Science vs Reality: Do Not Obey Scientists – Practice What Works
More than once I had a lively “science” discussion on Twitter with sometimes very opinionated individuals. In some cases they were rather dogmatic.
Some people treat science like a religion and blindly believe in it while they treat those who don’t as heretics.
I won’t name them here to prevent this debate from becoming personal. Let it be said that it was a heated one.
Reality Doesn’t Obey Science
I want to return to the actual topic we discussed because it happens all the time that I have to debate such matters: the dispute almost always boils down to science vs reality.
Science will tell us one thing but reality won’t obey what scientists declare to be true.
The example closest to home of this is the weather forecast: the smartest and most gifted scientists are using satellites and supercomputers to tell you the weather.
When you want to see whether the sun is shining or not you are strongly advised to look out of the window to find out though. Why? Why not blindly believe the weather forecast?
In many cases you will notice that the weather forecast was wrong.
The so called chaos theory explains why you can’t predict weather without erring from time to time. Any prediction that ventures beyond 3 days in the future is just guess-work.
Indeed I’m glad that there is some element of chance and not everything can be known upfront. You can always take an umbrella with you just in case.
At least check more than one source – I do for the weather. They often disagree whether it will be raining or sunny.
Science or Religion or Both?
Now – “is science bad?” – to put it bluntly? Do we have to believe the church and explain everything with God? Well, you ask the wrong person.
I’m not particularly religious but I respect religious beliefs. Also I don’t engage in futile debates whether God exists or how man has evolved whether by way of evolution or “intelligent design”.
Personally I think that the Bible is partly a literary work so that it speaks in metaphors. Thus when the world was created in seven days it doesn’t mean you have to take it literally.
Why do I explain this? Well, you can reconcile science and religion. Also
you don’t have to denounce everything science hasn’t yet proven or even discovered
Moreover science tends to err and most of scientific dogmas break down after a while because scientists themselves discover new phenomena they have not even taken into account before.
Quantum physics is the best example: it has rendered most of prior science obsolete
Scientific laws often hold true just for a few decades. Nonetheless there is a tendency today to treat scientists like priests in earlier epochs: whatever scientists say at a given point in time is the ultimate truth and you have to obey them.
They don’t just discover and explain anymore they forbid you to do things and force their dangerous experiments on you.
Scientific Crimes Against Humanity
Nuclear energy has been probably the worst crime against humanity committed by science, not just due the horrific effects of the nuclear bomb.
So called “peaceful” uses of nuclear energy are also the wrong path, one that we’ll have to deal with for ten thousands of years as the toxic waste will haunt us almost forever.
Scientists can seriously mess up this planet, your health and your life. That’s a historically proven fact. The impact of the first nuclear bombs were even tested on American soldiers.
Isn’t that offtopic for a blog about blogging, social media and search? That’s not the end of the story, the “is SEO science or art” (or something else) debate is not far from these issues and reflects some of those bigger debates.
Let me use the example we used in the debate on Twitter. The discussion started with the issue of potentially harmful vaccines. This is a taboo topic in some circles.
Science apologists support vaccines no matter what, even when they’re untested or downright harmful. Side-effects are not considered etc. You are not even allowed to ask about them without repercussions.
People who blindly believe in science and what their doctors tell them tend to think you’re insane even when you suggest that not all vaccines are needed.
Vaccines get accepted out of tradition and because doctors and scientists say so or rather the multinational pharmaceutical corporations behind them.
Now I won’t explain here why some vaccines are harmful, this would be really offtopic. I want to dwell on the comparison of dogmatic treatment of vaccines.
I’d also like to mention the approach of alternative medicine, be it Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) or homeopathy.
Obey Science or Die Ignorant?
Practitioners of natural medicines will tell you that vaccines can indeed be harmful and ask you to be cautious when getting vaccinated.
Especially children can get harmed by vaccines as their bodies are too weak yet to deal with them. Some babies get a dozen of vaccines at once.
Now the Twitter users I debated with were infuriated that I could even bring this issue up. Also they declared acupuncture and homeopathy to be a placebo etc.
While I am not anti-science but ask you to see its limitations and never blindly “believe in science” people like the ones I debated with truly believe in science as if it were a religion.
They are believers to such an extent that you are not allowed to do things that are not approved by scientists. Science indeed becomes a religion for such people.
Either you obey science or you are a nut
This is what they think. They don’t even bother with conflicting scientific results or new discoveries, they protect tradition and a belief system in general. Often they will fight on behalf of theories that have been debunked by science itself already.
More than that, it’s part of their identity. It’s an attack on themselves when you dare to doubt scientific results from a hundred years ago.
Most vaccines have been created back then and people don’t care that the situation is completely different now. It’s like still using steam engines.
Now let’s go back to actual search engine optimization (SEO) and whether it is a science or not or whatever.
In SEO we have a similar situation: the science of SEO is nascent if it exists at all so you can’t really prove everything.
You can have theories and show statistics. You will never exactly know why something worked eat the end of the day and what exact factors made it work. There are simple too many ever fluctuating parameters.
The Faux Science of Watching the Google Black Box
Google makes hundreds tweaks to its algorithm in a year. Your SEO science is outdated the moment you have proven it or quicker. Thus the moment you call yourself a SEO scientist you already err.
SEO, like many things life, and even the weather is changing all the time. Even the climate is not static, it changes as well, being influenced by us. Thank you science for noticing and proving it!
Also SEO changes as we have an impact on Google and other search engines.
Publishers create content farms, Google reacts. At the end of the day you have to take a look outside the window yourself to find out what the weather is like. It’s like with climate change:
we can see and prove it but we don’t really know whether the changing ocean tides will bring us a colder period locally e.g. due to the disappearance of the Gulf stream in Europe.
The global warming may also have a more direct impact by simply rising temperatures. We have to observe reality to find out. For example where I live (Germany) climate change has different results every year. We have droughts but we also have floods.
Science is Useful but NOT as a Religion-Substitute
Again: I’m not anti-science. I appreciate science, especially when it discovers and proves the obvious. I even advocate scientific methods of parenting like Triple P. Yet modern science has its limitations and it’s still very young.
Acupuncture works for thousands of years and I know it because it works on me as well, just like homeopathy does.
Still science and its methodology are often not enough to prove it because science is too limited as of now.
Science often can’t quantify the data of acupuncture or find any substance in homeopathic remedies.
Homeopathic remedies are based on information not substances like conventional medicine. Also different people react differently to personalized medicines.
Likewise meditation also has been practiced for millennia and just in recent decades science finally caught up and proved its benefits.
Thus I appreciate science where it makes sense but I don’t let science make me ignorant enough not to try things that have worked long before modern science even existed. Likewise
I practice what works when it comes to Google optimization.
and do not blindly obey scientists who tell me one day that I need PageRank sculpting just to backtrack next day after Matt Cutts’ announces that it has been discontinued several months ago.
When it’s science vs reality I tend to believe what I see and I expect science to explain it. Science is not an entity to force you to do something or ignore something else. When science hasn’t been able to explain something it does not mean that it does not exist yet.
Science is not the church, so stop blindly believing in it. Don’t believe it like it’s some religion. Always take a look at reality itself and when the glaciers melt you know science is right.
BTW.: there are many new scientific studies that indeed prove that acupuncture works and also which explain other worldly phenomena many people deemed obvious long ago.
* Image by by Okko Pyykkö