We Are All Scientists
What entry-level qualifications are required before you can perform science?
April 11, 2014 - 11:23 pm
Science is a process: observe a phenomenon, form a theory about why it occurred, test the theory with an experiment or other observation, see it fail (in which case a new theory is required) or continue to believe it until a test of it fails. Anyone who survives in life does it every day.
Here’s an example.
You wake up in the morning, and you can’t open your outward-opening door. Hypothesis: Global warming has created six feet of snow outside the door.
Test of the theory: Look out a nearby window at the door. If the view to door is blocked by snow, the theory is (so far) valid, and in fact highly likely, though ultimately further tests may be required (you only know that the window is blocked, not the door, because you can’t see it). If you can see the outside of the door from the window, the theory is falsified, and you need a new one.
If you’ve ever gone through a thought process like that in dealing with a life situation, congratulations! You are a scientist.
And you are thereby entitled to render your own judgment on a scientific issue, if you have an understanding of the arguments being proposed, and can point out the ways in which they are wrong in scientific terms. That’s all it takes to be a skeptic on a scientific theory. That is, in fact, how a retired Canadian mining engineer pointed out that the famous so-called “hockey stick” of rapid temperature increase was in fact based on flawed mathematics, and had to be subsequently retracted.
When we are not allowed to discuss issues that involve policy actions that could have devastating effects on the world’s economy because we are not part of an apparently credentialed priesthood, we are not being allowed to even debate science, let alone deny it. We are instead apparently apostates in a new non-theistic, but very powerful religion, complete with believers, heretics, sin and indulgences, who must be silenced. Which simply shows that sometimes, just as war is too important to be left to the generals, science can be too important to be left to the “scientists.”