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News Should we trust experts to guide us concerning matters in their field?

  1. Dec 10, 2009 #1
    Moderator note: discussion split off from https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=361853


    So if you were wondering if astrology were legit, you would ask an astrologist, then? I've been wondering if palm readers can really tell my future, now I know who to ask.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 10, 2009 #2

    Integral

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    Re: What IF agw is wrong?

    No, I would ask a scientist, like an physicist or astronomer.
     
  4. Dec 10, 2009 #3
    Re: What IF agw is wrong?

    Astrology isn't science.
     
  5. Dec 10, 2009 #4
    Re: What IF agw is wrong?

    I think you missed my point. Which was that those who work in a given field are biased toward believing the prevailing dominant theory in that field is correct.
     
  6. Dec 10, 2009 #5
    Re: What IF agw is wrong?

    Why not apply that same logic to AGW? Ask a scientist that hasn't made a career in the subject field.
     
  7. Dec 10, 2009 #6

    Integral

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    Re: What IF agw is wrong?

    Are you saying that an astronomer is not a professional concerning questions about stars?
     
  8. Dec 10, 2009 #7
    Re: What IF agw is wrong?

    What's frightening is the idea of being "guided by the experts in the field". Those that work in any field are biased toward the prevailing theory in the field, whether it is correct or not.

    Sometimes it's not (like astrology).

    Being "guided" by experts in a field is only a good idea if you've already determined that the prevailing theory within that field is correct.

    Astrology is an extreme and obvious example of why.
     
  9. Dec 10, 2009 #8
    Re: What IF agw is wrong?

    No, I'm saying that an astronomer doesn't work in the field of astrology, so would be unbiased.
     
  10. Dec 10, 2009 #9
    Re: What IF agw is wrong?

    Your point is crap. Scientists in a field don't stick to the status quo. Their goal is to make everyone who came before then look like an idiot. If they can prove a new theory they will.

    New theories don't come from scientists external to the field, they come from upstarts who have new ideas WITHIN the field. Eventually if the new idea has merit, it displaces the old theory.



    An analogy:
    You think in the 50's when the steady state model of the universe was widely accepted, all the scientists sat back and said 'our work is done!'.

    It's was the tea lady that come in and said 'what about an expanding universe'.

    NO. It was other scientists looking at the same area.

    The term 'big bang' is acutally meant to mock the expanding hot beginning universe idea. It was Hoyle that came up with it iirc.
     
  11. Dec 10, 2009 #10

    Integral

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    Re: What IF agw is wrong?

    I see, so having knowledge on a subject disqualifies one from guiding others.

    So how little do you need to know about something before you should be listened to?
     
  12. Dec 10, 2009 #11
    Re: What IF agw is wrong?

    Not always, but sometimes they do.

    My point isn't that AGW is right or wrong, it's only that we shouldn't automatically trust members of a given field just because they are in that field.

    That's why I used astrology for an example.
     
  13. Dec 10, 2009 #12
    Re: What IF agw is wrong?

    We should never trust anyone outright without checking the facts for yourself. However when you have to ask for someones opinon, you are better asking someone who knows what the hell they are doing.

    It's like asking who's advice should you take on designing the foundations for your house.

    Do you ask the civil engineer, who has had traning in designing foundations for a house? Or do you go and ask someone who had had no traning in the field of engineering what so ever?
     
  14. Dec 10, 2009 #13
    Re: What IF agw is wrong?

    Absolutely not. But it doesn't automatically qualify them to lead people around, either.
     
  15. Dec 10, 2009 #14

    Integral

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    Re: What IF agw is wrong?

    Astrology claims to understand how stars effect our lives, an astronomer studies the stars and their effects. The difference one is using the scientific method the other not. Astronomers ARE the experts, so yes they are biased, they KNOW that astrology is BS based on scientific method not ancient belief.
     
  16. Dec 10, 2009 #15
    Re: What IF agw is wrong?

    Well said.
     
  17. Dec 10, 2009 #16
    Re: What IF agw is wrong?

    I think you're taking my analogy further than it was intended. It was only intended as an example to show that we shouldn't automatically trust those who make a living at a given field.
     
  18. Dec 10, 2009 #17
    Re: What IF agw is wrong?

    I wouldn't trust a bunch of astologists to tell me whether Jupiter was in the house of Venus. Instead, I would take a survey of fortune tellers from many different fields. A palm reader wouldn't necessarily know whose house has who in it. But at least they're in the biz, so their opinion must count for something, right?
     
  19. Dec 10, 2009 #18
    Re: What IF agw is wrong?

    I think what Al68 is actually trying to get at here is that we should all listen and believe what he thinks about the situations at hand. If for instance you asked your general practitioner about climate change and they told you some crack-pot theory and you came back here and reported to him he would still be hostile towards it, unless it's that crackpot theory that you believe in of course... It's like he's trying to say don't believe in the scientists you believe in, they aren't trustworthy! Believe in mine because I do too!

    Anyways as for the original question:
    Who cares if AGW is wrong? Will it be considered a bad thing that we took care of our planet for once? Sure some of the scientists whos life work this is may of course be a little off-put, a few may even try to continue to prove that AGW does exist... so what? Scientists are wrong everyday, at every level. I do not think there should be any needed attempt to 'save face' but it will probably end up being a hostile attack on all supporters of AGW from the skeptics.

    Anyways, humans are definitely contributing to global warming so what's the point of asking the question 'what if AGW is wrong?'. Can I go ahead and start another thread 'what if Napolean won the Napoleonic Wars?'

    Recently I have seen many, many threads here just being started to bash on AGW and climate science. People claiming they 'want to be different and outside the box and not believe the mainstream because it's oh so poltical', well I'm pretty sure that all the climate science bashing IS what's mainstream and it IS very political, actually it is ALL political right now (because of those e-mails.)
     
  20. Dec 10, 2009 #19

    Integral

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    Re: What IF agw is wrong?

    But I do trust the SCIENTIST in the field, that is the astronomer. Astrologists are not scientist so their input is of no significance.

    A good example of non experts overruling the experts is the on going encroachment of cougars in human communities. A few years back the PETA types decided that the then accepted methods of hunting cougars was not fair. Through various initiative petitions they succeeded in passing laws against the practice of using dogs to hunt cougars.

    The experts (Fish and Wildlife folks) claimed that the dogs were a necessary part of successful hunt. The city living housewife's got their way.

    Result: In many areas it is no longer safe for women and kids to walk in the woods.

    Sometimes a "bias" is a very good thing especially when that bias comes from research and the scientific method.

    When bias is based on ignorance, emotion, or tradition it is a bad thing.
     
  21. Dec 10, 2009 #20
    Re: What IF agw is wrong?

    LOL. That's funny, since I haven't once even mentioned what I think about AGW. I've only commented on the logic of automatically trusting those who financially gain (or lose) depending on public opinion.

    It's not very nice to make false claims about other forum members. :smile:
     
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