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    Undermine Science By Redefining It
    By Hank Campbell | August 29th 2013 12:33 AM | 146 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hank

    I'm the founder of Science 2.0® and co-author of "Science Left Behind".

    A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone...

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    A common technique of activists and people who generally distrust science and want to undermine it is to clog up the discourse with sophistry, like "it depends on how you define X", or they claim that their personal belief means science is not science, but rather morality. 

    As an example, I am going to use attorney Wesley Smith, who writes a column about ethics for the conservative magazine National Review and works for the Discovery Institute, an organization devoted to undermining science. I've talked about attorney Smith once already and this will be the last time - beyond that, criticism isn't constructive and it would be violating my policy of making issues the topics and not individuals - but he uses both these techniques in a recent piece, so it is a good example of how people who claim to care about science are really out to undermine it.(1)

    His complaint is about a 'Top 10 List' on Real Clear Science - settled science that is controversial. He disagrees that 8 of them are settled at all, even really goofy stuff like homeopathy, after hundreds of years of helping no one. But how he does it is key. He makes sure he can't be wrong on his opinion about settled science by insisting his personal definition of science is different or that it's not a science issue, it's an ethics one.(2)

    The only thing he accepts is that vaccines don't cause autism. To their credit, National Review never embraced that bit of anti-science fluff the way the left did. I may not like that they pay a guy who is a fifth columnist for an anti-biology organization but denying evolution is not killing anyone; the anti-science people against food, energy and medicine are putting real lives at stake, and they have as much dominance on the left as climate change deniers have on the right.

    Here are the two ways you know you are being led down the path of undermining science:

    (A) It depends on what you mean by... statements.

    We can start with a real doozie: Evolution is only a science issue, Smith declares, "depending on what is meant by the term".

    What?

    Now, for calibration, keep in mind he works for the Discovery Institute, which exists to undermine evolution. It is no surprise he declares evolution is 'only a science issue' depending on how you define it.  So if you define evolution as some new world order to overthrow religion and impose an atheistic scientocracy, then evolution is not science to you.  And you are also a crackpot. Smith does not know many biologists so his data pool is limited but I have never once heard a biologist define evolution as "proof of atheism and materialism" - yet he says that is what biologists are out to do. It isn't even a straw man, he just pulls something untrue out of thin air and claims to debunk it.

    He also uses a logical fallacy to rationalize his apparent belief in homeopathy. You'd think a conservative publication like National Review would want to get rid of a goofy division of government like NCCAM that costs taxpayers $120 million per year and is the darling of Democrats but, no, homeopathy and all those other alternative medicines may be legitimate because you can't prove it doesn't work

    While promoting doubt and invoking logical fallacies is great for attorneys, that is not how evidence-based medicine works. If a treatment wants to be non-alternative, it simply needs to be shown to work in double-blind clinical trials. Then it becomes regular medicine. Until it works, it does not work. Claiming it simply has not been proved to work yet is ridiculous. 

    He also thinks cold fusion is getting a bad rap and some bad logic gets thrown around again. It isn't that it doesn't work, it just hasn't been accomplished. This can also apply to telepathy, telekinesis, levitation and just about anything else - who knew religious people believed so readily in magic? It isn't that it isn't real, those stupid scientists just haven't discovered how to make it real yet. Bring on that perpetual motion and time travel! A blogger says it can happen.

    He doesn't like nuclear power. "It depends on what" the meaning of safe is - but this also applies to swimming pools and church attendance and giving birth. 250 women each year have heart attacks while pregnant, that is as many women as will be shot by rifles. So I can now be a good attorney and redefine rifles to be as safe as pregnancy using his flawed logic.

    He doesn't like that GMOs are safe - once again, he declares "that depends on the meaning of" safe. To evidence-based people, safe means it has not been shown to do extraordinary harm, since no product in the world does no harm. That is what substantial equivalence is. After over 15 years and hundreds of millions of tests, while organic food has sickened and killed thousands, genetically modified foods are still sitting at zero instances of harm. Declaring that the best hope for feeding poor people is risky because his arbitrary metric for 'safe' has not been met is silly. It is the exact kind of elitist patronization National Review usually opposes.

    When his Bill Clinton-ish "it depends on what the definition of 'is' is" shtick isn't working, Smith resorts to:

    (B) It is not a science issue, it is an ethical issue.

    To be fair, it is not just a National Review blogger who engages in this; if you talk to anyone on the left who is anti-science about biology, medicine or energy, they will invariably say it is not a science issue, it is an ethical one. They don't hate GMOs, they distrust the policies of Monsanto. They don't deny medicine, they think drug companies are unethical. Double that for energy companies and the ethics of actual emissions-free power.

    By making everything morally relative - though conservatives hate that term so they use 'ethics' - there are virtually no science issues remaining. It's all just opinion and therefore scientists are no more knowledgeable than anyone else. Does that sound like a left-wing postmodernist to you? It's amazing what Smith shares in common with the very people he claims are ruining his America.

    But even he can't keep track of what he believes on this ethics stuff. Example: He notes that the majority of researchers won't engage in chimpanzee research due to personal ethics and concludes therefore that animal testing is not scientifically necessary.  

    Hasn't he grown? Previously he declared for National Review readers that not performing animal research was an ethical crime against humanity, now he is saying that animal research is not science.  Back then he declared animal research was going to cure Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's and stroke if liberals against animal research would just get out of the way. Today, nope, animal research is not science at all. 

    Oh, and he also says GMOs are an ethical issue for good measure. Why? No idea, he is pretty vague. What does he actually know about transgenes? As much as a writer at Elle magazine, who also declared GMOs risky.  National Review readers should feel good knowing that their recurring science pundit knows as much science as a freelance writer for a fashion magazine. 

    He finishes off with a sort of anti-elitism, after engaging in so much of it.
    Sorry, in a free society that isn’t (yet) a scientocracy, scientists don’t get to be the sole “deciders.”
    No, sorry for you, Wes. You don't get to vote on facts. You simply can manipulate what your readers do with them.

    NOTES:

    (1) Obviously we could laugh it off the same way we laugh at science articles in Elle. It's a political magazine, people reading him are not interested in science. What should be alarming is they think he is an expert on ethics.

    (2)  And if you disagree you are part of some vast liberal, atheist, sciencocracy conspiracy. When did scientists become so organized? They are more like herding butterflies than any cohesive effort to legislate policy. Science is a $100 billion constituency in the US with no clout at all - Democrats can manipulate science just like Republicans and scientists don't change any votes.

    Comments

    I have to agree with the other guy here at least a little. Scientists are notoriously loose with their use of the English language - often it's like they don't know or care about the meaning of the words they use in explaining things to the public. Really I wish they'd look up words before they used them.

    And as bad as that is, even worse is that many scientists have no clue about the concept of values (as in ethics or utility). They naively presume that all people have the same value system, or those with different values are just "irrational". They spend all their time thinking about what is or "could" be, and never seem to examine what "should" be in a self-critical way. It's like listening to grunting from idiot savants.

    I take it you don't have a scientific background. Scientists have to be very specific about their use of the English language. Words have very definite meanings to a scientist, even more so than the general public. Why do you think we get so annoyed when someone uses the phrase "it's just a theory"? Theory has a very definite meaning in the scientific community and it's the public that misuses it. The real issue is a lack of science education in society and an inability on the part of many scientists to translate our message in a way that everyone can understand.

    As far as ethics go, most scientists go through more ethics training than other fields do. I highly doubt that scientists are any less ethical than the rest of the population.

    I agree that many scientists are lousy public speakers and do not understand precise word meanings. It is a real problem and why my professors require the writing of science articles in simple sentences and direct statements. Unfortunately when engaged in conversations we don't speak that way. Most scientists, especially outside the universities, understand utility very well. As for ethics, we scientist tend to think there must be a single correct answer for all problems and tend to ignore the fact that solutions often depend on the values of the people trying to solve them and many people have different values. The "correct answer" for a socialist is not the correct value for a capitalist in many situations.

    I actually agree with Mr. Smith on several of the issues and suspect if most people (including those posting here) were to read the actual article instead of this hatchet job would agree as well. The problem is, Campbell has so completely mischaracterized the National Review article as to make it unrecognizable. In other words, Campbell fabricates positions and statements that Smith does not take or make.

    I would recommend readers actually reading Mr. Smith's column. I don't know what Campbell's beef is with Smith (although I suspect it is political), but to say that this article is dishonest would be charitable.

    This kind of article is why people distrust scientists so much these days.

    Hank
    The people who mistrust science don't recognize that attorney Smith is paid by an anti-science front organization.

    If you like when Greenpeace writes 'science articles' about climate change, then Smith is probably okay by you. There is nothing ethical about letting attorneys ban science positions that they happen to dislike in their moral relativism haze. And his attempts to redefine science should be in The Onion rather than National Review.
    I don't know anyone who mistrusts science. I do know people who mistrust scientists. Frankly, this column is the type of writing that causes such distrust.

    You claim that Smith said that homeopathy had not been disproven. In fact, Smith said that alternative medicine (including all of homeopathy's wacky cousins like acupuncture and chiropracty) had not been disproven. Thus, rather than point out the logical flaw of trying to disprove a negative, you simply attribute quotes to him he does not make.

    Later, for some reason, you attack him claiming "[s]o I can now be a good attorney and redefine rifles to be as safe as pregnancy using his flawed logic." In fact, if 250 women get pregnant and 250 die from heart attacks, while 100 million use rifles and only 250 are injured, one very well could say that rifles are safer than pregnancy. If you were to further parse the number and discover that of the 250 who died, 200 of them were trying to kill the person who shot them, one could argue that the rifle made society safer. (Hence the whole "lies, damned lies, and statistics" quip from Disraeli.) The meanings of words, the context of words, etc. are not mere exercises in Clintonian lawyering.

    If scientists would be a little more careful in their language and, more importantly, a lot less political, you could regain a lot of credibility with the public. Again, I don't know what your personal beef is with Smith (although I suspect you don't like his political leanings), but it does not accrue to your credit to misrepresent what he said.

    As a final note, this idea that claiming anyone who disagrees with a particular position must be on the payroll of "X" (even when there is no evidence of such) is dangerous. It makes everyone think scientists are out for the highest bidder. Given the undisputed fact that issues like global warming are much more profitable to scientists if they exist (and much less so if they don't), scientists are poisoning their own well by telling the public that scientific opinion can be bought.

    Hank
    Again, I don't know what your personal beef is with Smith (although I suspect you don't like his political leanings), 
    As A 20-year subscriber to National Review, it is unlikely his conservative politics would be offensive, if he were actually a conservative. Instead, he is a social authoritarian, just for a company that promotes anti-science nonsense rather than the government. He is a snake oil salesman who claims to embrace conservative values so he can impose his employer's sectarian viewpoint on science classes. It used to be the case that conservatism was not a giant cult where you had to agree with every weird belief of every crackpot claiming to be conservative, lest them liberals win - perhaps it is different now and I am not worthy of being a conservative unless I adapt the intellectually immature moral relativism of this anti-science jihadist masquerading as a science writer over there.
    Call me an anti-science jihadist if you like. I just suspect that critiquing Smith's story for what it says, rather than critiquing for things which were not said is more conducive to restoring people's faith in scientists.

    Again, I've never met anyone skeptical of science, but know many who are skeptical of scientists.

    Hank
    It's fine to be skeptical of science, people should be skeptical of science. I would not encourage you to listen to a mathematician who claims he can prove gravity doesn't work. But if what you write is accurate, you don't have as much in common with Smith as you think. He is not skeptical of scientists, he hates science, and his employer pays him because they went into business to undermine science - not scientists.

    Declaring that people don't have "faith in scientists" is silly.  When you look at surveys, who does the public respect more, scientists or attorneys?  We all know the answer to that. The public has no lack of faith in scientists or science, no matter how much money the Discovery Institute spends. Some use a political filter to declare that they have no faith in climate science (people on the right) or GMOs (the left) but only the real kooks say that biology is some social conspiracy.

    I wish more conservatives adapted the intellectual freedom they claim they have about a guy who gets paid to undermine science. Yet, in these comments, there isn't a single bit of skepticism about his attempts to undercut science by redefining it through his partisan, personal relativism. Nope, it is all just drones declaring they don't trust scientists - because an elite told them they shouldn't. That sounds a lot like the liberals NR criticizes.
    The people you accuse of being skeptical of science, are, in fact, skeptical of people they believe have a political agenda (scientists). I've never heard of anyone saying "I just don't believe that the speed of light is 186,000 mps" or doubt that bacteria cause disease or believe that mice spontaneously generate from dirty laundry or deny that water boils at 100 degrees C at sea level. What I hear a lot of, however, is that "if global warming is true, why did Climagegate happen?" That is not skepticism in science, that is a failure to believe the honesty of the practitioners of science.

    Frankly, I tend to see scientists as human beings with human frailties. Some are honest, some aren't. When billions of dollars are at stake, and a political theory conforms to one's political beliefs, only a naif would believe that things won't be shaded in favor of the money and political belief (at least to some degree).

    Hank
    We agree completely - and when someone is paid to promote anti-science beliefs, the same skepticism is in order. So look at Smith with the same objective, critical view you claim you have, because he is paid by a company that undermines science - not scientists.  If your 'follow the money' logic holds up, I expect every honest conservative will start looking critically at his articles to see where, and how often, he uses ethics and redefinition to make undercut science. His nonsense about 'scientocracy' is just a ruse, he is paid to attack science.

    I am baffled that the conservatives who claim to be such critical thinkers do no work at all looking at the Discovery Institute, when it is certain they would if the funding behind a writer were Greenpeace or the UN. 
    I'm not as familiar with him as you, but plan to find out about him. Have a good weekend.

    The author himself is guilty of redefining science. If anyone dare question evolution theory they are defined as being "anti-science" or "anti-biology." If a scientist, regardless of their degrees, dare question evolution theory, they are no longer considered a scientist in the author's mind, but are trying to undermine science. The way you test a theory or hypothesis is by trying to prove it wrong. If all you do is look for evidence that would seem to support what you already want to believe, any bit of evidence can be interpreted to fit. That is why it is so important to administer the scientific method in a manner in which something can be falsified.

    Evolution as a theory, could be falsified, or verified, if the scientific method was being properly adhered to. When someone points out evidence that would seem to bring evolution theory into question, they are labeled as being against science. It is actually they who are applying the scientific method in the proper manner. It is people like the author that are actually undermining real science. No type of change in a life form should be regarded as "evolution" unless it goes beyond the species level, for that is not true evolution. Variation has never been in question, common descent is. Defining any type of change as proof of evolution is helping to undermine real science.

    Hank
    You're confusing evolution with natural selection. The latter is a mechanism of the former yet you say you don't deny biology but then say you do because you deny natural selection. Pick - attorneys and anti-biology true believers make that kind of error, but no one in science does. If you can prove natural selection can't happen, show it. Declaring that falsification - philosophy - is some overlord of science is bread and butter for anti-science rhetoric.

    It's not great that you think engineers and whatever else know more biology than biologists - silly, but not unexpected. I can also find engineers who believe in astrology. In the diversity of human thought, that is going to happen. But embracing outliers and declaring the mainstream wealth of knowledge 'suppressing truthful underdogs' is what conspiracy theorists do. And that is you and the rest of the Discovery Institute do; you declare evolution a conspiracy and want to replace it with your own unscientific philosophy.
    I see you have set up a couple of straw men here, first saying I denied natural selection, which I didn't; then claiming I think engineers know more biology than biologists, which I also did not claim. I see you also continue to claim that doubting evolution is the same as being anti-science, which it isn't. There is a clear distinction between science, and viewing everything through a strictly philosophical naturalistic worldview; a distinction for which those who have such a worldview are usually unable to make. You also linked me for some reason with the Discovery Institute, which I have never been a part of, but I guess you define those who do not share your philosophical worldview as one in the same. I would just like to replace your philosophical worldview with real science, which I can tell you know very little about.

    Hank
    Sorry, invoking falsification or Popper or wherever you are going next is not real science. You just desire a subjective philosophy. Since I just criticized Smith for invoking his own subjective philosophy to debunk science, you shouldn't do it either.  

    If you have proven that science is wrong and your new way is right, let's see your work.
    I've collected over 150 science textbooks, falsification was considered an important part of the scientific method at one time, and it still is when applied properly. "My way" is unbiased testing and reporting, not just viewing everything through a philosophical worldview as you have chosen. Stating that falsification is not part of the scientific method proves you know little about how real science is supposed to work. I personally used the scientific method for a number of years professionally, you must not have any personal experience from which to draw from.

    You once again equated questioning evolution theory with being the same as trying to debunk science. When other theories are questioned and tested, as they have been in the past, it is considered science at work. That is, unless the theory in question happens to be evolution. Evolutionists will often state that science is all about change, but then they protect their pet theory and won't allow it to be tested. You are contradicting yourself, and undermining real science. If it is true, what are you afraid of?

    Evolutionists will state that all biologists believe in evolution. When it is pointed out that many in the field of biology question evolution theory, they just say: "Well, if anyone questions evolution, then they aren't a true scientist." Circular reasoning at its best, something for which evolutionists are well noted for. Date the fossil by the rock layer, then date the rock layer by the fossils found in it. All based on a preconceived idea about how old they want it to be. I love real science, but not what is being passed off as science today, it is pseudoscience. Ignorance can often be fixed, willing ignorance usually cannot be.

    Hank
    Collecting textbooks does not give you the credibility to overturn evolution, I have never once seen a biologist deny testing, and I am not afraid of anything. Your continued use of the term 'world view' shows you are an opportunist masquerading as someone who cares about science, the same way Smith does. You are only a fan of the scientific method when you can use it to promote fear and doubt about your pet cause.  Since you say paleontologists are in on the Vast Evolution Conspiracy, is there any science you do accept? Because there is a 100% certainty I can debunk it with your 'they don't know everything so it is invalid' nonsense.
    Wonderful rhetoric Hank, it didn't seem to make much sense though. Collecting textbooks would only give one credibility with book collectors I suppose. However, reading them and being able to apply what one has read to the issue at hand, might be beneficial. How exactly does using the term "worldview" indicate whether someone cares about science or not? I would like to hear your reasoning for that. It might help to better understand how your mind works. Do you deny you have a worldview, or that it has any influence over you? We all have a worldview Hank, denial doesn't help. Exactly how did my use of the scientific method promote fear and doubt in your mind? Do you also deny that circular reasoning is used in determining the age of fossils or rock layers? The paleontologists themselves admit that.

    If you could ever get past the main flaw in your thinking processes, we might be able to have a reasonable conversation. You always equate any question of evolution theory as an attack against science itself. Science is a system of study. Evolution theory is only a subject within that field of study, not the system of study itself. Another flaw is equating any type of change within a species as a part of common descent.

    Science requires observation. If you were completely honest with yourself you would admit the process of common descent is not observable. Think of change of one life form to another as a scale for example of 1 to 100. Look around you. All we can observe are life forms still in the "1" level of change. If it has been going on for 600 million years, we should see life forms everywhere in other levels of change, 60, 70, 80. 90%. Everything is still the same type of life form it always has been. We can't observe life forms in different stages of that process, yet you still believe it happened in the past.

    I want to leave you with just one hypothetical question. I don't expect you to give me an honest answer, but the flow of rhetoric should be a wonderful experience. Here is the question: "If evolution from one species to another actually didn't happen, and God did in fact create life forms exactly as they are in all of their complexity, just equip their DNA to allow for speciation within a kind, would that not make creation more scientific than evolution?" What part does reality play in science? I know that is a second question, but that one wasn't hypothetical. All that is required is a simple "yes" or "no" to the first question.

    I'm not sure the word "ban" means what you think it means.

    Hank
    Since he has repeatedly called for bans on research he subjectively personally happens not to like, I would say using the term 'ban' is correct. But then, there are no definitions to Smith, it is all just a happy sophistry wonderland where cows can whinny and sideways is back and forth and he loves science while he hates it.

    He's a social authoritarian on the right. Banning is what social authoritarians do. Like social authoritarians on the left, they claim they are doing it to protect us from some evil conspiracy, like science - or Big Gulps.
    You can ban an avenue of research if it is unethical; you cannot really ban a science position.

    Hank
    He rants and demonizes that scientists are out to create some atheist scientocracy - those are his words, I quoted him - and what does he declare unethical and want to ban? In vitro fertilization, of all ridiculously stupid things. He's a moron, that is bad, but his social authoritarianism is the problem. He is a Bloomberg of the right, imposing his beliefs on all of us, who are too stupid and need him patronizing us to make our decisions.

    Again, if this were some liberal crackpot spewing such outrageous nonsense, National Review would be up in arms about how far we have fallen. But since it is a paid shill for an anti-science advocacy group, and he says he is on their side against the mean old left that wants to ruin his evangelical Utopia, it gets a free pass.
    "...and what does he declare unethical and want to ban? In vitro fertilization, of all ridiculously stupid things."

    Where did you read that? I see a post here in which Smith wants IVF to be regulated more stringently, not banned.

    http://drupal6.nationalreview.com/human-exceptionalism/345597/ivf-needs-...

    "Safe" is an arbitrary word, so it does have to be defined. There are two broad senses, one being absolute safety and the other relative safety. An activity may have benefits so the benefits need to be considered along with the risks in determining what is safe.

    Idiot. NO THING is absolutely safe.

    Just because you can't think of any doesn't make me an idiot. It makes you an idiot.

    Idiot? There's an intelligent response. It's obvious that "safe" is a relative term that must be more precisely and scientifically defined. You may think smoking pot or skydiving is safe. I do not. "Safe" is relative.

    I was called an idiot first, so I responded in kind.
    Sometimes you have to get dirty to get work done.
    Safe is relative and absolute.
    You have to define the risk in terms of space and time.

    Um...My post was in partial agreement with yours and stating the obvious that the initial response to you was frankly dumb. I'd be careful with the absolutely safe comment, but I'm pretty sure you're simply giving "bounds" to the abiguous and unscientific term, "safe".

    Yes, we're all absolutely safe from a collision with Andromeda in the next hour.

    You think you're contributing how? I think you're smoking pot. And I say that's not safe. I think the smoke form of medicinal MJ is unsafe and merely a push to legalize the recreational use of an unsafe drug. If you don't agree with my use of the term safe, then you should probably request a more scientific description of than safe. Do you actually disagree for a particular reason, or are you just trying to act like an annoying know-it-all?

    So you imagine invisible entities and that I smoke pot. For your safety, I recommend you seek a mental health professional.

    Your contibutions are worthless. Oh for an atheist with intellectual integrity who doesn't merely play word games. Love science. Despise militant, morally-bankrupt atheism.

    What's your prognosis? You did go seek help didn't you? For your safety and the safety of others please follow the advice of your mental health professiona.

    You are completely safe if you are dead.

    Depends on how you define completely safe. Your body decays, you're just not aware of it.

    There was really only one on the list that got my goat and that was the claim that climate change, or global warming (talk about changing your terms when facts go against you!), is settled science. This is, of course, Al Gore's trope. However, as an environmental scientist, I would just say that no science is settled. There is always more data to be had and science has to be open to data that refutes previous "facts". That is why it is still called the Theory of Evolution - probability is very high that the theory is correct based on data, and it is rightly an accepted guiding principal of biology, but even evolution is still termed a theory and we refine the mechanism all the time based on new discoveries (which tend to reinforce the Theory, by the way).

    With climate change, the mechanisms are not understood, therefore they can't be adequately defined, and as such the models are inaccurate (at best). The models cannot be termed predictive because they cannot be calibrated to prior data (they do not reproduce known results), the recent data is not only in question (heat island affect, multi-decadal ocean oscillation factors, the last 16 years of temperature data, ocean temperatures, and measurements of surface temperatures from satellites for example) but has been manipulated by various parties. It also fails the "null hypothesis" test in that the theory is not able to be falsified under its currently presented terms.

    To my mind, I think that the other more accepted entries on the list, though some are debated (such as the misguided war on vaccines), were red herrings designed to be placed around climate change to reinforce its acceptance and lump anyone who disagrees about the settled science of climate change in with the people that disagree with any of the other entries on the list - trying to tar people who don't accept that climate change as settled science with the same brush, as it were. A more subtle attempt to denigrate skeptics than the usual flame thrower tactics of the UNPCC/James Hansen crowd.

    "It also fails the "null hypothesis" test in that the theory is not able to be falsified under its currently presented terms."

    As an environmental scientist, you don't understand science as evidenced by that sentence.

    Well, Mr. HealthPhysicist, for ease of use and copying text we'll just go to Wiki (although any science textbook would tell you the same thing):

    In statistical inference of observed data of a scientific experiment, the null hypothesis refers to a general or default position: that there is no relationship between two measured phenomena,[1] or that a potential medical treatment has no effect.[2] Rejecting or disproving the null hypothesis – and thus concluding that there are grounds for believing that there is a relationship between two phenomena or that a potential treatment has a measurable effect – is a central task in the modern practice of science, and gives a precise sense in which a claim is capable of being proven false.

    Care to try again?

    The null hypothesis is related to an experiment as you wrote, not a theory as you previously wrote.

    Care to try again?

    Theories are also subject to the null hypothesis test (see Karl Popper, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/popper/) and the null hypothesis/falsification test is applied in many theoretical settings.

    For those that don't follow the link (and from the site), Popper postulated that if a theory is incompatible with possible empirical observations it is scientific; conversely, a theory which is compatible with all such observations, either because, as in the case of Marxism, it has been modified solely to accommodate such observations, or because, as in the case of psychoanalytic theories, it is consistent with all possible observations, is unscientific. For Popper, however, to assert that a theory is unscientific, is not necessarily to hold that it is unenlightening, still less that it is meaningless, for it sometimes happens that a theory which is unscientific (because it is unfalsifiable) at a given time may become falsifiable, and thus scientific, with the development of technology, or with the further articulation and refinement of the theory. Further, even purely mythogenic explanations have performed a valuable function in the past in expediting our understanding of the nature of reality.

    Climate models make projections, not predictions. A model that makes predictions is falsifiable. A model that makes projections is, by its very nature, not. As the climate models are not falsifiable, they are not scientific.

    I can do this all day, y'know.

    Hank
    Not to interrupt but you have created a false definition of science - it has not and never has been falsifiability as some sort of philosophical overlord of science, that was created by philosophy. Let's use Bertrand Russell instead of Popper. By creating a closed system and introducing a contradiction, you make anything possible, including declaring gravity not science.

    In a talk on that related proposition, supposedly someone in the audience yelled out a challenge to Russell: "If 2 plus 2 equals 5, prove that I am the pope." Russell replied, "If 2 plus 2 is 5, then 4 is 5; if 4 is 5, then (subtracting three from each side) 1 is 2; you and the pope are two, therefore you and the pope are one." 

    So your method is all wrong but if you need pithy ways to note that calibration is important, without looking like you just want to debunk science with no credibility, try this: Everyone believes the data except the collector. No one believes the model except the modeler.
    Cute Mr. Campbell, but it is you and the climate change community that are going against the accepted way of doing business and trying to refute the basic methodologies of scientific inquiry because it doesn't permit your pet theory to survive. What is working against you is that science has ACCEPTED the falsification test, so you can't just throw out old Popper for convenience. I would submit it is not I, sir, but YOU who is redefining science. Just saying, "let's use Bertrand Russell" is not an answer....the branches of analytical philosophy that are based on his theories aren't supportive of your meme that science is being conveniently redefined by attorneys or commentators who don't understand science.

    I don't think appealing to the cognitive relativists (factual relativism) in which the "truth or falsehood of any statement is understood to be relative to the perspective of those proving or falsifying the proposition" is where you want to go (which in the view of that philosophy would make climate change a first world science myth, right?) . In fact, the whole climate change fiasco called "scientific consensus" can be laid at the door of Russell and the later "social constructivist" school where a group collaboratively "creates" artifacts and meanings within a "culture" - which of course can lead to a closed cult of activists that believe their own data to the exclusion of data from outside the group (sound familiar?). You should be very afraid of this type of "scientific consensus" you support through this philosophy - not too long ago homosexuality was in the The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders based on the consensus opinion of the profession (until data led them elsewhere). Need we mention Copernicus? The scientific consensus of the day was certainly against him!

    No, what we have in the case of climate change is people trying to fit the data to the theory within their constructivist community rather than following the data and the basis of the scientific method. Climate scientists supporting warming are executing models and experiments along the lines of acceptable scientific inquiry relative to their techniques - but they ignore the central tenants of scientific inquiry, including the null hypothesis/falsification testing of their data sets. The data is inconclusive at the moment and contradictory, not to mention some of it going against the basic laws of physics. If you are a scientist, you must admit that climate change is far from "settled science" and that the concept of "settled science" ultimately doesn't exist.

    Hank
    Cute Mr. Campbell, but it is you and the climate change community that are going against the accepted way of doing business and trying to refute the basic methodologies of scientific inquiry because it doesn't permit your pet theory to survive.
    Not to be rude, but you don't know anything about me. I have no 'pet theory', nor am I some crackpot who sees some Vast Liberal Conspiracy In Science - so knock off the invective, use evidence, or you can be gone back to whatever shrill place where the people who make everything about global warming live.

    This article was about the numerous ways a lawyer working for an anti-science group undermines science he can't refute. I did not mention climate science. 
    TrustbutVerify
    Not to be rude, but you interjected yourself in the middle of a conversation/debate about the inclusion of Climate Change on the Real Clear Science list you were referring to in your article.  So my reference to climate change in my discussion is relative to the inclusion of that specific issue on the list - as I said, I would fundamentally agree with the rest of the list and thus disagree with the attorney on National Review.  However, I was not talking about your article or your points relative to the article on National Review - just climate change as a particular off shoot topic which happens to illustrate when the lawyer may have been right and that it may be the Climate Change advocates that are undermining the scientific method because it refutes their theory. 

    If you agree that climate change should not have been included in the list as "settled science", then I do indeed apologize.  If you believe that climate theory cannot be challenged, then, indeed it is a pet theory to which you ascribe along with everyone else that believes that science, in any area, can be "settled". 

    As to evidence, I don't know that you want to turn the discussion thread into an advanced dissertation presentation on the mechanisms of climate change.  Not the least because I am writing these posts while I am in the middle of drafting a report! 

    I enjoyed your article and hope you have a good day.
    Climate change denier. No science is ever settled in the sense it comes to a halt. Any science can be challenged with new evidence. What matters is what is the opinion of the consensus body whose role it is to reach conclusions on the state of the science.

    We can trace the anthropogenic theory of global warming back to John Tyndall (late 19th century), just like we can trace the theory of evolution back to about the same time.

    Pretty persistent, those theories.

    Hank
    Not to be pedantic but we can trace it a little farther back than that. 1799: Thomas Jefferson, Noah Webster And The First Global Warming Debate.

    But really, one thing is correct - the climate has always been a concern. We see migrations and wars thousands of years ago due to climate shifts. We are smart enough now to engineer our way around it, there are just a lot of knobs to turn, so before we start turning, we have to make sure we turn the ones that will work. When it comes to CO2, which is the big modern issue, no one responsible says it can go on unchecked.
    TrustbutVerify
    Yes, and Thomas Jefferson et al were before the Industrial Revolution and the resultant "problematic" increase in anthropogenic CO2 emissions!  We were coming out of the Little Ice Age and have been warming ever since, for goodness sake, despite Mann's "Hockey Stick" graph that ignored that whole period.  Skepticism is not denial, it is the nature of science.
    Yes, skepticism is not denial. Skeptics respect the scientific consensus and get to work providing evidence in order to shift it. Deniers show disrespect for the process of science by shortcutting the hard work and fomenting doubt on in the lay media, like blog comment sections.

    That is unethical, intellectually cowardly and narcissistic.

    TrustbutVerify
    That isn't the way it works except in Climate Land.  Where the rest of us live, those who propose a theory have to have the data to support it.  It isn't incumbent on us to prove it doesn't exist, it is up to you to prove it does....and that means that you can't have conflicting and compromised data sets being manipulated by people with an agenda (Mann, Hansen, Hadley Center, etc. etc.).
    You're a denier. The data supporting the theory of anthropogenic climate change is available:

    http://ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/syr/en/contents.html

    Stop denying it exists and seek the assistance of a mental health professional.

    My last couple of tries at posting did not go through, but we'll try once more. In my lost posts, I went into the BASIC concept that, yes, a theory (hypothesis anyone?) must also face falsification testing (null hypothesis....get it?). I will just direct you to Karl Popper (http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/popper_falsification.html) and let you stew. For those in the know or not, here is the wiki intro to Sir Popper:

    Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH FRS[3] FBA (28 July 1902 – 17 September 1994) was an Austro-British[4] philosopher and professor at the London School of Economics.[5] He is generally regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century.[6][7] He also wrote extensively on social and political philosophy. In 1992, he was awarded the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy for "symbolising the open spirit of the 20th century"[8] and for his "enormous influence on the formation of the modern intellectual climate".[8]

    Popper is known for his attempt to repudiate the classical observationalist/inductivist form of the scientific method in favour of empirical falsification. He is also known for his opposition to the classical justificationist account of knowledge which he replaced with critical rationalism, "the first non justificational philosophy of criticism in the history of philosophy".[9] In political discourse, he is known for his vigorous defence of liberal democracy and the principles of social criticism that he came to believe made a flourishing "open society" possible.

    I do hope you work in a hospital and aren't out on any of my DoD or DoE sites. We can do this all day, but I suggest you quit.

    You really don't understand science, so I suggest you quit whatever you are doing and take a philosophy of science class.

    The null hypothesis has to do with experiments like you once posted. The null hypothesis is to be tested. It will either be disproven or proven.

    A scientific theory is an explanation based on a large number of proven or disproven hypotheses. The theory has to be falsifiable. That is a different subject than the null hypothesis.

    The theory of anthropogenic global warming is falsifiable, contrary to your earlier statements.

    I do hope you are NOT working at a DoD or a DoE site, but most particularly a hospital!

    Posting with a one until my registration comes through.
    A hypothesis consists either of a suggested explanation for an observable phenomenon or of a reasoned proposal predicting a possible causal correlation among multiple phenomena. In science, a theory is a well-substantiated, unifying explanation for a set of verified hypotheses. A hypothesis needs to be testable and falsifiable. The null hypothesis is the critical component for verifying a hypothesis or hypotheses that support or contradict the Theory....do you not understand that relationship? See how it all works together? The null hypothesis is relevant to climate change theory because the whole construct of the hypothesis is based on the analysis of data through models used to prognosticate about future events. Thus, a null hypothesis must be applied to the data....and the data is what supports or refutes the theory.....!

    Here is the process:
    1. Choose and define the natural phenomenon that you want to figure out and explain.
    2. Collect information (data) about this phenomena by going where the phenomena occur and making observations. Or, try to replicate this phenomena by means of a test (experiment) under controlled conditions (usually in a laboratory) that eliminates interference's from environmental conditions.
    3. After collecting a lot of data, look for patterns in the data. Attempt to explain these patterns by making a provisional explanation, called a hypothesis.
    4. Test the hypothesis by collecting more data to see if the hypothesis continues to show the assumed pattern. If the data does not support the hypothesis, it must be changed, or rejected in favor of a better one. In collecting data, one must NOT ignore data that contradicts the hypothesis in favor of only supportive data. (That is called "cherry-picking" and is commonly used by pseudo-scientists attempting to scam people unfamiliar with the scientific method.)
    5. If a refined hypothesis survives all attacks on it and is the best existing explanation for a particular phenomenon, it is then elevated to the status of a theory.
    6. A theory is subject to modification and even rejection if there is overwhelming evidence that disproves it and/or supports another, better theory. Therefore, a theory is not an eternal or perpetual truth.

    How does that work in practice you might ask. Here is an example I always like to use and it has been published by others:
    Let’s say you have some rather exciting ideas about why you seem to lose socks at an astonishing rate. Maybe, you hypothesize, aliens are beaming down to steal one sock out of every pair you own.

    Hypothesis: the loss of my socks is due to alien burglary.

    In order to test whether your hypothesis is true or not, you have to carry out some research to see if you can back it up. So you set up a hi-tech alien detection system and record whether times of alien activity are correlated with when your socks go missing.

    However, when you get your results, it’s possible that any relationship that appears in your data was produced by random chance. In order to back up your hypothesis you need to compare the results against the opposite situation: that the loss of socks is not due to alien burglary. This is your null hypothesis – the assertion that the things you were testing (i.e. rates of alien activity and sock loss) are not related and your results are the product of random chance events.

    Null Hypothesis: the loss of my socks is nothing to do with alien burglary.

    Alternate Hypothesis: the loss of my socks is due to alien burglary.

    The next step is to compare these two alternatives using the magic of… (cue dramatic music)… statistics to evaluate your data.

    In statistics, the only way of supporting your hypothesis is to refute the null hypothesis. Rather than trying to prove your idea (the alternate hypothesis) right you must show that the null hypothesis is likely to be wrong – you have to ‘refute’ or ‘nullify’ the null hypothesis. Unfortunately you have to assume that your alternate hypothesis is wrong until you find evidence to the contrary. So it’s innocent until proven guilty for the aliens. Got it?

    I'm not sure what your point is. I've already said a null hypothesis must be testable to be proven or disproven.

    A theory is composed of a number of tested hypotheses, some shown to be true others shown to be false. A theory cannot be proven to be true, only false. It is a higher level of understanding than simple hypothesis testing. The null hypothesis concept is at the experiment level, not the theory.

    Most hypothesis testing only adds insight into a theory, they don't prove the right or wrong. Rarely, testing a hypothesis does overturn a theory. Very rarely.

    TrustbutVerify
    Yes, and the NULL HYPOTHESIS is integral to the process of testing the hypotheses and thus the Theory.  You were saying a Null Hypothesis has nothing to do with falsification testing of a Theory when, of course, it is the very basis for the testing the underlying hypothesis/hypotheses that support a Theory.  Sheeeeesh.
    Yes it is the very basis for testing the UNDERLYING hypotheses that support a theory. But NOT the theory. It's not called the Null Theory. All the experiments in let's say physics haven't had as their null hypothesis that General Relativity is correct. The null hypothesis is centered on some experiment within the theory....maybe the particle mass is X, maybe the curvature of space is b.

    It may have something to do with the falsification of a theory, or it may support the theory. A single proven or disproven null hypothesis may have no bearing on a theory whatsoever.

    Sheeeesh.

    TrustbutVerify
    OH....my.....God...are you really that dense?  Or are you willing to look that dense just because you got your tail caught in a crack and can't admit you were wrong?  Do you think scientists run around saying, "Oh yes, my underlying hypothesis was shown to be completely wrong through falsification testing of my data but the Theory is still OK because me and my friends believe in it!"?

    Absurd.
    How many gods do you own?

    Theories are built on the preponderance of the evidence. If your hypothesis is wrong it may have been poorly constructed, you may have made an experimental error, there may be other studies that refute your findings, etc.

    Are you really that dense?

    Never mind, rhetorical question.

    TrustbutVerify
    Yes, and when your hypothesis and/or hypotheses are incorrect, you are required to alter your Theory if you are being honest about your research.  Sure you can continue to do research - but when the data doesn't match the Theory or is inconclusive, you can't claim a "preponderance of the evidence" or that the science is "settled".

    You really are that dense.
    Yes you can. If there are 15 hypotheses tested in very exact and careful ways and they support the theory, and one is poorly constructed and doesn't support the theory, then the preponderance of the evidence is support of the theory.

    It could be that one very expensive and extensive hypothesis test supports the theory, and 15 hypothesis tests which are careless and "on the cheap" don't support the theory. The preponderance of evidence supports the theory.

    The science is settled until an experiment has the evidentiary power to overturn the current consensus.

    That's how science works in this Universe. How's the food in yours?

    If your hypothesis test has the evidentiary power to suggest altering a theory, then that's what we do. But I'm not addressing the subtle shifts and sways that take place in science daily.

    I'm addressing the major scientific theories attacked by deniers. Those have been around for over 100 years being shifted and swayed daily. But not overturned and not even close to being overturned.

    It is possible, but extremely unlikely that any one hypothesis test will overturn those major theories. The results of any such hypothesis test will be compared with the entire body of evidence which supports the theory. It will likely fail to meet the preponderance of evidence, though it's not impossible.

    The scientific consensus bodies review the peer-reviewed scientific literature (not blog comments) and formulate a conclusion based on the preponderance of the evidence. The science is settled as of that time, though the consensus could be overturned in the future. That will also be based on the preponderance of the evidence.

    Campbell, how can you claim not to know of prominent evolutionary biologists who use evolution as proof of atheism? Um...some of the most prominent do that all the time...Dawkins anyone? I am a Christian. I love science. I find agreement with much about evolution, but I abhor the metaphysical stance that Dawkins and those like him inject. Shut up about God already and just report on science. I understand they're attacked by boneheaded people, but that doesn't mean they have to become boneheads. There are rational, science-minded religious people, believe it or not. You lose people like me when you start weighing in on metaphysical things that people take very personal.

    Evolution is an explanation that requires no god. Atheists use it to counter the claim the god(s) is required for life. It isn't proof of atheism.

    No, religion and rationality are contradictory. If you are rational you ratio your belief upon the evidence. As a Christian show me the evidence for zombies and then maybe I'll believe it.

    Dawkins and those like him use evolutionary science to promote atheism exactly as you just did. With all the vitriol against religion from "scientists" who weigh in on the metaphysical, is it any wonder that some emotionall reject their conclusions out of hand? Dawkins and those like him need to shut up about religion or they'll never win the vast majority of religious folks over to their scientific views.

    If you're saying that religion is completely irrational, then I would argue that you know nothing about religion. There are many REASONS that people choose religion over atheism. But you are correct that there is an element of faith. That does not mean, however, that religious people have simple untested faith in everything which is what you imply with your simplistic and unknowledgeable statement. Religious people are every bit as rational as athesists, including reasons for the faith element of their religion. In fact atheists have a certain amount of faith as well...how would you quantify your belief that there is no God?

    I never claimed that religious people have simple untested faith in everything, just in their religion. They may or may not have simple untested faith in other things. Religion promotes that sort of thing which is why rationalists don't like religion.

    I don't quantify my belief that there is no god (and why did you chose one instead of 7 or 346?), I don't think about gods just like I don't think about other invisible claimed entities.

    You stated that religion and rationality are contradictory. I disagree completely. The is a faith aspect to religions, but that does not mean that religions are wholly irrational, and it does not mean that people of religion are wholly irrational. You claim that religion promotes simple faith in everything. I also strongly disagree with this. Religion promotes faith in a few specific things. However, religions also support rationality, scripturally in many cases. Religious people throughout history have contibuted to science and shall continue to do so in spite of vociferous attempts to shame them by atheist scientists weighing in on personal metaphysical issues that do not even fall under the domain of science.

    You think about God(s), and you are doing so in this conversation. There are REASONS that the concept of God(s) has existed since the dawn of man. Rather than dismissing religion, scientists should embrace it, because science canjot answer the questions posed by religion. Science will never supplant religion and atheist scientists would do well to understand this, or they risk having their scientific proposals dismissed out of hand by the vast majority of religious people, right or wrong. The way Dawkins goes about is not helpful to promoting science. It is detrimental to science and is turning people away.

    I never used the words "wholly" (or "holy" either). Religion promotes irrationality ("faith" is completely wrong, I have faith that my dog will come when I next call it, because it has done so consistently in the past).

    Sure religious people have contributed to science, that doesn't make their religion rational. It means they can be rational and irrational. Rationalists attempt to be rational consistently, though we sometimes fail and appreciate it when someone points out our mistakes.

    No, I'm not thinking about god. I'm thinking about how religious people make stuff up to in order propagate their beliefs. The reason the concept of gods has existed is a focus of the science of psychology. The reasons have to do with failure to being able to answer certain questions, teleology, authority, joy in dance and song, profits and prophets, etc.

    Your last two sentences admit that there are things that cannot be explained by science and that these things are rational reasons that people choose to put their faith in a god.

    Um, no. There is no rational reason to invent an invisible being. That is irrational.

    Um. Yes. A sentient cause is certainly rational from a human perspective.

    Um, no it is not. Sentience is the product of nervous systems. It is remarkably ignorant to think there was a nervous system before there was life or molecules.

    What was "known to science" 50 years ago in some subjects may make us cringe today. People must be free to follow any set of frameworks to define their place in the universe and to find their "truth." This may include science, religion, and what they perceive from their own personal experiences and what they discern from others or the media. The government should not force a particular scientific theory on the people. Scientists have to remain humble and realize that science is constantly evolving, so be conservative about injecting the latest "settled" science-based finding into public policy. If science was not evolving--no new discoveries--It would not be lucrative.

    Well that's some anti-intellectual nonsense. Most scientists are humble and they realize science is constantly evolving. If they didn't realize it, they wouldn't be scientists because there would be nothing for them to do.

    The scientific process is conservative in that it reaches a consensus based upon the best currently available evidence (you don't want them making stuff up, do you?).

    The government utilizes this consensus in order to regulate activities according to the facts. They don't force a scientific theory on people.

    This coming from someone who is obviously not humble. Your scientific consensus could just as easily be an interpretation of science promoted by group-think...take global warming, I mean global climate change, or was that global cooling over the past decade or so?

    I am humble. It isn't my scientific consensus, it's ours. The consensus process minimizes the potential for group think relative to any other process. The person who thinks they are better than the consensus process is not humble. He/she is an intellectual coward and a narcissist.

    The globe has been warming.

    "The globe has been warming."

    Not lately; not for the last 16 years. Inconvenient truth:
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1997/plot/hadcrut3gl/fr...

    The air has not warmed in the last 16 years, but the oceans have. I am a skeptic about the importance of carbon dioxide, but the warming trend has not been solely explained by increase solar radiation. Deforestation, urbanization, etc. has had an effect. How much and which does what is not as well understood as it should be before we go into in massive programs to fix things,.

    Hank
    You're using a modern colloquial (political) definition of conservative or you would know why that is just not possible - as at least a fiscal conservative, you should know that being 'conservative' is a recipe for failure. A conservative would be still selling gas lamps instead of electricity but a classical liberal risks their fortune on a market that is untested. Pick any successful market and someone broke from the conservative herd. Immigrants who move here with 5 bucks and launch businesses did not do it by being conservative, they did it by being bold.

    Discovery is a liberal tenet - take off the American political blinders for a moment and embrace the Greek root liber - however, if you knew how science works you would know that after discovery, peer review - which is incredibly conservative - takes over. Competitors who are anonymous get to tear your work apart, then the whole world of competitors do. You think science is groupthink but it is just the opposite. Claiming that scientists just be these meek little robots - which means no one will claim expertise except lawyers shilling for anti-science groups - is silly. We do want our best and brightest tackling tough problems. What the public does with the answer is a policy issue but the social authoritarians who try to ban or control science - on the left and the right - are the problem, not the solution.
    Q: Why do you never ever see a graph of temperature and CO2 at the same time? A: Because it would show there is no 3x positive feedback as all the models claim. In fact there is a negative feedback, and therefore no global warming catastrophe looming.  
    Hank
    What does that have to do with anything about redefining terms so that a anti-science advocate can claim nothing is science?  Fine, we get it, pollution can never be bad - kooky, unsupported, and just your uninformed opinion, but that was the point I was making in the article about lawyers convincing people science is an opinion - it just has nothing to do with anything in this article.

    Please try reading at least the first paragraph of articles before replying.
    Your article called me a [holocaust] denier, so I responded with facts supporting my position, which apparently you deleted.

    Hank
    No, it did not. I never heard of you and am sure I do not write articles about anonymous commenters on the Internet. I also did not delete any comments or any content. If you try to spam us with links to your blog, the site will delete those, but anything factual you write will be intact.
    No cherry picking off some web site where one guy did the work.

    Consensus science only.

    My travel in the country of groupthink (in finance, and science) led me to understand what you mean and your misconceptions.

    First you are right that many pseudo-science start by changing vocabulary not to accept the evidences.
    To guess what is pseudo-science and what is real science, see if theory and model are dominant over experimental facts, or not...
    Dismissing facts using vocabulary and tricky arguments, happen to mainstream science also, when the current implicit (the paradigm) get challenged by facts.
    Don't misunderstand me, theory is not a paradigm (preference of theory is the current paradigm however).... a paradigm can allow some parameters in a theory to change, like with epicycles or new particles. a paradigm shift is when basic assumption, methods, habits, visions are challenged... like that low energy cannot trigger big effects. like that 5-symmetry is impossible, like that germs are transported not spontaneous, like newtonian, darwinian,radioactivity, quantum revolution. It can be challenging the theory, but most of the time the hard point is on challenging the habits, the visions, the simplifications.
    Read Thomas Kuhn without the usual prejudice, and read also the life of the author
    http://fr.slideshare.net/sandhyajohnson/the-structure-of-scientific-revo...
    like in that french googlish (the biography section is enough)
    http://www.cnam.fr/servlet/com.univ.collaboratif.utils.LectureFichiergw?...
    (there I assume that most will reject to read Kuhn ref, end of the story, QED for my demonstration, thanks. In the improbable case someone continues... I go on)

    about Cold Fusion it is a good example of mainstream pseudo-science.
    We have experimental results, which are replicated, reproduced, varied, hardened, reinforced, better understood, and recently nearly industrial... but we have no theory...
    it does not respect the way hot fusion works (of course it is not), and many absurds arguments are used ... applying hot fusions assumption to a metallic lattice... pretending that lack of perfect reproducibility cancel all positive results (ah ah, I remember transistors! so they don't exist... cool)... then fleeing into conspiracy theory involving a thousands of researchers, and dozens of institutions of all kind, with dozen of various effects... calling for never proven artifacts that work on few % of the experiments, to kill all the domain. I have seen more coherent fairy tales on 9/11 conspiracy sites.
    see my full analysis of that :

    http://www.lenrnews.eu/evidences-that-lenr-is-real-beyond-any-reasonable...

    And specially see the link on the old wikipedia article cited inside, which is more documented...

    The worst on LENr is that it probably does not challenge physics, just the usual free-space approximation that any material physicist consider with care.

    And now what is happening ? dozens of enterprises and few corps are preparing to fight for the market , dozens of international labs are working and reproducing/replicating some results, conferences happen supported by corps and science tycoons...
    http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/
    and in all academic magazine, they repeat the fairy tale of 1989 like parrot, which is replicated by Wikipedia...
    Of course all uninformed scientists repeat the fairy tale...
    Nothing new, no papers, no replication, impossible by theory, too hard to measure seriously... all lies.
    They don't even try to challenge the facts, to criticise those crazy corporation like National Instruments, Totoya, Mitsubishi, ENI, ST Micro, Shell game changer, badly managed institutions like Navy NRL, Italian ENEA, University of Missouri, NASA ... no they just ignore... Like what Roland Benabou explains.

    and like on Semmelweis tragedy, the only reason to deny evident facts that any lower species can see, are :
    there is no theory, no easy (and even incorrect) way to adapt current paradigm...
    All the rest is just bad excuse, and no physicist is incompetent enough to believe that perfect reproducibility is needed, that you can apply free-space physics to lattice, that calorimetry can make so much errors. It is not possible. Just bad excuse, rationalization of desperate cognitive dissonance.

    It is exactly what Thomas Kuhn explain :
    - anomalies will only be recognized when there is a total theory that explain the old and the new facts...
    - meanwhile any evidence presented will be ignored as without any signification. Both position will be considered incommensurables, and each camp will be blind to the others argument, cognitively blind...
    - Retrospectively it will look stupid, but history will be rewritten to name the real cause of the problem and to show the absurdities.

    I'm tech-watcher on lenr-forum, and I confirm that the world of mainstream deniers of LENR is living in a bubble of beliefs, which are taken as evidence, reinforced, and any critic is bashed violently, or ridiculed...
    no data is considered, and when not simply ignored (like does the scientific media), they are criticized quickly with ridiculous shallow arguments, and finally by conspiracy theories... A classic scheme .

    as I explain in my article cited up there, the theory of roland Benabou about Groupthink and collective delusion in organizations and markets, explain that behavior. the violence, the blindness, the delusion which trickle-down the influence hierarchy

    You will also probably judge that "scientists are modest and science adapt slowly to new evidences and evolve".
    For any people like Kuhn, and me, having data on the REAL history of science, it is pure myth...
    Nassim Nicholas Taleb in Antifragile (and "History being written by the losers") explain, like Kuhn, that a myth of soft evolution of science, led by academics is written... by historians academics...
    Kuhn is kinder and explain that this myth of logical and linear evolution of science, is invented afterward to teach in a coherent way the current paradigm, and avoid troubling students with question which are now meaningless.
    He is intelligently explaining that the paradigm is enforced strongly, because scientists works at the limit of the knowledges and should not lose their energy in challenging the basics of their science. They have a place where they expect new results, and place where they expect perfect stability. It is clear in physics, with tricky theories, and untouchables foundations.

    Of course I agree that most what is said here as mainstream is true (I agree with nearly all but am I right? and is there already claims in the list that are challenged by today's mainstream science ?).
    However the way LENR is treated will endanger the trust that population have in science. When facts will be admitted, it will be very dangerous, and I'm afraid of a backdraft, like people (like what I see) putting in question all science and moaning for suppression of their beloved pseudo-medicine, or spreading their pseudo-fears.

    Good luck for reading the evidences. The beginning will be painful. I have lost many illusions on scientists, on science media... (read the section Scientific Community on LENR-forum to see what I mean).
    Of course there are good guys, but when you see how they have been treated you get sad.

    Hope we can repair broken trust one day.
    I would hate to live in a world where pseudo-science, pseudo-medicine, pseudo-fears rules the world.

    Best regards.

    --
    AlainCo -- the tech-watcher of lenr-forum

    Well some criticism on your top 10 is justified, although I agree there is a pattern to be seen in activist who "distance" themselves from science. In general I would say these activist do not distinguish between scientist (due te be biased) and scientific method and the results it will produce on the long run.
    Some of your claims in the top 10 are a lot about framing. Like your claims on GMO's and nuclear power. It is not enough to compare detahs by coal power to deaths by nuclear power. In a survey I once did for prof. Wim Turkenburg, University of Utrecht, we compared several paradigma's on nuclear safety. The proliferation of nuclear technology for instance is totally neglected in yor review. Another aspect is the historical aspect. nuclear energy requires a unique " after sales" program in caring for its waste. History shows that very few nations or region have a stable political and economic life that last that long. It is as if you buy a house with a mortgage which is to be payed by your grandchildren.
    But of course you could say History, Governance and Economics are not scientific. but if even you did you would not win your case I hope you agree.

    Hank
    Well some criticism on your top 10 is justified, although I agree there is a pattern to be seen in activist who "distance" themselves from science. 
    It's not my top 10 list, I don't know who wrote it, just that it was on Real Clear Science. I was replying to Smith claiming those issues are not 'settled' because he chooses to define evolution differently than every biologist in the world or that ethical issues mean the science is not resolved.  Obviously science can be settled and still be an ethical issue - a scientist would not make that error, whereas attorneys make careers out of conflating truth and opinion.
    What kind of an idiot posts these lame arguments? Evolution? Learn some biology, evolution is far too generic to be anything except a layman's interpretation of what occurs. GMO safety? Learn some more biology and maybe you'll learn that you can make safety claims about things that have never been tested for it. Nuclear power? Really? It's so safe we use it to make bombs? What kind of moronic logic is this? If you want to engage in grown-up discussions about science then I suggest you stop behaving like a half-wit.

    Great article and an even more entertaining discussion that exemplifies just how opinionated several self described "scientists" are in this discussion who are simply trolling their own opinions.

    "It is important to see that the hypothetical method an the fallibility criterion that Popper suggests imply that scientific knowledge is never more than probable; it is always open to revision based on new evidence or a new interpretation of existing evidence. A scientific hypothesis may predict certain events, and these events may occur as the hypotheses suggested. But it is always possible that other predictions of the hypothesis, not yet tested, may turn out to be wrong. A scientific hypothesis, like a generalization always goes beyond the limited number of facts or observations that it was formulated to explain. For this reason, it is always open to refutation; it is always merely probable, never certain"
    From an interesting Philosophical text; Philosophy a Text with Readings by Manuel Velasquez, eighth edition.

    This seems to very accurately describe the fallacies of the global warming alarmists. If I pee into the ocean I can say with 100% confidence that I had some effect on the ocean levels, but the unanswered question remains: How much did my pee contribute to any measurable change in the ocean levels? The same can be said about humans releasing CO2 into our atmosphere. There simply has not yet been any definitive scientific correlations as to any measurable effects that humans may have contributed to whatever natural changes have occurred in our climate.

    The "science" of global warming alarmism or its "consensus" actually has very little to do with any known accepted scientific method. Rather it is merely politics as usual.

    For another philosophical fallacy of the global warming alarmists see Pascal's Wager, an argument for the existence of God. Just replace God with Global Warming and you will have a really good laugh. (or cry if you happen to be an alarmist) It happens to be a very good argument that global warming, as it is practiced by the alarmists, is truly nothing more than a religion and the alarmists are nothing more than AlGoreian religious zealots.

    Keep 'em coming Hank.

    CO2 absorbs heat, god doesn't exist.

    Settled.

    Prove it.

    Prove what? CO2 absorbs heat see the IPCC reports:

    http://ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/syr/en/contents.html

    It's up to you to prove god exists, and you've provided no evidence.

    Really? The IPCC? Only a moron would accept anything from that thoroughly discredited organization.

    You are going to have to better than that.

    Funny, the very next paragraph from the text I cited above:

    "Popper's view ignores the extent to which scientists are human beings who work together, who are trained to accept certain laboratory methods and research strategies, and who are deeply committed to the [political] correctness of a core of basic theories about their subject matter. As a result, scientists tend to continue accepting a basic theory even if they run into observations that falsify the theory. In fact, in spite of Popper's claims, scientists may stubbornly cling to a theory for decades after the appearance of experimental results that are inconsistent with the theory."

    Can you say NO global warming for the last fifteen years?

    You have made the very general claim that CO2 absorbs heat, well so does every other thing in the universe. OK, I'll give you that one, but if I use your claim as I assume you intended it, it is not universally true. For instance in a closed system if you displace H2O with CO2 you will not get a warmer environment, in fact since H2O is a much stronger greenhouse gas it will actually cool the system. By the way our atmospheric system is in no way, shape, or form, a closed system since even our atmosphere is subjected to even the furthest known source of radiation in our universe, the background cosmic radiation from the Big Bang. All global warming models currently use a falsely assumed closed system.

    Secondly, sorry Hank, but it depends on how you define God. In the most broadest sense God can be defined as anything, force, power, or energy that is stronger than ourself or ourselves. So if for you god does not exist then must I assume that you are the most omnipotent entity in existence? The other thing that many scientists are guilty of is having a superiority complex, otherwise known as a god complex. Its no wonder why so many of them are self confirmed atheists. In reality I believe that you may be denying the existence of religions, not the concept of god in of itself.

    Hank
    Secondly, sorry Hank, but it depends on how you define God. 
    :) You could be an ethics writer at National Review!

    But I am not denying anything, other than a mishmash of moral relativism by an anti-science shill for the Discovery Institute.
    Thanks Hank :-)
    There is a difference between a valid argument and sophistry but sometimes judicial usage of sophistry is required in order to flushes out the real practicing sophists.

    You're a denier. The IPCC hasn't been discredited. You made that up. Okay, if everything in the Universe absorbs heat then the more CO2, the more heat absorption.

    god doesn't absorb heat because god doesn't exist.

    IDiot.

    Your argument has (predictably) devolved into ad-hominem attacks, common for those who have no valid position from which to argue.

    The IPCC has been caught red handed fabricating and exaggerating anything that furthers their agenda while at the same time suppressing data that detracts from their arguments. This is called The Ends Justify the Means philosophical argumentative fallacy, this has been thoroughly documented and reported and is by now common knowledge, that is if you don't limit your sources to bootlicking mainstream liberal media.

    No, the IPCC hasn't been caught doing anything wrong. It's not an ad hominem attack to call an IDiot an IDiot if that is the stupidity the person is promoting. It would only be an ad hominem attack if I claimed you were promoting it and you weren't.

    But you are.

    And that's a sickness you can get help with.

    But first you have to recognize you have a problem. And you do.

    So you've never heard of Climategate? Yes they have been caught lying and manipulating data and here is a list of fifty former IPPC "experts" that have come forward who have confirmed it.
    http://ukipscotland.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/fifty-ipcc-experts-expose-g...

    The true deniers of truth are not the skeptics but are in fact the alarmists. You, my friend, have also been caught red handed participating in a whopper of a lie.

    In fact if the alarmists still wish to use the term "consensus" then there are many more scientists who have recently come out voicing their opinions against AGW and the IPCC so the real "consensus" has actually swung around against the IPCC.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_...

    I suggest that you check your facts before spewing your hatred and vitriol.

    Really? How many people were fired, fined or jailed as a result?

    Answer: None.

    It was a manufactured controversy intended for the consumption of IDiots.

    And you ate the bait.

    Now who is the DENIER?

    Over 30,000 Americans with scientific degrees have signed a petition forming a much, much larger "consensus" than anything the IPCC has ever produced. Here is the conclusion from their peer reviewed and published paper.

    "CONCLUSIONS
    There are no experimental data to support the hypothesis that increases in human hydrocarbon use or in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are causing or can be expected to cause unfavorable changes in global temperatures, weather, or landscape. There is no reason to limit human production of CO2, CH4, and other minor greenhouse gases as has been proposed (82,83,97,123).
    We also need not worry about environmental calamities even if the current natural warming trend continues. The Earth has been much warmer during the past 3,000 years without catastrophic effects. Warmer weather extends growing seasons and generally improves the habitability of colder regions.
    As coal, oil, and natural gas are used to feed and lift from poverty vast numbers of people across the globe, more CO2 will be released into the atmosphere. This will help to maintain and improve the health, longevity, prosperity, and productivity of all people.
    The United States and other countries need to produce more energy, not less. The most practical, economical, and environmentally sound methods available are hydrocarbon and nuclear technologies.
    Human use of coal, oil, and natural gas has not harmfully warmed the Earth, and the extrapolation of current trends shows that it will not do so in the foreseeable future. The CO2 produced does, however, accelerate the growth rates of plants and also permits plants to grow in drier regions. Animal life, which depends upon plants, also flourishes, and the diversity of plant and animal life is increased.
    Human activities are producing part of the rise in CO2 in the atmosphere. Mankind is moving the carbon in coal, oil, and natural gas from below ground to the atmosphere, where it is available for conversion into living things. We are living in an increasingly lush environment of plants and animals as a result of this CO2 increase. Our children will therefore enjoy an Earth with far more plant and animal life than that with which we now are blessed."

    http://www.petitionproject.org/index.php

    You can add one more to the total petitioners as I just sent mine in.

    Note that there are several NASA scientists who are ardent AGW skeptics including James Hanson's former boss:
    "Retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist, Dr. John S. Theon, the former supervisor of James Hansen, NASA’s vocal man-made global warming fear soothsayer, has now publicly declared himself a skeptic and declared that Hansen “embarrassed NASA” with his alarming climate claims and said Hansen was “was never muzzled.” Theon joins the rapidly growing ranks of international scientists abandoning the promotion of man-made global warming fears.

    “I appreciate the opportunity to add my name to those who disagree that global warming is man made,” Theon wrote to the Minority Office at the Environment and Public Works Committee on January 15, 2009. “I was, in effect, Hansen’s supervisor because I had to justify his funding, allocate his resources, and evaluate his results,” Theon, the former Chief of the Climate Processes Research Program at NASA Headquarters and former Chief of the Atmospheric Dynamics & Radiation Branch explained.

    “Hansen was never muzzled even though he violated NASA’s official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind’s effect on it). Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress,” Theon wrote. “My own belief concerning anthropogenic climate change is that the models do not realistically simulate the climate system because there are many very important sub-grid scale processes that the models either replicate poorly or completely omit,” Theon explained. “Furthermore, some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it. They have resisted making their work transparent so that it can be replicated independently by other scientists. This is clearly contrary to how science should be done. Thus there is no rational justification for using climate model forecasts to determine public policy,” he added."

    http://www.qando.net/details.aspx?Entry=10078

    Now who's the IDiot?

    LOL, Was logic of this petition put together by a 6th grade science class?

    Nope, it was put together by a very highly respected physicist.:
    "This letter from Professor Frederick Seitz is circulated with the petition. Physicist Frederick Seitz was President of the US National Academy of Sciences and of Rockefeller University. He received the National Medal of Science, the Compton Award, the Franklin Medal, and numerous other awards, including honorary doctorates from 32 Universities around the world. In August 2007, Dr. Seitz reviewed and approved the article by Robinson, Robinson, and Soon that is circulated with the petition and gave his enthusiastic approval to the continuation of the Petition Project. A vigorous supporter of the Petition Project since its inception in 1998, Professor Seitz died on March 2nd, 2008."
    http://www.petitionproject.org/seitz_letter.php

    Good, then he should keep quiet about biology since it is quite clear that he has no understanding.

    You are. Science isn't done by petition, IDiot.

    Nor is it accomplished by corrupt politically motivated shill organizations such as the IPCC. The science was not done by petition, read the paper, iDiot.

    I doesn't matter who it was put together by, science is NOT done by petition.

    Seitz was well respected until he turned into a Merchant of Doubt:
    http://www.merchantsofdoubt.org/

    He deserves no respect for fooling people.

    Propaganda for the sole consumption of IDiots.

    Nope, IDiots are anti-science. Scientists are pro-science.

    You are against the science of climatology, biology, and only you know what else.

    Science marches on, IDiots come and go.

    You know nothing about me. I am an ardent science supporter which is why I spend my time rooting out sophists such as yourself who are practicing and promoting politically motivated pseudoscience. Practice what you preach and go away, IDiot

    Or better yet provide me with code, algorithms, and reference data for the IPCC reports which they have conveniently have prevented public access to. Unrepeatable or unfalsifiable theories and experiments are not science, IDiot.

    I know you deny the sciences of biology and climatology. I've learned tonight that you also deny the work of historians as they document history.

    You are obviously not an ardent science supporter. That's why you signed the petition.

    IDiot.

    How do I deny the science of biology or climatology? I only point out the inconsistencies and blatant philosophical fallacies in the arguments of the AGW alarmists. I have provided numerous sources and widely accepted reference materials, you have provided me with a link to a thoroughly discredited organization and a propaganda piece written by political activist anti-capitolist authors.

    YOU are the one who made the claim that God does not exist and then place the responsibility on me to prove otherwise. Atheism is nothing more than a RELIGION, it is a belief that God does not exist. I'll say it again PROVE IT, IDiot.

    LOL, there is no claim for non-existence. There is no need to prove that something which is not manifest to be proven to be "not manifest". If you claim that something is there for which there is no evidence, then it is on you to provide the evidence. You can't simply claim that yours is the position of "truth" and then argue that others have to prove that you are wrong.

    100% pure sophistry!

    I made no claims that anything was true or otherwise, it is the IDiot who made the claim of God's nonexistence and since it is HIS assertion then he needs to back up his theory. A lack of proof for the existence of anything is not proof of its non-existence, nor does it provide any basis for any claims hypothesizing God's non-existence. He is the merely expressing nothing more than unsubstantiated OPINION.

    Besides, using strictly materialistic methods, that the entirety of science is based upon, provides no basis from which to provide any claims or opinions, for or against, anything metaphysical. That is an entirely separate branch of philosophy.

    I must admit that I have an advantage because I have the knowledge that there has not yet been presented any valid philosophical argument for or against the existence of God. In fact this is the Holy Grail of all of philosophy. If you are as brilliant as you seem to claim to be then please provide one. If you successfully do then I guarantee that you will be historically placed up along side with Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle and your argument, provided it was proven valid, would outweigh any nobel prize imaginable.

    OK. Presumably you accept physics and agree that there are four forces in the universe. Now the real question is that you must provide the definition of God, but let's assume that you mean the traditional religious entity that is usually meant. If God is subject to the four forces of the universe then it simply renders him subject to the normal laws of physics and not outside of them. So, existence or not, he would simply be another cosmic object for which you have asserted that he exists, so the onus is on you to demonstrate what you mean by that existence. Similarly if your definition is more along the lines of the supernatural divinity, then you are postulating the existence of a fifth force in nature that supercedes all other forces. So again the onus is on you to provide the evidence for why such a claim should be taken seriously. Then again you could always just postulate magic but then you'd still have to provide evidence as to why it should operate given your definitions. The biggest problem is that you've used a term, God, which you haven't defined.

    Circular arguments.

    Again, I DID NOT MAKE THE CLAIM!!!!!!!

    The IDIOT made the claim, it is up to HIM to let US in on what it is that HE meant by HIS assertion that God does not exist. HE must provide the definitions by which HE defines what others think God is and what HE claims what God is not.

    By definition anything metaphysical is NOT bound by the laws of physics. Metaphysics literally means beyond physics. This is why science has absolutely NO ability and is completely incapable of dealing with any of these questions. Thus a separate branch of philosophy and far beyond the scope of discussion of this article.

    I have absolutely NO respect for those who claim to be atheists, however, I have a great deal of respect for those who actually understand the problem and thus and remove themselves from the argument, they call themselves agnostic.

    Cute, but no. By that reasoning if I say there are no fairies, then you can claim there are and require me to prove otherwise. The same thing applies to trolls or goblins or the Ring of Doom. You don't get to skate on such a claim. So you have made a claim regarding the metaphysical indicating that such a discussion is beyond the laws of science. Fair enough, but then your requirement for proof is disingenuous since you know that there is none possible nor required since by your own definition your claim is outside the bounds of proof. Yet metaphysics isn't a free ride. It simply attempts to address those areas that deal with the fundamental nature of existence. It is not a free license to invoke magical thinking. Metaphysics was used to describe Aristotle's books beyond the first that dealt with the physics, so it is also incorrect to presume that there was something "beyond" physics implied, at least in the sense you're using it. Metaphysics is about first causes, so while it might be the right venue for exploring the existence of something like God, it is not implicit that it supports such a claim.

    Your sophism knows no bounds.

    If YOU claim that there are no fairies I do not need to assert that there are fairies in order for me to require you to substantiate your statement. Just because I challenge your theory does NOT mean that I have accepted or have claimed or have proof of the opposite.

    In fact if you asserted that there are no fairies then there must be a presupposition that someone somewhere made the claim there were fairies. I does NOT mean That I was the the one who made the claim. Therefore for YOU to substantiate YOUR claim YOU must then define what it is that YOU are claiming to disprove. It is the basis of skepticism which is THE backbone of the scientific method.

    But then you still seem no to be able to argue this point without conflating physics and metaphysics.

    Like I said before this topic is far beyond the discussion of this article.

    No, it's simply as I said before, where you are claiming that your position regarding a God is somehow more privileged than that of claiming fairies. It is a good trick though because you claim that only those opposing your point of view are required to provide proof. You don't feel that you need to provide proof for your initial assertion, only that anyone disputing it provide proof. It's a cute trick.

    I have NOT taken the position that there is a God, in this context, I have merely asked the IDiot, and by proxy you as well, for his underlying proof of his hypothesis that God does not exist.

    It is you two that are twisting it around by playing "cute tricks" and demanding that I prove the opposite.

    Your view of atheism is quite interesting, since you demand absolute certainty in all your other claims being discussed. Yet, in the one area where there is absolutely no evidence to support your claim you decry anyone that makes an absolute statement. Instead there you want ambiguity.

    Follow the thread, there is nothing absolute in science. I have expected nothing more than for the IDiot to substantiate his, so far unsubstantiated, claim that God does not exist.

    If atheism is anything more, or less, than a religion based on the belief that God does not exist then there should be some definitive proof somewhere, otherwise it is nothing more than unsubstantiated opinion. I'm simply asking you to direct me to that proof.

    By the way in the traditional Western religions God is not bound by the laws of physics, God IS the law of physics as well as everything else inside and outside of the known universe.

    Good, now you've made a claim. Prove it.

    I didn't make the claim, the various religious leaders did. I'm just giving you and the IDiot the proper context from which you could base the explanation of your hypothesis that "God does not exist" from.

    The original philosophical questions remain unanswered and science only (potentially) provides one meager facet to these answers.

    Who am I?
    What is my purpose?
    Who is my maker?

    LOL, talk about sophistry. What makes you think that those questions have any meaning beyond the superstitious?

    You are correct. There are Existence Claims & Universal Claims. If something is widely known the burden of proof is on someone claiming against that. So I can say elephants are large mammals. If someone disagrees, the burden of proof is on him. Elephants are universally known to be large mammals.

    The burden of proof is on the person who claims something exists, if it is not universally known. So someone claiming gods, fairies, angels, etc. exist, the burden of proof is on him.

    Of course, IDiots don't much care about logic, science, history, etc. Just their beliefs.

    So for both of you IDiots you can make any unsubstantiated claims then place the burden of proof for your claim on anyone who may ask you to show your proof.

    Good God, if you two are really practicing scientists then we are all screwed, what has science devolved into. Oh wait a minute thats not science, it is as I have pointed out to you before its pure SOPHISTRY and the practice of pseudoscience! Wait, wait YES! Its the global warming alarmist debate strategy!

    IDiots

    No, what you fail to grasp is that if there is no evidence for a claim, then there is no required proof to demonstrate that there is no evidence nor any phenomenon to be explained. Saying that there is no god, is not a claim against accepted knowledge. It is merely an indication that it is one of millions of things that don't exist regardless of whether people can imagine them or not. I can easily say that ghosts don't exist without requiring proof, because there is no evidence for any claim to the contrary. So, in the absence of evidence I'm not required to provide evidence to prove their non-existence. Consequently by claiming that there is a God, you're claiming that there is evidence in support of your assertion, therefore it is incumbent on you to provide it. The absence of something doesn't require evidence, since there is nothing there to begin with. It is no different than Bigfoot claims. I don't require evidence that there are none, but those claiming there are require evidence to indicate that there is something worth investigating.

    Yet another argument strait from the annals of sophistry. You cherry pick your examples to suit your argument.

    Magnetic monopoles are the Holy Grail of quantum mechanics yet they have never been observed. There is absolutely no evidence for their claim that they must exist except from predictions from pure metaphysical abstractions and wishful thinking, the same is true for Higgs Bosons. So you are making the claim that all of those quantum theorists must be wrong to be searching for them? Are they ridiculously practicing an empty religion by your standards?

    No you are absolutely wrong, I understand that you are a arguing from a strict materialist perspective and have problems accepting the fact that there are things in this universe that exist outside of the physical realm and that is your basic problem. That is the realm of theologians and metaphysicians. As I said before the scientific perspective has NOTHING to say about the existence of God, leave it to those who have the tools to do so.

    Claiming a physical being exists, such as Bigfoot, would produce physical evidence to which there has not been any credible found. As such, according to Popper, the probability is very small for its existence however nothing in science is ever absolute. To make a claim that Bigfoot does not exist with absolute certainty would be a leap of faith on par with any religion.

    On the flip side it seems as if you are beginning to get it, but are probably not ready to admit it. Your argument above is a very good beginning for the support of Agnosticism. If there is nothing to "claim" as you stated then why make the assertion that hypothesizes God does not exist without any substantiation for the assertion? In other words you have a fully formed religious belief that God does not exist, otherwise you would not have spent so much time arguing your belief here.

    There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

    It's pretty obvious that you don't or won't understand. The ideas of quantum mechanics aren't invented out of whole cloth. In other words, there is a suggestion that such phenomenon exist, whereas in your assertions about a God there is no such thing. You also clearly don't understand the role of belief systems or you wouldn't advance such a poor argument. However conflating a belief system with a religious belief system is simply foolish. What is interesting is that the more you argue, the more irrational your arguments become. So now you are proposing a whole other sphere of existence where science doesn't apply while you still try to advance your arguments regarding proof. It's pretty obvious that you want to elevate theology to the level of science. That's fine, but it isn't real. In addition, your basic misunderstanding of metaphysics also doesn't matter. The point is that you have no evidence for the existence of a God and I am not compelled to provide contrary evidence for you. It is sufficient for me to state that there is no such thing. While you may rationalize it away in specious arguments about agnosticism, the reality is that in the absence of any evidence at all, there is no requirement for remaining agnostic. I am confidently asserting that there is no God. While you can throw an apoplectic fit about it, unless you have evidence, you can have your fit by yourself.

    "That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence."

    Christopher Hitchens

    "... If we do discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists, and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason -- for then we would know the mind of God."
    Stephen Hawking

    Yes, and then we can all join hands and sing Kumbaya. However until then, evidence is still required.

    There are also "suggestions" that Bigfoot exists.

    You my friend are the sophist arguing irrationally with false premises. You seem to want to limit "your world" to only what YOU know and what your senses can detect. There are many more thing in this universe which us mere mortals have never been privy to. Like I suggested before, there are way too many people who claim to be "scientists" on this site who are in reality projecting nothing more than there own personal opinions and then try to pass them off as truthful facts.

    Good luck, I think that I have beaten this dead horse to Heaven and made my point perfectly.

    You bore me now, goodbye.

    On a lighter note this is possibly the best explanation of the Big Bang that I have ever seen. I hope this link to the YouTube video works, in the past links to YouTube have choked on this site.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoqSas2uFKw

    Otherwise do a search for:
    Family Guy God Farts the Big Bang

    It seems as if the author has managed to pick all the wrong targets in this discussion. There is little that Smith has said that is incorrect and by exaggerating the claims and backing them up with faulty logic doesn't help. What Smith said regarding evolution is perfectly true, especially when it is recognized that evolution is not an actual biological definition. Natural selection, genetic drift, are all part of the biological lexicon, but evolution has much broader applicability. Its also true that such biological concepts have been hijacked by those that want to justify social Darwinism and eugenics. Those that have abused the definition of evolution have used it to rationalize the status quo. This is the same kind of logic employed by evolutionary psychology in justifying certain beliefs or behaviors based on the thin veneer of evolution. So it very much depends on what the definition of "evolution" is. To argue otherwise just looks foolish.

    Hank
    Well, no, evolution is part of the lexicon, and thus became colloquial, because it is so fundamental. Saying it is now common and therefore not science is all wrong. Prior to Darwin, evolution was not a common term at all. See The Evolution of Evolution

    Your point about evo psych is well-made - and that is the worst comparison for both Smith and the Discovery Institute. Both are redefining evolution to be non-science because it helps them advance a world view that has nothing at all to do with science. Evo psych is not science, just like Intelligent Design is not science. ID is as good a philosophical/theological wrapper for the mysteries of life as any other religious view, but Smith wants to ban real science and replace it with this stuff. People object to Evo Psych's attempts to do the same thing. 

    That Smith is more in line with the social sciences, which are 99.9% left and 90% social authoritarian, than he is conservatism or science, is exactly the point I made in both articles.  As I said the last time Smith made a mockery of science - his ill-conceived rant demonizing IVF - Bill Buckley was the last prominent conservative who stood up to 'conservatives' who did more harm than good, and he has no peer today. National Review is instead paying the science equivalent of the John Birch Society to make them look like crackpots. That's shockingly stupid, they might as well hire astrologers and psychics.
    No one is saying that evolution isn't science, but only that it requires definition. So when it is referred to as biological evolution then we have a context. However no one would argue that cultures don't evolve or that the universe doesn't evolve or that even consumer products can't evolve. SInce Darwin didn't coin the term and it was in use well before Darwin's theory it is incorrect to presume that it only has meaning within the biological context.
    http://prasoondiwakar.com/wordpress/trivia/origin-of-the-word-evolution
    The point isn't the word evolution, since that word can be validly used outside the domain of biology, but that in biology the mechanisms of natural selection and genetic drift drive that process. So, it does matter how the term is being defined and the context in which it is used.

    Hank
    I agree, but that is not what Smith was doing. He was declaring that evolution is only science if it met a definition like what you laid out (though you are not correct on how in use it was before Darwin - it was the dumbest way in the world to say roll out, so no one did) - but then nonsensically declared no one actually in science uses that science definition but is instead using one he invented, where it is a giant effort at "proof of atheism and materialism." That's his quote, and he could have just been dismissed as a loony old crackpot, harmless and writing about science in a political magazine as futilely as writing movie reviews in a magazine about architecture, if he didn't do that same thing 8 more times in one article and therefore merit having goat noises made at him.

    He is showing why attorneys working for advocacy groups are cancers to public understanding of science, the same way as when lawyers for Greenpeace try to redefine science to match their political agenda.
    "He is showing why attorneys working for advocacy groups are cancers to public understanding of science, the same way as when lawyers for Greenpeace try to redefine science to match their political agenda."

    Right on Hank! The brush could be much, much wider and it applies to most all of todays social and political agendas.

    There you go, Hank. He's all yours.