Scientists, after all, are human

germ theory, flat Earth versus round Earth, Galileo’s observations, the double helix,
Shroud of Turin, stem-cell research, and climate change

imageProfessor E.A. Shinn, at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science in St. Petersburg, in a special to the Tampa Tribune asks and answers: Are there two kinds of people? Yes! 

As I age, I have come to notice that scientists, although trained to consider only facts, are as susceptible to accepting and promoting one set of facts while rejecting other equally valid sets of data as do laypersons. This is especially true when the facts are similar and especially those based on computer models and when the subject has political or economic implications. Such considerations can mean the difference between getting funding and being unfunded. Scientists, after all, are human, and scientific controversy has always been with us, whether it be germ theory, flat Earth versus round Earth, Galileo’s observations, the double helix, Shroud of Turin, stem-cell research, and now the latest, climate change.

Funding for Shroud of Turin research?

3 thoughts on “Scientists, after all, are human”

  1. Dan,

    Why the question mark? Are you not aware that the radio carbon labs (at east in UK and US) had government grants to support their flawed carbon dating of the Shroud?

    There is one point in Gove’s book in which he kind of chortles because one the the STURP scientists who wanted to go to Turin for a conference planing the carbon dating asked Gove if he would use some of his government funds to buy him a ticket to Turin. He didn’t buy it for him.

    And then if I am not mistaken, the AMS analyzer, a multi-pound item, was obtained by Oxford by a UK government funded grant.

  2. Scientists can be one-sided and limit themselves to what is convenient to them, depending on their worldview. Einstein limited himself to “Spinoza’s God”, refusing to look further, Freud was obsessed with Moses, who he later dismissed as an Egyptian. Both of them influenced each other and it does seem that Hawking has been reading RD. Have they reached the truth? No they haven’t, they have not heeded Jaspers’ advice.
    In our increasingly sceptical world, the number of people questioning the Bible has increased considerably, and that is natural. Has science done away with faith? No, it hasn’t:
    As for 1988, Father Pfeiffer told me during an interview that a lot of pressure had been exerted on the Church. By the time Cardinal Anastasio Ballestrero realised the blunder he had made the damage had been done.
    Who was to blame? Was it Professor Luigi Gonella? Daniel Raffard de Brienne refused to attack him during an interview he gave me; he had found the professor to be “extremely friendly”,was charmed by him.
    The scenario today is different, Rome and Turin have learnt from mistakes, PAS Chancellor Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo is highly qualified, it will need a lot — and the right people — to convince him about more carbon dating.
    What can be done meanwhile? Concentrate on the image formation process.

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