Richard Massey: Science Is A Fashion Statement

The philosophical Pandora box has been opened in order to explain the scientific method being used in our present time. This is the same method which creationists like myself  have been very critical about. In Nature, Richard Massey reveals the approach being used by scientists…

“As scientific fashions come and go, the rivalry between the three houses might be more at home on the catwalks of Paris or Milan.  The techniques are at different stages of the same product cycle.  Initial hype draws a flurry of excitement, but when systematic physical flaws show up, sober reflection brings a sheepish look back at the design.  Some methods may be consigned to a dusty drawer.  But the stitch or two of alterations by Schmidt and colleagues has ensured that gravitational lensing will still be on the hot list next season.”

“Initial enthusiasm for using supernovae as cosmic distance indicators, and thus as a probe of the Universe’s expansion, garnered vast allocations of time on ground- and space-based telescopes, and triggered the first plans for a dedicated, all-sky successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.  Unfortunately, the explosions were later found to depend on the stars’ environment and ingredients, which evolve over cosmic time.  Such effects can be parameterized only to a certain precision, and the technique is falling out of fashion.”

Richard Massey is right on target about how scientists use methods that reflects a fashion but gives no answer on how  cosmologists are converging on a correct answer. Science is about searching for truth which expands our knowledge about nature and the Universe, it’s not a fashion statement, narrowed to a particular framework (naturalism) because it’s popular.

What I find very strange but very common among those who embrace evolution about this article, Richard Massey begins with a very positive message…

“Since the Big Bang, the Universe’s initial expansion has been gradually slowed by the gravitational pull from the mass it contains.  Most of this mass is in the form of invisible and mysterious dark matter.  Today, however, the Universe seems to be re-accelerating under the influence of even weirder stuff dubbed dark energy.  For astronomy funding purposes, ‘dark’ is the new black.  Almost nothing is understood about either dark matter or dark energy – but both are many times more common than visible matter, and their tug of war will shape the fate of the entire cosmos.”

Wouldn’t you think if there is no reliable measuring tool which has been in fashion for many years cast doubt and be in question when it’s collected results are labeled as factual data? If observation is the key component of any science, that critic might also wonder why dark, mysterious unknown stuff which nobody really understands could even become fashionable in the first place!

7 thoughts on “Richard Massey: Science Is A Fashion Statement

  1. Michael: “This is the same method which creationists like myself have been very critical about….. What I find very strange….”

    It’s way past time to come clean, Michael. You don’t write this screed. You don’t read Nature, you wouldn’t know where to find one. In the few responses to comments that you have made yourself, you have evidenced an utter lack of comprehension of the subject matter, its significance, and the way in which science operates. The weather is predicted by pattern recognition. Wooohaahahahahaha. Two wings are less useful than four. Mffgggghhhhh. And the explanations! Some fosssils are higher than others because the flood water rose—so the smaller ones are nearer the bottom than the big ones Chogggspppfffsnrt.

    It becomes tiresome, dealing with a ventriloquist’s dummy. Where is Edgar Bergen? Why does your pusillanimous source refuse to take responsibility for his own words, and trot out Mortimer Snerd instead?

    Your creationist friends seem to have absquatulated. Doesn’t seem to be much of a loss. All they can do is mindlessly quote scripture against facts, as Martin Luther did to Copernicus. Debating with you is like playing chess with a bird—it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, then flies back to its flock squawking victory.

    Let the author defend his words, not the parrot.

    ==a/k/a Olorin, LLC

  2. “Richard Massey reveals the approach being used by scientists…”

    Now is he ? Was that approach secret, and is he (Massey) ‘revealing’ this to the world ?
    How on earth do you come up with such a conclusion, from someone working on gravitational lensing (I know Massey), who has an opinion on fashions in astronomical research. Nothing exciting here, and I completely fail to see what you are trying to prove here ?

  3. Am I too hard on Michael’s abilities? After all, he permits Soc and me to skewer his posts unmercifully. Should he have a chance to respond to my claims of his ignorance? Here are a few questions that judge—not factual knowledge (even Michael can look things up on the Web)—but the ability to reason in a scientific manner about everyday things.

    (1) Why does a flat mirror reverse left and right but not up and down, no matter which way you turn it?

    (2) Shake a jar containing both large and small balls for a few minutes. How will the balls distribute themselves in the jar?

    {3) You aim your rifle at a monkey hanging in a tree,. You know that the instant you pull the trigger, the monkey will let go. Where do you aim? Why?

    (4) You shoot a spitball through a curved straw. What path will the spitball follow after leaving the straw? Why?

    (5) Studies have shown that the lowest cancer rates are in counties with small populations. Where would you expect to find the highest cancer rates?

    (6) You offer the TSA a simple, inexpensive test to detect terrorists on airports with 95% accuracy. Assume 500,000 passengers/day and 5 potential terrorists. Will they accept your offer?* Why?

    (7) Your school district places every student in one racial category. The superintendent bragged that, last year, the average math score of every racial group went up. But he admitted that the average of all students together want down. Explain.

    *– Maybe I should give Michael this one. The TSA, and Congress, fail this concept on a regular basis. But then, scientists do not, and that’s what we’re testing.

  4. Olorin, you are most certainly not too hard on Michael’s abilities.

    My guess ? He is just writing these pieces because he gets paid for this (by a creationist group with a lot of money, like the “Discovery Institute”).

  5. Michael: “Wouldn’t you think if there is no reliable measuring tool which has been in fashion for many years cast doubt and be in question when it’s collected results are labeled as factual data?”

    I’ having trouble parsing this sentence. It seems to make even less sense than your anonymous source usually does. Not scientific sense—I mean it doesn’t make sense grammatically.

    Michael: “If observation is the key component of any science, that critic might also wonder why dark, mysterious unknown stuff which nobody really understands could even become fashionable in the first place!”

    One might then wonder why a one-time six-day creation—that not only has no physical evidence of its own but contravenes the evidence we do have—could become fashionable. And, even when it did appear, why did this fashion have to wait eight thousand years after the purported event before blossoming a mere hundred years ago?

    ==Soc P.

  6. Eelco, I don’t think the Dishonesty Institute has its filthy claws in this. First, they try to avoid explicitly acknowledging YECs, since they are so easy to knock over. The ICR is more likely.

    Also, I don’t think Michael gets paid for this. I’ll give him that much. in my humble opinion, he’s a Liar for Jesus, not for silver. Maybe even that is too strict. Michael’s anonymous source is probably a professional LfJ; Michael himself is merely a Dupe for Jesus.

    Here’s an interesting thought I ran across the other day. Early 19thC American author and naturalist Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The religion that is afraid of science dishonors God and commits suicide.”

    Dishonors God. Yet another argument against creationism.

  7. By Zeus, how could I have missed this one? Since Michael is now nine weeks into an overdue review of Stephen Meyer’s “Signature in the Cell,” here’s another question for Michael’s test:

    (8) You observe a rock and a brick. Which one contains more information? Why?

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