Science and the Scientific Method Are Real. Alternative Facts and the Nazca Mummy are Not
A lack of trust in science and the scientific method has grown exponentially since the late 1980s. The most popular scientific fact challenged by deniers was, and still is, climate change. Fraudulent claims that the MMR vaccine caused autism started an uproar in 1998 that still lingers today. What has caused so many people to ignore cause and effect? Why are people criticizing the scientific method, a process that results in empirical facts and even champions change and revaluation in light of new data?
I don’t doubt that the number of scientific hoaxes and fraud passed as scientific fact are directly responsible for eroding trust. Unfortunately, I also believe that too many people are lazy, refusing to question and investigate anything that doesn’t fit into their preconceived notions of the world. As a society, we have lost the allure of uncovering mysteries and increasing the breadth of knowledge. We too quickly change the channel when confronted by the unknown instead of getting involved to understand and promote knowledge. The Republican Party’s continued denial that humans contribute to climate change is a symptom of negative opinions toward science, not a cause. The party line to continue denying the climate impact by humans is a reflection of fellow citizens.
On 20 June 2017, the website Gaia published a video purporting to show the mummified body of a non-human species. Snopes immediately published a rebuttal with an article highlighting some of the previous questionable non-scientifically supported claims by members of the Gaia team. The serious problem that I have with Gaia’s announcement is that the organization is trying to pass off a fake without any scientific data supporting their purported discovery. Even worse is the number of people who believe that this is real (just read the replies on the Facebook page and marvel at the ignorance).
The Scientific Method
Scientific investigation requires utilization of the scientific method. This methodology is a four-step process. First, one identifies a research problem. Second, one creates a testable hypothesis. Third, one makes observations and collects data. Fourth, one tests the hypothesis by submitting the data to experimentation to prove false the hypothesis. If tests prove the hypothesis is false, then the methodology requires redefining the hypothesis and starting again. If, after repeated tests, the results of repeated experiments are the same, then the hypothesis is verified and we have a scientific fact, or theory.
Here is an example you can do at home. First, I’ve never eaten a Ghost Pepper, so I don’t believe the reports of its spiciness. Second, I hypothesize that if I eat it, I will hurt. Third, I watch silly people eating these things on the internet, I talk to people who have eaten them, recording the reports. Fourth, I buy some peppers and test them in various ways before taking a bite. My hypothesis does not prove false and I regret this experiment, both at the point of biting it and the next day. I choose not to repeat it because I no longer need empirical data (and I’m afraid). Now, for those of you who don’t believe me, go ahead and repeat the experiment. It is testable. It is repeatable. Oh, and I’ve provided all the data which I used to validate my hypothesis. This is science.
Scientific facts aren’t static. Our current understanding of our environment and our ability to observe and collect data defines the facts. This requires that we continually challenge current facts when we observe new data. However, challenges must adhere to the scientific method and undergo the same scrutiny as the established facts, i.e. testable and repeatable.
Science and Religion: Two Different Explanatory Models
The key words are methodology, testable, and repeatable. At any time and in any place, anybody who is able to collect the required data should be able to repeat the experiment with the same results. This is a primary distinction between science and religion. Both are explanations, but science is based in the scientific method and religion is based in faith. Experimentation for faith doesn’t exist because it cannot exist; it is an immensely personal and human trust in a supernatural power, something that cannot be tested. The scientific method, however, not only allows for experimentation, it encourages it, by anybody for independent verification of facts.
Problems in science are not because of the method, but the people performing the experiments and interpreting the results. Some people are motivated to prove true their own hypothesis. There are the dangers of operating with culturally bound hypotheses and believing too firmly in the worldview of the culture within which one developed. Political and religious agendas exist that are opposed to various research and/or the potential results of research. Fortunately, the scientific method has a built-in check-and-balance: replication. If replication is not possible, then it isn’t scientific fact.
Warning Signs of Bogus Science
Robert Park published seven signs that warn of bogus science. 1) Claims are made directly to the media. 2) Claims of a powerful establishment attempting to suppress the discovery. 3) The scientific effect involved is always at the very limit of detection. 4) The evidence is anecdotal. 5) The discovery is credible because belief in it has been around for centuries. 6) The discoverer has worked in isolation. 7) New laws of nature are proposed to explain observations about the discovery.
Only Park’s #2 isn’t directly applicable to the Gaia team’s announcement (I think it’s because the whole thing is a joke and no powerful establishment wants anything to do with it). Here is just one detailed example of a problem with the Gaia team’s so-called science. They state that DNA testing determined that the “mummy” is female because it lacks a Y chromosome. This is a ridiculous statement, first because it’s impossible to extract DNA from a plaster statue. If we suspend our logic for just a moment and imagine that the thing is real and it’s a non-human species that we’ve never encountered before, then it’s impossible to attribute sex to it because we have nothing with which to compare it. This is a good example of bad “science” – forcing the data into an existing explanatory model without additional evidence to support such an attribution.
Furthermore, the Gaia team is not allowing direct analysis of the “mummy” to anybody not affiliated with the team. They are controlling the evidence to control the interpretation. True science requires verification by multiple sources. The lack of independent verification and method of control further supports that this is fake.
Examples of False Science
Here is a short list of examples of other false “scientific” claims. The Philosopher’s Stone. The Cardiff Giant. The Piltdown Man. Shinichi Fujimara’s manipulated data to prove the antiquity of homo sapiens and toolmaking. The inability to replicate the cold fusion experiments published by Fleischman and Pons in the late 1980s. The absolute lack of any evidence linking MMR vaccinations to autism. The alien autopsy video that in 2006 Ray Santilli admitted was a hoax. Support of the flat earth theory most recently publicly supported by some athletes.
Scientia is Knowledge and Awareness
The word “science” is from the Latin scientia. The Latin means knowledge and awareness. This is also the meaning of modern science. Scientists are interested in knowledge and awareness of everything. Only increased knowledge and awareness can lead us to better things. Promoting lies and alternative facts not supported by evidence is reprehensible and dangerous. Measles, mumps, and rubella were effectively non-existent in the USA until a group of arrogant and ignorant people chose to believe the wrong interpretation of data. Now, we have a group of people (fortunately it’s a small group) who are not vaccinated against these terrible viruses. This is dangerous to society. If you don’t believe me, go to any place in the world and see for yourself the effect these viruses have on people. Convince yourself that scientists didn’t do something good when they formulated the MMR vaccine.
If you are a denier of scientific fact, I challenge you to go one day without the things that are the result of scientific research. Stop taking medicine. Throw away your glasses and contact lenses. Only use your feet for transportation. Stop wearing clothes. Don’t use your phone, your computer, or anything at all for that matter, not even a spoon. Stop living in a structure. You’ll have to stop eating food, since it was through scientific experimentation that our species identified edibles, same with water since you won’t know what source is actually safe. The next day, please submit a comment outlining your experiences, after all, we are exchanging data.
What do you think? Do you support science and the scientific method? Why? Do you disagree? Why? Remember, science is about exchanging ideas based on evidence, so go ahead, prove me wrong.
5 Reasons You NEED To Play The Final Fantasy VIII Remaster
After many years of fans begging Square Enix to remaster Final Fantasy VII, they finally listened and did just that. There were numerous excuses as to why the game’s re-release had lagged behind the re-releases of both VII and IX, with the most common excuse being that the game’s original code was lost years ago. However, the company made it happen and the game is finally available for modern audiences to play on modern hardware today. We’re going to give you 5 reasons why you should do just that.
First time available on modern hardware
As we’ve already said, this is the first time that the game is available on modern hardware. While the game originally launched for PS1 back in 1999, it later got a PC port in 2000. That means that is has been a whopping 19 years since a new version of the game has been available for purchase, and that wait was a brutal one. However, it is finally over and you can now play this classic game on PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch along with PC. If the lack of modern hardware support was stopping you from checking out, that excuse just got thrown out the window.
The visuals look better than ever
Thankfully, Square Enix did not just slap this port together quickly and throw it out there to shut everyone up. They did a terrific job of putting on a shiny new coat of paint for the game, with the character models in particular looking much better. While things like environment textures didn’t get quite the same amount of attention, this is nevertheless the best that the game has ever looked. It also helps that the game is simply beautiful from a design standpoint, with the game’s world being gorgeous to behold even though we’re dealing with the hardware limitations of 1999.
Quality of life improvements
While those who played the game 20 years ago will still be getting what is essentially the same experience, Square Enix did add some quality of life improvements to put it more in line with current JRPGs. These changes include the likes of increasing battle speed by 3 times, shutting off random encounters completely and even a cheat to give you max HP and limit breaks. While these may seem minor, these will go a long way to ease some of the tedium that many feel after some particularly long gaming sessions. Max HP and Limit Breaks will also make the incredibly tough Ultima and Omega Weapon boss fights a lot easier to deal with.
The Final Fantasy series is known for having its fair share of enticing side quests and mini games, but there isn’t a single one that is as addicting as Triple Triad. The game is essentially a card game that is played on a 3×3 grid, and each card has a certain number on the top, bottom, left and right sides. You need to place your cards in a manner that the numbers on your cards are higher than your opponents, and seeing as your card can be attacked from four different sides this can be tricky. You’re able to challenge many different characters to a match throughout the course of the entire game, and doing so comes with plenty of nice rewards that will make your quest easier.
The game is awesome
While our previous points focused on specific elements of the game, this one is a simple fact that has been true since 1999: the game is awesome. Unfortunately, releasing immediately after Final Fantasy VII (a watershed moment for gaming) put it under a very cruel microscope, with many knee jerk reactions simply saying it “isn’t as good as VII.” However, in the years that have passed people have revisited the game, and the consensus has definitely changed. This adventure that Square created is unlike any other in the series, being host to an ambitious and bizarre plot filled with some of the best characters the series has ever seen. If you’ve played the game before then this is the perfect time to experience this masterpiece all over again, and if you haven’t then what are you waiting for?
10 Huge Games Still Coming In 2019
2019 has been yet another good year for gaming so far, with several games releasing that will be big contenders for game of the year once the curtain closes. However, despite the year already being more than halfway over, there are still some huge titles on the horizon that are sure to make their own dents on the coming best-of lists. This article will list the 10 biggest games that are still coming in 2019.
A new game from Remedy Entertainment is always highly-anticipated, and Control is no different. The game is an action-adventure game in the same style as Alan Wake or Quantum Break, but with a supernatural twist. Players will control Jesse Faden, who possesses a variety of supernatural abilities like telekinesis, levitation and more. She will be using her abilities in order to defeat an enemy known only as the Hiss, which has corrupted reality. Control launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on August 27th.
It has been many years since the last game in the Borderlands series released, but the hiatus is finally coming to an end very soon. Those who have played previous games in the series will feel right at home with this game, as it’s once again a loot-driven FPS. The game will offer more zany characters and a charming and insane world to explore, all while dealing with new antagonists Troy and Tyreen Calypso along with their Children of the Vault cult. Borderlands 3 launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on September 13th, with a Google Stadia port release date being TBA.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon series is returning soon with Breakpoint, which will serve as a continuation of previous game Wildlands. The game is set in an open world environment called Aurora, which is a fictional island in the Pacific Ocean. Players will control Lieutenant Colonel Anthony “Nomad” Perryman, who is a special forces operative that was sent to the island to investigate a series of disturbances in the area. Breakpoint launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 4th, with a Google Stadia port coming in November.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Each new installment in the Call of Duty series is always huge, but Modern Warfare’s release marks a first for the long-running franchise. It will be the first game in the series that is reimagining of a previous game in the series, taking 2004’s original game and updating its mechanics and themes to match today’s world. The game will still have some of the beats that the first game had, but will also incorporate lots of surprises to make it a fresh experience. Modern Warfare launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 25th.
The Outer Worlds
Obsidian Entertainment’s The Outer Worlds is one that will be very highly-anticipated for fans of Fallout: New Vegas, as this game serves as a sort of spiritual successor to that game. It will be an open world RPG that allows you to explore many unique areas crawling with plenty of deadly foes. Players will also be able to encounter and recruit NPCs as companions that have their own personal missions and stories to take part in. The Outer Worlds launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 25th, with a Switch port also being in the works.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
It seemed very unlikely that Luigi’s Mansion would become a recurring franchise for Nintendo following the original GameCube game, but here we are. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is coming to Switch, which also means it will be the first home console release since the original game back in 2003. This time the game is set in a haunted hotel rather than a mansion, and Luigi has some new tricks up his sleeves to take down all those ghosts. Luigi’s Mansion 3 will launch exclusively for Nintendo Switch on October 31st.
If you’re looking for the most ambitious (and weirdest) game still coming in 2019, then look no further. Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding has perplexed gamers ever since its announcement, and each new trailer that releases just brings more and more questions to the table. It is Kojima’s first game since breaking up with Konami after the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phanton Pain (and the cancellation of Silent Hills), and it looks like Kojima has taken the newfound complete creative control to deliver something truly original. Death Stranding launches exclusively for PS4 on November 8th.
Pokemon Sword & Shield
At this point we all know what to expect from a new Pokemon game, and Sword and Shield seems poised to deliver even more cute creatures for players to capture and battle very soon. What sets Sword and Shield apart from its predecessors is that it will be the first home console release for the series, which is saying something considering the series has been around for over 20 years. Pokemon Sword & Shield launches exclusively for Switch on November 15th.
If you’re a fan of Shenmue then nothing needs to be said for the inclusion of the upcoming third game on this list. Fans of the series have been waiting nearly two decades for a follow-up to the second game, and in just a couple of months that will finally be delivered to them. Brought to life thanks to an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign, the game continues the adventure of protagonist Ryo Hazuki as he hunts down his father’s killer. Shenmue III will launch for PS4 and PC on November 19th.
id Software’s DOOM 2016 was one of the best FPS games to come along in years, so it’s a no-brainer that the follow-up would be on this list. Eternal is set to offer yet another intense FPS campaign for players to plunge into, while also offering a multiplayer component that greatly improves upon the last game’s underwhelming multiplayer mode. There will also be twice as many demon types than there was in the last game, meaning that the chaos level just got that much higher. DOOM Eternal launches for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia and PC on November 22nd.
5 Most Exciting Announcements From The Xbox E3 2019 Press Conference
Microsoft’s Xbox E3 2019 Press Conference has officially come to an end, and with it came plenty of big announcements to get excited about. Some new games were announced, whereas previously-announced games got new footage and/or release dates. In this article we’ve narrowed it all down to the 5 most exciting announcements.
New Xbox “Project Scarlett” Coming Holiday 2020
We’ve known for a while now that a new Xbox was in the works, but now we know when to expect it. Microsoft’s fourth console (which hopefully has a better official name than Xbox One did) will be a big step up from the previous console. Things like much faster load times, an AMD Processor that is four times more powerful than the Xbox One X, 8K Resolution and 120 FPS were all mentioned. A price and exact release date weren’t mentioned. It will also be launching with…
Halo Infinite Coming Holiday 2020, Launching On Both Xbox One and Project Scarlett
The wait for the next Halo game has been longer than ever before for series fans, and the announcement at E3 revealed that the wait will continue. Halo Infinite will not be launching until Holiday 2020, meaning it will have been 5 years since the previous game released with Halo 5. It will also be launching on Xbox One and Project Scarlett, meaning the new console will have a big launch title for fans to get pumped about.
Cyberpunk 2077 Coming April 2020, Stars Keanu Reeves
It’s hard to pick a game that people have been more excited about than Cyberpunk 2077, and after Microsoft’s press conference we’re even more excited. Not only is it coming in April of next year, but Keanu Reeves himself will be playing a “key” role in the game. Everything shown from the game has looked great so far, so hopefully it all pans out and we have another classic from CD Projekt RED come April 2020.
FromSoftware and George R.R. Martin Collaboration Elden Ring Announced
This one was actually leaked prior to the presentation, but Dark Souls developer FromSoftware and Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin are collaborating on a new game. The game is called Elden Ring, and it will be a departure from the developer’s most recent games as it will be open world. Very little information on the game is known at this point, as it is still in the early stages of development.
Phantasy Star Online 2 Is Coming West
It took a very long time, but the popular MMORPG is finally coming west. The game is coming to Xbox One in a free-to-play form in Spring 2020, so the wait won’t be that much longer. “There will be no limitations on game experiences,”says Sega, because they want to “provide all players with a fair and exciting experience.”
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