Mikedunford wrote: ↑
Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:33 pm
My view is, was, and remains that there was never a good faith basis for anyone to have "questions" regarding Obama's birthplace.
This is complete and utter unscientific bullshit. There was a good faith basis (and still is) for anyone who isn't an expert of Constitutional law (or hasn't gotten an answer backed up by credible and relevant expertise) and hasn't seen the COLB to have questions regarding President Obama's natural born citizenship (or his place of birth). Otherwise, you are saying that I acted in bad faith (and, in Stern's opinion, was a racist), because I asked about President Obama's natural born citizenship after first encountering birthers at Texas Darlin's blog before the 2008 elections. I was very seriously concerned and didn't know the answer. Of course, I investigated and my ignorance was easy to alleviate -- and now I can no longer question President Obama's natural born citizenship in good faith. But I can still question, for instance, Rafael Cruz's, as
There are, of course, usually many tells in how you go about investigating if you are not acting in good faith. If you wont say what it will take to change your mind (or, even worse, simply wont change your mind period), you aren't acting in good faith. If you don't investigate by trying to prove yourself wrong (i.e. establish the conditions which would change your mind), you aren't acting in good faith. And if you don't consider any other scientific evidence you come by on its merits, you aren't acting in good faith. Too, also, avoiding any of these willfully is pretty much the definition of "bad faith"
Actually, this seems to be tautological from an epistemological point of view. If you act with scientific integrity, then your beliefs are what is most likely to be true given the evidence you have. In other words, your faith is good. If you fail to follow a scientific methodology, then there is a chance that your faith is bad (i.e. you are wrong), which increases to certainty over time.
But don't take my word for it, listen to what Tommy Jefferson had to say...
I think the educational and psychological studies I mentioned are examples of what I would like to call Cargo Cult Science. In the South Seas there is a Cargo Cult of people. During the war they saw airplanes land with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they’ve arranged to make things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head like headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas—he’s the controller—and they wait for the airplanes to land. They’re doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn’t work. No airplanes land. So I call these things Cargo Cult Science, because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but they’re missing something essential, because the planes don’t land.
Now it behooves me, of course, to tell you what they’re missing. But it would he just about as difficult to explain to the South Sea Islanders how they have to arrange things so that they get some wealth in their system. It is not something simple like telling them how to improve the shapes of the earphones. But there is one feature I notice that is generally missing in Cargo Cult Science. That is the idea that we all hope you have learned in studying science in school—we never explicitly say what this is, but just hope that you catch on by all the examples of scientific investigation. It is interesting, therefore, to bring it out now and speak of it explicitly. It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty—a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid—not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked—to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.
Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can—if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong—to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.
In summary, the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.
"Just asking questions" is never wrong -- you just have to have the integrity to seek out the answers you don't want to hear, listen to them, and take them to heart. At least that's what I believe and strive to do myself.
Addendum: Sorry Stern, but you're saying that Brian was a racist because he was exposed to propaganda that he wanted to believe and, after making a good faith effort to evaluate that propaganda, decided that it wasn't correct. I say that he proved his integrity on the birther issue beyond question, something that no anti-birther can ever do (since President Obama is, in fact, a natural born citizen). Too, also, Realist, there is no way to know, a priori, that the birther foo-foo-raw was an "imagined controversy by a bunch of lunatics". Although it is easily determined on closer inspection, you can't say that the birthers, the 9/11 truthers, or the advocates of the big bang theory1
are acting in bad faith until you see them using unscientific methodologies.
- 1. I am completely serious about this and can defend this statement. The big bang theory, true or not, is exactly the kind of cargo cult science that Feynman was describing.