Just Don’t Call It Science!

I’ve had two rather frustrating conversations recently with people who have claimed “science” and “proof” where it is totally inappropriate. One was regarding a 3000 year old religious text. The other was a bunch of medical-related blog posts. In both cases, the people were making very valid points and thought they were backing up their stance with “scientific proof”. The problem was, by inappropriately playing the science card, they made themselves and their beliefs sound stupid. Like I said, in both cases they were making very valid points, but their supporting arguments were just plain dumb!

I really do feel most people out there do not have a clue what science and scientific methods actually are. Just to bring this closer to home, I would just like to make this point. Please read this next line and the following explanation before you feel the need to comment…

I don’t think there is an Oracle blogger that I follow that is writing blog posts worthy of being called “science”.

That comment is not meant to shock and offend. I’m not trying to sound elitist, because I certainly rate much lower on the science scale than many other bloggers. The point of that comment is to put things into perspective. The scientific approach to gathering, validating and presenting information is a very formal affair. If you’ve experienced a research-based (not taught) Masters or PhD you will have just scratched the surface of what I’m talking about. If you’ve not experienced science to at least that level, I’m not sure you are really in a position to judge the extent of what people mean when they say “scientific proof”.

At this point I think the audience response will be split amongst these types of reaction.

  • People who saw the word “religious” in the second sentence, instantly jumped to a conclusion about what this post is about and either stopped reading or started to prepare their counter argument.
  • People who have a “favourite blogger” who *they believe* to have a super-scientific approach to Oracle and are desperate to tell me so.
  • People who follow “popular science” and believe the watered down crap they present in those articles and documentaries resembles real science and therefore think they know about science and think I’m talking crap.
  • People who just don’t give a damn and will happily call what they read in blog posts and wikipedia science, regardless of source, scientific approach etc.
  • People who understand what I’m talking about and realise we all just producing useful and informative content, but are not living up to the rigorous standards that would be required to call our tests and content “science” or “scientific proof”.

I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion, educated or not, but what I find it really hard to tolerate is when people start playing the science card where it is not appropriate. Do that and I’m gonna call bullshit every time!

Cheers

Tim… (Not a “Computer Scientist”, “Data Scientist”, “Software Engineer”, “Data Architect” or any of those other bullshit titles that offend the professions they reference)