How To Criticise Science by Ian R Thorpe.
by Ian R Thorpe.
CREATIVE COMMONS: Attribute, non commercial, no derivs.
KEYWORDS: science, scientists, theory, theoretical, physics, climate, global, carbon, internet, electronics, technology, large, hadron, collider, cern, big bang, universe
How To Criticise Science
In the UK it has become quite common for people cussedly determined to think for themselves to make disparaging references to the movement that wants to turn science into a religion. What made these boy scientists so arrogant?
The problem arose because politicians want to control everything and scientists promise ways to control everything so the politicians listen to science zealots rather than more level headed researchers and sceptics. A scientist's promise however is as worthless as a politician's until the ability to deliver is established. Because that wise caution was ignored some academics working in the sciences developed an inflated idea of their own importance.
The classic case of this is "climate science" (mathematical modelling) of which it was claimed "the science is settled". Although the science academy love to claim that anyone who criticizes them "does not understand science" the case is that anyone who does understand science knows the science is never settled on anything. I think was the IPCC claim, made over a gourmet breakfast, that the Himalayan Glacier would totally melt by lunchtime which undermined the case for climate science. We did not have to wait and see what happened, it was so obvious the report's compilers had just ignored inconvenient data. Dr. Pachauri has shown great fortitude in resisting calls for his resignation but in refusing to do the honourable thing has done great hasrm to public trust in all the sciences.
Another case of a scientist quoting his scientific background to give false authority to his claims of expertise way outside his field which he simply did not possess was Tim Berners Lee and the internet.
Tim Berners Lee did not invent the world wide web. He cobbled up a very poor protocol converter for the proprietary text mark up symbols used by various manufacturers. Protocol converters are simple, I used to be able to knock up, compile and test a very good one in a couple of days but in spite of that Berner's Lee's HTML1 was piss poor. HTML was always a mark up language, it had no functionality (I believe that has changed with the latest version) but is simply a scriptor defining the way ASCII code which is 99% of web pages and has been around since the 1950s, is displayed so there was really nothing new in it.
Microsoft had in fact already given us a cross platform document display file format, .rtf (rich text format) which in turn owed a lot to the old Wordstar word processor.
For years we professionals in computers and networking had been building multi platform networks that were secure, efficient and useable after an hour's training by clerks, admin workers, salesmen, workshop and warehouse staff, medical personnel. In fact everybody except scientists could easily learn to log on to a computer through a terminal and access information. The only people who could not manage that simple process were scientists. We used to joke that what they wanted was a computer system that could read their mind, divine their intent and do as they wish without requiring them to interrupt their train of scientific thought to do anything as onerous as type in a command.
I don't know whether our very efficient systems weren't scientific and clunky enough for the pointy heads (the modern web is certainly clunky) or their egos simply could not cope with the thought of techies, engineers and logicians controlling something they believed should be in their domain (actually the 'science' behind modern computers is quite old (think Ark of the Covenant, the Baghdad Batteries and that medieval monk who gave his colleagues little electric shocks to make their hair stand on end,) and there really isn't much of it Semiconductors are not complex. When we get to thinking up clever ways of using that science we're in the realm of technology.
Before Tim Berners Lee interfered we had some great inter - networking systems, they were secure, very stable, slow (simply because broadband and fibre had not taken off) and far too expensive for most home users. Then along came TBL with his notion that everyone should be able to access every file on every computer in the world (if you don't immediately see how idiotic that idea is think of your ex spouse being able to look at your employer's payroll files) and the even more idiotic idea that the only people who would want to use such a facility would be entirely trustworthy (a common failing among scientists is a complete inability to understand human nature) and you realise people in power were listening to the least qualified man in the world to advise on building a public data network.
Science fans like to say that the computer industry professionals had proved incapable of building anything like the internet, it took a scientist's clear vision to seen what was needed and make it happen. That is typical of the self glorification of many academics and people who work in various fiels of research, in particular that bubble of unreality known as theoretical physics. What we were incapable of was building a system that was efficient, secure and yet so childishly simple even a theoretical physicist could use it. IP, the internet protocol, had existed for over a decade before the world wide web was dreamed of, transport protocol, which was renamed hypoertext transport protocol because hyper has a nice, arrested adolescent, science-fictiony feel to it, had been around even longer as a component of the now obsolete CCITT X25 store and forward protocol. The whole lot except for the clunky HTML mark up language was based on the ISO OSI 7 layer model for information exchange which was adopted as an international standard in the early 1970s. (ISO = International Standards Organisation; OSI = open systems interconnection)
Thanks to the interference of a scientist who knew nothing of all that but felt able to ignore it because he was a scientist so what he did not know could not be important, right? Microsoft and others jumped on the bandwagon and "Not Fit For Purpose" became acceptable quality to bring to market as companies raced to get their product to market first so that it would burn brightly thanks to the oxygen of free publicity. Science journalists are nothing if not wide eyed and the wisdom of being sceptical and objective about a new technological miracle did not intrude on their unbridled enthusiasm. New became the new good.
If you have ever had a virus, trojan or worm, been hacked, spammed, phished, cyberstalked, been a victim of cyber crime or had to upgrade your computer because your anti malware package combined with a bloated operating system was just too much for a machine so powerful we would have used it as a server for a 1000 user network fifteen years ago, thank Tim Berners Lee, the man who knew more than hundreds of experts in a dozen specialised fields because he is a scientist.
Thus we see the downfall of science lies in its ability to enraputre its devotees to convince them that saying "I'm a scientist endows them with supernatural powers, omnipotence and infallibility. With science on their side, the cult followers reason, they are invincible. "I'm a scientist has become the modern equivalent of "I am a man of God", the statement that has aways quashed all opposition. Scientists walk on quicksand when they speak of evidence however. The evidence before us suggests the only things at which science excels are spending vast amounts of money and achieving the opposite of what was intended.
Around the web you can read time and again articles eulogising the moon landings 40 years ago as man's greatest achievement to date. What? As an exercise in balls out politics in response to the Russians having put a human in orbit around the earth the moon landings were a triumph. America spent a fortune to sit some guys on a giant bomb and fire them 250,000 miles into space so they could bring back some rocks and dust. Early last summer we had a very dry spell in this part of England. I could have walked to the spare land near our house and brought back some rocks and dust. Just because NASA spent a lot of money doing essentially the same does not make it an achievement on a par with The Pyramids at Giza; Rome's great system of aquaducts that delivered fresh drinking water to the city; The Antikytheron mechanism which, though unimpressive in itself, proves that 150 years BC the Greeks had mapped the solar system with considerable accuracy; Gutenberg's printing press; The Alhambra Palace; Jethro Tull's mechanical seed drill (much better than the second album) launching the social revolution that made the industrial revolution possible or the building of a railway network - the first high speed mass transport system. That is not a definitive list of course, just a few examples plucked from memory. Some were indicative of great advances in knowledge and understanding, some immediately kicked off eras of social and political change.
Forty years on the moon landings have changed nothing. We learned little about the moon that we had not known before the landings and we now know little more than we did then. The internet, another great achievement claimed by science, falsely in this case, is actually proving counter productive when its contribution to advancing human society is considered.
Scientists love being clever. Ask a scientist a simple question and they will reply with a page full of equations and interpret your bafflement as affirmation for their cleverness. But what is clever about calculating the value of Pi to 20.000 decimal places? What is clever about studying the random radiation coming in from deep space for 50 years in the hope of finding evidence of alien life as the scientists at SETI (Search for Extra Trrestrial Intelligence) project in California have done. What is the point of building a large hadron collider in the hope of finding the secret of the universe when you don't know what you are looking for, don't know how you will recognise it when you find is and don't even know if what you are looking for actually exists. Being clever and being intelligent are not the same thing.
Ironically while the boys and girls at CERN have been poring over the results from their collider's collisions two largely unheralded and minimally reported discoveries ought to have challenged big bank theory and changed the way mainstream science views the possible origins of the universe. CERN's attempts to discover how the universe was made and how it all works are as pointless in practical terms as the moon landings.
Thus I suggest that not only are we who are not qualified in science entitled to speak out on related topics, it is our duty to do so. If ever there was a subject other than the internet that needed common sense input from realists it is science.
The Persecution Of Johnny Ball and The Intolerance Of WarmageddonistsVeteran TV presenter Johnny Ball, whose programmes on science and mathematics enthused many young viewers in a way formal education never can, probably did not realise he was stepping into a lion's den when he voiced his opinion that the mathematics on which the carbon driven global warming case rests are very dodgy. The Climate Science Warmageddonists turned their fury on him as they have on all who challenge the teachings of their doomday cult.
Google and the Surveillance SocietyJust how much data are Google gathering on private individuals? And are other internet and hi - tech firms far behind in their efforts to trash our private lives and force us all to live online in full view of the world. This article reports how far the internet has gone in letting fascistic corporations ride roughshod over privacy laws.
The Truth Is Not Out There
There is no hope of finding alien life in space because conditions on all other planets are too hostile, a leading astronomer has claimed. This goes against recent, almost hysterical claims from research grant phishing astrophysicists who claim the 'photographs of neighbouring galaxies' (in fact CGI images constructed from measurements of radiation coming in from certain parts of outer space) have 'proved' 'the truth is out there' and there could be many planets capable of ...
Anti - Social NetworkingThe people who are grabbing control of the internet, Schmidt, Page and Brin, Zuckerberg et al should make us afraid, very afraid. They are all nerds you see. Now we all know some geeks, they're harmless, a bit obsessed with science and technology they spend too much time hunched over their computer ... Nerds are different however. They want to control the technology so they can control the internet so they can control the information so they can control the world. And then they want to programme us all to be like them.
Effin Hopeless: A Rant about the internet, ISPs, customer service and the general crappiness of everything.
As we regard the state of western civilisation with it's 'liberating' internet that puts all the information in the world
(and fart lighting videos) at our fingertips, lives lived online by increasingly isolated and dysfunctional people, the ability of authoritarian governments to control information and the politicians parallel and contradictory exhortations to reduce our carbon footprint and start spending to get the economy back in growth we are entitled to ask "Why are you telling us everything is great when experience tells us everthing is very, very crappy."
Eminent U.S. Pysicist Pulversises Climate Science Scammers
In another blow to the climate change alarmists an eminent US Physicist has denounced the whole climate science academic community as motivated by self interest and the pursuit of wealth and glory and the anthropogenic global warming scare as the greatest and most successful scam he has seen in his long life.
Self Driving Cars Are The Latest Dehumanizing Development
Don't be evil, that's Google's job. The world's greatest corporate Nazis are always eager to promote the latest dehumanizing technological advance. The most recent project they revealed from a long line of technologies aimed at cutrailing our ability to think for ourselves and make our own choices is the self driving car. No doubt the Evil Empire will sell this as something to keep us safe and ...
Footballers More Highly Valued Than Scientits - Scientists Complain
We are used to scientists whingeing, oh they're so hard done by, they work long and hard at the task of extending human knowledge and are paid peanuts ('if you pay peanuts you end up hiring monkeys' goes an old business maxim. Now they are complaining immigration law values football more highly than science as footballers' work visas are priorities. Why not we ask, footballers entertain some people, scientists seem to spend all their time molesting mice. When you see (below) some of the work they turn in you might think as we do that if scientists are earning peanuts we're overpaying them...
Chief Of Climate Science Panel Under Pressure To Resign
By far the best news of the month is the discredited head of the United Nations Inter-governmental panel on climate change is under pressure to resign following twelve months of revelations showing how he manipulated the panel's work to support suggestions that climate change was far worse and a far more imminent
Climate Change Crooks And Liars
Though climate change alarmists claim that that "the science is settled" no longerr holds water the arguments rage on. If anything they are getting more heated as the climate science lobby, knocked from the moral high grounds show their true colours. But more and more evidence is showing the climate change science was never settyled and the global warming Armageddonists had built their whole case on very flimsy evidence.
Your Shit Is Unique: More Shit Science From The No Shit Sherlock School Of Science
Science is always looking for new worlds to explore, final frontiers to cross. We have reported on many branches of sciene, mouse, hockey stick, crocoldile and other but none more unappealing thaty the universe that exists up you arse. Now science has taken a great leap up the arse of humankind to explore the life of the shit uinverse and its many unique and individual life forms...
Climate Science Debunked By Science Superstar Max Planck.
One of the lies most often repeated by the Climate Science lobby is that 'the science stands' i.e. that no fault was found in the scientific work of the CRU. This is both true and a lie, true in that no fault was found, a lie because the reason no fault was found is that to examine the scientific work was outside the Russell panel's terms of reference. This report features the Max Planck Institute's take on climate science and the IPCC.
Apple iPad Will Not Rewrite The BookThe word on the street for nearly twenty years has been e books will kill print, the internet will kill traditional media. With the launch of the latest e book reader and the latest overpriced, overhyped, under achieving gadget from Apple former Iinformation Technology consultant Ian R Thorpe can't see the death of print occurring yet for a few centuries.
Apple iPad: Another Pointless Product For Pointless PeopleOne of the reasons we established this page was to fire broadsides at marketing and public relations hype. Apple is a company that built is success on highly manipulative hype by persuading people to buy expensive technology that performs less well than much cheaper versions but has a prettier logo. The launch of Apple's most pointless gadget yet, the iPad was a natural target.
The Apple Of His LiverWill Steve Jobs liver transplant be the inspiration for a range of new high technology replavement vital organs all prefixed with the letter 'i' for branding purposes?
Mouse Scientists (Or Mickey Mouse Journalists) Do It In The Dark
We love scientists here at Boggart Blog (honest, we do) Where would we be without the constant stream of materiasl they feed us, especially on mouse science related projects. That is the science of studying mice and claiming to have gained vital understanding of human problems. Or fuckwittery to us uneducated folk. Here's a story of a health risk to humans identified by shing lights on mice at night.
Stating The Obvious Will Not Rebuild Our Economy
Given the obsession governments have with science and their irrational faith in the idea that sciencfe and technology will lead us out of the financial meltdown and rebuild the western economy, it is time we questioned some of the loony project that are being undertaken in Universities...
Climate Change, Pollution and Coal Fired Power Stations.
The debate on climate change or AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) is not lost despite the dishonesty of the climate science lobby and the United Nations IPCC. The argument was hijacked by science and yet the mindset of modern scientists is much to narrow and inflexible to cope with the complexities of climate variations and their global effects. Here is an example of the dishonest presentation of information to hype the case for "scientific solutions.
Folding Plug Wins Another Useless Gadget Design Award.
Politicians and leading science and technology commentators were quick to hail the inventor of a new folding mains plug as a genius. But who needs a folding mains plug? Or has the guy mistaken the powrer transformer for his laptop computer for a bulky, overweight mains plug?
The True Hockey Stick
Believer in the new religion of AGW, anthropogenic global warming or climate change will be sick of having their science based faith mocked and their scientist priests ridiculed. To help them hold to their belief we offer a change to own a fragment of the true hockey stick, the sacred symbol of their religion.
Quotas For Women Scientists.
Nothing Good Has Come Of The Internet.
When a technophobe denounces the internet as anti - social, anti jobs, a force for dumbing down or a waste of time it can easily be dismissed but when the CEO of a major technology company like Sony saays nothing good has ever come of the internet we should perhaps listen.
Internet Access As A Human Right?
A survey carried out by the BBC found a majority of people around the world believe internet access should be a basic human right. We suspect a bit of statistical rigging because the majority of people in the world live below the poverty line and probably have more urgent priorities than surfing the net.
Science - Who To Believe
We are all aware of how the climate change scientists kept insisting in response to anybody who pointed out their sums did not add up that "the science is settled", resistance is futile. It has had theeffect of making most people a lot more sceptial about science and...
At Last The Government Gets It, We Need New Nuclear Power Stations
After thirty years of dithering, listening to know -nothing scientists and do nothing wierdie-beardies, short-termism and pandering to the profit motive our ruers have finally accepted we ned to build nuclear power stations to ensure supplies of reasonably clean electricity for the future.
The Great Climate Change Science Scam
by Ian R. Thorpe
I have been campaigning about climate change for over thirty years. Now, the more I read of efforts by governments, academics and corporate interests to come up with a quick fix the more I am convinced they are working a scam to make quick, easy money. For decades the only people concerned about the environment were considered cranks, hippies, crusties, crackpots and
V2G, Technology You Can't Believe In
Vehicle to Grid ( V2G), the new idea for clean, pollution free cars. Probably the craziest and most ueseless idea yet from the "Let's make a quick buck out of climate change" fear and panic industry...
Is The Internet Making Us All Stupid.
The more gullible and wide eyed among academics like to burble ecstatically about how the internet has ushered in a new age of creativity. We have to wonder just how much time these self styled experts have spent surfing scial networking sites
Web Induced Dementia
In most civilised societies there are laws governing what outrageous claims advertisers can make for their products. This does not apply on the web it seems, where 'revolutionary new world changing technology' means 'not fit for purpose'
Boggart Blog - Science