Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Note: You can take 10% off all Slashdot Deals with coupon code "slashdot10off." ×

Comment Re:Camel's nose under the tent (Score 1) 356

By your argument, since scientific findings are always subject to revision in light of future data, they can never be used for decisionmaking.

That is a very surprising misinterpretation of what I wrote. I think I see where you got confused; the bit with the swans, right? I should have picked a better example, that's my error. The point, of course, is that science has no means to disprove the existence of anything. It is decidedly anti-science (I'll even go as far as to call it pseudoscience) to make an unscientific claim and call it science.

In this specific case, there is no scientific basis for the claim that EHS is bullshit. However, you are completely justified in believing EHS is bullshit given the information we have. That belief, however, has no basis in science as it is not a claim that science can make. (I'm repeating myself.) This isn't terribly complicated.

You wrote: "you can't give pseudoscience an inch." I agree. The difference, of course, is that I think that applies universally, regardless of the subject matter. I find it reprehensible that someone would promote anti-science in the name of science, which is precisely what happens when you give weight to unscientific claims by calling them science.

Comment Re:Camel's nose under the tent (Score 1) 356

The fact that you can't prove a negative does not qualify absolutely everything to be science.

Obviously not. Did you read my post?

It's easy to separate pseudo science from science

Only if you don't know the first thing about science. Do a quick search for "demarcation problem". That should help.

The only lack of resolution is from those who wish their beliefs were science

The much larger problem, as I've pointed out, comes from people making claims like "science has shown that ..." when no science has been done or worse, can be done to evaluate that claim. You see it most frequently from "fans" of science without any scientific background.

See, it doesn't matter if EHS is bullshit or not. (I certainly won't defend it.) The fact remains that the claim that it is bullshit is not a scientific claim. Saying that science has shown EHS to be bullshit is not only wrong, it's harmful. It's decidedly anti-science.

What would you call someone who said that their claim was supported by science when it was not? Why should your answer change depending on the subject matter?

Comment Re:Is anyone surprised? (Score 1) 235

Any chance you're going to answer my initial challenge, 'why is psychology pseudoscience'? Given what you've written, I'm going to guess the answer is "no". I'll point out why when we get there.

When you start getting contradictory results from tested research, at that moment you need stop what you're doing, go back to the original papers and start over.

I should probably point out that the study you think justifies the rejection of psychology didn't go back to the original papers and repeat the experiments after their initial failed replications. Does that change how you view the study? Why or why not?

There is an odd assumption wrapped up in that statement. The belief that a study either produced truth or it was unscientific. I've explained endlessly why that's absurd, and why science does not and can not deal in truth. There is a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of science in your statement here. Again, you'll find contradictory results in every discipline, physics included. How does your understanding of science account for that undeniable fact?

Your point about Ty Cobb is meaningless

I think it illustrates perfectly why your engineer example was completely ridiculous. (It is possible to be the best engineer/batter/etc in the world even with a high failure rate. That 50% number is meaningless.) Oh, yes, in case you didn't know, science and engineering are two completely different things.

Psychology can and never will be science, it's highly educated nut jobs, guessing randomly and scoped about the mental state of another person.

I don't need to do anything here except point out that it makes it painfully clear that don't know the first thing about psychology. From the look of it, you've never even taken an undergraduate course.

Perhaps you should leave science to those with actual credentials.

Comment Re:Camel's nose under the tent (Score 1) 356

No, I'm not saying we should discard pseudoscientific theories without inquiry.

I'm guessing you probably meant something else when you wrote that.

I'm saying that after we test them out and find them to be bullshit, as has been done hundreds of times for electromagnetic sensitivity

Has it? Science doesn't work that way. It's simply not possible to say that EHS doesn't exist simply because we haven't found a single person who can be shown to suffer from it under controlled conditions. It's like saying "there are no black swans because we've never seen one, and we've seen countless swans". Now, we're completely justified in our disbelief, don't get me wrong, but we can't go on to say that it's been shown by scientific means to not exist. The best we can do scientifically is to say that no case of actual sensitivity has been found and that there is no known mechanism which could account for one. To claim otherwise is a hallmark of pseudoscience -- dressing up unscientific claims in the trapping of science.

As for how to distinguish science from pseudoscience, that's incredibly difficult. (It's been discussed endlessly, with no resolution is sight.) It's best, for now, to avoid the label entirely least we develop a set of harmful dogmas and taboos. After all, when it comes to science, all dogmas and taboos are harmful.

As for this woman, a test for electromagnetic sensitivity can be carried out quickly and inexpensively. (There's virtually no burden here.) It may very well benefit her in the long-run, particularly if it's purely psychosomatic (which is likely, given our understanding). In either case, she needs help as she is clearly suffering. I think someone here mentioned that she lives in a remote location without electricity, though I haven't been able to verify that.

Comment Re:That's 800€ by the way. (Score 1) 356

Logic doesn't enter in to it at all. Neither in language generally, nor your explanation specifically.

Here, I'll give you an equally valid reason to place the sign in front: By placing the sign in front of the number, the reader immediately knows that the following is a monetary amount, eliminating any uncertainly before it begins. Therefore, it is only "logical" that it should be placed in front of the number. (See how silly it looks?)

Don't confuse your personal opinion with objective truth.

Comment Re:Is anyone surprised? (Score 2) 235

We're talking about the demarcation problem here. Still, I'll answer your sillyness.

Well when more then 1/2 of your studies and research can't be repeated, you lose.

Then I guess we should toss out the whole of modern medicine as well, eh? Don't be foolish. This is how science is supposed to work. What concerns me most is that when faced with a failed replication, your first reaction is to reject the original research. It could have easily been a failure on the part of the second experimenters. To sort that out, you need are more replications. Science is riddled with contradictory results. That's normal, which is why replication is so damned important. See, a single experiment doesn't often tell you very much. It sure as hell doesn't result in gospel truth. All you generally get is "this is what we did, this was the result".

For instance if I call myself the world best engineer and yet over 1/2 of everything i do is wrong and fails, that would be totally in disagreement.

Here's an interesting statistic: Ty Cobb has the highest batting average in Major League Baseball history. He is, put simply, the best batter in the history of the world. What was his batting average? 0.366 Let that sink in.

Comment Re:Camel's nose under the tent (Score 1) 356

Ironically, what you're suggesting is decidedly anti-science -- replacing inquiry with dogmas and taboos.

You're doing far more harm that good to your cause. You've already done more to bring about the apocalyptic scenario you described than that one French judge by outright rejecting science in the name of science.

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_