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Monday, December 5, 2011

Why is Science "Professional?"

An article in the WSJ describes how individuals today are taking up science on their own.

Today many issues of individual health, for example, are processed by medical businesses who then own the results.  That's right, it may be your DNA but suddenly it becomes the property of those that took it - and you have no access to it.

Now personally I find this very strange.

Its my DNA.

How can someone else who takes it on my behalf for some purpose related to me and then own it?

I own it.  Its me.

(Compare this to music, for example, where simply performing a copywritten work in public could involve the legal obligation to pay a royalty.  Yes I own my performance - but performing someone else's song doesn't make it mine...  Really consistent, huh?)

The WSJ article details many such cases.

What's interesting about the article is that it talks about how people today, frustrated with this model, are "taking science into their own hands" - as if that were something interesting or new.

Prior to the last hundred or so years a lot of science and mathematics were developed by amateurs - often using their own interest and funds.  Typically these were professionals of some sort outside science with a personal outside interest in science or mathematics who spent their free time pursing these interests.

Today science is a fraternity of professionals.  Those not taken in (typically by gaining a PhD from a university) to the fraternity ("us") are no longer "allowed" to do science.


Because "we" won't know how...

(All this from the very folks who, as I wrote about before in "Falsified Medical Studies the Norm", can not produce scientifically reproducible results.)

The truth, of course, has little to do with science or knowledge.

If regular folks were out discovering important new scientific and mathematical facts there would be no need of a special scientific fraternity.  No more PhDs required.

We can't have that going on.

Never mind that folks doing science on their own, as described in the article, might actually be doing something important.

And another thing, us folks at home don't need grants.

I can make my own living doing what I do and spend my spare time on music or science as I see fit.  I don't need any grant money - I am funding my own efforts.  If I chose to work on something related to one of my children, for example, then I would bear the responsibility of any failure.  No responsible parent on his way to understanding some key issue about his or her child's disease is going to run off half-cocked and treat the child without extreme caution.

Another problem is that many areas of study, say as with physics and "string theory," are controlled by those "in charge" at any given time.  (See Lee Smolin's "The Trouble with Physics" as an example.)  Climate "theory" as well as many other things are the result of true "group think" perpetuated by those in charge of the research directions.

And because these folks get promoted into places of power like the NSF that control grant money you had better make sure that you do research in a popular area or you'll be out of a job.

In the olden days science was pursued by amateurs - there was no axe to grind and you spent your own money - so there were no high muckety-mucks to kiss up to.  If you did good science you were recognized as a scientist.

I think that like everything else people today are all to happy to cede their future to "professionals."

I guess because there is security in believing others will do a better job.

Personally, though, I don't buy this.

My experience is that, almost always, the "common understanding" is the wrong understanding.

Again and again in writing this blog I have found that peeling back the layers of "group think" always reveal a much more effective result than just "going with the flow."

My studies of iodine and sinus problems, for example, has convinced me of such.

Long ago people understood that iodine was an important nutrient.

Today its all but forgotten by the medical establishment (see my post "ADHD & A Spoon Full of Sugar").

Yet my experience with iodine has to me demonstrated that if the medical establishment simply focused on nutrition we would all be far, far better off - less money for drugs, less Medicare, less of everything except, oh no!, less jobs for medical professionals.

I listen to my mother talk about health issues.  The more I hear the more I believe that by simply providing older people better nutrition and simple exercise we could eliminate half of all Medicare costs.

Yes half.

(I am starting to believe that the "gingivitis" you see today on TV is really just scurvy - particularly in older people who don't eat right. I've been busy with my own nutrition and have discovered a directly link between vitamin C and the health of my own gums.  I am certain my mother is deficient of vitamin C - and she won't listen to me - only the doctor and she won't check...)

No one will listens because they all love and trust doctors.

Even if those same doctors are killing them through ignorance and stupidity.

Professionals are, I think, just an excuse for us not doing our own homework.

This is a systemic societal problem - we are all so specialized we can't tie our own shoes.

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