Are scientists arrogant, close-minded, and dismissive?

I spend a lot of time debating people who reject science, and I have observed a common tendency for people to try to dismiss scientific results by attacking scientists with accusations that they are, “arrogant,” “close-minded,” “dismissive” and don’t “take people’s concerns/anecdotes seriously or engage the public” It’s important to realize that all of these accusations are simply ad hominem fallacies, and even if they were true, that wouldn’t make the scientists’ results any less accurate. In most cases, however, they aren’t even true, and they are actually reflective of the people making the accusations, rather than the scientists themselves. So I want to consider each of these claims and see whether or not they actually apply to most scientists. I am going to try to deal with each accusation more or less separately, but there will inevitably be some overlap and, indeed, each section builds on and connects to the other sections. I am especially going to focus on the claim that scientists are arrogant and pretentious, because the other claims are really built on that one.

Note: To be clear, I am not suggesting that no scientists are arrogant, close-minded, etc. Obviously there will be a few bad apples in any group. However, the accusation is that scientists in general display these qualities, and that is what I am taking issue with.

Are scientists arrogant?
Let’s start with the accusation that scientists are arrogant, elitist, pretentious, etc. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “arrogant” as:

“having or showing the insulting attitude of people who believe that they are better, smarter, or more important than other people.”

There are several important things to note about this definition. First, simply insisting that you are right and someone else is wrong is not necessarily arrogant. It only becomes arrogant when it is done in a haughty “better than thou” manner or when the assertion is based on an unrealistic assessment of one’s own skills, knowledge, and ability. That last part is really important. It is not arrogant for someone who is highly trained and has lots of experience to think that he/she knows more about the topic than someone with no training or experience on that topic.

In most areas of life, people have no problems deferring to experts, but for some reason when it comes to science, people view expertise as a bad thing.

In most areas of life, people have no problems deferring to experts, but for some reason, when it comes to science, people view expertise as a bad thing.

Let me give several examples to demonstrate what I mean by that. First, imagine that someone who has never taken an engineering course and has no relevant experience reads several blogs and comes to the conclusion that a particular bridge is unsafe. However, multiple professional engineers (each of whom went through several years of training to earn advanced degrees and have subsequently spent years working as an engineer) carefully examine the bridge, examine the arguments made by those who are concerned, and conclude that the bridge is safe. Are those engineers being arrogant? Is it presumptuous of them to “assume” that their advanced degrees and years of experience have made them more qualified than a bunch of bloggers to assess the safety of the bridge? Obviously it isn’t. We expect that people with that type of training and experience will know more than the average person. That’s why we have the word “professional.” It is insane to think that reading a few blogs is worth more than a degree from MIT.

Similarly, imagine that someone who has never even sat in the cockpit of a plane boards a commercial airliner and proudly proclaims that he is more qualified than the pilot because he has “done his homework” on the internet and logged lots of hours on X-box air combat games. This man then proceeds to lecture the pilot on everything that he/she is doing “wrong.” Would it be arrogant of the pilot to ignore him? Obviously not. No one on that plane would be OK with that man taking over for the pilot (except the man himself, of course), and everyone would agree that the man in question is being arrogant and foolish and needs to take his seat and shut up.

I can, of course, give countless examples like this that everyone would agree with. No one would argue that a neurosurgeon is arrogant for not taking surgical advice from unqualified family members you got their surgical licenses from Youtube. No one would accuse a professional mechanic of arrogance for ignoring a customer who doesn’t know the difference between a wrench and a screwdriver. No one would say that a lawyer is arrogant for thinking that they know more about the legal system than someone who has never set foot in a court room or opened a law book. Yet for some reason, when it comes to science and some fields of medicine, people feel entitled to think that they are experts. They actually seem to think that Google is equivalent to an advanced degree.

When you think about this, it is ludicrous. Becoming a professional scientist takes, on average, four years of undergraduate studies (note: science majors are usually rated among the most difficult/time consuming), 6–10 years of intense graduate training (most grad students work/study 60+ hours a week and rarely take holidays), and several years of doing a post-doc. Further, after all of that training, you spend your life actually doing science, which means that you are constantly gaining experience and new knowledge. The idea that reading a bunch of blogs and non-academic books will put you on par with that type of training and experience is the epitome of arrogance and hubris. It is just about the most pretentious thing that I can think of. Of course scientists know more about science than the average person on the street, just as plumbers know more about plumbing than the average person, and mechanics know more about cars than the average person. We intuitively expect that anyone who goes through that type of training will be extremely knowledgeable.

What I have been describing here is, of course, a well-established phenomenon known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. In short, people who are unskilled/unqualified tend to grossly over-estimate their own abilities/knowledge, whereas people who have the proper training/experience tend to have a more accurate view of their abilities or even under-estimate them. In other words, statistically speaking, it is the untrained people who tend to be arrogant about their abilities, not the highly trained scientists. To be clear, scientists certainly can still have unrealistic views of their own knowledge, and first rule of the Dunning-Kruger effect is that you don’t know if you are succumbing to it. So I am not suggesting that scientists are immune to this problem, but it is true that, on average, people without scientific training have a more unrealistic view of their scientific knowledge/abilities than actual scientists do.

To be clear, it is entirely possible to be highly trained and still arrogant. If, for example, a scientist said, “I am a scientist, therefore, I am smarter and better than you” that would be arrogance, but that is not usually what I see occurring. Rather, what I generally see, is that people accuse scientists of being arrogant simply because the scientists won’t accept their pseudoscience. For example, I frequently see a situation where an anti-vaccer makes an utterly ridiculous claim, and a scientist carefully and politely explains why that argument is unscientific, at which point, the anti-vaccer says something to the effect of, “well you’re just being arrogant and think that you know more than everyone else.” It is not arrogant to politely correct errors and debunk bad arguments.

Similarly, I often see people make the bizarre claim that scientists are arrogant because they think that they understand some very well-studied phenomena. For example, on multiple occasions I have heard someone say that scientists who accept climate change are arrogant for thinking that they understand how the climate works. How is it arrogant to think that thousands of studies have allowed us to understand something? It is arrogant to say, based on no evidence whatsoever, that all of those studies are wrong, but simply accepting the results of a massive body of research is in no way shape or form arrogant. Similarly, it is not arrogant of doctors to think that vaccines are safe, because vaccines have been so thoroughly tested.

In short, it is not arrogant for a highly qualified and experienced expert to think that they know more about their area of expertise than someone who has no training or experience in that area, nor is it arrogant to think that thousands of careful studies have produced reliable results. It is, however, arrogant to think that reading a few blogs or sitting around conjecturing puts you on the same level as a highly trained expert. Additionally, experts can certainly be arrogant if they misuse their training/experience, and statements such as, “I’m right because I’m a scientist” certainly display arrogance, but that is not usually the situation that I encounter.

Note: Do not confuse what I am saying here. I am not saying that being an expert automatically makes you right. It clearly doesn’t. Rather, I am talking about a person’s perception of themselves relative to their actual training and experience. Please read this post for an explanation of the difference between deferring to experts and appealing to authority. 

Are scientists close-minded?
At the outset, I want to make it clear that there is an extraordinary difference between being open-minded and being willing to accept utter nonsense. Most scientists are actually open to new ideas. That is, in fact, the reason why science has been able to progress so far. In other words, if scientists were truly close-minded and refused to consider any idea other than the “dogma” of their fields, then our scientific knowledge wouldn’t have changed in decades. It has changed, however, because science is inherently a process of discrediting old ideas and replacing them with better ideas. So most scientists are open to opposing ideas, but those ideas have to be based on good evidence and sound logic. If you want to convince a scientist that they are wrong, then you need to present them with actual high quality evidence (i.e., large properly conducted studies that were published in reputable peer-reviewed journals).

Tim minchin song meme if you open your mind too much your brain will fall out

The title to one of Tim Minchin’s songs

This is the fundamental point that so many people seem to miss: being open-minded means being willing to change your view when presented with high quality evidence. It does not mean being will to change your view based on anecdotes, blogs, Youtube videos, and hearsay. More often than not, when someone says “open your mind” they really mean “accept something totally ridiculous without any solid evidence to support it.” That’s not being open-minded, that’s being gullible.

Do scientists take parent’s/the public’s concerns seriously?
This one is a bit baffling to me, because the answer is so obvious. Yes, scientists absolutely take the public’s concerns seriously! That is why there are over 1,700 studies on GMOs, numerous large studies on vaccines and autism, etc. Nevertheless, I constantly hear people who insist that scientists aren’t looking for the “real” cause of autism, aren’t looking for better cancer treatments, haven’t studied GMOs, aren’t looking at the possibility that global warming is natural, etc., but all of these claims are utter nonsense. They are demonstrably false. For any of these topics, you can find multiple studies addressing those concerns. For example, in this post, I explained why we know that climate change isn’t natural, and I cited multiple studies that have examined that possibility. The topic has been extremely well studied, but I felt compelled to write that post because I encounter so many people who seem to think that scientists have never even bothered to look at the possibility that climate change is natural.

To put it simply, when someone says that scientists are ignoring them, more often than not, the problem isn’t actually that scientists are ignoring them, rather, the “problem” is that scientists didn’t find the result that they were hoping for. There are, however, exceptions which I will discuss in the next section.

A related claim is that scientists don’t engage the public. First, many scientists do in fact engage the public (for example, this blog exists because I am a scientist who thinks that it is worth my time to engage the public). Second, scientists are extremely busy people. We usually work over 60 hours a week, so asking us to add public engagement to our work schedule is not a small request. Third, those of us who do try to engage the public are rewarded with a constant wave of hate and insults. I wake up every day to find new messages telling my what a blind idiot I am for accepting the results of carefully controlled studies. I am constantly accused of being a paid shill, and I have had numerous people tell me that I am an evil, murdering, monster for supporting vaccines/GMOs. Given that level of vitriol, is it really surprising that most scientists don’t take time out of their busy schedules to engage the public? Again, most of the people making this claim don’t actually want scientists to engage them, rather they just want scientists to pander to them and tell them that they are right.

Are scientists dismissive?
The claim that scientists are dismissive is similar to the claim that they don’t take parents/the public seriously, but it has an important difference. Usually, I hear the latter being used to argue that there is a lack of research; whereas I typically hear the claim that scientists are dismissive in association with debates (this is more closely connected to the arrogance claim). In other words, many people argue that when they present scientists with their arguments, the scientists are dismissive of them and ignore their arguments rather than dealing with them. There certainly are many cases where scientists ignore people’s claims/arguments, but that needs to be qualified in several ways.

First, more often than not, this occurs when someone is making a ludicrous claim/argument that is contrary to everything that we know about the universe, and in those cases, ignoring the claim is often the appropriate response. If, for example, someone tries to tell you that rainbows form when unicorns defecate while flying through the air, you are not in any way obliged to take that claim seriously. That is obviously a silly example, but this happens all the time with real arguments that are equally absurd. Quite simply, if you are arguing for a position that has no scientific support and has been refuted by multiple studies and a basic understanding of science, then your opponent is not being “dismissive” by not taking that argument seriously. Rather, they are being rational.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting that it is OK to respond in a way that is haughty or belittling, but you are under no obligation to treat an absurd proposition as if it is a rational one. Additionally, it is always technically possible that numerous studies are wrong or even that our most fundamental concepts about the universe are wrong, so you should be willing to challenge them if presented with proper evidence. If someone comes to you with a stack of legitimate peer-reviewed studies that document the existence of unicorns and their ability to fly and poop out rainbows, as well as explaining why our current understanding of the physics of rainbows is wrong, then, at that point, you are obliged to take the argument seriously. However, if all that they are presenting is blogs, anecdotes, etc. than you absolutely can dismiss their arguments, because the burden of proof is on them to support their position, it isn’t your duty to refute it.

acid diet absurd homeostasis bad argument response to homeostasis memeAs an illustration of how this typically plays out, consider the meme on the right. It shows the type of dialogue that many people would label as “dismissive” or “arrogant” and, indeed, when I shared that on my blog’s Facebook page, one person commented with precisely that claim, so let’s examine that comment. First, the scientist in the meme actually asked a question rather than instantly rejecting the argument. If the person supporting the acid diet had responded with, “yes I do understand homeostasis, and here are several recent studies which showed that our previous knowledge was wrong and foods can actually affect the pH of our blood” then the scientist would have been forced to look at those studies. The person did not say that, however, because those studies don’t exist. Homeostasis is one of the fundamental concepts of physiology. It has been very well studied and we have a really good understanding of how it works. So claiming that food will shift the pH of our blood isn’t actually that far below unicorns on the absurdity scale. Therefore, ignoring claims that the acid diet works is not being “arrogant” or “dismissive” it’s being rational.

Although scientists certainly can be arrogant, close-minded, etc., usually when I see people making these accusations they are simply committing ad hominem fallacies. There is nothing arrogant about thinking that years of advanced training and experience make you more knowledgeable than someone that lacks that training and experience. Indeed, in most areas, we readily acknowledge experts and are happy to defer to them. Yet for some bizarre reason, when it comes to science and medicine, unqualified people feel entitled to think of themselves as experts, and that delusion is the truly arrogant one. Similarly, there is nothing dismissive or close-minded about rejecting anecdotes and shoddy arguments. Being open-minded means being willing to change your mind when presented with solid evidence. It does not mean being willing to accept utter nonsense despite a mountain of contrary evidence.

Note: You could argue that this post is actually anecdotal because it is based on my observations of debates rather than actual statistics, and if someone can find a solid peer-reviewed study that showed that scientists have an above-average level of arrogance, then I will happily write and addendum. However, that line of reasoning is really missing the point, because the fundamental question isn’t actually “are scientists arrogant?” Rather it is, “is it arrogant to think that advanced training and experience makes someone more qualified than someone who lacks that training and experience?”

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27 Responses to Are scientists arrogant, close-minded, and dismissive?

  1. Rich gaudet says:

    Proof is in the pudding
    Even if the messenger is an ass
    Then again scientists have to contend with flat earthers, fundamentalists who ignore the the archeological record & other magical thinkers who mistake a passionate devotion to absurd fairy tales as a basis for enteral damnation, as if there were such a thing. So if they are cranky, what of it: the data and consensual validation trumps all fairy tales


  2. Greta Baker says:

    I think this represents an unfortunate convergence of several things: (1) the abysmal state of science education in our US public schools means people don’t even know the basics of scientific thought; (2) postmodern relativism is over taught in our schools, so my Google search facts are add good as your scientific facts and if you disagree you’re trying to disempower me; (3) the Internet is not peer reviewed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. innovedge1 says:

    It fully see what you are getting at here. I would say this is the case in most instances. However, sometimes there are some real situations in which scientist ignore certain things for political and other reasons. In some cases, we have seen so-called scientific studies that have been “peer-reviewed” in which the study is just an affirmation of what the scientist and the scientific community wants to believe is true. Of course, this is not true science, but there have been many cases of falsification over the years. Also, sometimes anecdotal evidence gets tossed aside due to politics or other reasons. The current epidemic of Lyme is a perfect example. For years the scientific/medical community has been saying there is no such thing as Chronic Lyme, while many people suffer from it daily. It is spreading like wildfire, while many so-called professionals in the scientific/medical community continue to say it does not exist. There are some in the world of medicine that have been trying to help folks out that are suffering from it, but they have had lots of blowback and have even had their medical licenses pulled because they were actually helping others, while at the same time basically showing the shills for the medical industry (CDC directors and whatnot) that they are wrong; the Chronic Lyme actually does exist.

    I guess what I am trying to say here is that the reason for some of this distrust is due to the fact that many people have seen those in the scientific/medical community either falsify results to suit their own needs (and get other peers to confirm their findings) or they have experienced themselves or have seen others go through horrific situations in which the scientific/medical community refuses to acknowledge. Many folks, for instance, have been to doctors that say certain things “are all in your head” when there is a real issue, but because they cannot identify it, it must be in the patient’s head. A number of doctors will refuse to believe something is happening if they cannot figure it out, because “it cannot possibly be beyond their knowledge.”; and if is is beyond their knowledge, then they don’t bother to seek others who can help. There is too much pride and arrogance there. It’s a very sad situation; and because of these folks, much of the time people have less trust in both the medical and scientific community. I’m not saying that is the way things should be, just that that is the way it is and what it has become. Negative experiences are blown up large, especially on the internet, and then others feed off it. We can only hope that there is a balance somewhere along the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fallacy Man says:

      Again, there are bad apples in every group, but I don’t think that is justification for a general disdain or mistrust of science/medicine (which I don’t think that you are actually suggesting, I just felt the need to clarify). Sure, there are cases of inept, arrogant, or unethical doctors, but for every one of those, there are hundreds of correct, life-saving diagnoses. Also, science is wonderfully good at weeding out fraud and shoddy research, which is one of its greatest strengths. If someone falsifies research, for example, it tends to get discovered because other scientists can’t replicate their results.

      I find your example of “chronic lyme disease” perplexing because you need to establish that it is actually a real thing before you can use it as an example of why we should trust anecdotes. Why should we trust the anecdotes surrounding lyme disease more than the anecdotes around miracle cancer cures, vaccines causing autism, etc? This is the thing that so many people seem to miss: you don’t get to pick and choose when you want to trust science. To put this another way, you are basically saying, “we should pay more attention to anecdotes because of these anecdotes.” That’s circular.

      Also, just to be clear, this is again not a situation of scientists pretentiously ignoring anecdotes. Rather, they have examined the situation and found no evidence to tie the symptoms of “chronic lyme disease” back to the actual parasite. That is how science works, you test a hypothesis, and if it fails, you move on. Indeed, insisting that symptoms are from chronic lyme disease is actually harmful, because it results in people trying to cure the symptoms by treating the wrong cause, and often they try to cure those symptoms with treatments that are themselves potentially harmful.

      This review provides a nice overview

      Liked by 1 person

    • Fusengammu says:

      >> In some cases, we have seen so-called scientific studies that have been “peer-reviewed” in which the study is just an affirmation of what the scientist and the scientific community wants to believe is true.

      What “case” are you referring to, exactly? I can’t think of anything where the “scientific community” ignored experimental evidence in order to believe something that wasn’t true. There have been cases where the scientific community believed (tentatively) an incorrect or over-simplified explanation – for instance the one-gene one-enzyme hypothesis:

      But with further evidence and extensive experimentation, scientists updated their models and understandings.

      So do you have any SPECIFIC examples of your claim?


  4. nandunandini says:

    There are numerous typos and errors in this post. Editor here 🙂


  5. LI says:

    One additional point on scientists not considering the public – we are the public. The vast majority of scientists working on areas that affect public health are (from my personal experience) biased for the piblic good, not against it.

    Fulk disclosure – scientist working on vaccine develoment in a non-profit environment.


  6. Thanks for the post!

    There is one thing that bothers me, and it is your repeated insistence on studies having been peer-reviewed when they are presented to you as evidence. For instance here: “If someone comes to you with a stack of legitimate peer-reviewed studies that document the existence of unicorns…”

    Isn’t it your job, or even duty, as a scientist to review the study that is presented to you? All you can ask for is evidence in any form — not multiple peer-reviewed studies, not even one. If someone is suggesting something novel that challenges our prevailing understanding, then almost by definition she won’t have a single peer-reviewed study to present.

    To save your time, it’s OK to insist on seeing peer-reviewed studies. But then you won’t ever be at the forefront of research, will you?

    Perhaps you were only talking about cases where the scientific field in question is very far from yours?


    • Fallacy Man says:

      I don’t follow your thought process here.

      First, you seem to be suggesting that I claimed that anything in a published journal is automatically correct, which is not at all what I said. Yes, scientists absolutely should (and do) read papers critically because not all papers are of high quality. You’ll notice that the completion of the sentence you quoted is, “at that point, you are obliged to take the argument seriously” not “at that point you are obliged to blindly accept them.” My point was simply that peer-reviewed journals are where actual studies with proper designs are published. It is where you find original scientific research. Everything else is inherently a secondary source (with the occasional exception of some academic books, which are also generally peer-reviewed in some manner) and, therefore, does not count as scientific evidence. I wrote an entire post on different types of studies and their pros and cons which you can find here

      Similarly, you said, ” If someone is suggesting something novel that challenges our prevailing understanding, then almost by definition she won’t have a single peer-reviewed study to present,” which is true, while the research is being conducted, but until the research is finished, the evidence isn’t in yet (i.e., a hypothesis is not evidence). In other words, you don’t actually have any evidence until the study is finished and the results have been fully analyzed. At that point, you publish your findings, and, indeed, the scientists who are at the forefronts of their fields are the ones who publish regularly. Scientists generally have multiple projects running simultaneously and publish every time that one finishes (assuming that it produced reliable results). So most scientists publish multiple times each year.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Adam Sobel says:

    Nice post. Thanks.


  8. Kevin Peacock says:

    Thanks for the post. But I ought to say that in my opinion you are missing one important point: science encompasses a very large amount of fields. Therefore it is not farfetched to say that scientists can be arrogant when they actually use their scientific expertise in one specific field as an authority argument in another field. For instance, Neil De Grasse Tyson who has never done any research in biology or climate change (to my knowledge) still expresses his thoughts on the topic. Richard Dawkins may talk about the age of the universe and the earth but is he qualified to understand the mathematical models that enabled us to strongly affirm this? My specific field is agronomy, and you can find peer-reviewed articles that dismiss conventional farming and praise organic farming. You can also find quite the contrary! I actually find it quite confusing myself, so I can easily imagine that a non expert may just decide to believe what he wants as the scientific community doesn’t seem to be able to settle the debate… Anyway, you got my point; in your post you have considered science as a unique entity when it actually encompasses so many different fields and one thing is for sure : no one can claim expertise in all of them!


    • Fallacy Man says:

      I certainly agree that scientists are only experts within their chosen fields and should not claim to be authorities on other topics. At the same time though, it is worth noting that a big part of becoming a scientist is learning how to think critically about data and experimental design. So although I agree with you, I would also postulate that scientists in one field are in a better position to understand a different field than someone with no scientific training at all.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ASBroad says:

      Kevin, talking about e.g. ‘the age of the universe’ and our planet as a non-cosmologist or geologist is legitimate as long as the person doing the talking bases their opinion on existing research done by others. Dawkins, just as anyone else, may comment on e.g. the age of Earth not from authority in geology or geophysics but from his reading on the topic – that’s what education is for, after all. Besides, for him in particular as an evolutionary biologist knowledge of Earth’s history, including its age, is important for his work on evolution. Pirncipallly though, the point of relying on expert opinion is so you don’t have to do all possible kinds of research / work yourself. You can of course replicate any research you choose to verify its conclusions (or at least consider the outcome from the research – the piblished account of it – which is how peer review works).


    • roder51 says:

      Well let me think. Who would you rather heard giving their views on climate change? Neil Degrasse Tyson or Pat Robertson.


  9. Mike Notulu says:

    Oh this is interesting, being a theologian i thought this experience was unique to my discipline. Its actually edifying to learn that even scientists are in the experience the same disdain and mistrust that i do. Well, i guess this should come as either a consolation or shock, to Dawkins who thinks that religious people blindly receive teachings or instructions from their learned clergy without question. It follows that if religious people can question their religious guides then thinking beneficiaries of science should question uncertain, ambivalent and dubious scientific statements. As for arrogance i agree that it is a fallacy to think that all scientists are arrogant. Arrogance has to do with personality not with knowledge or skill.


  10. Jeff Maxwell says:

    Great article. I think we will all wonder forever why some would be anti-science. Maybe science is to blame for not anticipating and preventing every problem like a omnipotent god, or for ever being wrong. Maybe dumb people just think of smart people as arrogant, out of envy. We’ve all been jealous of some whiz at some point in life. Add to that the anti-intellectualism that’s been festering, at least in my country, the US, for some time and it makes sense. A few generations ago the nerd was the cool guy. *I do wince a little at concerns about GMOs lumped in with anti-vaxxers. There are, in my admittedly layman (but informed, not anti-expert) opinion, there are some legitimate concerns with the environmental effects of pesticide-resistant crops on the insect population. Monsanto (and I really hate to say the name, lest I be labelled a conspiracy nut) is selling more pesticide with the introduction RoundupReady GMO corn, and there are studies that seem indicate damage to the ecosystem. Monarch butterfly populations have been affected in the US Midwest. And, It almost seems like racketeering if they sell you the only seeds that can resist the herbicide they provide. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria make a good analogy; it’s bad practice to take antibiotics excessively. Clearly though, without pesticides, GMOs, chemical fertilizers and such, we will never feed all the growing population of the earth. All this is more an agriculture thing, sorry to go off on a tangent. It’s safe to eat GMOs. That is proven. Also, mkultra contrails control your mind unless you immunize daily with LSD


    • Fallacy Man says:

      There are certainly concerns about our agricultural practices, but those aren’t limited to GMOs. Pest resistance, for example, is a problem for conventional farming as well. Similarly, although GMO technologies have affected monarchs, they are only one part of a much larger problem (such as deforestation in the monarchs overwintering grounds), but you never hear about those problems, and, once again, traditional farming practices negatively impact wild species as well. The overwhelming body of evidence is that GMOs are no worse for the environment than other farming practices, and in many cases they are better (for example they use less land). So again, there are issues to deal with, but for the most part they aren’t specific to GMOs.


  11. Own yourself says:

    I have no opinion about whether gmos are safe or not. Haven’t done any research.

    However no-one can know if they are all safe for us and the environment.
    It might be a 2 or 5 year trial shows they are safe. That’s how long the government, biotechnology company or government department trials were perhaps funded for.

    They may have caveated this in the research, but the headline is GMOS are safe. This is trumpeted then by governments seeking exports, companies seeking profits and some scientists seeking fame.

    Let’s see what happens in 50 years time if some of these GMOS haven’t caused widespread damage from unintended consequences or factors that were left out of the tests.

    I hope not.

    I do a lot of projects. Quite often no matter how much testing, there are always bugs and issues not anticipated. The same applies to science.

    I trust science, but not always scientists motives, their backers motives, or journalists soundbites of what research means.


  12. While I totally back science, and rarely think they are corrupted or ignorant or whatever. And rarely try to debate wether or not they are right. I dont think your comparrisons have any logical equivilance.

    A logical equivilance would be.

    The mechanic tells you that you shoud use a part for the motor which we call Xmotor, but the client has done reading on granted bogus websites, and commercial made to profit a inferior motor. But he tries to argue that Ymotor is better.

    Even though the mechanic would proabably always know better, and be right. This is the logical equivilance.

    Please dont read this as someone who backs schmosScience. I just want to inform you that it cannot be argued that theese comparrisons are logically equivilant.

    It can also be applied to the Pilot. The pilot is facing trouble with something, and he informs the passengers what the best course of action is. The Pilot is most certainly right, but one of the passengers reads up on bogus websites with a hidden agenda, that the Pilot should instead have done something else. However we should listen to the Pilot, he is the expert.


    • He is the expert and he has used proper research(scientific) to learn why X is better than Y*


    • Fallacy Man says:

      I don’t follow why you think that my examples are false equivalencies, nor do I see any substantial difference between your examples and my examples. Can you elaborate.

      Let abbreviate my examples this way:
      Scientists have years of training and experience, but people think that they know more than scientists because of reading a few blogs.
      Pilots have years of training and experience, but (in my example) people think that they know more than pilots because of reading a few blogs.
      Mechanics have years of training and experience, but (in my example) people think that they know more than mechanics because of reading a few blogs.

      How are those not equivalent?

      Liked by 1 person

  13. itsnotco2 says:

    Many climatologists act in whatever way protects their income and self esteem. People like Roy Spencer are good examples. He will not consider the advice, questions or corrections offered by another scientist who has pointed out his errors, namely myself. See


    • Fallacy Man says:

      I don’t have time to enter into a climate change debate at the moment, so let’s stay on topic and examine the notion of arrogance. I took a look at the link you posted, and there is a fare amount of pseudoscience going on there. So although I don’t know exactly what times you have “corrected” Dr. Spencer, I am inclined to think that he is ignoring you because your “corrections” weren’t scientifically valid.

      Further, in keeping with the topic of arrogance, you claim to be a scientist, but I looked you up and you have a BSc and 0 peer-reviewed publications (that was based on a Google Scholar search, please correct me if you do have actual scientific publications that I missed). Having a BSc does not make you a scientist. For that matter, having a PhD doesn’t make you a scientist. A scientist is someone who follows the methodologies and logical requirements of science and contributes to our body of scientific knowledge. In other words, publishing solid peer-reviewed studies makes someone a scientist, but as far as I can tell, you haven’t done that. Nevertheless, that doesn’t seem to stop you from pretending that you have in fact done that. For example, on the home page of your link, I found the sentence, “and in my paper I explain the real physics of climate…” I was eager to read a proper scientific paper that redefined our understanding of climate, so I clicked the link, but what I found was not a scientific paper, it was a self-published essay that would never pass peer-review. You don’t get to pass that off as a “paper.” That’s not how this works.

      My point is that you are upset because professional scientists with advanced degrees, years of actual research, and scores of real publications won’t listen to your pseudoscience. Meanwhile, you present yourself as if you are an established scientist, despite the fact that you only have a BSc and have never published an actual scientific paper. That, my friend, is arrogance. You are doing exactly what I described in this post.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Bob Cubitt says:

    I think I would have been more sympathetic to his case if he hadn’t started off by using terms like “ad hominem fallacies”. That’s the sort of thing that gets people annoyed.


    • If you were to click on the link provided, you’d discover Fallacy Man was making a specific claim about the type of attack being made on scientists. That is, rather than attacking a scientist’s results, some people attack the scientist with untrue accusations about his/her intent or nature to discredit the reliability of his/her results.
      That it annoys you says more about you than about him, so I’d be grateful if you’d clarify specifically what about this term annoys you. I’m not trying to be insulting, but rather trying to understand why you feel annoyed. Would you feel equally annoyed if a plumber were to tell you your ball cock was misaligned? Does the fact that the phrase ad hominem fallacies is in Latin make a difference? Medical terminology, most often based on Latin, is usually simply descriptive of a symptom rather than indicative of its underlying cause. Your doctor makes an educated guess about causation and recommends medication. Do you take it, or do you call him arrogant and dismissive?


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