Rod McLaughlin


You can't make it up LXVIII - "skepticism is not always beneficial to science" (10 mar 15)

Georgia Tech harbors at least one skeptic - a skeptic who is skeptical of the value of skepticism in science. Explicitly rejecting the philosophy of science of Karl Popper, Justin Biddle at Georgia Tech, and Anna Leuschner at Karlsruher, argue that 

"there is a growing tendency of some stakeholders to attempt to delay political action by ‘manufacturing doubt’ (Oreskes and Conway 2010). Potential examples of this include the tobacco industry’s funding of studies that questioned the link between smoking and lung cancer, and the attempt by the petroleum industry and other groups to cast doubt upon the conclusion that human consumption of fossil fuels contributes to global climate change (e.g., Oreskes and Conway 2010; Kitcher 2011; Proctor and Schiebinger 2008)."

Therefore,

"manufacturing doubt not only tends to delay political action that could benefit society; it can also inhibit scientific progress."

To be fair to the Georgia and Karlsruher Institutes of Technology, both these authors are in the philosophy departments. Unfortunately, philosophy is considered part of the "humanities", and the insights of real philosophers like Popper are submerged under arguments like the above. They assume that skeptics are influenced by the sources of their funding - for example, the oil industry - whereas climate alarmists are uninfluenced by theirs. For example, the government or the United Nations.

http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/11313/1/On_Dissent_in_Science_-_Biddle.pdf (PDF)



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