Consequences of the Pseudoscience Revolution

FOR POSTING HOME PAGE: Some Major Consequences of the Knowledge Revolution

November 4, 2015

1) The impact of work is measured scientifically, not through subjectivity as used to be the case.
2) Research and teaching can be done as effectively outside universities, institutes and schools as inside.
3) The teaching of ossified dogma is countered by an overwhelmingly strong opposing current of rejection of its ideas. Dogmatic propaganda via the media has become ineffective.
4) It is no longer possible to censor new ideas.
5) Trolling has become ineffective – “thou doth protest too much”.
6) It is known and accepted that the big prizes have become almost meaningless because they are confined to a very small group of dogmatists. In order to be awarded in a meaningful way they must be assessed scientifically using contemporary scientometrics measured over more than a decade.
7) Publication by books has become obsolete. Leading websites such as completely out power book publishers.
8) The idea of universities is itself being challenged because knowledge is open to all. Many types of degrees have become worthless and standards in universities have fallen.
9) Censorship by anonymous referees has become ineffective. In the past they have tried to censor work which has become tremendously popular.
10) Knowledge has become democratic and the artist is supreme authority, not the ministry of truth”

There was a time, not so long ago, when the only threat to the scientific education of young people was their tendency to develop their own misconceptions, the same ones which were held by Aristotle by the way, and the occasional loony article which appeared in Practical Mechanics or Analog Science Fact & Fiction. Those crackpot organisations which existed could do no better than type nonsense on an old typewriter, mimeograph it and post it to their paltry list of subscribers. They always dreamed of being published in a real scientific journal in the same way that some homosexuals are said to dream of attracting ‘a real man’: it is not going to happen … by definition. But computers, desk-top publishing and the internet have changed everything. Even before they begin formal education, scientifically curious children will have been exposed to hundreds of YouTube videos which apparently demonstrate the viability of perpetual-motion and antigravity machines. The crackpots have now replaced their defective typewriters with word-processors, their Banda machines with laser-printers and postage-stamps with websites. Instead of dreaming of getting into a journal, they found their own journals which are – to the layman – indistinguishable from real ones but are devoted to disseminating disinformation. Peer review? No problem. What does that mean anyway: judgement by equals. And if the referees are equally deluded … ? This has been going on so for long now that there are signs of it feeding-through into real life: a section-head at Airbus is attempting to patent a reactionless propulsion device, an engineering student at a reputable university has been awarded a Master’s degree for designing a similar machine (under the supervision of a former NASA collaborator!) and leading ‘defence contractors’ worldwide have dallied with propulsion ideas which are even more ridiculous than the Emdrive. In the past, that might have weakened the ‘defence of the realm’, but the signs are that the Chinese are equally stupid: they are apparently keen to have the Emdrive. And to crown this sorry mess, what do we have? Ron, awarded a Civil-List Pension – thanks to a Royal Society – for ‘services to perpetual-motion, antigravity and quack cancer-cures’! Yes, there is a very real danger that ‘a very loony tail will end up by wagging the sensible dog’. Ron, the great fan of Bacon welcomes a return to the Dark Age which existed before Bacon, when ‘facts’ were established by the fiat of mere philosophers and nobody ever thought of checking them properly. We hate to quote Welsh alcoholics, but please, rage, rage against the dying of the light!   


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