How can you know whether something is junk science? Well, the first indication is the promiscuous tossing about of the term “Settled science.”
As any real scientist knows, there’s just no such thing.
Here’s an interesting article for you: “The universe is expanding faster than we thought, and no one knows why.” It has a sub-headline, as so many of these things do, and it’s: “Explaining a discrepancy between what was happening 13 billion years ago and now may require new physics.”
The source is C|Net, which is a web location with many different purposes, one of which is to aggregate news stories, and this is one such intriguing story.
The source for the story itself is: “Nobel laureate Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute, which leads Hubble’s science mission.” The “Space Telescope” being discussed is the famous Hubble Telescope.
The cause of the attention-grabbing headline is a discrepancy between what the European Planck Telescope crew has been observing as it gazes at what the crew believes to be the outer reaches of the universe — and therefore back in time — and what the Hubble Telescope crew is observing and reporting today.
But the real attention-grabbing sentence should be: “may require new physics.” Hmmmm… but, but, but… when will we know for sure? Answer: Never. It should be noted that we’ve already had two rounds of “New Physics-es.”
After Sir Isaac Newton did his famous observations and calculations, most people were just sure that we lived in a nice, neat, tidy, observable, measurable, Newtonian universe. And many considered that to be “settled science.” Newtonian science was, to coin a term: “Physics 1.0.”
Then along came Albert Einstein who upended everything with something called “Relativity Theory.” After Einstein, most scientists then believed that we lived in a much less nice, much less neat, much less tidy, much more mysterious, Einsteinian, or Relativistic universe. And we found ourselves living with the brand new, shiny “Physics 2.0.”
This article is suggesting that Physics 2.0 is inadequate, and that we need Physics 3.0! Why? Easy: Because there’s no such thing as “settled science.”
A “Physics 3.0” would mean nothing less than throwing into question everything that vast numbers of astrophysicists and astronomers considered at least safe, if not settled. Everything. Astronomical distances, estimates of the total matter in the universe, how that matter works, space-time, space curvature, gravity, the nature of matter and energy, and how they interoperate, and more.
With all this stuff being bandied about so casually by Nobel winner Riess, and if you toss both Heisenberg (The Uncertainty Principle(1)) and Schrödinger, with his famous both-dead-and-alive cat, into the mix, you quickly come to realize that today’s pseudo-scientists talking about “settled science” — I’m still looking at you, environmentalists — have learned nothing from their elders and betters.
For example read the article and you’ll come across, in the most blasé of terms, the following:
One possible explanation could be the appearance of dark energy at some point long ago. It’s now theorized that up to 70 percent of the universe may be made up of the mysterious stuff. A yet undiscovered and speedy particle in the universe that affects its expansion is another possibility, as is the idea that unseen dark matter might be pushing on the normal matter we can see more strongly than we thought. [Red and other emphasis added]
Well, there you go! A “yet undiscovered speedy particle!” Or: Dark energy! It comprises they think, up to 70-frickin’-percent of the universe! Oh, and let’s not overlook Dark matter! Another thing that scientists have imagined but never observed. However, scientists hypothesize that dark matter makes up 85-frickin’-percent of all the matter in the universe. The universe, so they say, is 70% dark energy. And, 85% of all the matter in the universe is: dark matter.
That all seems quite a lot for things that no one’s ever seen, measured, heard, smelled, tasted, or observed in any way… but they’ve imagined it all. I know, I know… just because they imagined it doesn’t mean it’s not there. But it doesn’t mean that it is either.
That nifty little paragraph from the article is followed by this gem of a passage:
The actual explanation remains a mystery. Riess and other scientists plan to continue fine-tuning their tools and measurements, but if the mismatch isn’t due to human error, new physics may be needed to complete the puzzle.
“Previously, theorists would say to me, ‘it can’t be. It’s going to break everything.’ Now they are saying, ‘we actually could do this,'” Riess said. [Red emphasis added]
In other words: “Don’t believe those observations! They’ll break everything!” Well, when scientists cease to believe in credible observations, they cease to be scientists and become something else, like politicians or cultists. This last is the best word to describe the high priests of, for example, environmentalism and evolution today.
Real science, done by real scientists, stays as far away from politics as possible. Real scientists, would never, ever even dream of ostracizing, shaming or silencing other scientists who disagree with their findings.(2) Again, I’m looking at you, environmentalists. But, also at those who suggest that evolution is “settled science.“(3)
“Settled science” is a nonsense term whose users deploy it in order to shut down debate about their conclusions. After all, how can there be debate if the science is “settled?”
In the case of environmentalism, the movement itself is riddled with fraud, corruption and politics. Needless to say, environmentalists are the ones most prominently and loudly using “settled science” as part of their arguments to change human behaviors.
If anything, the above-linked interesting teaser of an article should prompt everyone to dismiss outright any scientific claims by anyone who claims to have “settled science” on his side.
More to the point, we should not make one single law based on that “science,(4)” whose real name is Pseudo-science. Or Junk Science. People and states who have made law based on “settled science” include the Nazis, whose “science” supposedly showed the inferiority of some races to others. And of course, the mother of all Junk Science is Lysenkoism, which in Stalin’s Soviet Union, was nothing more than the surrender of scientists to the reigning Communist ideology of the day.
There is some science that is highly credible: It’s the science — I guess it’d be a combination of Economics and Social Science(5) — that long ago came to a difficult to avoid conclusion: Want to clean up the planet? Introduce free market capitalism and liberal democracy to all the countries of the world.
The safest, most generous, sanest, most civilized, most opportunity-laden, most prosperous, the freest… the cleanest countries of the world, are those countries whose primary governing ethos comes from Western Civilization. Starting with the #1, the King, the Capo di Tutti Capi, the Big Cheese, the Babe Ruth-Jack Nicklaus-Tom Brady-Roger Federer–Paul Bunyan-Superman of ’em all: The U.S. of A.
(1) Very briefly, and, I’m afraid, inadequately: Werner Heisenberg said that in observing something we affect the thing we’re observing, so our observations, calculations, and therefore our conclusions, must always be inaccurate.
(2) It’s positively eerie how you could substitute the word “education” in for science, and “teachers” in for scientists, and say the exact same thing about education in America today.
(3) Evolution is not “settled science” because, well, because there’s no such thing as “settled science.”
(4) This does not rule out common sense laws and rules. There is credible science out there. And there are credible observations. For example, the “Pacific Garbage Patch” is a blight. We ought to be able (1) to clean it up, and (2) to propose rules for our use of the oceans that might make such a thing less likely in the future, and (3) to ensure that those rules don’t impinge excessively on the basic freedoms we enjoy in America.
(5) I’m not a big fan of social scientists today. Talk about a discipline fraught with corruption, rent-seeking, fraud and politics! Little has brought more real damage to real people in this country than social scientists, who are responsible for many of the practices in the horribly abusive area of family law in America today.
However, eventually they (sometimes) get things right. For example: Social scientists today are making a real, and long, long overdue, effort to roll back the abusively discriminatory bias of family courts against fathers and men in general, thereby more frequently producing outcomes that actually might be the best for everyone involved… especially the men’s children.