Thank you, Dr. Deming, and Anthony. I recall how CS Lewis referred to science as the twin of magic. Our science fiction writer admit their science and technology are often indistinguishable from magic. It is much too easy to forget the distinction of proof. Science must be proven over and over. Theories must be tested, tried with the intent of disproof, or we fall into magic and superstition, even when we maintain the trappings of science. As Feynman pointed out, we must not fool ourselves, and we need to work hard at it, because we are the easiest to fool.

Watts Up With That?

Guest essay by Dr. David Deming

We live in a scientific age. The sciences are viewed as the only real sources of authoritative information. Knowledge derived from other epistemological systems is regarded as having less credibility. The conclusions of philosophy are untestable, and religion is often cynically interpreted as nothing more than superstition and myth. Public policy decisions made upon the basis of scientific recommendations may have economic consequences measured in trillions of dollars. Yet few people realize how unreliable scientific authority can be.

The popular conception is that scientists dispassionately discover truth through a foolproof technique called the scientific method. In some simplistic views, the scientific method reduces to a series of procedural steps analogous to instructions in a cookbook. The results produced by this hypothetical scientific method are verified by something called peer review, a process that allegedly certifies reliability.

But the common understanding of science is largely…

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