“It would be unrealistic to believe that dogmatism in science ended … flagrant examples [are] the Nazi doctrine of Aryan racial supremacy and the Communist credo of dialectic materialism … less publicized instances … are known in every discipline in small or large degree. Every area of knowledge at the present time has its ‘big names’ whose opinions in science … prevail over the views of lesser lights just because they are recognised … Dogmatism is a frequent concomitant of a systematized creed and a well-institutionalized priestly hierarchy … unified control with a discipline that is dedicated to its unquestioning support. This condition directly parallels the requirement for authoritative secular administration. … there be only one source of truth … the source be afforded enough power to enforce its dictates. … Heretical views may not be tolerated … because they threaten the economic and the ideological commitment …”
– Professor H. G. Barnett, Innovation: the Basis of Cultural Change, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1953, pages 69-70.
Irving L. Janis, Victims of Groupthink, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1972:
“I use the term “groupthink” … when the members’ strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action.”(p. 9)
“… the group’s discussions are limited … without a survey of the full range of alternatives.”(p. 10)
“The objective assessment of relevant information and the rethinking necessary for developing more differentiated concepts can emerge only out of the crucible of heated debate [to overcome inert prejudice/status quo], which is anathema to the members of a concurrence-seeking group.”(p.61)
“Eight main symptoms run through the case studies of historic fiascoes … an illusion of invulnerability … collective efforts to … discount warnings … an unquestioned belief in the group’s inherent morality … stereotyped views of enemy leaders … dissent is contrary to what is expected of all loyal members … self-censorship of … doubts and counterarguments … a shared illusion of unanimity … (partly resulting from self-censorship of deviations, augmented by the false assumption that silence means consent)… the emergence of … members who protect the group from adverse information that might shatter their shared complacency about the effectiveness and morality of their decisions.”(pp.197-8)
“… other members are not exposed to information that might challenge their self-confidence.”(p.206)
Don’t be fooled: we’re not arguing that censorship is wrong or that individualism is right, but that subjective censorship is wrong (we need more objective censorship, i.e. less authority-based dismissals of hard evidence, and more technical fact-driven debate rather then debates driven by the mere opinions of famous bigots or personalities who act as “expert” authorities who assert lies), and that socialism in science can only work if heated debates are allowed to break down Hitler-type eugenics pseudoscience fantasies. The present version of socialism used in science protects bigots by (1) ignoring polite statements of facts and (2) censoring more assertive statements of facts as being “rude”, precisely the Nazis eugenics “hard words make wounds” censorship-technique. (The idea of “penetrating” the existing regime in disguise to force revolutionary change is like saying Churchill in 1935 should have volunteered to serve as a Nazi concentration camp guard in order to try to destroy eugenics pseudoscience from within. Bad, rather than good, comes from collaboration with bigots.)
The only way to make real progress is not to assert individualism or to ban censorship, but to ban bigotry within socialism and to enforce fact-based rather than dogma-based censorship. We need more censorship in science of the fact-based type, to get rid of existing dogmatic eugenics-type pseudosciences (the incremental progress side of science, which fills the journals up with politically-correct trivia, such as adding more and more epicycles to mainstream pseudosciences). We need more socialism in science of the unbigoted type, with heated debates rather than dictatorship by Stalin-like bigots (who claim they are morally and ethically “maintaining nice politeness” in debates by sending “rude” critics into exile or worse).
“… prizes only give one view of how science is done. They encourage the idea that the typical manner of progress in science is the breakthrough of a lone genius. In reality, while lone geniuses and breakthroughs do occur, incremental progress and collaboration are more important in increasing our understanding of nature. Even the theory breakthrough behind this prize required a body of incrementally acquired knowledge to which many contributed.”
– Jon Butterworth, Guardian, 8 October 2013
The fascist Catch-22 “Godwin law” states that people must never learn the lessons of eugenics groupthink ideologue pseudoscience, because (1) until 6 million defenseless people have been massacred in the name of moralistic eugenics lies, all comparisons with the Nazi regime are inappropriate, and (2) after another 6 million defenseless human beings have been massacred by pseudoscience, it is too late to prevent that tragedy. If you warn that eugenics is murdering people and is equivalent to the 1920s-1930s Nazi eugenics fashion hate campaign backed by eugenicists like famous Medical Nobel Laureate Alexis Carrell, whose 1935 bestseller Man the Unknown argued for gas chamber eugenics on pseudo-moralistic grounds, you are attacked using the false, contrived and dogmatically asserted “Godwin law” argument that until a pseudoscience actually succeeds in murdering as many people as the Nazi regime by 1945, all comparisons with the Nazi regime in its earlier stages (when it could have been stopped without a shot, as Churchill argued) are “inappropriate” or “misleading”. Godwin, of course, is just inventing a false argument which prevents the lessons of eugenics pseudoscience being widely comprehended and applied. These ideologues seek to prevent rational discussion and all progress based on hard facts, by censoring it out as “rude” or “boring”, because it contradicts their dogmatic religion of hatred.
This is of course complete nonsense, because in science, all forms of groupthink i.e. censorship for the benefit of Marxist or fascist unity or racist/eugenics/flat earth conspiracy (sometimes called “socialism”) by definition lead either to the censorship of “unlikely” alternative ideas (some of which are proved right by history), or to warfare or “damaging controversy” if the alternatives have any popular credibility (which counts not a cent towards determining whether they are experimentally and theoretically helpful or useful data-summarizing empirical models for future progress, or just another caloric/phlogiston or flat earth dogma of the mainstream that takes centuries to debunk but is then recorded by deluded historians as being some kind of proof of the danger not of consensus science, but of alternative ideas).
All you ever get from socialist peer-review is a conspiracy to suppress progress unless it comes from a member of the same tribe who is effectively a member of the same trade union, as even then it has to be “exciting” news, not “depressing” news that the reigning theory is BS, to be welcomed. In other words, dogmatic bias is held to be sacred, not facts. When it comes to groupthink, it is impossible to make any revolutionary advances by definition without overthrowing status quo. Socialist groupthink sees only danger in revolutionary advances. What happens to all the scientists working on the present paradigm? But this question doesn’t arise directly. Anything revolutionary is sneered at automatically, simply because it is revolutionary. Name a single revolutionary advance in science that ever occurred due to incremental progress, and you have are just contriving a contradiction of terms. By definition, revolutionary advances aren’t incremental.
What Butterworth means by “the typical manner of progress in science” is trivia. His argument is that mundane trivia, the invention of yet more epicycles within a dogmatic religion of cosy socialist conference proceedings, is more typical of progress than revolutionary advances. That’s a piece of revisionism like saying that the gas chamber operators of the holocaust were more to blame that the revolutionary eugenicists. Sorry, Butterworth, but you’re not telling the truth.
Butterworth and the loss-making Guardian newspaper propagandarist editor and publisher (or whoever supports his Guardian-headed articles, maybe a web editor), totally neglect the fact that “lone geniuses” are not for the most part mavericks or fairy tale loners, but are men of principle or women of principle (Curie and Noether being examples) who do what they know is worthy of research, DESPITE the lack of cosy peer support in any way, shape or form. Butterworth paints a racial-type steryotype of the lone scientist as someone who chooses to be a loner, rather than as someone who chooses to follow up the evidence, regardless of heresy or taboo, of social exclusion, of ridicule, of abuse, of censorship, of hatred.
Comment on the Higgs Nobel Prize
This is a puzzling Nobel Prize decision in the sense that it is merely assuming without proof that the 125 GeV spin-0 massive boson decays confirm the prediction, just as the discovery of the muon (a lepton) was initially believed to be the Yukawa strong force mediator and led to a Nobel prize for Yukawa. (Later the pion was discovered, after his Nobel prize, confirming his theory, but it might not have been if the theory was wrong.)
While Higgs and others certainly did work of value, the danger is that the foundations of the Standard Model will now be assumed to be proved real and there will be ever more censorship of alternative variants of basic ideas. Certainly the SU(2) weak interaction is beyond question in my opinion, but the Abelian U(1) electrodynamics model is a contrived piece of nonsense because you can’t represent electromagnetism by one charge, its anticharge and a single photon; you need 2 extra “polarizations” on the photons to account for electromagnetic photons, which can be considered charges. It turns out you can have an SU(2) electrodynamics and a U(1) quantum gravity, considerably changing the meaning of “electroweak symmetry” in the SM (viXra:1111.0111).
The whole basis of prize-giving seems to be to encourage and reward groupthink, conformity, and censorship. I’ve always believed in one myth: that science is different from fashion and politics. Apart from making a fortune supplying dynamite to both sides in the Crimean War, Nobel’s legacy of rewarding ideas after they have become dogmatic consensus is a toxic poison for nascent science.