event for the rocks in question have been dated to about 1700 million years ago[5][6]
  • Rb-Sr dating, which Rb and Sr "easily follow fluids that move through rocks or escape during some types of metamorphism."[7] [8]
  • Sm-Nd dating, which gave an age of 1655 +/- 40 Ma (quite close)
  • Pb-Pb dating, which is best used on materials such as granite or meteorites.[9] gave a date range of 1883 +/- 53 Ma.

Aside from the already known "it is difficult to date metamorphic events because the elemental ratios can change with new material being incorporated into the mineral or old material leaving" (which was already known before and stated at the top of the article)- does this example by RATE add to the knowledge of the universe? Nope. Instead it erodes public confidence in radiometric dating with faulty reasoning and science in general.

Not everyone has the background to understand the mineralogy of a metamorphic transformation of a rock, nor the quantum mechanics behind radioactivity. What Joe sixpack sees here is:

  • Those people with white labcoats are wrong
  • You don't need to learn anything new
  • The Bible is to be read literally

Anti-science hurts the collective human knowledge, suppressing curiosity and the search for knowledge. It leads to people refusing to fund basic research and ignoring what has been said by people who do have understanding of the subject that is beyond the realm of the layman's knowledge. So yes, it does damage science and the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake.

Anti-science differs form a dissenter within the scientific realm. The dissenter has knowledge to understand the arguments, formulate new experiments to confirm or deny the question. The debate is not fought in the public arena - persuading the layman does not win the argument. It is one thing to say "string theory makes no testable predictions that are not already better explained by another theory" and quite another to say "relativity is wrong because it leads to moral relativity."

--Shagie 23:34, 3 November 2008 (EST)

Just to be a snarky bastid, and not to diminish the intelligence and clarity of your comments (thank you!), you forgot the fourth item in your bullet points:
  • Jeebus loves me!
Please ignore my childishness and observe the sense in Shagie's comment. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:21, 4 November 2008 (EST)


Thanks for the response, Shagie, and I'm sorry for the delay. As I understand what you wrote:

  • Science seeks to understand the world using observation and experiment;
  • Anti-science seeks to disprove something that runs against some ideological belief;

Bob argued above that the difference between science and anti-science is not intentions or goals -- but it sounds like you believe [at least part of] the difference lies in the intention/goal. Correct me if I'm wrong.

There are two difficulties in your definition:

  • The first problem is circular reasoning: Your definition assumes (without proving) the motivation of the individuals involved. How do we determine whether a person is misusing evidence to defend an ideological point, or just making a mistake? In other words, how do we differentiate between bad science and anti-science?
  • The second is overgeneralization: How can we conclude that just because one group of people misuses evidence to defend an ideology that every person sharing that opinion is anti-science? This is the problem with your example. Evolutionists have also been known to misuse evidence to defend an ideology. Piltdown man is a classic example. Modern examples include Dawkins' lecture in which he stated that sedimentary rock can be radiometrically dated, which was clearly false. When one person holding a point of view does so for ideological reasons, does that mean that everybody holding that view does so for that purpose? Or is it possible you're conflating belief and intent?

Anti-science hurts the collective human knowledge, suppressing curiosity and the search for knowledge. It leads to people refusing to fund basic research and ignoring what has been said by people who do have understanding of the subject that is beyond the realm of the layman's knowledge. So yes, it does damage science and the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake.

  • How does it suppress curiosity? When I hear those arguments against radiometric dating, it makes me want to understand them more, not less, because I want to know what's true. I'm much less curious when I'm handed a "just so story" in class and told to accept it on the teacher's authority without explanation or opportunity to question. "I'm smarter than you, so shut up and color" is the ancient mantra of the powerful and ignorant.
  • When and where has basic research not been funded based on ID or anthropogenic global warming skepticism?
  • I don't see anybody ignoring what scientists say in this -- I see people questioning what scientists say. And I think that's healthy and good.

Anti-science differs form a dissenter within the scientific realm. The dissenter has knowledge to understand the arguments, formulate new experiments to confirm or deny the question. The debate is not fought in the public arena - persuading the layman does not win the argument. It is one thing to say "string theory makes no testable predictions that are not already better explained by another theory" and quite another to say "relativity is wrong because it leads to moral relativity."

This again leads to the problem of overgeneralization. Just because some ID advocates take this approach does not mean that ID itself necessitates that approach. Ungtss 23:35, 5 November 2008 (EST)
"Evolutionists have also been known to misuse evidence to defend an ideology. Piltdown man is a classic example." - wow, that canard of a hoax is brought up again? It was hidden and not allowed to be examined, and when it was examined, it was shown to be a hoax. Your true colors are showing through, Ungtsssss, despite your relatively high-quality sophistry. ħumanUser talk:Human 23:45, 5 November 2008 (EST)
You're quibbling, Human. It was the misuse of evidence to defend an ideology on your side of the fence. Does that mean that all evolutionists engage in that sort of intellectual misconduct? I don't think so. I don't think that one creationist being a shmuck proves that all ID advocates are, either. That's all. Ungtss 23:51, 5 November 2008 (EST)
I'm not quibbling, you are beating a dead, long dead, horse. There was no misuse of evidence - the hoax was not allowed to be seen, it was simply claimed to be something. When finally examined, it was thrown out. If not all "evolutionists" (by now you have rung all the bells of a religious nutcase arguing against science...) use such deceit, why did you bring it up as an example? I have yet to encounter an ID proponent (or creationist) who comes from an intellectually honest position. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:02, 6 November 2008 (EST)
First of all, you never addressed by Dawkins lecture in which he claimed that sedimentary rocks could be radiometrically dated. Secondly, are you telling me that the scientists who proclaimed it as legitimate at the Geological Society of London were coming from an intellectually honest position? Third, doesn't it seem a bit over the top to claim that everybody who has disagreed with you on a particular issue has been intellectually dishonest? Do you honestly expect to be taken seriously when you make claims like that? Ungtss 00:13, 6 November 2008 (EST)
1. I don't care, did you even provide a link?
2. That was like a hundred years ago, chump. Get over yourself, and your lame canard.
3. Huh? Oh, yeah, you mean you. Yup, in this case. Not everyone, just you, here, now. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:17, 6 November 2008 (EST)


If one looks at science the first sentence reads "Science ... is the effort to discover, and increase human understanding of how the physical world works." Feel free to look for another definition.[10][11] The question of how to define science itself is part of the wp:demarcation problem. Yes, I took a class in the philosophy of science many years ago from Professor Elliot Sober. Though, a decade and a half ago it was more on bayesian epistemology than the more recent debates around what science is and the evolution/creation debate. Some of his papers may be interesting to read.

Going back to the demarcation problem, its very name should tell you that it is not something that is well defined. You have read my definition. Saying that my definition doesn't agree with someone else's definition doesn't help your argument. I would instead ask you to define what is science and then we can see if we can come to a common understanding of science. From that, we can work to describe what the collective goals of scientists are.

The motivations of individuals may be quite varied. Indeed, there have been instances of fraud and jokes or haoxes where individual motives interfere with that of science. Pointing to these are examples of individuals setting back understanding - but greed and ambition are not ideological points.

Bad science fails to follow the scientific method. It is not reproducible. It is not falsifiable and testable. These are from demarcation in contemporary scientific method.

Hoyle's static state universe was not bad science, nor anti science. It attempted to describe the universe, made predictions, and was testable. Ultimately, it was wrong and could not account for the cosmic microwave background radiation (that the Big Bang did) and thus fell by the wayside of ideas.

As I pointed out above, individuals are not above human nature. Piltdown man was such a situation. For radiometric dating of sedimentary rocks, one dates the mineral glauconite which forms as the particles are cemented together. Radiometric dating of sedimentary rocks: the application of diagenetic xenotime geochronology goes into the xenotime which forms (thats the key - it forms) as a coating on zircon grains in sedimentary rocks.

You (Ungtss) may very well be an example of curiosity. If that is the case, I am disappointed that you didn't look to see if sedimentary rocks where datable, or gone with the "we don't know how... yet" that you would get from a geologist two decades ago. The key to the curiosity of the scientists is to admit the lack of knowledge and then look to see how that can be filled.

Once someone says, "this is the limit of our knowledge, XYZ is correct and there is nothing more to know on this subject," curiosity has been suppressed.

I would urge you to look to the Bush administration as to people flatly ignoring what scientists say.[12][13][14] I will also remind you of the bush administration of actively hindering people trying to inform the public about global warming[15][16][17]

I freely admit that it can be difficult to put down hard numbers and figures. I do not have access to the list of grants that people are trying to get and how many are accepted or refused. I do not have information on which members of congress have voted for less money for the NSF. Outside of military and NASA, funding has been cut for research.[18]

Though the total federal investment in R&D in the FY 2008 budget request would increase 1.3 percent to $143.0 billion, the entire increase and more would go to development funding, primarily for defense weapons and NASA spacecraft.

The federal investment in basic and applied research would decline 2.1 percent to $55.5 billion, with cuts to many agencies. In inflation-adjusted terms, the basic and applied research portfolio would fall for the fourth year in a row. In fact, overall federal funding for the major science and engineering disciplines is now in decline. This is the case even in the physical sciences, where gains in the ACI agencies have been more than offset by cuts in scientific research programs at NASA and DOD.

One can also look at stem cell research that was limited at a national level (Bush policy in 2001) and then many states funded it.[19] I can also point to science being under taught in schools.[20]

I will also point to companies such as exxon paying lobbyists to try to cut funding into climate change research.[21]

If you can show me some predictions that ID claims that are not claimed by other theories, I would be interested. How does ID explain the observations with Lenski's experiments? If it can't explain them, it needs to be discarded. Theistic evolution is not science, nor does it claim to be, and scientists don't concern themselves with it. It makes no predictions and instead tries to form a framework for the 'why.' Science is about 'what.' Theistic evolution is in the domain of theology, metaphysics, and philosophy.

--Shagie 03:02, 11 November 2008 (EST)

Anti-intellectual ism[edit]

I'm not a scientist, but isn't a huge part of the whole "anti science" joined directly to the "anti intellectual" movement, the "the president can be an 'anybody' and should be someone you want to have a beer with", and the "Obama eats out at posh international restaurants... he's an elitist" thing that is moving across the US for the last 20-30 years? --Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot"«Let the credulous and the vulgar continue to believe that all mental woes can be cured by a daily application of old Greek myths to their private parts. V.Nabokov» 20:57, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

I would opine that they are related, but still separate things. Or perhaps different facets of a similar phenomenon. I think people can be AI without really getting hard core into AS, for instance. ħumanUser talk:Human 21:05, 21 May 2009 (UTC)


we need a cute little infobox thing like template:sex for all these "war" articles, or at least the ones with the similar real titles. humanUser talk:Human 18:50, 20 December 2007 (EST)


I disagree that the so-called "War on Science" (like how I did that?) is simply a "rationalist" issue, simpler or no. I don't even think rationalist is that accurate a term even with my (simplified, stupid) qualifying adjectives. The oppose of right wing- or Christian fundamentalism is NOT simply rationalism. Lurker 01:45, 6 January 2008 (EST)

And the War on Christmas is not the "opposite" of the War on Science. Perhaps a "War on Religion" would be... humanUser talk:Human 22:41, 6 January 2008 (EST)
I didn't say it was, or at least didn't mean to. The people who push each "war" are opposites, but the "wars" themselves aren't opposites. Lurker 22:48, 6 January 2008 (EST)

I would ask if in this War on Science can be included also the political theories that are based on false science or pseudo science. For example the racist try to demonstrate that racism is right because science have prove that are genetic differences between humans. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs (signed by bot) 14:00, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

The term "anti-science": a rant[edit]

Moved from Saloon Bar.

Now that we have some creationists with their hats in the ring for U.S. President, the hacks in the partisan press are suddenly starting to pretend that they give a monkey's about the mockery made of the practice and limitations of science by the creationist propaganda mills.

But let us leave aside for the moment that these shysters are just spewing chatter for the cause of keeping Republicans out of office (or, if they are further to the left, for disrupting what they perceive to be a "false consciousness" distraction tactic), rather than keeping the peddlers of delusions at a safe distance from anyone whose decisions might actually count. One of the slogans used by such persons is "anti-science," as in "anti-science candidate," "anti-science Republicans," "anti-science movement," etc.

But as our own page on the term "anti-science" states, it is not synonymous with "wrong," and the modern crop of creationists do not fit under it. Anti-science is obliterating the Great Library of Alexandria for being housed in a pagan temple (or, according to the legend involving Caliph Omar, for containing books other than the Qu'ran). Anti-science is closing down the Neoplatonic Academy for being staffed with pagans. Anti-science is the once-current doctrine that worldly knowledge is demonic. Anti-science is the redneck who slurs, "What've them eggheads ever done for us?" in between swigs of his machine-refrigerated, machine-canned, machine-transported Bud Light.

But to put it in religious terms, those are the unconverted, the heathens. The modern crop of creationists, by contrast, claim a great fidelity to the principles and practice of science. They take the altogether different role of heretics: people whose conception of science is completely wrong, but who still claim to support science. These are not "anti-science" people, but pseudoscience promoters.

So, in conclusion, I wish these people would can it with the "anti-science" slop and start giving things their correct names; as it is they are just begging to be smacked down by somebody in the wingnut camp reminding everyone that moonbats want heavy cuts in the defense budget, which would imperil all scientific research being done by defense contractors. An anti-science outlook as the primary form of creationism ended with Henry M. Morris; people need to recognize this. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 07:21, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Eh, the term is a bit loose. From the anti-science page: "The replacement of scientific ideas with conspiracy theories. A good example of this would be the global warming conspiracy theory." Michele Bachmann: "The big thing we are working on now is the global warming hoax. It’s all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax." Just one illustrative example. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 07:27, 3 September 2011 (UTC)
Tacking such labels to someone based on unintended consequences of their work or their proposals is an underhanded propaganda tactic, and when used too liberally is also a form of "crying wolf." Case in point: there are some feminist groups that will call the vocal opponents of their favored legislation "misogynist" or "anti-woman," sometimes on ideological grounds, sometimes on the basis of some study showing that the non-enactment of such legislation would affect women more than men. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 07:46, 3 September 2011 (UTC)
O-kay. You did see that my example does, in fact, fall under the definition offered on our anti-science page, right? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 08:19, 3 September 2011 (UTC)
How different, then, would you say Mr Morris was compared with his descendants? Eye on the ICR talk, or type, or whatever... 08:30, 3 September 2011 (UTC)
Nebuchadnezzar, I saw that on the anti-science page. I think that is an overly broad use of the term.
Eyeonicr, Dr. Morris was an evidentialist, and his view was, "Where science and the Bible differ, science has obviously misinterpreted its data." The presuppositionalists are much worse: they even discount the data. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 00:59, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
When I see "unintended consequences" I think of the old line, "I didn't know the gun was loaded." The victim is equally dead whether you call the one who pulled the trigger "irresponsible" or "a liar." Intent is famously difficult to prove. but the way I see it, the ones who dress their anti-science in a cloak of (pseudo) science are still anti-science, just trying to disguise the fact. Them are the ones with that underhanded propaganda thang goin on, it seems. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 11:55, 3 September 2011 (UTC)
That is not true of the "creation scientists," some of whom are credentialed engineers, teachers, etc., and do something resembling academic work. These people have no issue with science itself; they just wish the data would back their world-view. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 00:59, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
Not sure what their credentials have to do with it, in fields without a bearing on evolution. I've worked with a variety of engineers and teachers, etc. Hell, I are one of each of the first two, although my teaching gigs have been few and spotty. Still, I sat with engineering students in lectures, and roomed with education majors. One such roommate said, "Engineering is for kids who don't want to take a foreign language, and education is for the ones who don't like math."
My point is that one finds a mix of geniuses, dullards, and regular folks holding any given certification. How would you prefer to label someone who ought to know better, and chooses to ignore the relevant science? A blinkered data-denier? Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 02:08, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
How would you prefer to label someone who ought to know better, and chooses to ignore the relevant science? A blinkered data-denier? As I said, a promoter of pseudoscience. Their academic work, while it does not qualify them to comment on the scientific side of evolution, does go to show that they are not anti-intellectual or opposed to the concept of science in general, unlike the apocryphal Caliph Omar who said that books other than the Qu'ran are useless. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:56, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
Good post! (((Zack Martin))) 04:58, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

Not all creationists are scientific creationists, and it is only the later who do anything which might be called "pseudoscience". I'm sure you'll find some biblical/quranic/whatnot creationists who have no idea what science says, and don't really care, in their view they don't need to know science to know that it is wrong. And another viewpoint, is that many scientific claims like evolution are literally false yet nonetheless useful myths, and that last position isn't really anti-science at all, and nor does it propose any alternative science which might be labelled "pseudoscience". (((Zack Martin))) 01:02, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

"Anti" does not necessarily mean "aggressive enemy of." Denial, misdirection, and wilful ignorance all come closer to "against it" than "for it." Not all the ones who choose go against scientific consensus are flaming book-burners. Participating in academia does not disqualify someone from being anti-intellectual, (or hypocritical, misinformed, lazy, or duplicitous...) so that academic participation only tenuously "goes to show" anything. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 11:58, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
Good point -- it reminds me of S. Fred Singer's Bad Science (no relation to the Ben Goldacre book), which is basically the Scientific Bullshitters' Guide to Bullshitting. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 19:13, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
Could I suggest archiving a copy of this on the anti-science talk page? ADK...I'll coach your belfry! 18:49, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
I think that you may be trying to draw too fine a line between pseudoscience and antiscience. Pseudoscience pretends to be science but isn't. In order to pretend to be science it has to ignore or distort parts of science which it doesn't like or which don't fit. The consequence is a devaluation and a misunderstanding of science in the public mind.
Antiscience is denial of what science is and can do. Again its proponents ignore or distort science in order to persuade the public. So they are "different" but as their methods and presentation can be similar it can be hard to tell them apart. Where would you put global warming denialism for example?--BobSpring is sprung! 19:13, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
"Anti" does not necessarily mean "aggressive enemy of." I, who do not generally adhere to the Red drivel, "He who is not with us is against us," beg to differ. Of course, their antics do tend to bring science into ill repute and undermine it, as Dominionists do for Christianity, but the Dominionists are not what one would call anti-Christian.
Participating in academia does not disqualify someone from being anti-intellectual... To which I can only reply: What is your level of education?
Bob: Global warming denialism is under pseudoscience, definitely. The actual anti-science crowd do not go in much for thought and the only convincing arguments they can muster to thinking people involve baseball bats, so scientists can generally hide from them behind the shields of the police. Late antiquity was one time in history when that became difficult. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 19:35, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
Lumping the two (anti science and pseudoscience) together may be useful, if our aim is to change people's views. Proponents of a rational outlook may find it distasteful to portray a proponent of pseudoscience as a foamy-mouthed book-burner with grass stems sticking out of their shaggy prophetic mane, but that image may be the effective one.
Not everyone has been sitting around drawing fine distinctions about those who want to degrade public science education. For the ones who are most liable to mutter "tl;dr" and move along, the message needs to be simple and direct. It needs to reach them even if they spend no time thinking about it. The finer distinctions may be saved for discussions where people are actually taking the time to listen.
My view of academia comes from more than a decade of observation from within. I dropped out a few times. By the time I was seriously approaching a technical baccalaureate finish line, I was a veteran, ten years older than my peers, so I tended to hang around with the more simpatico grad students. Some of my classmates were real clodhoppers. Some of the other folks I encountered were practising their advanced bullshitting skills. I mean bullshit in the sense described by Harry G. Frankfurt of Princeton, which I summarize as "not caring about truth or fiction, but only about the bullshitter's agenda." Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 19:57, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Here is something that Neil deGrasse Tyson has to say about the difference between political posturing and the allocation of funds. Guess I will have to keep me eyes and ears open... Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 21:31, 4 September 2011 (UTC)


I thought this was interesting:

In very many ways I am far richer than King Henry VIII. I own two cars, I have air conditioning and clean running water, I can play Mickey Mouse on an HDTV, and with Simvastatin will likely live twice as long as he did.

This doesn't even consider the fact that I have In n Out, sushi, ice cream, Coca Cola, and thousands of things on a daily basis he would have considered to be in the realm of kings.

--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 19:57, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

Something about "anti-scientism"[edit]

Thread title added by me.--ZooGuard (talk) 09:43, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

There is an anti-scientism is not an anti-science I want to note. (talk) 09:28, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Anti-science straw man.[edit]

The article is a piece of crap pretending all scientific doubt springs from the same source (an imaginary "movement") and is of equal value or validity — or lack thereof – and that doubting the validity of science with regard to certain controversial and conflic-of-ionterest ridden issues (e.g. vaccines and genetically modified organisms) is equivalent to doubting evolution and moon landings. It's a risible attempt a making the case that all people who “doubt science” are not being reasonable. Scientific results are always provisional, susceptible to being overturned by some future experiment or observation. Scientists rarely proclaim an absolute truth or absolute certainty, so who are the actual anti-science? (talk) 10:39, 8 April 2016 (UTC)

Well, doubting established theory that has evidence behind it for ideas without any evidence at all seems moderately similar to people that believe things with evidence behind it. Like how fiction is kind of similar as a broad group of works because it deals with things that aren't real...which could include the anti-science nonsense. Scientists don't proclaim absolute truth but proclaim what the evidence supports that can be overturned with new evidence and facts. Not conspiratorial nonsense and very badly spelled proclamations against doubting the conspiracies. -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 14:21, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
The IP poster has a point. This article does pretend all scientific doubt springs from the same source, an imaginary "movement". Anybody who has read the history of science knows better. Scientists have been quite vile to each other for literally hundreds of years. Lord Kelvin himself thought radioactive decay was nonsense, all the way to his grave he denied it, so he was a science denier? Lord Kelvin? Copernicus thought the Sun was the center of the universe... does that make him anti-science too? Roo (talk) 20:40, 21 February 2017 (UTC)


This seems kind of like a listicle.--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 04:21, 19 September 2016 (UTC)

Fucking terrible Aneris bloviation[edit]

Especially during the 1980s and the 1990s, a fashionable current in the so-called "Academic Left" commonly known as "postmodernism" denied objective reality in favour of more relativist positions, under such umbrellas as social constructionism or feminist epistemologyWikipedia. The postmodernists located their relativist positions on the political left wing, ranking the realist positions as belonging on the right wing. In the view of these postmodernists, science served the interests of "white males" — who are seen as destructive, oppressive, imperial, out of touch with nature, patriarchal, jaywalking and God knows what else. Curiously, Andrew RossWikipedia of Social Text claimed that this conflict was part of the so-called culture wars, with the natural science establishments of the world playing hardball for conservatism.

This might go in an essay, it doesn't belong in the text. Is there a way to state this claim that isn't frothing Aneris delusion? - David Gerard (talk) 00:06, 10 October 2016 (UTC)

Is it true that many academics and other people started to buy the idea that things like gender, sexuality, even biological sex we all social constructs that we needed to eliminate now? Yes, that's true. Were these people almost all left-wing on most other issues? Yes, they were. Is is true that a lot of them talk about 'white male privilege' and how bad it is? Yup. If the style of the paragraph bothers you, I can try and change it, but the content here is pretty solid. PB (talk) 00:13, 10 October 2016 (UTC)
No need to guess. He doesn't like this being documented. But they never tell plainly.
  1. The current situation is not even in there anymore (real peer review etc). This was removed quickly, lest it becomes apparent that this is still ongoing.
  2. The historical situation is well documented across numerous publications (e.g. Higher SuperstitionWikipedia, Fashionable NonsenseWikipedia).
  3. The quote of Laudan that tied many things together was removed also.
  4. Now the next paragraph is about to be axed, for opaque reasons.
  5. Latest edit was the removal of "facts are socially constructed", with the pretext there was some error between social constructivismWikipedia and social constructionismWikipedia. Well, compare. I found the former term more common in this context (also view the Philosophy section), but I actually find the other link of David more complete at a first glance. However, an error this is not.
This is another example of death by a thousand cuts. What can I say. Business as usual, including making it personal (see headline here). Hadn't Percy and FCP edit it already (part of the wording is theirs) it'd be another rollback/revert without reason, though this talk page section doesn't explain anything either. Easy solution: add Mission Point 5: "Leave my postmodernist friends alone!" (I'd accepted that and would heed the request) ~ Aneris 01:25, 10 October 2016 (UTC)

It didn't even occur to me that this might be Aneris drivel[edit]

So... I was reading this section, and I was like "What?! How is social construction an anti-science concept?" as if there were hard scientific definitions for say... gender or race. It's almost cringe inducingly wrong. I was going to suggest a rewrite, but... being that it's part of Aneris' little war, I'm gonna say... just nuke it except for the sokal affair. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 22:34, 2 December 2016 (UTC)

Wait, what? Which part of the article? Reverend Black Percy (talk) 23:28, 2 December 2016 (UTC)
The "Postmodernism" section, it was an Aneris rant. Here it is:


Especially during the 1980s and the 1990s, a fashionable current in the so-called "Academic Left" commonly known as "postmodernism" denied objective reality in favour of more relativist positions, under such umbrellas as social constructionism or feminist epistemologyWikipedia. The postmodernists located their relativist positions on the political left wing, ranking the realist positions as belonging on the right wing. In the view of these postmodernists, science served the interests of "white males" — who are seen as destructive, oppressive, imperial, out of touch with nature, patriarchal, jaywalking and God knows what else. Curiously, Andrew RossWikipedia of Social Text claimed that this conflict was part of the so-called culture wars, with the natural science establishments of the world playing hardball for conservatism.

Actual scientists who themselves partook in the science wars reject this framing, however. Alan Sokal — a vocal member of the old left who embarassed postmodernist claims to being science in a splash known today as the Sokal affair — pointed out that the "one-to-one correspondence between epistemological and political views is a gross misrepresentation" and that there certainly weren't just two sides to the issue, anyhow.[1] Sokal's protest is evidently an exercise in truth, as one thing in particular that unites such disparate fringe groups as religious fundamentalists, pro-industry supporters, greens and postmodernists is their collective problem with the process of scientific inquiry proper.

In addition, Sokal and many other scientific realists who argued in the science wars are in fact both leftists and feminists — though just not radical to the point of utter confusion the postmodernists. Bruno LatourWikipedia — previously to be found in the opposite, relativist camp — commented on the underbelly to the anti-science positions, stating that "dangerous extremists are using the very same argument of social construction to destroy hard-won evidence that could save our lives".[2]

Feel free to extract what sense you can from it - David Gerard (talk) 00:37, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
I'll give it a shot at some point (knock on wood — ADHD). Even then, it'll need some untangling, however. And some sources. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 01:41, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

I have added a cut-down version, mostly as filler for a {{main}} to the pomo article. oʇɐʇoԀʇɐϽʎzznℲ (talk/stalk) 01:42, 9 December 2016 (UTC)

Info needed[edit]

I think that something should be said on whether a philosophical stance denying science in principle fits in "anti-science". From what I read, anti-science seems to apply to those who disagree with science because they actually disagree with what it concludes, but it says nothing about the denial of science for philosophical reasons regardless of what it claims.

I genuinely hope this discussion doesn't derail completely[edit]

Note: I would appreciate it if all respondents to this thread would do their very best to stay mindful of their own biases, to resist splittingWikipedia in themselves and others, to abstain from jonanism, and to read all others' comments with the principle of charityWikipedia in mind. Thanks in advance.
Despite the stupid thumbnail, this particular video (by King Crocoduck, a YouTuber I just found tonight) is actually not your typical, cringeworthy "SJW"-bashing video. I can't stand those type of gloat-filled STEMlord videos, myself (for obvious reasons). But this exact video does indeed adress a genuine form of apparent pseudoscientific irrationality:
A warm recommendation is that you pause and read when study abstracts are shown. I find that their specifics are important to the point he's making.
To provide some of my own initial criticisms of the video up front: I'm going to be the first to point out that this video really shouldn't have been so centered around that one girl at that seminar. Thankfully, the vast majority of the discussion in the video focuses on the situation in general, and not on any one particular instance of drama (which is, in part, why I'm bringing this video up for discussion at all).
Further, I certainly can't recommend that other guy he mentions in the video, who seems more your typical Thunderfart-esque antifeminist (and who also seems to hold some truly weird views on "male role models in the classroom" and ADHD denialism). I sort that stuff under "crank", myself — possibly far right crank.
I also think that the superflous slippery slope argument given at the very last second of the video is unconvincing; I don't see "postmodernists" (or whatever these people are) throwing anyone in jail, anymore than I see astrologers throwing people in jail. But that's beside the point, I suppose — he was just linking back to his discussion on Lysenkoism, methinks.
The point about pseudoscience slowly establishing an ever-growing bridgehead in society if we let it is real, though. As Carl Sagan so poetically put it:
I worry that, especially as the millennium edges nearer, pseudoscience and superstition will seem year by year more tempting, the siren song of unreason more sonorous and attractive. Where have we heard it before? Whenever our ethnic or national prejudices are aroused, in times of scarcity, during challenges to national self-esteem or nerve, when we agonize about our diminished cosmic place and purpose, or when fanaticism is bubbling up around us — then, habits of thought familiar from ages past reach for the controls. The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir.
But ignoring the specific weak points of the video itself (and indeed, its relative nearness in subject focus to that of various deplorable internet subcultures), I find that this particular video has something to say that is most relevant to anyone interested in the gray zone between science and pseudoscience.
And by the way: please don't reply without first having actually viewed the video in question. Rehearsal of your preconceptions is the last thing anyone is interested in reading, I assure you.
What are your thoughts? Perhaps not on the actual video itself, so much as on the dangers inherent in any and all forms of anti-science that manage to gain popularity (never mind in actual academia)? Reverend Black Percy (talk) 00:33, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
Their beliefs weren't challenged in that room, because as many Conniseurs of this video will gleefully point out, it was said in a safe space. I highly doubt that the actual academics on this school will not tear them a new one. I do not know if that particular belief is widespread in South Africa but i guess that is what education is about.
About anti science in higher Education: I know a lot of people from highschool(the german variant wich is like a University lite) who would fight you about nuclear power. not because they reject it outright but because our Society is pretty anti nuclear. A Physics student had my back, and we agreed that the Industry is to blame not the Science.
Therefore i am confident that the people in the video had a talk with other people and may have changed their minds. And unless proven otherwise (like a follow up video) i will believe that students no matter where they hail from are willing to challenge their beliefs.
In addition: I cannot find a source of "uct science faculty meets with fallists" that isn't a liberal bashing anti-SJW hate diaterie. Another thing is that it is an instance of nutpicking sciencemustfall from a group of students that protests student fees in South Africa. Yes they believe stupid shit, but only right wing nutjobs seem to make a big deal out of it.(hurr durr only in africa) --Benaresh (talk) 09:18, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
First of all, I would just like to mention that I only watched the first half of the video. This due to me being far too hungover to focus on anything for more than a two minutes.
But on to my criticism of the video. I think that it can be summarized by one word nutpicking. Videos like this propagates, intentionally or unintentionally, that anti scientific views are the norm in feminism and much of sociology. This is simply not the case. The girl who said that we should restart science from an African perspective and the woman who said that Principia Mathematica is a rape manual are colossal idiots. But their views are not accepted by mainstream academic feminism.
I would argue that the propagation of the notion that anti scientific views are held by mainstream feminists is far more detrimental to society that the anti scientific views held by a very small and ridiculous group of feminists. This notion illegitimizes feminism and stifles constructive debate and effort to counter social injustice. This holds especially true for issues concerning inequality within the scientific communities. A lack of diversity within the scientific community is a real issue and is rooted in the current hedgemony within the STEM community. TheGrandmother (talk) 11:56, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
Good post! I always find that people treating "feminism" as if it were one, single monolithic thing is a huge problem. The very term "feminism" is really as broad and diverseWikipedia as the term "politics" is (for all intents and purposes). I believe the video does point out (in the part after you stopped watching xD) that that girl actually subscribes to critical race theory (and not to "feminism", as such). She proceeds to claim that — while empirical science is false, due to the people practicing it having the "wrong" skin color — local variety traditional shamanism, which purports to summon lightning strikes using magic spells, is actually a real thing. That's how off-target her views actually are. Now, while she's just a random student (who should not be persecuted), and while it's anyone's right to be wrong (especially at university, which is the right place to explore ideas, even crazy ones), the fact still remains that she is wrong. The mainstream aside, her views certainly amount to near-Creationism. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 12:15, 19 January 2017 (UTC)