The Bourbon Democrats and The Experts at I Love Science Sexually*

IFLS

I learned from the brilliantly brilliant people who publish the blog I Love Science Sexually. Bless their hearts, they have told me what to do. Luckily for my poor, limited, peasant brain, it involves nothing arduous that would worry my pretty little head. They could tell me that I should think for myself, rigorously question and demand logical proof presented in an environment governed by gracious professionalism. Nah, that’s too tough for the Internet Age. I should just shut up and listen to the smarter people.

If we want to use scientific thinking to solve problems, we need people to appreciate evidence and heed expert advice.

It’s always jarring to my intellectual sensibilities to hear scientific minds speak philosophical malapropisms. How does one apply aesthetic appreciation to evidence? Truth is beauty and beauty is truth when you’re writing poetry. We evaluate evidence. It is necessary and/or sufficient within the logical context of an argument or it is not. I’m no ingrate or Philistine for failing to appreciate a set of data on a spreadsheet one way or the other.

This fallacy is subtle yet critical to the problems facing the modern scientific establishment. I don’t believe the attempt to substitute a normative value judgment regarding evidence for a positive evaluation thereof is entirely accidental. This is dangerous. Rigorous empirical logic and rigorous moral thinking belong in separate categories like the Established Church and Governing State. History is littered with moral abominations who were Less Wrong™ with respect to their logical arguments.

And then there is the anti-democratic appellation to heed the experts. It’s at this point where the I Love Science Sexually Blog stops being merely errant and veers into moral iniquity. Listening to experts is different than heeding them. Experts are very smart people who have a concentrated understanding with respect to one specialized branch of knowledge. It’s worth your time to ask their opinions regarding subjects in which they are subject matter experts. However, it is presumptuous overreach to claim we should heed them. They are not your dad.

This is where The I Love Science Sexually Blog and those of a similar philosophical ilk descend into Jonathan Gruberism. This is because experts know more than you. They get to predetermine …read more    

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