Instigator / Pro
7
1428
rating
8
debates
6.25%
won
Topic

It is intellectually lazy to believe the opinions of scientists

Status
Finished

All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

Arguments points
0
6
Sources points
4
4
Spelling and grammar points
2
2
Conduct points
1
2

With 2 votes and 7 points ahead, the winner is ...

croweupc
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Publication date
Last update date
Category
Science
Time for argument
Three days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One week
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
10,000
Contender / Con
14
1525
rating
4
debates
75.0%
won
Description
~ 0 / 5,000

No information

Round 1
Pro
It is intellectually lazy to believe the opinions of scientists, in the form of conjecture and theories. It is instead more reasonable to formulate our own conjectures and theories and opinions, based on the facts. We should make up our own minds on what the facts mean. 

Scientists are regular human beings, and their opinions are not infallible. 

In fact, in the course of history, most scientific theories have been proven wrong as more facts become available. 

This is not to say that theories shouldn't be formulated, and scientifically tested. They should be. What I'm saying is you shouldn't believe everything you are told, just because a scientist with a PhD said so. Use logic and common sense to look at the facts and try to figure out what is going on for yourself. 

Many good ideas are thrown out with the bathwater because they are not "consensus" science. For instance, plasma science is neglected, because it is not considered to be consensus. 

Consensus ideas are also held on long past their expiration date. For instance, the big bang theory, having to rely on pure conjecture of inflation, dark matter,and an expanding universe. 

Another problem is that some scientists claim fact, when something is clearly a theory, such as the obvious one of evolution. 

Facts need to be clearly differentiated from conjecture or theory, so we can all figure reality out. 





Con
What is intellectual laziness? Though I would not call this a reliable source, urbandictionary.com [1] has a couple of good examples of intellectual laziness: “having trouble understanding an argument of someone else? There's no need to understand them - they're wrong anyway!”; “have an unsettled question that bothers you? Leave it unanswered. Your questions don't matter!”. Theleadermaker.com [2] puts it this way, “Intellectual laziness comes in many forms – spending the majority of one’s spare time on entertainment (e.g., television, computer games), failure to stay abreast on advances in your field of expertise, not stimulating your thinking ability through reading and conversation, and adhering to the belief that you ‘can’t teach an old dog new tricks.’” It is an unwillingness to study things out, or an adherence to knowledge without regards to the quality or reliability of it, or just taking something at face value.

What is a Scientist? Lexico.com defines it as “A person who is studying or has expert knowledge of one or more of the natural or physical sciences.” Scientists are not just people with relevant degrees or science teachers, they have experience in the field they study. Science is a methodology. Those who study the natural and physical world do so with the Scientific Method. This method is a proven and reliable way to knowledge.

What is the Scientific Method?
Khan Academy [3] breaks it down into bullet points and then described them in more detail.
1.Make an observation.
2.Ask a question.
3.Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation.
4.Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
5.Test the prediction.
6.Iterate: use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions.

After scientists and researchers use this method they submit their findings for peer review so that others can repeat their findings. Some examples of the success of this method are: computers, cell phones, satellite, Space Station, rockets, airplanes, electricity, glass, etc. I could go on and on. Science and scientists have brought us all of our modern conveniences and tech.

It is impossible for us to know everything, and with busy lives we need to rely on experts. Appealing to authority is basically just accepting what someone says because they have a title such as PhD. Having a degree is respectable, but it does not give someone the expertise they need to be the say all end all on any topic. However, if we are asking a question about a subject they directly study, and they have been peer reviewed, we should give a higher degree of confidence to what they say. We go to doctors for medical advice, and we will listen to them because it’s their field of expertise. This is not to say that we should accept with absolute certainty what scientists or any expert has to say, but we should most definitely be more confident in their opinions.

There are many branches of science, and even more areas of study under each category. It is impossible for us to study every branch of science and their subcategories. For this reason, it is not intellectual laziness to believe the opinions of scientists, because they have the expertise and the time devoted in there field to make far more informed decision on what the facts suggest.


Round 2
Pro
 Appealing to authority is basically just accepting what someone says because they have a title such as PhD.
This is exactly what most people do.


Having a degree is respectable, but it does not give someone the expertise they need to be the say all end all on any topic.
This is exactly right. 


Having a degree is respectable
I would say it goes too far. Scientists are treated practically as demigods these days. Or at the very least the all-knowing priests of scientism- 

"the excessive belief in the power of scientific knowledge and techniques" (Oxford Dictionary)

People rely too much on science, scientists, and not their brains, or even common sense. 

This isn't good.
Con
What does believe mean? According to lexico.com [1] it can mean one of two things. First it is to “Accept that (something) is true, especially without proof.” This is what I refer to as faith. The second is to “Hold (something) as an opinion; think.” When I say it is acceptable to believe scientists, I mean the second definition. It is perfectly reasonable to believe things contingently. As long as we are open to new information and new evidence, and willing to change our beliefs as the evidence dictates, it is reasonable, especially if the information is from an expert in the field.
 
Not all theories are equal. All are based on certain facts about Earth or Space science, but theories can be revised and updated as new information and evidence emerges. The Big Bang Theory is based on observations alone, not empirical evidence. We cannot verify black holes or dark matter. These are not the work of scientists, but rather physicists, cosmologists, mathematicians, etc. Scientists study empirical, testable claims. This does not mean the theories not based on hard empirical evidence is wrong, but maybe we should hold these views as contingent until we know for sure. There is the Theory of Gravity, but no one questions gravity, right? These theories are based on hard facts about the Earth or Space.
 
There are too many areas of science to be well versed in them all, for this reason I think it only reasonable to accept the experts opinions until better data comes along. If someone chose to only accept information they could verify themselves, they would probably not believe much of anything. They would be agnostic about anything new which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The question is, do you believe those who are not experts in the field over those who are or do you remain agnostic until all the evidence is in? If you are referring to more novelty claims made by people with adequate knowledge and experience in the field I see no problem with that, but they need to be fact checked and peer reviewed in order to be held to the proper standards. Otherwise, how do you know what you believe has any merit?
 
What us a theory? It is [2] “A supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained.” Theories are not just conjecture. They make predictions of what we should discover if the theory is true and coherent. The Big Bang Theory has made such predictions that have been verified. Since a theory is a system of ideas and not just a single idea, it is possible for some parts of a theory to be true and other parts false. This is why scientists continue to study and build more evidence to support or disprove their claims. Science has no problem with changing if the evidence is compelling. This point should be self evident. Theories are based on facts.
 
If a would be scientist never read the findings of others in their field, it would be intellectual laziness, but believing experts in their field of study because we are unable to study everything adequately enough to form an educated opinion is not. Consensus is about keeping them honest, not to stop new ideas from forming, but they are not going to be convinced by just talking a good talk. They will require evidence and reason to be convinced, as should we all.
 

Round 3
Pro
I can't do this today.


Con
Is it “intellectually lazy” to believe the opinions of scientists? I made the distinction between those with degrees and scientists who study in the field or in a lab with empirical evidence. These are experts with experience in their field of study. 
 
Some, if not most, of us live busy lives. We are unable to research every subject, much less every branch within a subject. We rely on expert opinions all the time from our health professionals to electricians. Are they fallible? Yes. Can they be wrong? Yes. Does this mean we should stop believing everything experts say? We need scientists as much as we need health experts. I work for a large glass and ceramics manufacturing company producing products that help reduce emissions in the air. Our scientists have been instrumental in the success of reducing smog around the globe.
 
But scientists are just regular people, right? Yes. So are brain surgeons, but I am not going to believe someone with an argument over someone with the experience. Second opinions from another person with experience is always a good practice. However, in the sciences they constantly fact check each other and submit to peer review.
 
If I choose not to learn my job and keep up to date on procedures and practices, that would be intellectually lazy. If you chose not to accept scientists opinions, the most intellectually honest position is agnosticism, or simply saying I don’t know. If you accept another position other than those who dedicate their lives studying in their field, I would want to know why. All beliefs should be held as contingent until all of the evidence is in, and tested. Holding beliefs as absolute stops progress and keeps us from learning and from enquiry.
 
If we were talking about philosophy or religion, I would agree. Science is a methodology that scientists use, and this method is ironclad, just look at the accomplishments I presented in my opening remarks.