~ archived since 2018 ~

Go Out and Test It.

June 10, 2018

Beware of Scienceism.

Okay, Whisper, what the fuck is "Scienceism"?

Scienceism is the cult surrounding scientific data, and the institutions and practitioners of science.

Are you trying to say that SCIENCE is a CULT?

Of course not. Science is one of the best things humanity ever invented. But it is a very small and simple thing. It consists only of...


That's it, maybe with a few principles of experiment design thrown in for good measure.

So what are you calling a cult?

Scienceism. The practice of:

  • Confusing scientific data with science itself.
  • Quasi-patriotic displays of enthusiasm for this body of data as a manner of ritually establishing group identity.
  • Revering professional practitioners of science as privileged arbiters of truth.
  • Uncritical acceptance of the beliefs of scientists as established fact, without first making any demand for an understandable explanation, or a visible demonstration.
  • Contempt for ad-hoc use of the scientific method by non-professionals, most often with accompanying accusations of insufficient experimental rigor or subject expertise.

Around now, you may be starting to think, "Hey, I've seen a lot of Scienceism in the world lately, especially in the news." Yeah.

  • "97% of Climateologists say Global Warming is Here, it's Real, and it's a Threat to Us All."
  • "Steven Hawking Says the Development of Strong AI Could Destroy Civilization."
  • "New Medical Study Reveals Coffee is Better For You Than We Thought."
  • "Nobel Prize Winning Economist Paul Krugman Says Trade Deficits Are Not the Enemy."

In each case, the scientist, researcher, or "expert" is being treated as a priest, who transmits revealed truth, rather than a teacher, who is supposed to explain why this is so, or an engineer, whose machine had better fucking work, or we are all going to laugh him off the stage.

The Scienceist may, in any case, be the scientist himself who demands unquestioning acceptance of his utterances, the reporter who only reads abstracts, or your aging hippie aunt who mails you links to articles in the Huffington Paint about how going vegan will save the planet from... well... something. In any case, a Scienceist can be distinguished by the way he puffs up like a wet hen and clucks when you remain skeptical and ask to see the evidence for yourself.

Scienceists regard doing actual science in much the same way that medieval Catholics regarded bible study... laudable in principle, but in practice heretical for anyone but a priest operating under the most controlled and ritualized of conditions.

You can be pretty sure you are talking to a Scienceist if they:

  • Cite a study to you without explaining in plain language how it worked, or what it is supposed to show.
  • Call you a "Denier" of something rather than "Mistaken about this particular issue." (Remember that science is not a personal identity.)
  • Ask you what your relevant expertise is for disbelieving something, as if you needed permission to be a skeptic.
  • Use the word "science" a lot in lieu of an actual argument, formed from a connected series of statements which explain a proposition.
  • Avoid explaining the basis for their opinion by alleging that you lack the relevant expertise to understand it.
  • Make general responses to the tone of things they disagree with (often using the word "anti-intellectual" a lot), rather than pointing out any specific false premise or error in reasoning .

Which brings us to our point.

Be a scientist, not a Scienceist.

Every major writer in TRP has told you time and time again to go out and practice this stuff, rather than simply reading about it. And this has been because it is important for you to be skilled, rather than merely know.

But it is also because it is important for you to know from your own experience, rather than believe from faith in someone else's.

Of course you're not a PhD. Of course you lack the resources to run a double-blind controlled study with a high sample size, or the mathematical knowledge to perform an ANOVA (both ways, please!) on the results. But it is better to be the most imperfect, ad hoc, untrained, and informal of SCIENTISTS than it is to be the most devout and fanatical of SCIENCEISTS.

For every writer here worth reading, everything we state with great confidence (because we have tested it our satisfaction) is meant to be a hypothesis to you. Which you not only may, but must, test to your satisfaction.

Otherwise, you don't know.

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Post Information
Title Go Out and Test It.
Author Whisper
Upvotes 393
Comments 104
Date June 10, 2018 7:15 AM UTC (3 years ago)
Subreddit /r/TheRedPill
Archive Link https://theredarchive.com/r/TheRedPill/go-out-and-test-it.50762
Original Link https://old.reddit.com/r/TheRedPill/comments/8pz9m3/go_out_and_test_it/
Red Pill terms in post
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