LGBT - Community, political lobby, or just plain bullies?

Common sense, isn't.

Re: LGBT - Community, political lobby, or just plain bullies

Postby neildarkstar » Fri Sep 04, 2015 12:49 pm

Scientists may be wrong about many things, but we'll never know until scientists disprove them. As for me, I can only trust in the smart people with the data doing the experiments. Or, alternatively, become one myself...


I agree that we are better off, but I think it's way to generous to scientists to say that they built everything or that we need to wait for a scientist to disprove their theories. I guess that's pretty much included to say that from my point of view, I'm not inclined to take the word of science at face value. Remember, the world was determined to be flat by the scientific community until a drunken sailor got lost....

In the end, somebody actually has to GO there (meaning arrive at the point where reality meets theory) and it's often not scientists who do the going, or the disproving. For example, you mention the keyboard you're typing on, but was it really the product of science? Xerox actually developed the first graphic interface, but where did it go? Into a little museum in their basement. Then along came Steve Jobs and Bill Gates (who, as far as I know were/are not scientists) who then developed the Mac and PC.

The thing is that a scientist may create an original idea, but honestly, it takes either entrepreneurs like Gates and Jobs or the military to develop it to the point where it becomes disproved or proved under actual use. Those of us who buy Windows aren't limited to scientists, but we use the system and discover it's flaws so that programmers can eliminate them.

I guess in the end, I'm simply not inclined to take a scientist's word for something simply because he's a scientist. Heh, do you ever see those advertisements placed on TV by lawyers who are looking for clients to join in class action suits against pharmaceutical companies? I don't know if those turn up in other countries like Hungary or not, I never considered it before... but here in the US late night television is a barrage of them.

The point is that scientists develop various pharmaceuticals or medical devices, which are then purchased or used by large numbers of ordinary people. When enough of those people drop dead because of those pharmaceuticals or devices, lawyers step in to make a whole bunch of money based on the damage caused by the product. It's not the scientists who disprove the effectiveness of the product, it's the pile of corpses. Remember, those dead people all took the scientist's opinion that the drug was safe and beneficial as fact...
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Re: LGBT - Community, political lobby, or just plain bullies

Postby Elaura » Fri Sep 04, 2015 2:09 pm

Never assume people of science are smarter than you. I've known too many of them to believe they are smarter than the average person. In fact, some the smartest people who ever lived were not members of the scientific elite. They weren't even scientists. Leonardo Davinci is a perfect example. Artists are generally not mentioned in the same sentence with scientists. Davinci was, for all intents and purposes a scientific lay person. Einstein was an underachiever working as a clerk, but he had an uncanny knack for physics. A 12 yr old gypsy named Nicole Barr has an IQ of 162, equal to Einstein, yet she doesn't even consider herself smart.

While I agree wholeheartedly in the concept that opinions are safest in the realm of taste and points of view should be backed up with factual arguments, the key here is "factual". The scientific community is just like every other community. There are liars, thieves, cheaters, jerks, and murderers. They should no more be considered above fudging the numbers than laypeople should be blown off as not being "experts". While a scientist may spend 10 years on a study resulting in a singular outcome, it is often the layperson who looks at all the studies and discovers the whole picture.

Science defines itself as starting with a hypothesis and moving toward proving or disproving it. The money to do the experimentation comes from playing the political game and getting the grant and the space in the university labs comes from playing the academic game. Scientists do live in a self-perpetuating bubble. Laypeople often have the good fortune of being "hobbyists". Able to change their perspective and their minds when the data leads them elsewhere, rather than having to explain to a financier why 5 years of research is wrong in light of some new information.

An analogy might be gaming companies and modders. Bethesda, for instance, released Morrowind over ten years ago and moved on. There are people who have been playing Morrowind and modding for it for those full ten years. Who would you expect to be the experts on the game today? Bethesda employs professional game developers. Experts in their field, yet the hobbyists know more about Morrowind than the CEO of the company. The same can be said for fan-fiction writers versus the original authors. FF writers have to take an author's entire body of work into account to write a canon story, yet an author can simply change canon. This may be flippant but scientists are known to change the numbers if they don't fit.

What all this means is, scientists are not smarter. Letters behind names and fancy titles don't mean a thing to anyone outside of their own community. Laypeople should not be discounted because they haven't dedicated their lives to one field, in fact, you can probably get a bigger picture of the world and how science fits into it from a layperson, rather than someone who has been looking through microscopes and collating data to get those letters and titles.

I find it very interesting that science is no less dogmatic than religion.
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Re: LGBT - Community, political lobby, or just plain bullies

Postby Adul » Sat Sep 05, 2015 3:07 am

Sorry, I'm not convinced. The scientists I know and respect are a lot smarter than me, that is, at least where it counts: in the specific areas of science that they study. And how could that not be the case? They are the ones who have dedicated their lives to uncovering new information about their subjects. Very often, they are the ones with access to the research subject, the equipment needed to experiment with it, and the understanding of how best to interpret the results. Meanwhile, I can spend my time reading dozens of articles and looking at countless studies about any particular subject, but it really won't do me much good unless I have some metric by which to determine what sources have the best data available.

Are there liars and cheats in science? Of course there are. That's why you should never be content basing your information in the opinion of a single expert or in a single study. And that's why it's important to look at the big picture, figure out which scientists have more common respect in their fields than others, and what the consensus is among those who have earned that respect. Obviously, the larger the sample, the more reliable the results.

As for the keyboard I'm typing on (poor thing is really under a lot of stress these days), I realize I owe its benefits at least partly to the businesses who took the technology and made it cheap, convenient, and popular enough for it to get all around the world. But those businesses also owe their existence to the underlying technology, which was, indeed, developed by scientists who had, in turn, based their work in an understanding of reality built by an endless line of scientists before them. Really, if it weren't for people doing the experiments and delving into (pardon the expression) the weird shit, we'd still be sitting around fires in the Sahara gripping our wooden spears. That is, if we don't consider firelighting and woodworking products of scientific experimentation.

neildarkstar wrote:Heh, do you ever see those advertisements placed on TV by lawyers who are looking for clients to join in class action suits against pharmaceutical companies? I don't know if those turn up in other countries like Hungary or not, I never considered it before... but here in the US late night television is a barrage of them.

That must be fun to watch. :biggrin: No, I've never seen those here. I don't watch much TV, but I don't think we have TV commercials for hiring lawyers. In a sense, I suppose we have different cultures of litigation in our respective countries.
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Re: LGBT - Community, political lobby, or just plain bullies

Postby neildarkstar » Sat Sep 05, 2015 3:55 am

Well, it's really not worth arguing, your opinion differs from mine, but perhaps it also has something to do with those differing cultures as well.

Let me tell you something that's funny though. You now what I was saying about lawyers advertising late night? Well, starting usually about 10pm, here in the states we start seeing ads placed by pharmaceutical companies touting their latest drugs. You see smiling faces, of healthy, active people doing enjoyable things, while a soft-voiced spokesperson extols the virtues of whatever drug they're selling... the idea being that the healthy, active people you see are healthy and active because they take drug X.

Then, as the commercial nears its end the background music will get a little louder, and happier and more light-hearted (if that's possible) while a new yet still soft voice comes on, and in a hushed tone, an speaking very rapidly tells you that taking this drug may result in a brown, oily, rectal discharge and internal bleeding, or the loss of your limbs, or suicidal tendencies. if your erection lasts more than four hours, call your doctor, and do not take the medication if you take nitrates for chest pain as it may result in a sudden and dangerous drop in blood pressure.

Now for the funny part. an hour or so after the commercials urging you to take these drugs, the lawyers ads will start to appear urging people to sue the pharmaceutical company for deaths and other negative results of taking the very same drugs that were being advertised by the pharmaceutical companies an hour earlier...
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Re: LGBT - Community, political lobby, or just plain bullies

Postby Elaura » Sat Sep 05, 2015 5:43 pm

Neil is not exaggerating, not even a little bit.

You hit the nail on the head Adul. "In their respective fields" can even be narrowed down to the subject their experiment is based on. For example, I'm sure I've mentioned this before, a true, honest to God nuclear physicist/rocket scientist from John C Stennis Space Center would come to my jewelry counter every Spring and Fall to have me set his digital watch for daylight savings time and back again. He told me his VCR had been blinking 12:00 from the day he turned it on and still did. The Stennis Space Center was where the large external fuel tanks for the Space Shuttles were made and refurbished if they were going to be reused.

In college I took courses from professors who taught because they had to teach a certain number of classes in order to maintain their places in the research labs. Among other classes, I took radiation biology, physiology, pathogenic microbiology, immunology, electron microscopy, paleontology, anthropology, chemistry, physics, abnormal psychology, sociology, criminology, philosophy, and even a semester on the JFK assassination by a man named Kurtz who wrote a book on it.

My instructors were truly brilliant, however, to the last, except maybe the radiation biology/paleontology prof, they had no clue how their research applied to the average person's life. In fact, it was my RB/Paleo prof who told me it was extremely likely my electron microscopy prof would die of cancer because no matter how many lead plates there are between a person and the machine creating the radiation, exposure over time would get him. It did.

Perhaps it is different in different cultures, but you are also correct in that it is up to the individual to decide who to consider an expert on which subjects. I wouldn't call myself an expert in any of the fields I studied, but I did get an extremely accurate "bullshit meter" from the experience. I learned how to spot a liar, what proper research requires and looks like, and how to read published research with a skeptical eye.

As a matter of fact, it is thanks to my background in sociology, psychology, and biology that I feel I can comment on the LGBT community, the lifestyle, and the real biology behind gender identity. That, and growing up in Southern Louisiana where it was particularly unpopular to be a "sissy" right up until I went to college where it suddenly became quite trendy to be bisexual and the life of the party was often the flaming drama queen.

On last thing to note, as with the term "sane", the term "expert" has a different definition within the legal system than it does in common usage. When I refer to "experts", unless otherwise noted, I am using the term's general conversational meaning rather than legal definition. The same with the idea of a scientist, though to clarify, I mean those people who claim scientist as their occupation, not folks like me, who consider science more of a hobby and form of constant entertainment.
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Re: LGBT - Community, political lobby, or just plain bullies

Postby Adul » Sun Sep 06, 2015 4:42 am

No argument there, my professors were the same. Some seemed like they were fully functional human beings who led "normal lives" beside their professions, the others... probably less so. I've also noticed that the brilliant ones typically belonged to the latter group. I figure the more dedicated you are to your profession, the more likely it is you took that dedication away from other parts of your life. But that's a personal choice I can respect, even appreciate.

I have little to add to the medical industry discussion. There are some really shady dealings going on there, and people dying because of them. One should always be able to weigh the pros and the cons when taking medication, and when the businesses involved (including a lot of the physicians) use false advertising and dishonest messaging, it's a real bummer for everyone. That's one part of the private sector that could use—I'm gonna use a dirty word here—a lot more regulation.

Elaura wrote:Perhaps it is different in different cultures, but you are also correct in that it is up to the individual to decide who to consider an expert on which subjects.

I'm not always (or even usually) very apt at expressing myself, so let me clarify my meaning there. Skepticism is indeed very useful in all walks of life and certainly here, but there are a lot of people who cross the line into irrational distrust and paranoia territory. I've heard it said countless times. Any number of governments, secret societies, media collectives, and yes, scientific communities engaging in massive secret conspiracies to suppress the truth. People want to believe these sorts of things and fail to apply actual skepticism to test the validity of their own claims. I don't think that's a useful approach, in fact all it does is let them disconnect from reality.
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Re: LGBT - Community, political lobby, or just plain bullies

Postby Elaura » Sun Sep 06, 2015 8:14 pm

Yes indeed. Blind trust is a fault no matter who is doing the trusting. I am always most skeptical of anyone who totally dismisses someone, because even when I disagree with an issue, or a person in particular, by listening to their perspective, I can often glean information I didn't have before. As I think I said in another thread recently, the more information you have the better able you are to see the whole picture. Very often people who are outside of a particular issue can see shenanigans going on inside the bubble more clearly than those involved. More often than not, emotions run high and the lines get drawn in total disregard for the fact there may be more than two perspectives.

This is actually why I made this thread in the first place. I saw people within the LGBT community doing their best to shove Caitlyn Jenner into a mold of their own choosing. They have begun telling her how she should think, act, speak, and feel.

I hope Caitlyn has the fortitude always shown by Bruce. If she does, she'll recognize their bullying for what it is and start to resist. I also hope she doesn't lose her entire support network when she calls bullshit.
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Re: LGBT - Community, political lobby, or just plain bullies

Postby fable2 » Sat Sep 12, 2015 12:15 am

Elaura wrote:Never assume people of science are smarter than you. I've known too many of them to believe they are smarter than the average person. In fact, some the smartest people who ever lived were not members of the scientific elite. They weren't even scientists. Leonardo Davinci is a perfect example. Artists are generally not mentioned in the same sentence with scientists. Davinci was, for all intents and purposes a scientific lay person. Einstein was an underachiever working as a clerk, but he had an uncanny knack for physics. A 12 yr old gypsy named Nicole Barr has an IQ of 162, equal to Einstein, yet she doesn't even consider herself smart.

While I agree wholeheartedly in the concept that opinions are safest in the realm of taste and points of view should be backed up with factual arguments, the key here is "factual". The scientific community is just like every other community. There are liars, thieves, cheaters, jerks, and murderers. They should no more be considered above fudging the numbers than laypeople should be blown off as not being "experts". While a scientist may spend 10 years on a study resulting in a singular outcome, it is often the layperson who looks at all the studies and discovers the whole picture.


This. There's a tendency to view scientists and science as completely Other in US society, a culture or religion apart from everything else. Scientists are pure, abstract creations like Pi, without emotional likes or differences, or even physical bodies. They reproduce clinical results, but not their species. They search for extraneous elements to eliminate, but never physically excrete. While I've nothing to go on here but my own personal experience, I would suggest this cultural attitude contaminates scientists themselves, who both use and abuse it to gain privileges.

But there's no evidence scientists are smarter than the average person. That science in itself is a very valuable tool is, I think, indisputable, but most of the positive results we've seen from it derive from good, old-fashioned capitalism being used to develop scientific research in a way that produces both dividends for us as consumers, and money to those who make the products that sell very well. And theoretical science can tell us a lot about ourselves and our universe, but it often takes non-scientists to interpret and even arrive at propositions before scientists being to ask questions. I'm not in my Percoset-flooded state able to put my hands or mind on it, but I recall very well that some physicists have been very impressed with statements found in the Kabalah that anticipate recent work in their field, while some psychiatrists have been astonished by the 1000+ writtings of Greek Orthodox monks on the way the mind works.

I'm getting off track. Suffice to say that I feel, for the most part, scientists are just human beings who have taken up various scientific disciplines, with the same breadth of personal behavior and mixed success that everybody else has. I'd no sooner accept their majority findings as final about gay or gender behavior and preferences than I would the opinions of anyone else. Too often these findings have been contradicted, revised, abandoned, restored, and replaced for me to accept such stuff.

If all this sounds vague or rambling, please forgive my drug-addled brain. I'll try to do a bit better in the future. But it's a subject that I've expressed concerns about elsewhere, in the past.
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