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NARS: The Epidemic of our Time

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by AmericanKulak   $0.14 total tips   💰tip   follow   2022 Jul 23, 12:33pm  

So what is the plague of our time? Covid? Metabolic syndrome? Sugar? Corn subsidies?

Not really. All of these things are bad news, but most people who apparently died of them, and countless more besides, actually died from ... NARS.

They listened to someone who was Not A Real Scientist.

The world abounds today in "experts", who have PhDs, and professorships, and tenure, and research grants, and lots of awards written on impressive CVs, who appear on your television accompanied by some state bureaucrat, or media talking head, who tells you that you must do everything they say, or the world will end next Tuesday.

But none of these things make someone a scientist. A scientist is someone who follows the scientific method to get a result.

    Ask a question about something.
    Observe that thing.
    Based on your observations, make a guess as to the answer to your question.
    Make a prediction of what you will see if your guess is true.
    Do an experiment, observe the results, and see if your prediction comes true.
    Tell others what you saw, regardless of what it was.
    Repeat this a lot.

Question, observe, guess, predict, experiment, tell, repeat.

If you do this enough, you end up with a bunch of guesses (we call it a hypothesis) that have been tested really often and never proven false. That's as close to "truth" as we can ever get.

That's it. That's all it is. None of those steps is "have a PhD", or "work for a prestigious institution", "get a research grant", or "appear on TV as an expert".

Anyone who represents himself as a scientist, but doesn't do each and every one of those steps for every result he represents as "scientific", is NARS: not a real scientist.

So this is how you scrutinize these so-called "experts".

    Did they give people a questionnaire to fill out, instead of running an experiment and observing directly? NARS.
    Did they run a whole bunch of internet comments through computer analysis and get some numbers about how those words co-occurred? NARS.
    Is their actual study hidden behind a paywall? NARS.
    Does their paper not contain all the details needed for a knowledgeable person in their field to repeat the experiment? NARS.
    Are they telling you their "expert opinion", and expecting faith in it as if it were an experimental result? NARS.
    Do "99 out of 100 scientists in field X agree that Y"? NARS.
    Did they do statistical analysis of a bunch of archived data, and then form a conclusion, instead of guessing at something they hadn't seen yet? NARS.
    Did they wave their PhD or professional title at you on twitter, then tell you something and expect you to believe it? NARS.

As you can probably tell by now, NARS outnumber real scientists, by a lot, even among the so-called scientific community. Some fields are entirely NARS, others are so dominated by NARS that they have shouted the real scientists into silence, or gotten them kicked out of the guild.

Are all NARS wrong 100% of the time? No, of course not. Sometimes, experienced guesswork does tell you something.Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. But without a scientific result, you can't ever tell if a NARS is right this time... so why would you ever trust one?

Is every non-scientist intellectual a NARS? No... some of them aren't representing their opinions as scientific results at all. Maybe they are just giving you a hypothesis that you can test.

But when you hear "trust me, I'm an expert", without further explanation, then recognize the battle cry of the NARS, and do not be intimidated. Because a scientist knows truth, which will be true whether you believe it or not, while a NARS is utterly dependent upon your unquestioning faith to preserve his appearance of expertise.

1   Ceffer   2022 Jul 23, 12:39pm  

You can screen a lot of faked data harvesting and 'science' assertion fallacies just by reverse engineering in your head the kind of studies that would be required to prove the assertions. If you cant reverse engineer a statistically valid model for testing the assertion, you can stash it in the bullshit file.

Data harvesting is not science. It is presuming a body of possibly apocryphal studies are truthful, and derive secondary statistics from them. It is 'lazy science', but comprises most of the scientific belief systems out there as 'fact'.

Real research is laborious, expensive and usually has very small valid data clusters produced, and they all need to be counter verified by duplication by other true scientists for limited conclusions, the polar opposite of 'data harvesting'.
2   AmericanKulak   2022 Jul 23, 1:23pm  

Right. Correlation doe not necessarily equal Causation. Almost all Sociology, Global Warming Theory, etc. depends on that.
3   just_passing_through   2022 Jul 23, 1:46pm  


- that's my battle cry at work

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