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Author Topic:   Evidence for a Conspiracy of Scientists?
Tusko
Member (Idle past 386 days)
Posts: 603
From: London, UK
Joined: 10-01-2004


Message 1 of 85 (199730)
04-16-2005 8:41 AM


Hard-line creationists often voice the concern that there is an overarching conspiracy of atheist scientists to deny the (biblical) truth. Some go as far as to view the whole enterprise of science as inherently corrupt and not worth engaging with. Others seem to adopt a weaker line, and believe either that any conspiracy is localised to certain problematic disciplines, and still more believe in an even weaker unconscious bias on the part of scientists; that is, that in order to preserve their mental equilibrium scientists must keep on believing in broken ideas like natural selection in the face of the evidence.

Since it is impossible to disprove this claim of an unconscious conspiracy, it is the ultimate fall-back position for people who make such a claim. In effect it is an unassailable stronghold, but at the same time it remains pretty unpersuasive. The same claim might legitimately be made against those who claim it.

So the focus of this discussion isnt so much the weak position, but the stronger position that might be supported by evidence or perhaps falsified.

With regards to the stronger position, I have a couple of doubts. As has been pointed out elsewhere, it seems likely that if anyone found a half-decent way of falsifying an old earth or evolution they would be lauded as scientific geniuses, not garrotted by the science mafia. (I cant be utterly sure of this however.)

It isnt the intention of this topic to discuss the supposed evidence that disproves evolution, but rather to consider the merits of these conspiracy theories, and discuss the evidence that might support them, what shape it might take, and how people might go about gathering it. It would also be appropriate to consider how the strong belief in a malevolent conspiracy by the science community might be falsified.

The reason why this topic seems relevant is that it strikes me that if some variation of the conspiracy theory isnt in place, then there isnt a really good reason to stop creationists engagement with science and scientific method.

(I realise that many contributors to this site are scientists, and rest assured I will make a special effort to scrutinise their arguments for evidence of disingenuousness or other forms of badness that might suggest they are trying to cover their tracks.)

What does anyone else think?

This message has been edited by Tusko, 04-16-2005 08:03 AM

This message has been edited by Tusko, 04-16-2005 08:05 AM


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Lammy, posted 04-16-2005 12:32 PM Tusko has responded
 Message 31 by mick, posted 04-28-2005 11:58 AM Tusko has responded
 Message 32 by Philip, posted 04-28-2005 1:53 PM Tusko has responded
 Message 40 by Limbo, posted 04-29-2005 7:08 PM Tusko has responded

  
AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 2 of 85 (199743)
04-16-2005 10:13 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
Lammy
Member
Posts: 3578
From: Chicago
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 3 of 85 (199757)
04-16-2005 12:32 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tusko
04-16-2005 8:41 AM


Tusko writes:

In effect it is an unassailable stronghold, but at the same time it remains pretty unpersuasive.


I disagree. I would have agreed with this statement if it was a year ago. However, as I have been talking to more and more people and not interrupt them, no matter how ignorant they were, I have come to realized that the creationist argument in this matter is probably 10 times as convincing as scientific argument. I will explain why.

A week ago, I drove for 5 hours to Ohio to attend a wedding of a very good friend of mine. During the reception, I got involved in a conversation with a husband and wife that were there. The wife I had met a year before and the husband happened to be the sheriff of that town. He remained quiet while I talked to the wife. As soon as it came up that I was a physics college student, the husband started talking for the first time to me.

It became obvious that he never had a proper science professor. He was convinced that professors are like school teachers where they don't really know what they are teaching and that they only teach out of text books. He went on for a while about this belief without being interrupted by me. (I probably should have mentioned that the professors are the authors of the text books he was talking about.)

The point is we have this sheriff (a figure of authority) who is completely ignorant of how well trained scientists and professors are at their fields of discipline. We later talked some more and it became very apparent that he was convinced he knew just as much as professors and scientists in the fields of science (or probably more) because he occasionally tries to read scientific journals.

This is just one example out of many that I have encountered.

Why do I think the creationist argument is more convincing? Because we have become a majority-rule society, and unfortunately the majority is completely ignorant of how the scientific method works or how much training and education scientists and professors have to go through before they get their titles.

There is an old saying that goes something like this: When I was 5 my parents didn't know anything, when I was 10 my parents knew a few things, when I was 15 my parents knew some things, but when I was 20 my parents knew a lot of things.

Unfortunately, most people remained at the age of 10 or 12 when it comes to understanding of such technical fields. They do not have the discipline to constantly remind them that the world is much bigger than what they have seen.

The other side is that the creationist argument's main strength is appeal to people's ignorance. I don't think it is a dispute that creationists are nortorious for making pseudo-scientific statements and make-belief facts to appeal to the majority. With the exception of a few, religious fundamentalism draws its strength mainly from ignorance, and that is exactly what creationism feeds on. A few "I heard somewhere that..." or "A well known scientist once said that..." and we have a "fact" circulating around.

Perhaps this is the pessimistic side of me talking, but with the way things are going I do not see how we can win this debate anytime soon, even if we have all the evidence in the world to show for it. As Faith once demonstrated, people tend to think that because evolution has no proof it must be false, and since creationism has proof (you know what I'm talking about) it must be truth. What people don't realize is that there is no such thing as proof in science. There is only evidence.

Because of this, creationists are finally regaining a lot of their grounds and are marching into our education system.

This message has been edited by Troy, 04-16-2005 11:34 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Tusko, posted 04-16-2005 8:41 AM Tusko has responded

Replies to this message:
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 Message 10 by Tusko, posted 04-17-2005 1:58 PM Lammy has not yet responded

    
arachnophilia
Member
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 4 of 85 (199785)
04-16-2005 6:21 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Lammy
04-16-2005 12:32 PM


let's talk about the OTHER conspiracy for a second
Why do I think the creationist argument is more convincing? Because we have become a majority-rule society, and unfortunately the majority is completely ignorant of how the scientific method works or how much training and education scientists and professors have to go through before they get their titles.

There is an old saying that goes something like this: When I was 5 my parents didn't know anything, when I was 10 my parents knew a few things, when I was 15 my parents knew some things, but when I was 20 my parents knew a lot of things.

Unfortunately, most people remained at the age of 10 or 12 when it comes to understanding of such technical fields. They do not have the discipline to constantly remind them that the world is much bigger than what they have seen.

and the key to this, of course, is education. it's up to the teachers and professors to educate people so that they understand what science is about, and why these arguments are appeals to ignorance. in short, to install their "bullshit detectors" correctly.

and where are the creationists attacking first?

education.

quote:
Some professors say, Evolution is a fact. I dont want to hear about Intelligent Design (a creationist theory), and if you dont like it, theres the door, Baxley said, citing one example when he thought a student should sue.

quote:
... a bill that aims to stamp out leftist totalitarianism by dictator professors in the classrooms of Floridas universities.

and now look where the charge of conspiracy comes in:

quote:
In an interview before the meeting, Baxley said arrogant, elitist academics are swarming to oppose the bill, and media reports misrepresented his intentions.

http://www.alligator.org/pt2/050323freedom.php

so, where is the conspiracy really? if a dominant set of beliefs thrives on ignorance, and then uses government powers to attack education, isn't that a bit more of a conspiracy than the "leftist totalitarian dictator professors?" the accusations of conspiracy are a key part of this. they play to ignorance as well.


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Replies to this message:
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 Message 9 by Tusko, posted 04-17-2005 1:44 PM arachnophilia has responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 30920
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 5 of 85 (199787)
04-16-2005 6:39 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by arachnophilia
04-16-2005 6:21 PM


Re: let's talk about the OTHER conspiracy for a second
it's up to the teachers and professors to educate people so that they understand what science is about, and why these arguments are appeals to ignorance. in short, to install their "bullshit detectors" correctly.

While the job may well fall on teachers and professors, it is really the duty of all of us, including Mr. Baxley. Every one of us needs to be constantly checking our BS detectors to make sure they are working properly.

If there is a conspiricy, I fear that it is those who do not want to offend, who fear to tell Mr. Baxley that he is simply wrong.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by arachnophilia, posted 04-16-2005 6:21 PM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
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arachnophilia
Member
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 6 of 85 (199789)
04-16-2005 6:46 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by jar
04-16-2005 6:39 PM


Re: let's talk about the OTHER conspiracy for a second
it's a bit of a vicious cycle, though, isn't it?

ignorance promotes the view, which then in turn promotes ignorance? i think if you were to do a poll of the majority opinion, you'd find that most people agree with his position. except in universities of course.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by jar, posted 04-16-2005 6:39 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
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jar
Member
Posts: 30920
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 7 of 85 (199790)
04-16-2005 6:49 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by arachnophilia
04-16-2005 6:46 PM


Re: let's talk about the OTHER conspiracy for a second
I think you are right. And I would say that the group that holds his opinion is growing. We are very close to the Age of Simplification. :(


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
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Lammy
Member
Posts: 3578
From: Chicago
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 8 of 85 (199796)
04-16-2005 7:19 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by jar
04-16-2005 6:49 PM


Re: let's talk about the OTHER conspiracy for a second
I can only wonder if my physics degree will really mean anything to people in the future. To them, a physics degree = and limited to knowing F = ma.
This message is a reply to:
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Tusko
Member (Idle past 386 days)
Posts: 603
From: London, UK
Joined: 10-01-2004


Message 9 of 85 (199903)
04-17-2005 1:44 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by arachnophilia
04-16-2005 6:21 PM


Re: let's talk about the OTHER conspiracy for a second
I particularly like the idea of "leftist totalitarianism" from "dictator professors" who are "arrogant and elitist". (For best effect, those words should be spat out like so many broken teeth.)

It would seem that since they cannot engage in an open scientific debate (because that would after give the scientists a decidedly unsporting home advantage), they have to resort to claims of conspiracy. Its depressing that such an open refusal to engage in open debate should be so effective a tool for persuasion, but there you are.

Clearly, one of the reasons that claims of conspiracy are so effective is that they are all but impossible to confirm or deny. In some ways, the Conspiracy of Scientists Theory (TM) is a bit like invading Russia; if you start to seriously question it, it can keep retreating as far as it needs to before you give up. Then when your back is turned, it's come back strong as ever.

I was just fantasising about a world in which you could cut the pernicious idea of science conspiracy out of the argument by exposing it as silly (or hell - as the goshdarnit truth. I'm not fussed).

So the idea of this thread was to try to discuss, with poker faces, if there could be any way in which evidence for or against such a conspiracy might be gathered. I have a couple of ideas, but they aren't perfect. What we need is the easiest way possible that people can try out for themselves in the comfort of their own home. I just can't think of any. So these are all I could think of:

1) Presumably, infiltration of the sanctum sanctorum of the scientists would be one way. Recordings of their evil discussions could then be broadcast to the world, thus discrediting them. Unfortunately, this is going to be very hard to do for two reasons. Firstly, they might convert you via advanced brainwashing techniques to believing their lies, and secondly, just because you never make it to the inner sanctum doesn't mean that it isn't there somewhere. Its also going to take a lot of time, money and effort. So that totally fails.

2) Demonstrating where the bible explains really big important observable phenomina better than science would be another way perhaps. But as far as I'm aware, there aren't many examples of that.

If people were given a way of evaluating the likelyhood of a science conspiracy for themselves, then maybe they could see that it was likely to be false.

But of course this is all nonsense.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by arachnophilia, posted 04-16-2005 6:21 PM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by Coragyps, posted 04-17-2005 2:28 PM Tusko has not yet responded
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Tusko
Member (Idle past 386 days)
Posts: 603
From: London, UK
Joined: 10-01-2004


Message 10 of 85 (199908)
04-17-2005 1:58 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Lammy
04-16-2005 12:32 PM


I find that pretty depressing to be honest. There's every possibility that that sheriff is a lovely guy, but I get so frustrated I want to scream when I hear people say the kind of things he was saying.

I think you have given a great illustrative example of a really difficult modern problem. Science used to be a secret knowledge that I'd imagine the general population didn't bother themselves with that much. Now everybody has an opinion, and its usually governed by a vague sense of mistrust.

What are they DOING in there? the general population ask of the scientists. This sense of mistrust, which seems to exist to some degree in the general population, regardless of religious outlook, is so easily harnested by the creationist propagandamongers.

What interests me is why this sense of mistrust has arisen. Hiroshima, Cold War, whatever. I don't know. Its pretty healthy too, don't get me wrong. But its a godsend for creationists because it gives them a getout clause that works every time.


This message is a reply to:
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Coragyps
Member
Posts: 5349
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 11 of 85 (199914)
04-17-2005 2:28 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Tusko
04-17-2005 1:44 PM


Re: let's talk about the OTHER conspiracy for a second
Presumably, infiltration of the sanctum sanctorum of the scientists would be one way.

If they invade mine, I just hope that they aren't easily bored.
This message is a reply to:
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jar
Member
Posts: 30920
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 12 of 85 (199926)
04-17-2005 3:08 PM


Should Tusko be banned!
I find a disturbing trend in this thread by Citizen Tusko. He has come dangerously close to exposing three of the Twelve Secrets. In addition, the very mention of the Sanctorum Sanctorum could well lead to the inadvertent exposure of the Opertum.

Can we any longer afford such risks or should we immediately take steps to assure that we return to the Sanctioned Response of "Eheu, litteras istas reperire non possum". Can we continue to ask "Estne tibi forte magna feles fulva et planissima?" when the forces of evil are at our doorstep? Shall we speak "Ex cathedra"or "Ex cearulo" when "Ex curia"?

Acta est fabula, plaudite!


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
Replies to this message:
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Tusko
Member (Idle past 386 days)
Posts: 603
From: London, UK
Joined: 10-01-2004


Message 13 of 85 (199929)
04-17-2005 3:27 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by jar
04-17-2005 3:08 PM


Re: Should Tusko be banned!
No - no! Don't ban me!

I'm just a sweet little blue elephant.

(And anyway, I'm not media-savvy enough to effectively expose your Stalinist, Fascist, Anti-Democratic, Pro-AIDs, Anti-Happiness, Pro-Kitten Drowning lies for what they really are.)


This message is a reply to:
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Coragyps
Member
Posts: 5349
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 14 of 85 (199930)
04-17-2005 3:30 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by jar
04-17-2005 3:08 PM


Re: Should Tusko be banned!
Jar, leave the poor possums and other creeping marsupials out of this.

You've been warned.


This message is a reply to:
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arachnophilia
Member
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 15 of 85 (199994)
04-17-2005 8:50 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Tusko
04-17-2005 1:44 PM


Re: let's talk about the OTHER conspiracy for a second
Clearly, one of the reasons that claims of conspiracy are so effective is that they are all but impossible to confirm or deny. In some ways, the Conspiracy of Scientists Theory (TM) is a bit like invading Russia;

also: never go in against a sicilian when DEATH IS ON THE LINE!

1) Presumably, infiltration of the sanctum sanctorum of the scientists would be one way. Recordings of their evil discussions could then be broadcast to the world, thus discrediting them. Unfortunately, this is going to be very hard to do for two reasons. Firstly, they might convert you via advanced brainwashing techniques to believing their lies, and secondly, just because you never make it to the inner sanctum doesn't mean that it isn't there somewhere. Its also going to take a lot of time, money and effort. So that totally fails.

i have heard stories of scientists being dismissed from reputable organization for openly voicing beliefs in creationism. i do not recall how accurate these stories were, but i do recall them being suspicious.

and even if that is the case, where's the problem? that's like dismissing a mathematician for ignoring things like the distrubitive property, and teaching that you can add fractions straigh across.

if someone shows blatant ignorance of their field, they SHOULD be fired.

2) Demonstrating where the bible explains really big important observable phenomina better than science would be another way perhaps. But as far as I'm aware, there aren't many examples of that.

i'm arguing in two different threads that the bible talks about the earth being flat, with a giant glass dome overhead called "heaven" that contains the stars etc, and outside of that is just water. and that's the entire universe.

i don't think the bible's doing so good at explaining natural phenomina. i don't really even think it TRIES to.


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Replies to this message:
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