Why I argue the way I do
by Glenn Murray
The reasons I argue the positions I do
Much of my education was in the sciences, an area I love. There may be a lot of belief, intuition, and inspiration that drives scientific endeavors, but when the rubber meets the road it requires a stringent set of criteria for judging any scientific claim.
To excel to the top of a field, a scientist must maka a name for themselves. Coming up with something completely new or disproving a long standing, accepted scientific idea, they will become famous and move to the top of their field. To keep their own claims from being disproven requires they are careful, ensuring conclusions arrived at and evidence relied on are on solid ground. These are some of the motivations which drive scientists. They create a climate where all claims can and should be challenged and the supporting evidence examined. Results will be suspect and deemed insufficient if not obtained via good methodology, using reproducible methods and logical deductions, avoiding the host of mental traps humans are subject to. This is the environment in which science moves toward objective truth.
Think about how you were taught science in school. Experiments performed where you could see them. This isn't just to show you how they came up with what they did, but to show you directly why science says what it is, so you didn't have to accept it on faith. Belief of scientific claims is antithetic to science. Everything should be questioned, repeated, and confirmed. That's why science is self-correcting. Any incorrect claim will eventually be investigated and found to be wrong. Looking at Scientific Consensus may provide some insights into my views on science and it's findings.
When I was out of school and working, I had a number of ideas I'd never carefully considered. A chemist friend challenged me on one. At the time, it was a common rumor someone had invented a tablet which when added to water made a substitute for gasoline, but the oil companies suppressed it. While I didn't actually think it true, I considered it possible. My distrust of big business motivated my belief that it could be true and the research sequestered. My friend said "You have a good grounding in chemistry. Is that even possible?". Thinking carefully about it, it was obviously not possible. It started me on a line of thinking. I started looking into the criteria for what I consider true and how I/we fool ourselves.
I started examining the traps in thinking we commonly fall into, allowing ourselves to be deluded, and the basis for evidence I use for what I accept as objectively real.