The Problem With Science Is Dumb Non-Scientists

Man, that Heffernan article is turning out to be such an excellent marker for stupid. Now some Catholic wanker is citing it as supporting his claim that scientists are all nasty people, claiming that the problem with science is scientists. Being Catholic, you know exactly who he is going to complain about.

Heffernan writes about the meltdown over at Science Blogs. “Science Blogs”, as you may well remember is the home of blogger PZ Myers who is famous for advancing science by desecrating the Eucharist. While Myers is the most read of the misogamists at Science Blogs, his penchant for the unpleasant is rather standard fare.

“Science Blogs” has recently seen many of its bloggers leave in protest over the addition of a new nutrition blog called Food Frontiers. Science Blogs’ sin that PepsiCo sponsors the site. It is indubitable that nobody does righteous indignation quite like the ungodly.

Wow. Every sentence is wrong.

  1. There is no meltdown. There was risk of one, but Seed got their act together, and we’re all working away productively now.

  2. Cracker abuse is so 2008. Get over it. And no, that wasn’t science, nor did I claim it was: it was a protest against the inanity of reactionary Catholics.

  3. Misogamist? Moi? I’ve been happily married for over 30 years!

  4. Nobody quit over the addition of Food Frontiers.

  5. It was not a sin that Pepsi sponsored the site. The problem was that it was not labeled as an advertisement, and blurred a boundary between advertisement and content. That’s what got people upset, as well as a pattern of infrastructure neglect.

  6. Funny about that ungodly business. I’m definitely ungodly; I’m still here. So is Greg Laden. ERV thought it was all a tempest in a teacup. Jason Rosenhouse didn’t even seem to notice. The biggest ungodliest bloggers here seem to have had a range of reactions; and several of the people who decamped were theists.

Like I said, everyone who cites the Heffernan noise positively seems to be factually incompetent, including Heffernan herself.

The rest of that wanker’s article is just as bad. To defend his claim that scientists are all rotten people, he cites two examples. Galileo: not as nice as you’d think! After all, the Catholic church didn’t behead him, but only sentenced him to a life of confinement, and he had been very rude in mocking the Pope by putting his words into the mouth of a character called Simplicio in his dialogue.

His second case is Alfred Wegener, who he claims was persecuted by a scientific inquisition (every bit as bad as the Catholic inquisition, apparently — despite the fact that we don’t use thumbscrews). Here’s what scientists did to the discoverer of continental drift:

For his insight, Wegener was mocked and criticized and ultimately ostracized by the mainstream scientific establishment. Ultimately he died virtually unknown on an expedition trying to prove his theory.

Well, no. He was a well-respected meteorologist who died on an expedition to Greenland to study Arctic weather. He wasn’t ostracized at all, but was a working scientist right up until his death. His theory of continental drift was criticized and rejected in his lifetime, because he had no mechanism and because his evidence was all circumstantial. That’s what scientists are supposed to do — demand solid evidence. And when that evidence came in after Wegener’s death, the theory was accepted.

I’m kind of impressed. That Heffernan article is smoking out a lot of nobodies who are proudly standing up to demonstrate how stupid they are.