Variant Perception in Science

Evo_idiots_1I love finding disconnects in the market (i.e.,the PPI data today);

Unfortunately, the people who fail to understand what the scientific methodology entails are pressing in the political realm – rather than in the market place. We have seen they dare not try their silly little stunts in the peer reviewed scientific sphere.

If only these people were investors — we would be emptying their bank accounts!

In politics, perception is reality, and so, for the most part, the penalty for deviating from reality is de minimus.

In the stock market, you cannot create your own reality — at least not for long. Eventually, the market place comes around to the numerical facts — i.e economics, revenues, and earnings.

For example:  In surveys conducted in 2005, people in the United States and 32 European countries (The same question was posed to Japanese adults in 2001). 

Respondants were asked whether to respond “true,” “false” or “not sure” to this statement:

“Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals.”

It turns out that the United States had the second-highest percentage of adults who said the statement was false — and the second-lowest percentage who said the statement was true, researchers reported in the current issue of Science. (Only adults in Turkey expressed more doubts on evolution).

What is the penalty for this belief system? Well, you probably won’t get a Science-based job — but that’s about it.

The acceptance of evolution is lower in the United States than in Japan or Europe, largely because of widespread fundamentalism and the politicization of science in the United States.

That — and the lack of any sort of financial or societal disincentive for the belief system. At least  so far . . .


UPDATE August 16, 2006 6:26am

Some questions in the comments require a bit of schooling: 

Understand what the Scientific Method is: It is a body of techniques for investigating natural phenomena and acquiring new knowledge, as well as for correcting and integrating previous knowledge.

It posits theories which are used until better theories come along. Example: Gravity is a theory that works so well we assume it to be a fact. And if one day a better theory of gravitation comes along that predicts the motion of bodies and interaction of masses better than the present one, well then we will throw out the old theory and replace it with the better one. 

Scientific Method assumes that its theories are subject to revision as additional evidence is acquired. No axioms are invioable, every thesis is subject to rigorous testing and peer review; Every theory is based on observable, empirical, measurable evidence, and subject to laws of reasoning.

All the acquired data are collectively called scientific evidence.


Did Humans Evolve? Not Us, Say Americans            
NYT, August 15, 2006      

The Evolution Debate: Complete Coverage

Public Acceptance of Evolution            
Science, 11 August 2006:

See also: How to Make Sure Children Are Scientifically Illiterate         

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