[ExI] Do your own research

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Thu Aug 6 00:32:14 UTC 2020

On Thu, 6 Aug 2020 at 09:57, Stuart LaForge via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> Quoting Stathis Papaioannou:
> >
> https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2020/07/30/you-must-not-do-your-own-research-when-it-comes-to-science/amp/
> ---------
> "The techniques that most of us use to navigate most of our decisions
> in life — gathering information, evaluating it based on what we know,
> and choosing a course of action — can lead to spectacular failures
> when it comes to a scientific matter.
> The reason is simple: most of us, even those of us who are scientists
> ourselves, lack the relevant scientific expertise needed to adequately
> evaluate that research on our own. In our own fields, we are aware of
> the full suite of data, of how those puzzle pieces fit together, and
> what the frontiers of our knowledge is."
> --------
> Being an astrophysicist does not entitle Ethan Siegel to speak on
> behalf of all scientists. The notion that scientists should stay in
> their own research lanes and not pursue questions or develop opinions
> in other fields is ludicrous. Then he cites problems with climatology
> and COVID-19 as justifications which immediately shows his hand as
> making a political rather than logical argument. There is always a
> risk of spectacular failure in science regardless if a scientist works
> outside or inside his field.
> One could even make a case that science is built on failures and
> accidental discoveries. The failure of a new heart medication turns
> out to treat erectile dysfunction or a failure of microbiologist's
> sterile technique leads to the discovery of penicillin. In fact I
> would venture to say that when scientists in different fields
> cross-pollinate ideas and collaborate with one another, science is on
> a firmer footing.
> For example if climatologists would collaborate with economists and
> nuclear physicists and come up with  economically feasible solutions
> to anthropogenic climate change maybe somebody other than socialists
> would take them seriously. And maybe if epidemiologists had consulted
> microbiologists, they would have had more realistic models and policy
> recommendations.
> I have heard it said that becoming an expert involves learning more
> and more about less and less until in the limit, one knows everything
> about nothing. Imagine how much poorer science would be if Louis
> Pasteur, whom Siegel would advise to stick to chemistry, did not color
> outside the lines of his field to give us germ theory and vaccination
> against rabies.
> Given all the evidence, I must conclude that Siegal, aside from the
> hypocrisy of opining on matters not astrophysical in nature, is an
> elitist snob and idealogical stooge of the left.

Whatever else you might say about the article, I didn’t see anything in it
implying alignment with the political left, right or centre.

> --
Stathis Papaioannou
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