Wednesday, April 14, 2004

A Return to True Science and Skepticism

Note: this site looks messed up in Opera and I don't know why! Any help would be appreciated.

Tired of self-proclaimed "skeptics" who refuse to examine the facts objectively? This site is a call to return to honest skepticism - examining claims on the basis of the facts, instead of sacrificing basic logic and intellectual integrity to defend falsified paradigms.

The original meaning of skeptic - one who inquires - has been subverted. Today, it simply means "one who denies," often with an irrational fanaticism against any idea that threatens the new religion of naturalistic materialism.

But there are still true skeptics. Are these dissenters right or wrong? Are they Galileos or Goulds? (A "Gould" is a brilliant mind tragically hobbled by religiously held a priori beliefs. This could be true of an atheist or theist.) You decide. But the answer lies in examing the facts, not in preventing them from being published, as has been done to the findings of many scientists unfortunate enough to let their professional integrity trump the received dogma.

"For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."

- astronomer Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers

What is the Galileo Effect?

According to Science Held Hostage (Van Till, Young, Menninga), Galileo didn't get into trouble with the Roman Catholic Church until two of his enemies - who taught the pagan notion of geocentrism in the secular universities - convinced the Pope that geocentrism was a theological issue (until then, the Pope had OK'd Galileo's forthcoming book). What? Didn't learn that in school? That's OK - you're not alone. You've experienced the Galileo Effect, where knowledge is sacrificed on the altar of the prevailing, "scientific" philosophical preference. But not the way you were probably taught; quite the opposite.

I've seen the term "The Galileo Effect" used in the wrong, simplistic, superficial, unskeptical sense by those who think it refers to Galileo versus the Church, science versus religion. Now you know better.

You probably also weren't informed that the myth of the "flat earth" was an atheist invention. Where are those tax dollars going anyway?

Anyway. There are many lessons to be learned from this, to wit:

Hence the Galileo Effect: persecution and censorship of non-majority views in spite of non-trivial supporting data; intense peer pressure to "toe the line"; choosing the underlying paradigm for non-scientific reasons such as funding and philosophy; and the resultant dishonesty and unprofessionalism required to defend that paradigm, at the cost of scientific progress.

"It is in the first place constantly assumed, especially at the present day, that the opposition which Copernicanism encountered at the hands of ecclesiastical authority was prompted by hatred of science and a desire to keep the minds of men in the darkness of ignorance. To suppose that any body of men could deliberately adopt such a course is ridiculous, especially a body which, with whatever defects of method, had for so long been the only one which concerned itself with science at all."

- from The Catholic Encyclopedia

Was Galileo thrown into a prison? Tortured? Heh. See the next link for a big surprise:

  • A Catholic rebuttal of the popular myth.
  • As we shall see, those who forget history are not only doomed to repeat it, but may be doomed in more specific ways.

    The Galileo Effect is multifaceted. The prevailing general ignorance regarding Galileo's enemies in the scientific establishment and their pivotal role in his persecution is another troubling aspect. The corruption and transformation of the incident into a myth for popular consumption - laying all of the blame on the Catholic Church - is yet another. We need to be reminded that the practice of science is not as impassive and objective as most believe, but is, as all human undertakings, riddled with power plays, philosophical preferences, and emotion ...

    "Philosophically, the notion of a beginning of the present order of Nature is repugnant to me. ... I should like to find a genuine loophole."

    - mathematician Sir Arthur Eddington, regarding Georges Lemaitre's (somewhat weird) model of an expanding universe

    ... and, sometimes, just plain carelessness, shoddiness, laziness, and even dishonesty:

    He immediately without giving any thought to it he immediately had an excuse. He had a reason for not paying any attention to any wrong results. It just was built into him. He just had worked that way all along and always would. There is no question but [that] he is honest: He believed these things, absolutely...
    The article in the link is particularly troubling in its documentation of subconscious dishonesty in science. But what is more troubling is the apparent willingness of "men of science", even today, to sacrifice professional integrity and even human lives in defense of religiously-held dogma.

    I offer this page because of my love of science. Paradoxically, I will try to persuade you that science today has not changed as regard the Galileo Effect: although much good has been accomplished, there is still an intolerance that manifests itself in shoddy peer review, lost jobs and grants, and ridicule without sufficient cause.

    Without this realization on the part of the scientist and non-scientist, much time and money will be wasted. The greatest minds of our time will be wasted trying to shoehorn stubborn reality into increasingly tenuous theory, as was the sad experience of Sir Arthur Keith, discovering after 40 years that he had been betrayed by Piltdown Man. Today the same scenario may be playing out in the lives and work of scientists the world over: kept on a short leash by current scientific dogma, whether in the fields of biology, astronomy, anthropology, linguistics, and indeed any other specialty directed by the philosophy of evolution, which would be fine as an underlying philosophy for science except for one niggling detail: from the wealth of data accumulated thus far, it doesn't seem to be true.

    "[The] dead hand of Darwinism ... [has] weighed heavily on [scientific] progress for over one hundred years."

    - Dr. A.E. Wilder-Smith, The Creation of Life: A Cybernetic Approach to Evolution

    The other culprit is, of course, the search for fame, fortune, and funding. And because, as in the case of AIDS research, such dishonesty may cost lives, the many flavors of popular yet suspect "science" must be exposed for what they are.

    In doing so I will perhaps have the honor of introducing you to possible Galileo's of our time, and to encourage further serious evaluation (leading to confirmation or debunking) of their work. And, along the way, I hope to be a stepping-stone to persuading you that the best explanation for what we have discovered about reality seems to be Christian theism.

    You won't always agree with me or the stuff on this page or the links ...

    "but then again ... who does?"

    I can only promise you it'll be incredibly interesting ... and that it's incredibly important stuff to be ruminating about.

    So ... check out the links ... bon voyage!

    Note: The Galileo Effect is not responsible for the material linked to from this site. They are meant for springboards to further discovery, questioning (skepticism!), and research.


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