August 25, 2020 | David F. Coppedge

Imagination Running Rampant in Science

Science reporters and scientists have lost all respect for evidence. They spin imaginative tales with reckless abandon.

Whatever happened to objectivity? Whatever happened to scientific proof? Whatever happened to empirical justification? Scientists and their lackey reporters, secure in their jobs, don’t care about those any more. They can say whatever they want about things that are impossible to prove even in principle. Here are some examples in astronomy. Ask if any of these assertions could ever be proved. If they cannot, why are they appearing as “science news” articles? Are reporters trying to titillate users with clickbait to improve their ratings?

Caution: Do not be distracted by tidbits of data conjured up as evidence. Those have nothing to do with the claims. A good storyteller could pick up a sand grain and weave a story about life on an exoplanet based on the proportion of minerals in the grain. That is how charlatans work with divination; it is not science. The questions to ask are: (1) ‘How do you know that?’ and (2) ‘If you don’t know it, why are you imagining it and publishing it in a science website? Come back when you have proof.’ 

Proof or Goof?

Strange fast-moving clouds of gas may be suffocating the Milky Way (New Scientist). Leah Crane weaves a preposterous tale, asking her readers to imagine the Milky Way gasping for air billions of years from now. The poor children will surely have nightmares.

Interstellar visitor ‘Oumuamua could still be alien technology, new study hints (Live Science). Crazy Avi Loeb at Harvard is not giving up on his weird idea that a rock that came through the solar system two years ago was built by space aliens. Rafi Letzter lets him get away with it. Loeb is even publishing a book on it. Here is a quick way to make their heads explode: tell them they are using Dembski’s design filter in order to make an inference to intelligent design. Then tell them they are using it badly, not considering seriously enough the options of chance and natural law.

A supernova may have triggered a mass extinction on Earth 359 million years ago (Live Science). Chief storyteller Mindy Weisberger writes, “A global extinction event around 359 million years ago may have been triggered by the death blast of a distant star, a new study [prepare to be hoodwinked] suggests.” Neither she nor her chosen expert Brian Fields can prove 10,000 years, let alone 359 million. They use pollen grains as divination tools for their tale.

Solar system may have had a second sun that helped grab Planet Nine (New Scientist). Here’s Leah Crane again, showing no respect for objectivity. And she brings in Crazy Avi again, trying to support one imaginary entity with another imaginary entity.

BILLIONS of years ago, there may have been two suns in our solar system. If so, that could explain how the solar system caught its outermost objects, including the hypothetical Planet Nine.

Don’t even read as far as Crazy Avi’s analogy about ants in the kitchen. This is nuts. Phil Plait, exposer of Bad Astronomy, where are you when we need you?

NASA Planetquest tweets on Halloween 2018, promoting imagination over empiricism.

Fun Scenarios

Could Planet 9 be a primordial black hole? ( This one is even nuttier. The previous article said Planet Nine is hypothetical. Now reporter Ingrid Fadelli equates it to still another hypothetical entity: an unobserved object the late Stephen Hawking imagined. These people aren’t doing science. They are imagining “fun scenarios” for entertainment.

“Our work started when James and his wife Laura went to the Chicago planetarium and saw a short documentary about Planet 9,” Jakub Scholtz, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told “It must have captured James’ attention, because he called me the next day and we started figuring out whether there is any other object that could be out there mimicking a planet. We came up with a number of fun scenarios: Bose stars, ultra-compact dark matter halos, primordial black holes—and several other possibilities.”

Rogue planets could outnumber the stars (Ohio State University). Sure, they could. How about going out there and counting them, like a nice scientist? “An upcoming NASA mission could find that there are more rogue planets – planets that float in space without orbiting a sun – than there are stars in the Milky Way, a new study [prepare to be hoodwinked] theorizes.”

Could there be life in the cloud tops of Venus? (Universe Today). If so, reporter Nancy Atkinson, it would have to be pretty robust to withstand the sulfuric acid there. Tell you what, Ms Atkinson, how about flying out there with a test tube and bringing back a sample? Until then, you don’t know what you are talking about.

Did Jupiter Push Venus Into a Runaway Greenhouse? (Universe Today). Andy Tomaswick lets loose with another whopper. He appeals to Milankovitch cycles for his divination exercise (a theory like astrology; see 22 June 2018), and plays with computer games. Observable science left the lab long ago.

This shameful display of unfettered imagination is standard fare in Big Science and Big Media these days. Whatever happened to empirical modesty? Whatever happened to debate? These reporters and ‘scientists’ are given free rein in the secular press to tell their ‘fun scenarios’ without any critical rebuttal, and without reproof by philosophers of science who are trained to sniff out flawed arguments and propaganda tricks. This is what modern ‘science’ has become, thanks to Darwin: a massive storytelling society. It began with biology, but like a global pandemic, it has infected all the sciences. Nobody is even trying to find a vaccine because the storytellers get a high from it.

Click the Baloney!

Readers should consider such stories fairy tales till proven otherwise. Arm yourself with our Baloney Detector. Learn about Glittering Generalities, Visualization, Loaded Words, Half Truths, Suggestion, Non-Sequitur and other tricks of the storyteller’s trade.

Why don’t reporters do their job? They know how to ask hard questions of politicians; why not scientists? Here’s the reason: science reporting is a racket (12 March 2020). The press release writers at labs and universities are employed by those institutions to make their scientists look good. If they were to make them look stupid, they would be fired. What about the independent science news sites, like Live Science and New Scientist? Those have all drunk the Darwine-flavored Kool-Aid, which attacks the brain’s baloney-detecting center. It’s like the soma drug in Brave New World: “Evil’s an unreality if you take a couple of grammes,” says the Fordian Science Monitor. Darwine-flavored soma generates an irrational ecstasy for materialism, producing visions of the creative power of the Stuff Happens Law. It is also addictive, producing dependence on their drug dealers in academia. If they were to get clear heads and call the bluff of press-release reporters, they would be denied access to the drug that keeps them going. They cannot let that happen. Darwinian cancel culture scares the living daylights out of science reporters inside Charlie’s totalitarian kingdom. Only independent reporters, like those at CEH, are drug-free and able to see through the fogma.

Exercise: To show how easy it is to play their game, try making up your own ‘fun scenarios’ using just your imagination: the wilder, the better. Get the kids involved. As a teachable moment, show them the difference between science and storytelling by looking out for the words “could” and “may have” and other escape clauses that raise the perhapsimaybecouldness index. Here are a few examples to get you started; send in your suggestions!

  • Could dark energy have distorted the arms of the Whirlpool Galaxy?
  • Dimming of Betelgeuse could be due to a Dyson Sphere under construction.
  • Earth may run out of oxygen 10 billion years from now, new study [prepare to be hoodwinked] suggests.
  • Unknown building blocks of life may exist deep under the hypothetical ocean under Pluto.
  • There may be more space aliens per exoplanet than humans on Earth.
  • [your submissions]





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