Oct 8, 2021Liked by Steve Templeton, PhD.

An excellently organized critique. I would go even further in some spots -

"In other words, everyone suffers from crushing ignorance, but scientists are (one hopes) usually more aware of the depth of theirs."

The lay person knows they do not understand how, for example, the immune system works. They would not profess to be "certain" that a novel vaccine is safe in advance of testing "because X." It is the scientist (and physician even more-so) who is more often trapped in the Dunning–Kruger illusion of certainty.

Natural human psychology ensures that the overconfident outlier gets to dictate the memes of belief, or make a fortune peddling false cures - but they are still the outlier. Scientific education is a machine for making overconfidence the norm - and the outliers who do remain open-minded are, as you say, gradually ossified by the need to sustain and perpetuate their earliest insights. I don't think rationalism is actually a better guard against biases than intuitive, emotional thought - maintaining openness in both requires training, that is all.

Modern science, like 19th-Century Russian aristocratic politics, needs a Dostoyevski to novelize its psychological and spiritual rot one day.

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Oct 10, 2021Liked by Steve Templeton, PhD.

"Most successful scientists can trace their crowning achievements to work that occurred early in their careers. This happens, not only because scientists get more job security, but because they get hampered by their own experiences and biases."

This applies equally to economists, historians, and philosophers.

An obsession with certainty - immediate certainty - is a strong emotional and psychological force. It causes thinkers to rationalize prior positions. And the smarter the rationalizer, the "better" (more complex and intricate) the rationalization.

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Nov 21, 2021Liked by Steve Templeton, PhD.

I'm just a civilian, but have spent the last decade or so learning to apply critical thinking to scientific papers in nutritional and metabolic chemistry. This includes identifying (well, sometimes) how statistics can be abused to reinforce a desired outcome. Your article distills perfectly the problem of dogma and ossification in science.

Since most people have not paid any attention to the details of scientific research before Covid and especially the new vaccines, it's really hard to explain to them how "science" isn't always science.

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Great piece! What we really don't understand (well in aggregate) is how we create knowledge in the first place. Just sayin' -- it's not about the individual. It's about how the social network is structured, and connected. Here's the door to The Matrix. https://empathy.guru/2019/04/06/what-is-structural-memetics-and-why-does-it-matter/

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