The world is full of scientists who have abandoned their craft ... and are shoving each other aside to get "liked" on Facebook or have their video go viral on YouTube. Science starts with a premise, collects reliable data, conducts experiments to validate, modify or disprove the premise, offers the data and experiment protocols to peers for reproducible validation or invalidation and, finally, publishes results using a non-political narrative. This is called the "scientific method."
Unfortunately, due to social, monetary and academic pressures, this scientific methodology has, in many instances, been short circuited ... or even abandoned. And, equally unfortunately, our naive public seldom notices ... not a recipe for greater enlightenment. May I offer some contemporary examples?
- Psychiatrists and psychologists are diagnosing our president with all kinds of mental maladies without having examined him in person. This goes against the basic tenets of these soft sciences.
- Climate scientists (97%?) who build computer models using "adjusted data" whose predictions do not even come close to transpiring ... yet who tenaciously hold by their debunked premises.
- There have been some pretty astounding predictions made by scientists and scientist wannabes about the future of artificial intelligence ... from the future of autonomous cars to cyborgs eventually taking over our lives. Many of these predictions seem pie-in-the-sky ... driven more by Internet grandstanding than by true science.
- Has anyone (besides my son) worried about the demands that might be put upon our electric grid if our nation went totally electric cars, trucks, buses and planes? Yet, Elon Musk is leading us by the nose into this brave new world. Either we have converted to nuclear power plants by then ... or the output of fossils fuel plants will rise dramatically. (And I will never fly by in a battery-powered plane.)
- Economists, the most dismal scientists of all, are quick to predict the results of changes in regulations, taxes and tariffs --- most of which are not based in any science but on political leanings.