The Freeman – Mad Science

The Summer issue of The Freeman presents a collection of articles on mad science.

cover image The Freeman: Summer 2016It describes the dangers of giving control to an expert elite and illustrates it with example ideologies such as Darwinian eugenics that had to wait for the Nazis to discredit it, believing misfortune arises from witchcraft, climate change, and failing to recognize the contrary consequences of laws that may have been good-intentioned.

In Policy Kills Science, Jeffrey Tucker relates the passing of eugenics dogmas – see how the mighty constraints of thought pass away:

But back then, eugenic ideology was conventional scientific wisdom, and hardly ever questioned except by a handful of old-fashioned advocates of laissez-faire. The eugenicists’ books sold in the millions, and their concerns became primary in the public mind. Dissenting scientists — and there were some — were excluded by the profession and dismissed as cranks attached to a bygone era.

“Eugenic views had a monstrous influence over government policy, and they ended free association in labor, marriage, and migration.”

Surprisingly, the magazine fails to deal directly with ISO accreditation.  Despite the waste it creates, perhaps accreditation too will one day be forgotten.

“There are, however, lessons to be learned. When you hear of some impending crisis that can only be solved by scientists working with public officials to force people into a new pattern that is contrary to their free will, there is reason to raise an eyebrow. Science is a process of discovery, not an end state, and its consensus of the moment should not be enshrined in the law and imposed at gunpoint.

“We’ve been there and done that, and the world is rightly repulsed by the results.”

In How Networks Topple Scientific Dogmas, Max Borders suggests this could happen by networking of critical amateurs.

“The best thing that can happen to science is that it opens itself up to everyone, even people who are not credentialed experts. Then, let the checkers start to talk to each other. Leaders, influencers, and force-multipliers will emerge. You might think of them as communications hubs or bigger nodes in a network. Some will be cranks and hacks. But the best will emerge, and the cranks will be worked out of the system in time.

“The network might include a million amateurs willing to give a pair of eyes or a different perspective. Most in this army of experimenters get results and share their experiences with others in the network. What follows is a wisdom-of-crowds phenomenon. Millions of people not only share results but challenge the orthodoxy.”

Scientists are not always the best people to understand science.  Sometimes those outside the trees see the forest better.

Roll on the network of “accreditation deniers”!


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