When the smartest people believe the silliest things.

  • Delivis

    Posts: 2332

    Jul 18, 2010 3:41 PM GMT
    One of my regular science blogs, a blog called Neurologica (which I highly recommended for any science geeks out there) had an interesting article recently giving three examples of some of the world's best scientists (nobel laureats specifically) who are proponents of some very silly ideas.

    The commenters on the blog also had threw in some other favourite examples of theirs. I especially like the example of Kary Mullis, 1993 nobel prize winner in Chemistry who believes very strongly in astrology and is also an AIDS denialist (a group of people who reject the idea that AIDS is caused by the HIV virus).

    http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=2116

    What people believe and why always fascinates me and people tend to assume that having a lot of education in science somehow makes one immune to believing pseudoscientific ideas; it does not. Scientists such as the ones mentioned there are often used to promote some of the least scientifically valid ideas in existence; there is hardly for a popular pseudoscience out there for which there isnt a credentialied quack eager to leand their support for it. It is a good skeptical reminder that no one single scientist, not even nobel prize winners, can be used to give credibility to an idea.
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    Jul 18, 2010 4:37 PM GMT
    Yes, a lot of prominent scientists become kooky in their old age. They get so used to being praised for their genius that they seem to get a kind of god delusion, where they lose the ability to distinguish between external reality and internal mentation. "I think it; therefore it exists".
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    Jul 18, 2010 5:14 PM GMT
    Thank Dawkins we have you to keep us in order icon_rolleyes.gif
  • Delivis

    Posts: 2332

    Jul 18, 2010 5:29 PM GMT
    viveutvivas saidYes, a lot of prominent scientists become kooky in their old age. They get so used to being praised for their genius that they seem to get a kind of god delusion, where they lose the ability to distinguish between external reality and internal mentation. "I think it; therefore it exists".


    It is sometimes true that an arrogance could overcome the most highly praised and their skeptical thinking skills go down the toilet. I think sometimes it works in a different way though. In some cases it is scientists that are not particularily high-praised or famous or even good at their job that get sucked into a particular group of believers because that group (rather than the scientific community) praise them as their intellectual champions. Andrew Wakefield would be a good contemporary example.
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    Jul 18, 2010 6:14 PM GMT
    Nobel Prize Winner Al Gore.


    An Inconvenient Truth.



    I'm just sayin'......
  • Delivis

    Posts: 2332

    Jul 18, 2010 6:45 PM GMT
    StudlyScrewRite said Nobel Prize Winner Al Gore.


    An Inconvenient Truth.



    I'm just sayin'......


    He is not a scientist nor won a prize for scientific research..icon_smile.gif