WHY SCIENCE IS FAILING
(Website Addition of March 15, 2003)
Right from the very beginning in science,
authority tends to override independent judgement.
The Erosion of Science in the United States
This part of this website was of low priority and has been put off until now. In the meantime, I purchased Halton Arp's book, Seeing Red: Redshifts, Cosmology, and Academic Science. I was delighted when I read chapter ten in Professor Arp's book because it is a far better presentation of what I had in mind than anything I would have written. It is twenty-one pages of excellent writing and extremely informative content. My advice is to read that book which is published by
4405, rue St-Dominique
So this presentation will be a brief and inferior version which is taken from my perspective and is different in many ways. I have been an engineer for a large corporation for most of my working life, and Professor Arp has been dealing with the Academic part of our society.
The Way Science is Supposed to Work
The scientist is supposed to observe, record, analyze, draw objective conclusions, and report (write a paper) on his findings. The publisher of a science magazine is supposed to objectively review the paper in light of his own science background, decide whether or not the paper is worthy of a peer review and, if so, pass it on to an objective scientist who can understand the paper and perform the peer review. If the paper passes the peer review, the publisher publishes the paper. The "peer" who reviews the paper is supposed to decide whether or not the information is based upon a relatively solid foundation and is written in a logical manner.
The Way Science Actually Works
The "scientist" decides what information is likely to be "accepted" by the scientific community, observes what will be accepted, records it, and writes his paper from which he hopes to achieve recognition. If a real scientist (one with true scientific curiosity) observes, records, draws conclusions, and writes - or if he merely observes, records, and writes about what he has found - he must find a publisher who will publish his paper.
The publisher is too lazy or too ignorant of true science to review any paper he receives for possible publication. So he passes the buck to the "peer reviewer" to make the decision.
The "peer reviewer" is a competitor for scientific recognition. If the paper is such as to augment the reviewer's reputation, he passes the paper back to the publisher for publication. If the paper might possibly upset the reviewer's preconceived notions or his standing as an authority, he tells the publisher that the paper is not suitable for publication. Sometimes the "peer reviewer" denigrates the paper and steals the ideas in it for himself.
There are other ways in which scientific progress is prevented. If the scientist is one without a scientific degree (especially a Ph.D.), he is not an authority and his work must not be published. To attain a Ph.D., a person must at least appear to believe everything his mentor tells him. His mentor must remain loyal to the accepted scientific dogma or be removed from his position. Those who decide the fate of the mentor (professor) must conform to accepted dogma or face removal from their positions. And once one does attain a Ph.D., he or she must be a true believer of the dogma to gain and maintain employment in his or her field.
There is an "accepted" bureaucratic procedure for scientists to follow. If one step is left out, the scientist's work is considered "unacceptable". The accomplishment of that step is prevented by those in power. In short, every dirty trick devised by humans is employed within the scientific community. In this manner, scientific progress is and has been very effectively prevented. The result is over 100 years of scientific obstruction and misdirection which have led to the most bizarre fantasies and paradoxes imaginable.
Typical Example - Second Example - Study of Peer Review
Finally, there is another answer as to why science is failing. Apparently, other people have noticed what you will find when you click on the following:
Are Physicists Smart?
The only conspiracy is one of mutual interests among the ones most prominent and influential. These people have the most to lose (in their eyes) and are the most likely to prevent any change in scientific dogma. When a new discovery threatens them, their first reaction is to suppress it. Their second reaction is claim that it has been found to be false. If this fails, they can make bogus experiments which "prove" that it is false. They can and do use all the negative methods discussed in Critical Thinking. Their final resort is to make up a new fantasy to act as a band-aid to current dogma.
Another method of this "conspiracy of interests" is to create a language to go along with their fantasies. This language, whether by intent or accident, is devised in a way to keep the populace from discovering what is being said. It is like a code designed to prevent those outside certain fields from looking in. In this manner, these bogus scientists can claim to be above the rest and look down upon any supposed attempt to dethrone them. I say "bogus scientists" because a true scientist is one who is interested primarily in discovering and publishing truths. Politicians in science, as most prominent scientists are today, are merely that - politicians. Halton Arp said something about this, and I quote him: If they [the pseudo-scientists] cannot explain a matter so that a non-specialist can understand it, they don't understand it themselves and they should not cover up this important situation.
One way that someone can sell out his fellow man, in today's climate of suppression in science, is to publish as a "skeptic" and syndicate to various publications purported to be scientific magazines or journals. The skeptic uses various methods to poison the minds of the public against any new ideas that might upset the current keepers of the dogma. The magazine publisher will publish the articles because they are not only staying within the bounds of current dogma, but also guarding it from the nasty new things.
A good example of today's scientific method in action is the story of how chaos theory (fractals) came to be discovered. Some student mathematicians in a particular institution of learning began to explore what was to become chaos theory with an old analog computer that was in storage and the property of the school. When the faculty discovered what they were doing in their off hours, the use of the facilities and the computer were denied them. Being true scientists with curiosity that exceeded ambition, the students left this institution and on their own developed chaos theory. After going through the usual experiences of being suppressed, they eventually became known for their revolutionary work. At that point, their old faculty attempted to take the credit for their work.
Cloak and Dagger Conspiracy Unnecessary
So there is seldom any conspiracy of plotting in secret. This kind of conspiracy is unnecessary when a conspiracy of mutual or common interests is available. We will probably never need an actual Satan in our lives because we are so good at condoning and practicing evil all by ourselves.
How Did It Happen?
For such a perfect conspiracy of mutual interests to develop, there is an evolutionary process. First, there is someone who is popular that can be regarded as an authority. This person is a focus for those who are championing a particular idea. In this manner, the idea becomes popular but not because it is the most logical idea. Second, a time passes during which this particular idea becomes an institution. A new generation grows up believing in it and being indoctrinated with it. By the time a third generation comes along, no one remembers the reasoning behind the idea or what the opposing ideas were. Then we have the fourth generation who cannot even conceive of anything other than this particular idea.
If you believe that pertinent information cannot be lost in this manner, there is one short example which follows. How many people today believe that
Ek = (1/2)mv2
is the equation for kinetic energy? Actually, it is a shortcut for
Ek = mad
where m is mass, a is the acceleration (or in non-scientific language, the deceleration) of the mass, and d is distance over which the acceleration (deceleration) of the mass occurs. The shortcut was devised to make things easier, but has become accepted as a truth. Why is this important to know? For one thing, when it is not known, the reality behind light is impossible to discover. There is nothing wrong with using a shortcut and I use this one frequently. But the reality behind the shortcut should be kept alive by teaching it in school. Otherwise, the shortcut becomes meaningless dogma.
The Cause as Opposed to the Symptom
The scientific community is no different from the religious community, and communities within corporations, legislatures, government bureaucracies, monopolies such as the telephone and power companies, and other groups which have a political base. In this world, all such have a political base which, in turn, is based upon fear. In other words, rather than using reason, they operate on fear. There is fear of loss of income, fear of not belonging, fear of loss of prestige, fear of appearing stupid, fear of loss of power, etc. So the average supposed scientist is no more objective than the average politician. And he can be fully as corrupt.
Not in all of known human history, has there been a civilization which did not eventually cease to exist due to human weaknesses based upon fear. There were many political and economic systems that perished due to fear, and chances are any new ones will perish the same way. So is seems illogical to assume that any change in the political or economic system will cure the fear problem. Very likely, the nations who are today's leaders will go the way of yesterday's leaders - victims of fear.
Yet, if there were a grass-roots movement which could show some fundamental facts to enough people, our nation might last a little longer than it would otherwise. Humans have survived through cooperation where there are win-win situations and sharing of knowledge. Those politicians, whether senators or scientists, who subsist and react because of fear, and who engender fear in others to gain their own selfish ends, are really "non-human" and should be exposed and considered as such. Perhaps the exposure and reaction of the populace - what Halton Arp calls seeing red will help.
We have an innovation in our favor which was not available to others in recorded history. This is the internet which allows sites like this one to exist. The information can be disseminated worldwide and anyone with a computer can see it. No publisher can prevent it from being seen and no influential pseudo-scientist can easily suppress it. But this is something that can be taken away from us by taxing and otherwise inhibiting the use of the medium. We must keep our right to use the internet without censorship and taxation.
If we continue to keep the internet for all to use, it may prove to be the key to the grass-roots movement that is needed, and we may be able to move on to the next level in human evolution - the part where fear is replaced by true cooperation and sharing.
For many years many people have been naive enough believe that making a rule or a law will create a better situation. Most of the time, the enforcement of these rules or laws is only marginally possible at best. The result is people who break the speed limit, fail to pay child support, and cheat on "peer reviews".
Other people, by far the minority, realize the futility of creating more and more rules and laws. Such laws tend to hamstring all of us and create a Mafia which will break the law and give the people what they want. The people who realize the futility of making more rules and laws are the wiser ones. They know that people have weaknesses and that the only way to eliminate improper behavior is to create incentives which make proper behavior something that is most desirable for each of us. If scientists had incentives to make them want to find truths and to look at alternatives other than their own, scientific progress might begin again in areas where it has been stifled. If peer reviewers could be acknowledged for the number interesting papers and new ideas that they promoted, regardless of whether or not such ideas went with mainstream science, scientific progress might begin again in fields where progress has been stopped.
The best example of what an incentive is, was explained to me a few years ago. A close friend and classmate who taught high school at one time proposed an incentive to make today's unruly generation pay attention in class and take school seriously. He said that we should make a law that people do not get their driver's licenses until they pass high school. Along with this, we make certain that they are not promoted to the next grade just for social reasons, and that they do not graduate until they have learned enough. Most kids can hardly wait to get at the wheel of automobile. This type of incentive should work. Can the laws necessary for its implementation be enforced easily? Most certainly.
How can we find and implement the proper incentives for scientific progress? I don't know. There must be many ways to place proper incentives in proper places. At least there must be ways to start such a trend. Those who have more knowledge, of each particular institution or journal where such things are needed, must begin to propose the solutions.
Use of a Proper Foundation
Certain tried and true principles have been in existence for many years. Newton's laws of motion; the inverse square law for gravity; the equations for potential, kinetic, and nuclear energy; and other laws that have been actually applied by engineers for decades seem to have proven their own validity. Although it may be possible that one or more of these laws has been repealed in certain cases, we should be very careful of the new supposed foundation that this repeal implies. We should first keep to the proven foundation and see if there is another, more simple explanation.
This requires certain knowledge and discriminatory capability to tell the difference. For instance, Isaac Newton was an expert in the field of motion. His experiments and working knowledge in this area made him a true expert in that field. But particle theory today was derived from Newton's time when this more popular physicist extended his influence into areas where he had no expertise. The better-founded theories of Christian Huygens were set aside by those who preferred to be on the side of the accepted authority (see Critical Thinking, "Argumentum ad Verecundiam").
When the Michelson-Morley experiment failed to show as great a difference in light velocities as anticipated, the proponents of empty space and particle theory furthered their own interests by claiming this to be proof of a lack of ether. Actually, the fact that there was any difference at all in light velocities should have been enough to invite further investigation. See Critical Thinking, "Irrelevant Conclusion & Argumentum ad Ignorantium".
Later, when Sagnac removed any possible errors from "entrained ether", his experiments were first carefully ignored and, when that was not enough, they were given a name, the Sagnac Effect, which led people to believe the that this proven existence of ether was a nothing more than an "effect" that Sagnac had found. The fact that this "effect" existed all over the globe, and that it was needed to correctly engineer navigational instruments, did nothing to upset the old-boy network of particle physicists. The choice of such a name is a means of misdirection which is similar to what is found in Critical Thinking, "Tabloid Thinking". An "effect" implies that it is minor in nature and has no relationship to ether or any other thing of importance.
Occam's Razor Back to String Theory vs Nether Theory
The "razor" portion of this name, I believe, is based upon the sharp edge of discrimination, the ability to distinguish truth by choosing the explanation that raises fewer questions than any other explanation. "Occam" comes from William Occam who is credited with his "law of economy", Never multiply explanations or make them more complicated than necessary. It is vain to do with more what can be done with less.
This law supposedly became the cornerstone of investigative disciplines, but has been discarded in science for over a century in favor of political considerations. If each of us will make the effort to use this law when examining theories championed by supposed experts and amateurs alike, we may find that some of the amateurs' observations and theories are far better than those of the supposed experts.
The surest way to corrupt a young man is to teach
him to esteem more highly those who think alike than
those who think differently.
The Erosion of Science in the United States