Time to ask for Evidence

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aZerogodist
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Time to ask for Evidence

Post by aZerogodist » Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:39 am

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sci ... 94199.html

By Paul O Donoghue -Irish Skeptics Soc

The article is about SenseaboutScience.org launching a campaign ''Ask for evidence'' R Dawkins, David Attenborough, Dara O Briain, Darran Brown, Simon Singh.

It calls for people to demand evidence and challenge misleading science/medicine claims, in advertisment, alt-medicine.

This is a great idea, I don't like the way the media often water science down into some kind of entertainment, where facts are irrelevent, or in those adverts with made-up 'sounds-like-science' words.

I welcome this and will do my bit.
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Dr Raskolnikov
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Re: Time to ask for Evidence

Post by Dr Raskolnikov » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:56 pm

Nice article. I give it "11 thumbs up!". :D

It's great to see this kind of view given exposure in the Irish Times where a lot of people will see it. This sort of thing goes a long way towards making wilful ignorance an unacceptable life stance...

I particularly like the idea of positive action such as trolling CAM exhibitions at the RDS!

I live in England these days and there's as much woo here as in Ireland. One of my neighbours whose children play with ours is training to be an "alternative therapist" and is proud to let everyone know her children have had no immunisations! :x
Science is like a blabbermouth who ruins the movie by telling you how it ends. Well, I say there are some things we don't want to know. Important things. - Ned Flanders
aiseiri47
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Re: Time to ask for Evidence

Post by aiseiri47 » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:59 pm

Fitting - apparently today is "International Skeptics Day". (I saw this on a social networking site, and immediately typed it into Google for confirmation that it was true. :mrgreen:)

I like that the article doesn't stop at asking for evidence; it is very important while asking for evidence to have standards for evidence. I ask people for evidence all the time (mostly about their ghost sightings and incredibly insightful psychic readings), and people think that "they said this would happen and it did happen" qualifies as evidence. Same thing with acupuncture and homoeopathy - they did it, and they got better = evidence.

So teaching children to think scientifically is just as important as asking for evidence. As the author mentions with the Hopi candles; "The children can easily show that the wax appears even if the candle is stood lighting on a saucer and the chimney effect can be countered by placing light material (a piece of tissue will do) beneath the candle and noting that it does not rise." -- How many children, or even adults, would think to do this? (Most Irish adults I know would not.) I hope the inclusion of this example in the article makes more people aware of what qualifies as evidence.

It's a wonderful movement, and I hope it gets sufficient publicity, and that people ask for evidence with the above in mind. What saddens me is that this should be a staple of the education system from primary school upwards, not an independent movement.
nozzferrahhtoo
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Re: Time to ask for Evidence

Post by nozzferrahhtoo » Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:05 pm

Unless I somehow managed to miss it, I am rather surprised not to see Ben Goldacre in the people related to the campaign or quoted on the home page. This campaign would appear to be right in his line.
Beebub
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Re: Time to ask for Evidence

Post by Beebub » Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:41 pm

Sir, – Believe it or not, the engineer who sank our well started work by dowsing to find the optimum location. Ten years later we still have water.

Paul O’Donoghue and the Irish Skeptics Society (“It’s time we asked for the evidence”, Science Today, October 13th) do not have all the answers and should not be so ready to dismiss anecdotal evidence and the experience of millenniums. Modern science is a young thing and sometimes too arrogant for its own good. – Yours, etc,

JILL BELL,

Ferrypoint,

Youghal, Co Cork.

http://www.irishtimes.com/letters/index ... 4305755854

That must mean dowsing is accurate! ffs!

Dara O'Briain has a great quote about 'the experience of millenniums (sic)'. I'm paraphrasing:

People say that alternative medicine has been around for thousands of years. Yes it has and we tested it all. The stuff that works we call 'medicine'.
aiseiri47
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Re: Time to ask for Evidence

Post by aiseiri47 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:53 pm

Beebub wrote:
Dara O'Briain has a great quote about 'the experience of millenniums (sic)'. I'm paraphrasing:

People say that alternative medicine has been around for thousands of years. Yes it has and we tested it all. The stuff that works we call 'medicine'.
That quote is the first thing that popped into my mind as I read the letter!

Why don't people understand that science is not modern at all? What do they think was at work when humans learned how to preserve foods, bake bread and insulate their homes? I bet anything they discovered through observation and trial and error - not because a fairy appeared to them in a dream and told them what would work best!
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