Saturday, May 2, 2009

Disagreements about 'Ugly Facts"

A web site I land on frequently has a home page that starts out this way...

"The great tragedy of Science-the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact." (Thomas Huxley, 1825-1895)

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" (Karl R. Popper, 1902-1994)

For decades, enormous human and financial resources have been wasted on the cholesterol campaign, more promising research areas have been neglected, producers and manufacturers of animal food all over the world have suffered economically, and millions of healthy people have been frightened and badgered into eating a tedious and flavorless diet or into taking potentially dangerous drugs for the rest of their lives. As the scientific evidence in support of the cholesterol campaign is non-existent, we consider it important to stop it as soon as possible. The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics (THINCS) is a steadily growing group of scientists, physicians, other academicians and science writers from various countries. Members of this group represent different views about the causation of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, some of them are in conflict with others, but this is a normal part of science. What we all oppose is that animal fat and high cholesterol play a role. The aim with this website is to inform our colleagues and the public that this idea is not supported by scientific evidence; in fact, for many years a huge number of scientific studies have directly contradicted it.

I appologize for stealing that text - but it is a good statement which I think is also applicable to other sciences, particularly the science (or whatever you call it) of anthropogenic climate change, that which is caused or produced by humans. I am still looking, open-mindedly I hope, for 'growth of knowledge' based on good honest disagreement, well thought out hypotheses and maybe 'ugly facts'.

Are some 'Ugly Facts' being swept under the rug? Here's one view and maybe Winston Churchill was correct when he said "that Americans always do the right thing after they’ve tried everything else,” and Arthur B. Robinson, president and professor of chemistry at the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine speaking about consensus said “Maybe that’s what we’re going to do this time. But there will be a lot of suffering.” See article here.

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