Questioning "The Science™"

According to cognitive scientist Dr Mark Changizi, the term ‘the science’ illustrates a general misconception of how science really works, and how truth discovery works in general.

He argues that The Science™️ is an institutionalized approach whose experts stay in one field for the duration of their careers. Orthodox scientists defend their ideas, which can include censoring dissident views as a legitimate approach to “dangerous” counter-opinions. This approach views the “correct” science as being handed down from scientific authorities. Having become wedded to their own orthodox position, scientists must promote it and repeatedly argue against alternate explanations. 

To ensure that their academic track’s contribution sticks through ‘the tincture of time’, scientists may be tempted to support suppression, and even censorship, of rival views. Members of an entrenched scientific orthodoxy may assume that there is no justification to question their scientific hypothesis that has been transmuted into a single, monolithic body of scientific knowledge. According to “The Science™️”’s mistaken view, scientific facts are always correct and permanently reliable. This attitude has been strongly evidenced by the COVID-19 orthodoxy’s supporters who urged the censorship of doctors and scientists for challenging the official position of governmental and intergovernmental health authorities.

In stark contrast, science can be viewed as a process, not a product of indisputable facts. This process is best understood as always open to revision, in which two sides debate with each other to discover the truth. Such an approach recognises that dissent is an essential component of the scientific method and its progress. For debaters, a scientific approach entails prioritizing a laissez-faire attitude to their opponents in which censorship is inimical to the journey through which scientific truth is discovered. For a robust scientific community, defenders must be open to their views potentially being exposed as ‘disinformation’ by better explanations. No scientific model is ever “settled” and each must be open to falsification. Hence, supporting free speech, which allows one’s opponents to say the “wrong” things is a critical aspect of the scientific process. 

The Noakes Foundation expands on Professor Tim Noakes’ pioneering work in challenging scientific dogmas in community nutrition, insulin resistance and academic free speech. A bias towards the dominant scientific orthodoxy leads to such examples of ‘undone science’. This concept refers to research that could be undertaken, often called for by civil-society groups, but not pursued. Such gaps stem from research findings that could potentially be unwelcome to powerful groups. While undone science is commonly found in the areas of environment and health, it is a germane concept for understanding research gaps for promising health interventions that, nonetheless, remain un(der)funded. 

Sociology of scientific knowledge researchers have flagged how “truth” in the academic field has increasingly become shaped by the economic interests of funders. For example, global corporatism strongly shapes what is acceptable for prestigious academic medical faculties to research, and which results to share. It is in the financial interests of Big Pharma and their academic surrogates to explore costly treatments, such as genetic vaccines. By contrast, research that supports understanding of low-cost, preventative interventions is neglected, notwithstanding their promising results. 

Hegemony influences the types of research that can take place, particularly in costly research fields such as the Health Sciences. This academic field has become dominated by external economic interests- funders’ aims strongly shape what might become ‘evidence-based’ and truthful. In addition, funders can set research directions that exclude or neglect commercial threats from consideration. What funding validates in the  Health Sciences has significant ramifications for public health. It shapes what feasible research vistas are for interventions, then what counts as legitimate public guidelines and acceptable policy interventions. 

The Noakes Foundation recognises that the contest of the fittest explanations in the Health Sciences has been replaced by research promoting elite funders’ interests. To fight this replacement of science by “The Science™️”, TNF supports its academic beneficiaries by assisting their scientific autonomy and ability to exercise free speech. In theory, both should be highly prized values in Higher Education. Each promotes independent enquiry and enables responsible dissent- the latter being vital for scientists striving to separate mythic beliefs from scientific truths by challenging them. For example, a healthy scholarly field affords an arena through which scholars can contest any outdated paradigms. This field’s support of rigorous dissent would help confirm truthful models, whilst expunging outdated myths.

In contrast, Professor Tim Noakes’ history of challenging beliefs has yielded examples, particularly in Nutrition, where little scope seems to exist for dissent and exploring new vistas of knowledge. Instead, the current orthodoxy blocks legitimate studies questioning existing dogmas with potential to upset industry funders. By default, addressing “unprofitable” funding gaps then becomes the job of civil society organizations that must secure sponsorship and donations to close the gaps left by undone science.

TNF works to remove obstacles to questioning ‘The Science™’. We provide external support for studies that can establish correspondence for their unorthodox, but scientific, claims. Our beneficiaries’ studies are truthful in: corresponding to biological/human reality; contributing to a coherent medical scientific paradigm’s narrative, and supporting disclosure from successful and failed cases. We believe that supporting responsible dissent is true science- questioning the science is how the most valuable scientific research gets done!

 A foundation to question The Science™️ 


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