Tuesday, September 9, 2014

536: Can we believe in Science?

It was our philosophical thinking that stood at the cradle of our sciences. And it was to a great extend science, that shaped our culture.

And this culture is a winner, or a future source of a lot of conflicts with other cultures. This is what we could conclude from the Fukuyama - Huntington controversy, as discussed in the previous lecture.

But inside our own culture there too is a growing controversy. Not everybody is happy with science. People are no longer willing to blindly believe the experts. 

A simple example. Take ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).  It is a controversial disorder because the symptoms occur in greater or lesser degree in most people,

the extent, to which the behavior function normally impedes, depends on what in a society is supposed to be normal and because there can not be pointed out a  single cause for the symptoms. 

For diagnosing ADHD various tests and observations are used, but there is no standard test. 

Due to the lack of a uniform method of diagnosis, the diagnosis is often arbitrary and biased.  In a Swiss study they found, that in 75 percent of cases the diagnosis of ADHD was the wrong diagnosis.

Then there is a pill for it. Among others the very popular drug Ritalin (methylfenidaat) as it is called in the Netherlands. Rilatine in Belgium, for instance.

You can imagine, that this can lead to heated discussions between parents and experts, which are then easily qualified as alleged experts.

I seem to be guilty too regarding this controversy between science and society. The scientist says….these are the FACTS…case closed.

But some of you might remember, that, when discussing epistemological questions about certainty of knowledge or absolute truth, (scientific) knowledge originates from fundamental philosophical assumptions.

Assumptions?? Not absolute certain principles? But I have my assumptions about life and reality too. Then science is just an opinion about life and reality, just like I have an opinion about life and reality, isn’t it?

And even if science were right, we all can see, that it is all about money. Every scientist has to beg for grants. Spectacular findings are published in magazines like Science and Nature.

In retrospect we have to conclude, that it has been a lot of fuzz about nothing. And such magazines hardly publish articles , that refute the with so much publicity proclaimed discoveries.

And that scientifically proven effectiveness of Ritalin? Did the pharmaceutical industry finance the research perhaps? 

And why the focus on only a biochemical aspect, when we not even know the real cause of ADHD? Money perhaps……?

Ever done a Google search using the search key “Scientific Fraud”? Fasten seatbelts !!! ….. 5.610.000 results in 0,17 seconds. Shouldn’t we be shocked?

Almost scary….!

Our Dutch scientist, Diederik Stapel, is mentioned to. Just imagine they write this about YOU on the Internet:

-QUOTE- A Dutch psychologist who admitted engaging in wide scientific fraud has had 2 more of his papers retracted from the literature, bringing the total of yanked studies to 53, according to the blog Retraction Watch. -END QUOTE-

Don’t think we are done yet. We all accept that certain facts are true and we even call them scientific facts. For instance, that the earth is not the center of the universe, that is a scientific fact.

But do not Google on the question: “Why do people  believe in what is not true”, because you’ll get at least 313.000.000 results in 0,43 seconds!

What should we believe? Should we believe in science? We’ll see ^_^

By the way…… Try Google with “Why do people believe in what is true” too. It is really fun! I got 682 million hits! :-))

Thank you ^_^

The Discussion

[13:16] herman Bergson: The floor is yours ...:-))
[13:16] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[13:16] Lizzy Pleides: Thank you!
[13:17] Nymf Hathaway: is still digesting this
[13:17] Bejiita Imako: I think the problem is that the word science itself is a term defining proven and observed things and then people misuse it to make money by making up stuff and put the word science in
[13:17] Loo Zeta: I am living with a full time philosophy student and a psychotherapist, and I have a research degree in health studies, we have been in hot debate here.

1 check Ken Robinson and TED talks on social constructivism of ‘a dancer’

2 Health research in the UK is governed very closely with quality stuff

[13:18] herman Bergson: I guess that happens indeed
[13:18] Bejiita Imako: and then people believe its true even the scientist maybe is not a real scientist but one only want to make money from false facts
[13:18] Dawn Rhiannyr: great topic Herman... just discussed the ADHD topic recently with Eo... money is always a great influence unfortunately
[13:18] Roger Amdahl: herman, you mentioned 53 cases of fraude.. out of how many papers written?
[13:19] Bejiita Imako: ADHD is a very wide definition it seems indeed , its even gone so far today its "in" to have ADHD
[13:19] herman Bergson: It doesn’t matter, I would say Roger....one faulty paper is already one too many
[13:19] herman Bergson: That cardiologist in Rotterdam.....wasn’t it Polderman?
[13:19] Nymf Hathaway: No you cannot say that Herman... even a scientist is a human
[13:19] Dawn Rhiannyr: agree Bejiita, every child that doesn't suit our system is said to have ADHD
[13:19] Nymf Hathaway: the amount really matters
[13:20] Roger Amdahl: Yes, but the point is .. is science to blame, or is it a normal pewrcentage of people who end up on the wrong road in their carreer ?
[13:20] herman Bergson: Faked data and might be reponsable for the death of parients due to that
[13:20] Nymf Hathaway: Agrees Roger
[13:20] herman Bergson: You cant blame science for it is not a person
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: the problem is we cant even believe science today because it might just be made up and no real fact as the word science means
[13:21] herman Bergson: Nor can you blame your car  because bad construction qualities
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: misused
[13:21] Dawn Rhiannyr: nods
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: to make people believe fraud
[13:21] herman Bergson: Well...at least  my point is clear...how to look at science?
[13:21] Lizzy Pleides: it is the connection between science and economy which should be regarded critically
[13:21] aindrea1: pure science ended when money took over
[13:22] Nymf Hathaway: The fact fraud comes to light shows something isn't a proven fact because we claim it to be
[13:22] Loo Zeta: http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity?language=en // http://www.rand.org/standards/standards_high.html
[13:22] Roger Amdahl: Then blame the money ... no money, no fraud ?
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: seems so unfortunately
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: at least in many areas
[13:22] herman Bergson: Yes aindrea.....
[13:22] herman Bergson: and the obligation to publish....
[13:22] Loo Zeta: It is not just money it is credibility
[13:23] herman Bergson: the more you publish the more sure you can be of your job
[13:23] Loo Zeta: and some will flounce results for degrees
[13:23] Dawn Rhiannyr: agree Loo
[13:23] Roger Amdahl: job brings it back to money again
[13:24] herman Bergson: Just compare these observation with the status of science a hundred years ago
[13:24] aindrea1: and what is scientific fact now many times ends up being proved wrong i do not think people now think oh he a scientist i have to believe what he says
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: today they say for ex they have proven all sort of stuff is dangerous to eat even it isn’t just to scare and make money from the industries that hired them to scare customers to buy their ooo soooo good products
[13:24] Nymf Hathaway: as in ANY other field Sports/Politicians/Bankers/Business... in science you see people trying to fool others
[13:24] herman Bergson: Just look how (pseudo) scientific terms are used in advertizements...for instance for shampoo or body cremes
[13:24] Dawn Rhiannyr: so true
[13:25] Dawn Rhiannyr: for money or fame
[13:25] Nymf Hathaway: That’s bad Herman :( shouldn't be allowed
[13:25] Loo Zeta: When a student says to me.... 'recent research says'. I reply. 'Who did it, why did they do it. auspices?'
[13:25] Nymf Hathaway:
[13:25] aindrea1: used to be what drove science was human need to know answers now its business needs to make money sadly not all but most of time
[13:25] herman Bergson: Exactly Loo!
[13:26] Loo Zeta: A lot of good midwifery practice has been shelved due to not being able to be 'proven'
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: damn internet! GRMMMBL
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: there now working again
[13:26] herman Bergson: Ok...I opened a box of Pandora here :-))
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:27] Nymf Hathaway: You did
[13:27] Loo Zeta: lol sorry
[13:27] herman Bergson: So the question is...is it really that bad for science?
[13:27] Roger Amdahl: I thought it was a garbage-bin :)
[13:27] Nymf Hathaway: :)))
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: true loo
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: very true
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: sadly
[13:28] Nymf Hathaway: I think like Hackers are the best for our improving the internet... so are these cases best to get us grounded again about the Woooot factor of science herman
[13:28] aindrea1: we need science sadly science need money for research
[13:28] herman Bergson: Well...this lecture was meant to make you think about what science means in our society...:-)
[13:28] Roger Amdahl: it builded our society
[13:29] Loo Zeta: It is when science is seen over all other metaphysicals as the 'truth' then we need to be worried.
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: is it true science or misuse of the term to fool people its true even its not
[13:29] herman Bergson: Yes Roger but now we have a society only based on economics....not on scientific insights
[13:29] aindrea1: agree Loo
[13:29] Dawn Rhiannyr: agree Loo
[13:30] herman Bergson: That is a serious nerve you touch Loo :-))
[13:30] Roger Amdahl: economics creates it's own mess, they need no science for that, I agree
[13:30] Loo Zeta: apologizes again
[13:30] herman Bergson smiles
[13:30] Bejiita Imako:
[13:30] herman Bergson: no...it was a good hit, Loo ^_^
[13:31] herman Bergson: That question certainly will reappear a number of times in this project
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: indeed, its an important subject
[13:31] Loo Zeta: Well as I said I have a heated debate RL going on in the background
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: since you are supposed to be able to believe in science
[13:32] herman Bergson: I not yet have mentioned the relation between sience an religion for instance
[13:32] Ciska Riverstone: heheh can imagine loo
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: i still believe the guys at CERN at least
[13:32] Bejiita Imako:
[13:32] Nymf Hathaway:
[13:32] Loo Zeta: Well Dawkins is a great example of evangelical atheism and since over everything
[13:32] Nymf Hathaway: ESA is doing great work too
[13:32] aindrea1: the impact of result search in science for a specific thing based on the company funding research for it means many things that where discovered by mistake now get binned
[13:33] Loo Zeta: whoops typos.... getting carried away
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: yes, and NASA as well
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: all 3 do a great job
[13:33] Nymf Hathaway: yes
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: and i believe their work
[13:33] herman Bergson: Well....there must be some truth in scientific facts eventually ^_^
[13:34] Loo Zeta: As I said I have to be subjected to audit, and quality controls over any health research I undertake
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: if used properly yes
[13:34] Loo Zeta: They have learnt sticky lessons from shoddy researchers
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: when it is actually facts
[13:35] Loo Zeta: From too small samples to tweaking the figures.
[13:35] herman Bergson: classics, Loo
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:35] aindrea1: need for funding makes this happen
[13:35] Loo Zeta: yep
[13:36] herman Bergson: Wow...this was some debate !
[13:36] herman Bergson: I guess we all got the right feeling here....:-)
[13:36] aindrea1: we stop your funding in 4 month if you cant show us a result
[13:36] herman Bergson: Now the question is ...how to get out of this marsh...:-)
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: science i say is only science when done properly and without manipulation, otherwise its false science since science = fact = truth
[13:36] Dawn Rhiannyr: that's why you need to have a closer look at how did they get their results
[13:37] Loo Zeta: BUT is it 'truth'
[13:37] herman Bergson: Therefor we'll have a closer look at the roots of science....the philosophy of science....
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: its not science then, in that case its misuse of the term science
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: to fool people
[13:37] Ciska Riverstone: thats the question Loo - are we ready for the fact that there are not many changing truths out there
[13:37] aindrea1: some need the extra time and funding to complete and that leads to a little manipulation of results
[13:37] Loo Zeta: you can subject something to statistitcal inferences and come out with a probability of 0.05 and perhaps it may show something
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: the problem is we cant tell the difference since they use the same word science even its just a makeup
[13:38] Loo Zeta: but then there are lies, damn lies and statistics
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: statistics always need interpretation
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: hahaha yes
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: not necessarily wrong
[13:38] herman Bergson: Exactly Loo :-))
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: but describing changing facts.
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: so are changinge facts facts?
[13:38] herman Bergson: correlations are not causal relations....
[13:38] aindrea1: so how can it be policed
[13:39] Loo Zeta nods
[13:39] Ciska Riverstone: they used to be ... but with the internet fastening up process in science...
[13:39] herman Bergson: Well...the site I mentioned.....it looks like a kind of fraud police
[13:40] herman Bergson: The Internet could play a purifying role
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: or a disguising one
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: depends on the interests behind it
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:40] Loo Zeta: it can also confuse by false collusion
[13:40] aindrea1: then again is this really a new thing in science
[13:40] herman Bergson: Yes....disinformation is widely spread easily too
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: true
[13:40] herman Bergson: So it all end up in our own minds....and our personal ethics
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: which might bring us back to the buddha again ;)
[13:41] Loo Zeta: not specifically, it is a cultural ethic
[13:41] Dawn Rhiannyr: yes agree Herman... and how easily you accept or be probably manipulated
[13:42] herman Bergson: Well, I guess we are aware now of all pitfalls we have to face in science :-)
[13:42] aindrea1: we are in many ways a product of what we been told was true we as grow older look to see what really is true
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:42] herman Bergson: May I thank you for this brilliant discussion and your participation....
[13:43] herman Bergson: Class dismissed.....^_^
[13:43] Loo Zeta: yw
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: YAY! (yay!)
[13:43] Roger Amdahl: Thanks Herman ..
[13:43] Dawn Rhiannyr: it is a joy Herman, thank you :)

[13:43] Bejiita Imako: this was an eye opener

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