Skeptical of skepticism

Posted by Brad J H Smith On Monday, June 11, 2012 0 comments Categories:

How is it that some people can be skeptical of science? And I do not mean skeptical of a scientific idea or theory, that is fine and healthy for science. But skeptical of science as a form of investigation. How many times have you heard someone say "don't trust those scientists!!".

Science, in its purest and unpolitical form; is a sound method that aims to falsify a hypothesis and is therefore, skeptical by nature. In science, an observation can only dis-proven.

Does this mean that someone who is skeptical of science, is skeptical of skepticism?

Therefore, it logically follows that someone who is skeptical of science is a follower of blind faith.

There is nothing wrong with being a follower, provided the follower does not lose the ability to think for themselves. However, if a follower is skeptical, then is is only logical that the follower is trusting in science.


Now apply this logic to any current scientific debate; for example, climate change, vaccination or religion. See!

An experiment

Posted by Brad J H Smith On Sunday, March 06, 2011 0 comments Categories:

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Our planet expects our highest reverence, its all we have.

Posted by Brad J H Smith On Friday, October 01, 2010 0 comments Categories:

Take a close look at this deep space photograph. When NASA's Voyager 1 finished its primary mission in 1990, the scientist Carl Sagan requested NASA to turn the camera around and take photos of the solar system from deep space.

This is a picture of planet Earth from 6.1 billion kilometers away, the most distant photo of earth that we have!!! Apparently the band is sunlight scattering on the camera due to the low angle between the Earth and Sun in the photo. Humbling isn't is.

It makes me wonder why humans are so hung up on destroying our planet for money (an artificial anthropocentric construct), and spend time feeling guilty about the delusion of a next life when this life is the only one we have.

Carl Sagan summed it up perfectly in his book 'Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space':

"From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again that dot. That's here, that's home, that's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known".

Ecocentrism vs Anthropocentrism; or is that, Ecology vs Extinction?

Posted by Brad J H Smith On Sunday, September 26, 2010 0 comments Categories:

A friend recently suggested to me that I was ecocentric; which caught me out on my back foot. I've never really been that interested in psychology or even philosophy, which seem to me to create these concepts which are artificial, human imagined pigeon-holes; but ah ha, therein lies the ecocentrist in me!

So I stopped for a moment to decipher whether I should have taken this comment as a compliment or an insult. Well I have chosen to take this as a compliment; in fact I am grateful to my friend for helping me understand how others might perceive me.

How did I come to this conclusion, I asked myself the following questions:

1) Do I think that humanity is part of nature or beyond nature? Well most people think we are; for example, we have technological solutions to feed and provide health care to a single species (Homo sapiens) so as the world population has pretty much exploded beyond the carrying capacity of the planet. My challenge is that we may be able to destroy ecosystems but ultimately we still need the biosphere to survive.

2) Does nature and the planet need humanity to survive? Of course not, if humanity suddenly disappeared, the planet would happily continue to function. After all, our natural ecological niche is that of omnivorous scavengers!

3) Do I think our single species has a greater right to the resources of this planet over and above other species? A philosophical question, might be worth asking the other 300000 plant species, 30000 fungi species, 1249999 animal species and 5-10 million bacteria species and see what they think. I say we are a little outnumbered on this front!

So really, given the current ecological crisis that the planet is experiencing (i.e. climate change, over population, species extinction and loss of biodiversity etc), it really boils down to whether we embrace ecology and live within the boundaries set by nature or do we continue to believe that Homo sapiens are beyond evolutionary reproach and ecosystem carrying capacity and face extinction?

I want to thank my friend for inspiring this anthro-discussion. Time to climb back across the event horizon of this pigeon-hole and back into reality.

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