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Friday, January 26, 2007

Science + Politics = Crap

Ok, I just heard the phrase “debate on global warming/climate change” one too many times. You have three guesses on exactly what pisses me off about that phrase. If you want a hint about what’s ticking me off, I’ll quote myself from my Science<>Religion post:

“Science is observable fact. Period. End of sentence.”

The only thing I can think of that’s more pernicious and dangerous to science as a whole than making religion and science philosophically equivalent, is allowing science to be corrupted by political bias. The absolute only legitimate form of scientific argument is a) Does your hypothesis explain the facts as we know them? b) Is there a verifiable and repeatable means of testing your hypothesis?

The Scientific Method is Not A Debate!

Once the scientific method devolves from “who has a verifiable explanation of the facts?” to “who can make the best argument?” we’re royally screwed. Anyone can make a good argument, a skilled debater can argue anything given the right premises. Once we lose sight of the idea that facts must be tested, and tested repeatedly, science becomes dogma. Those who’ve “chosen sides” on the “debate” over climate change have abdicated their responsibility as scientists. And when scientists become more interested in political “truths” than facts, you get things like Lysenkoism.