Ayn Rand on "Trust the Science"


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I just came across a Rand quote from an interview that could easily have been directed at today's "scientists" and the ban on HCQ or ivermectin...

Excerpt from an interview, Speaking Freely, With Edwin Mewman, NBC-TV, 1972

(as printed in Objectively Speaking: Ayn Rand Interviewed, pg. 210):

Rand: "...while science-whose purpose after all is to servce man- is still advancing, man is retrogressing...."

Newman: "Miss Rand, what is the evidence that the scientific method is being undercut?"

Rand: "Observe the panic created today by rash, unproved conclusions about scientific matters, issued without regard to context or consequences. We see scientists reaching conclusions that are rescinded within a few months....A more recent example is the sudden ban on the use of hexachlorophene, which was declared to be dangerous. Within a very short time, there was an epidemic of infant deaths in maternity wards, because hexachlorophene was the protection the babies needed against certain kinds of infection. The promulgators of these claims are men devoid of serious, scientific method. They do not know what to regard as proof. They do not know what is required in order to offer a hypothesis, and then to prove or discard it. They predominantly use the statistical method, which is invaluable in some realms, but is not the basis of scientific knowledge."

 

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Cannot agree. It looks like lame  cherry- picking from a person who could only endorse scientific conclusions she had philosophically approved of. Tobacco studies, anyone? I don't recall her ever admitting her own lung cancer came from smoking, although I could be wrong here.

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Quote

 

They sat in the office of Dr. Murray Dworetzky, he would later recall, discussing, as they had done so often in the years that he had been her internist, Ayn’s heavy smoking. Since her late twenties, she had smoked two packages of cigarettes a day. “You’ve got to stop it,” Dr. Dworetzky said. “It’s terribly bad for you. It’s dangerous.”

With a gesture of defiance, Ayn took a long, deep puff from the slim cigarette in its gold and black holder. “But why?” she demanded. “And don’t tell me about statistics; I’ve explained why statistics aren’t proof. You have to give me a rational explanation. Why should I stop smoking?”

There was a tap on the door, and a nurse entered. “Mrs. O’Connor’s X-rays, Doctor,” she said, sliding one of them into the view box on the wall and switching on the fluorescent bulb that illuminated it. Dr. Dworetzky turned to the x-ray. He froze for an instant, then bent to examine it closely. With a heavy sigh, he turned back to Ayn, his face grim.

“That’s why,” he said, one finger pointing at a large white shadow in the center of the chest area, where no shadow should have been.

Ayn’s face paled. “What’s wrong? What is it?”


“I’m… sorry. It looks like a malignancy in one lung.” Ayn looked down at the cigarette in her hand. She reached out to the ashtray on the table beside her, snubbed out the cigarette with a firm, precise movement, removed it from its holder and began replacing the holder in her purse; then she stopped, shrugged, and dropped the holder on the table.

“Now tell me everything I need to know,” she said, her voice controlled. “But first, will this”—she pointed at the dead cigarette—will it help?”

 

Branden, Barbara. The Passion of Ayn Rand . Author & Company. Kindle Edition.

 

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16 hours ago, caroljane said:

....And so could She, as we have seen.

This doesn't deserve a response, and has nothing to do with the original post. And it certainly doesn't make a counter-point; if anything, it proves her point.  If Rand could be wrong, and we don't treat her as omniscient, so can scientists, and they should not be treated as omniscient either, despite their desire to be treated as such...(especially when they're on the side of those who would use "science" to instill a dictatorship.

[Addendum: To the objections that this is "cherry picking", etc:  this wasn't meant to be an all-exhaustive post, or an "unanswerable argument" essay. It's just a "snapshot". If one wanted more, they could simply find the complete Rand interview from where this quote originated. But with certain people, one could present a litany of examples, with
"twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence", a la Officer Obie from "Alice's Restaurant, and they still wouldn't be satisfied, and would just keep going to drag others into an endless quagmire of point-counterpoint, while ignoring the principles.
("Have you even talked to any scientists? Oh, you have? How many? Oh, that many? Ok, but why not that-many-plus-one? SEE? CHERRY PICKING!" Yeah, no. I know that game.]



 

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2 minutes ago, ThatGuy said:

Branden, Barbara. The Passion of Ayn Rand . Author & Company. Kindle Edition.

 

I do remember that occurrence, and that she did quit right away, but what I don't remember are any statements reversing her previous public denials of the cancer/smoking proofs. She was also persuaded to get social security health benefits, although she vehemently opposed this . Sensibly she put her own wellbeing before her previously avowed principles.

 

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Dangit...I just realized that I posted this under "the horror file cabinet" section, that was not my intent.
MSK, can this be moved to another category more appropriate to the topic?

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6 minutes ago, ThatGuy said:

This doesn't deserve a response, and has nothing to do with the original post. And it certainly doesn't make a counter-point; if anything, it proves her point.  If Rand could be wrong, and we don't treat her as omniscient, so can scientists, and they should not be treated as omniscient either, despite their desire to be treated as such...(especially when they're on the side of those who would use "science" to instill a dictatorship.



 

Faulty logic, and specious to boot. Anyone can be wrong, of course. But one non-scientist being wrong ( nearly lethally wrong in her case) about an important scientifically- proved health issue, does not equate with the entire scientific community going into fits of conspiracy for no discernible reason. Come on. How many scientists do you actually know? Most abandon hope of omniscience at the entrance to Academic training hell.

Btw , I wonder how many Rand followers quit the weed when she did? Quite a lot I would think.

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32 minutes ago, ThatGuy said:

Dangit...I just realized that I posted this under "the horror file cabinet" section, that was not my intent.
MSK, can this be moved to another category more appropriate to the topic?

TG,

Done.

How does the "Science and Mathematics" section suit you?

:)

Michael

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5 hours ago, caroljane said:

I do remember that occurrence, and that she did quit right away, but what I don't remember are any statements reversing her previous public denials of the cancer/smoking proofs. She was also persuaded to get social security health benefits, although she vehemently opposed this . Sensibly she put her own wellbeing before her previously avowed principles.

 

She took SS, so I understand, on the rationale that she was getting her money back. But that money had been spent by the government as soon as it came in. Arguments go both ways.

Medicare's another matter entirely. You take it or you're playing with dynamite. I'm not going into this here but regardless,if you go to the hospital of Medicare age you'll find you're already covered by Medicare A (hospitalization) unless you've managed to get some special private insurance or are so wealthy you pay out of pocket. In regard to the last the hospital will throw everything they can on you at grossly inflated prices. When the insurance companies get these hopped up bills they choke them down.

--Brant

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6 hours ago, caroljane said:

Cannot agree. It looks like lame  cherry- picking from a person who could only endorse scientific conclusions she had philosophically approved of. Tobacco studies, anyone? I don't recall her ever admitting her own lung cancer came from smoking, although I could be wrong here.

Rand made a decent, accurate statement. It stands alone. It's not refutable except by analysis of such, not by argumentum ad h.

--Brant

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10 hours ago, caroljane said:

Cannot agree. It looks like lame  cherry- picking from a person who could only endorse scientific conclusions she had philosophically approved of.

Carol,

OK, lazypants.

Be honest.

When you made that post accusing Rand of cherry-picking, did you know what hexachlorophene was or the controversy surrounding it?

I, for one, did not. I had to look it up just now.

Michael

 

 

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(Since the attached picture doesn't show here, here's the text of it:)

1. Is UNFALSIFIABLE (Can't be proven wrong): Makes vague or uobservable claims

2. Relies heavily on ANECDOTES, personal experiences, and testimonials

3. CHERRY PICS confirming evidence while ignoring/minimizing disconfirming evidence

4. Uses TECHNOBABBLE: Words that sound scientific but don't make sense

5. Lacks PLAUSIBLE MECHANISM: No way to explain it based on existing knowledge

6. Is UNCHANGING: Doesn't self-correct or progress

7. Makes EXTRAORDINARY/EXAGGERATED CLAIMS with insufficient evidence

8. Professes CERTAINTY: Talks of "proof", with great confidence

9. Commits LOGICAL FALLACIES: Arguments contain errors in reasoning

10. Lacks PEER REVIEW: Goes directly to the public, avoiding scientific scrutiny

11. Claims there's a CONSPIRACY to suppress their ideas

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I just finished watching the following video and it perfectly explains why the pseudoscience as listed above is being touted as science.

Patrick Wood, the lecturer, is a Christian. But he's very clear about his own positions re science and religion. When he means religion, he says so. When he means science, ditto. And his view of science is methodological, i.e., observation, trial and error, testing, and so on.

So it's very easy for those who are not Christian to agree with him on science and set aside his religious comments.

Here's a fun fact.

One of the fathers of scientism (which is a religion masquerading as science) is Auguste Compte, the same dude who gave us the form of altruism that Rand fought so hard against.

I highly recommend this video.

Michael

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