Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily

ET Phone an Anger Management Class

Seth Shostak of the SETI program is tired of ad hominem attacks on himself and other scientists by UFO “true believers.” He warns that his response may be a bit heated, but it’s actually a thoughtful and measured rebuttal to the idea that skeptics are automatically evil.

I, too, was attacked, generally along the lines that, since I don’t investigate UFO reports, I’m not qualified to opine on whether I find them convincing or not. Well, that’s bunk. And it’s certainly not how science works. I don’t need to be an astronomer specializing in black hole research, nor do it myself, to gauge whether someone’s claim that they’ve found one of these collapsed objects in the center of some galaxy or other is credible. I can do that based on the methodology, the reported data, and (to be brutally frank) the reputation of the investigator and their professional affiliation. The burden of proof in science is on the person making the claim. And if the only way the investigator can convince others is by insisting that their audience shift careers and start doing their work, then something’s gravely amiss.

His arguments work equally well for other types of True Belief too (I’m looking at you, Creationists).

Link (via Strange Attractor)

Posted in Science, Space August 19th, 2008 by Chip
Comments Off on ET Phone an Anger Management Class

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.