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Is our faith in the High Priests of Science misplaced?

The problem with ‘science’ is that it has been misplaced in the hierarchy of methods of investigating and understanding things, it has been incorrectly elevated to the role of the High Priest of knowledge and wisdom and as such, it has sought to provide answers where its role should be limited to that of observation, experiment and measurement. Is it this elevation of science to a level which it really does not deserve that tempts many scientists to act in dishonest ways to further or maintain their own professional or personal status within their own discipline within the scientific community?

A recurring theme of dishonesty and plagiarism occurs throughout the history of science in the work of people such as Ptolemy, Galileo, Newton and Einstein to name just a few. Is the dubious behavior of such figures a contributory cause or result of their iconic status? Is it surprising that if such iconic figures can engage in unethical behavior that ‘lesser’ scientists follow the trend? Why is science not sufficiently self-regulating and self-correcting?

Then moving on to more profound questions, we ask what damage is caused to Science by fraud, plagiarism and other unprofessional behavior? And, of particularly great importance, to what extent have these actions created false or flawed scientific paradigms and what blind alleys and over what periods of time have these possibly false paradigms delayed true scientific advancement?

Sadly, we do see in science not just a few bad apples but a systemic problem with misconduct. The following statement by Fanelli is shocking, “Among research trainees in biomedical sciences at the University of California San Diego 4.9% said they had modified research results in the past, 81% were willing to select, omit or fabricate data to win a grant or publish a paper.”This is the next generation of scientists who should be striving to maintain the highest levels of integrity in their chosen professions.


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    Jun 12 2013: Yet Science, with its human flaws, has enabled travel to the moon and mars. Amazing information technology and medicine. Such that flying through the air at 800 km/h is mundane.

    Religion hasn't managed to pray anyone across continents or to the moon, or heal disease, or improve food production etc.
    • W T 100+

      • +2
      Jun 12 2013: "Religion hasn't managed to pray anyone across continents or to the moon, or heal disease, or improve food production etc."

      It depends on your peception.

      I will take on heal disease:

      Many individuals who have become acquainted with scripture, and have studied the principles within it, have been helped to rid themselves of.........alcoholism, drug abuse, thievery, prostitution, depression, envy, racism, prejudice, murderess intentions, jealousy, violence, hatred, greediness, materialism, etc. etc.

      Some of these are sicknesses, others are social ills, and yet others are inclinations of the imperfect flesh.

      And while organized religion as a whole leaves a very bad taste in my mouth, there are groups of spiritually minded individuals who do use scriptural truths and principles for the benefit of themselves and others.

      Like anything else......there is gold, and there is fool's gold.
      There is true religion, and there is false religion.

      Our job is to learn to distinguish, and then become part of the solution, and not just point to the problem.
      • Jun 12 2013: Here is a different take on religion---why don't we just believe in a God that does nothing evil or anything that appears, with adequate knowledge (for instance, surgical procedures might, to the uninformed, appear evil), to be evil? Leave the evil parts up to chance or a malevolent intelligence.
      • Jun 12 2013: I think religion as a social exercise is great. Getting together with a group of like-minded people who enjoy each other's company is wonderful. Being active in the community, helping others and leading a good life is marvelous. My only problem is when they start talking about God.
        • W T 100+

          • +1
          Jun 12 2013: Richard, you forgot to say "let's not bring up the Bible either in conversation".

          You have just described many of the churches in christendom.

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