belief and disbelief

Jonah Lehrer:

We like to believe that the gift of human reason lets us think like scientists, so that our conscious thoughts lead us closer to the truth. But here’s the paradox: all that reasoning and confabulation can often lead us astray, so that we end up knowing less about what jams/cars/jelly beans we actually prefer. So here’s my new metaphor for human reason: our rational faculty isn’t a scientist – it’s a talk radio host.

Does a scientist think? Or do they merely measure stuff?

“When a scientist doesn’t know the answer to a problem, he is ignorant. When he has a hunch as to what the result is, he is uncertain. And when he is pretty damn sure of what the result is going to be, he is still in some doubt.

We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress, we must recognize our ignorance and leave room for doubt.

Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty — some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain.”

—Richard Feymann

Climate Etc. by Judith Curry:

A considerable amount of climate skepticism has been fueled by big business, attempting to protect their personal financial interests (e.g. the Koch brothers, ExxonMobil). True, but so what?

It’s not as if the environmental community doesn’t have resources, and hasn’t use them in support of  climate policies and even climate alarmism.

All this just isn’t relevant to the scientific debate.

And if you can’t disentangle the scientific debate from concerns about the fate of your preferred policy, then you have become hopelessly postnormal.

h/t Michael Tobis

Belief and disbelief are sisters of uncertainty. Get used to it.