We live in a time where science has become The Science, a regime-affiliated religion whose purpose is to justify ill-gotten profits and tyrannical policy.
This goes together with many other failures: bias due to funding, the replication crisis, p-hacking, the pressure to publish positive results and data falsification. Here is a good summary to get you started on the scale of the problem (HT).
What a perfect opportunity to recall and admire real science. The following story is a perfect example.
Scientists were once certain that stomach ulcers and gastritis are caused by either stress or too much acid – the sources vary. Perhaps they thought the stress caused the acid.
In any case, these conditions were treated with antacids, antidepressants or psychotherapy.
A gastroenterologist from Perth, of all places, thought that was wrong. Barry Marshall reckoned that it was caused by harmful bacteria, based on earlier research that had shown a weird type of spiral microbe was present in sufferers.
There’s a bloke called Jeffrey Long who claims to have scientific evidence that near-death experiences prove some form of afterlife.
So what, you ask? Whatever you think about the soul, you probably assume that he’s just another crackpot.
In fact, Jeff is a medical doctor specializing in oncology who has compiled many accounts of near-death experiences. His research is dismissed by his colleagues and his career has no doubt been limited by his obsession.
Jeff reckons he’s the victim of bias because medical journals refuse to publish his research even though it meets their criteria in terms of methods and statistical significance.
He’s written a book on the subject and is big in mystical, new age circles but sources very close to him suggest that there’s more here than meet the eye.
How are you enjoying the Holocene? It’s the warm, interglacial period we’re currently experiencing. It’s been going for about ten thousand years, or the totality of human civilization plus a bit. I like it. Crops are growing well, supporting huge cities. An urban population leads to learning, professions and all the technology we have today. Like scissors.
Don’t get too attached to all that, though. Interglacial periods don’t always last very long. Read More