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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Are Scientists afraid of Criticism?

One of the complaints I ofter hear about scientists is that they are unwilling to face their critics. Nearly 100% of the time, those critics are advocates of religious positions such as intelligent design or young earth creationism. To be honest, few scientists pay much attention to these 'fringe' groups. Intelligent design and young earth creationism are largely invisible to mainstream science because they don't act like sciences. A real scientist is not likely to ever encounter the work of a young earth creationist or an intelligent designer because the latter two 'enterprises' eschew scientific meetings and publications. In short, neither young earth creationism or its little sister, intelligent design publish their ideas in the scientific literature. Young earth creationists make an occasional appearance at scientific meetings, but largely avoid these as well.

So, who is really avoiding criticism? Anyone who has ever been to a scientific meeting, or written a scientific paper could answer this question in a heartbeat. Scientists view meetings as a venue to present new ideas and also receive valuable criticisms of those ideas. Scientists submit their work to their peers for the same reason. Criticism is life blood of real science. Most scientists accept the criticism and use it to improve their ideas. Sadly, some scientists (even some very bright ones) cannot stand the heat and they leave scientific research.

In short, the people who are most afraid of criticism are the intelligent design and young earth creationists. The record is very clear on that matter.


Joe Meert


At 11:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two minutes?
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