Anti-science advocates are rejoicing at new proof that the scientific method doesn’t work, never did, and never will. They point to a new scientific study that concludes beyond a shadow of a doubt that using science and reason is the least likely method of discovering the truth about anything – from climate change, to vaccines, to the merits of Democratic Socialism, to the guilt or innocence of TV documentary star Steven Avery.
Researchers from Princeton University tested over 450 processes for finding the truth, anything from shaking a Magic 8-Ball to asking your Grandpa, to looking up the answers in the back of an arithmetic book, and ranked each process by how effective it was in actually finding the truth. Use of the “scientific method,” which for the purposes of the study included the basic Socratic rules of “reason” and “reasoned argument,” came in dead last as an approach for determining the truth about something.
Reaction has been loud and swift across the nation as astrologers, self-help authors, talk show hosts, and leaders of The Republican Party have all lauded the report. Megalomaniac and self-appointed guru Oprah Winfrey will feature the study’s findings in a cover story for next month’s O, The Oprah Magazine. Plans are already in the works for a 12-part series on her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) to air later this year.
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee could barely contain his glee as he talked to reporters: “We’ve always known this was the case. We… we… knew it in our hearts. But now we have the scientific backing to absolutely, ha ha, to absolutely prove it!” he said, giggling. “Science itself is telling us that science doesn’t work. If this doesn’t convince people, I don’t know what will. This’ll shut ’em up!” he cackled, with no hint of irony.
In a lectern-thumping address to students earlier today, Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University gloated: “Socrates was famous for saying ‘I know that I know nothing.’ Well it looks like he was right about that anyway!” Students attending the mandatory event stood and cheered.
Rita Haecker, president of the Texas State Teachers Association who has been battling state legislators over public school curriculum was conciliatory in her defeat at the hands of members who used the report to pillory her in a public hearing. “I guess that’s that” she said, “I know when I’m licked,” as she was escorted from the committee room by security guards.
Astrophysicist and science advocate Neil deGrasse Tyson did not return calls for comment.
Here are the top ten methods for determining whether or not something is true, according to the study:
- Believing it serves my interest
- Saw it in a meme
- A priest/minister told me
- Everyone else seems to believe it
- God spoke to me directly
- Heard it from “some author” interviewed on daytime TV
- I dreamed it / was told by the spirit of a dead relative
- My parents drummed it into me
- My Texas State Legislature-approved textbook tells me it’s true
- No reason at all, I just think it’s true
Charles Bursell is a writer, performer, host and commentator heard nationally on SiriusXM, National Public Radio, and The Pacifica Radio Network. He currently hosts the podcasts Stream of Consciousness Talk Radio Theatre and Conversations With Charles Bursell. Both shows, and more, can be found on several platforms, including Apple Podcasts (iTunes) and Libsyn.com.