Argumentum ad Bigfoot

LabRat at Atomic Nerds

And scroll down this very long comment for the STINGRAY EDIT

Argument to exhaustion is not actually persuasion, and when we’re dealing with “the overwhelming bulk of the actual experts think X, Y, and Z” “but this one guy Q who’s an expert if you squint right says this thing W that if you turn it sideways and hum supports my argument!”, we’re… not dealing with an overflow of intellectual rigor, or honesty. Real changes in scientific thinking involve decades of study, data, genteel debate, and slow-motion intellectual combat between people who’ve devoted their entire lives to the subject; Dudes In Comments Sections who’ve convinced themselves they understand the science better than those people do, not so much. This isn’t as much an appeal to authority as it sounds- foremost experts have been wrong for centuries- but people who by comparison have no idea what they’re talking about are as good at digging these cases out and proving them as moles are at flying jet fighters. I’m including myself in that basket, by the way, which is why I went and asked someone who’s put in the work I haven’t and knows the literature far, FAR better than I do. “One rarely-cited paper whose conclusions I’ve barely understood outweighs the entire bulk of literature in the field, turns it all over!!”… ah, no. Real papers that actually do that wind up big, big news, cited hundreds of times in a very short period- including ones that seem to involve news people don’t want to hear.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s