Science & Scientists Are Not The Final Word

22 Jan

We at theologyarchaeology have taken umbrage with Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports because he had written an article titled: A year after deflate-gate ballooned, science shows shame of it all which is found at the following link:–science-shows-shame-of-it-all-073316233.html

We have decided to disagree with his point of view because he has placed science and certain scientists as the final authority on controversial football problems. He writes:

Science, of course, meant nothing in this case. At least not at the time. What mattered was either the willful rejection or complete ignorance of it. No one in power that night in New England apparently knew what Ideal Gas Law was, let alone how it worked.

The first problem is why is it any of science’s business what happens during a football game? Football is certainly outside of the jurisdiction of scientific inquiry especially when the people doing the studying were not at the game nor were monitoring the actual footballs in question. Second, why would science be called in at all? Football is not a scientific experiment and there were too many humans involved in the game for that field of research to eliminate cheating as the culprit for the deflated footballs.

Wetzel has quoted a scientist who was originally called in to examine the situation and he writes:

he NFL brought in the group Exponent to handle its scientific analysis of the game balls. Exponent, of course, has been accused for decades for being hired by corporations to study and provide favorable finding on things such as the dangers of second-hand cigarette smoke, asbestos, possible automobile design flaws and even whether the Exxon Valdez needed a second hull. Exponent denies this and says its science is sound.

In this case, even Exponent acknowledged that it couldn’t “determine with absolute certainty whether there was or was not tampering.” That didn’t matter to the NFL. Exponent couldn’t rule out foul play, either.

The words in bold are the honest ones in this article. There is no way for science to determine if someone tampered with the footballs or not. This is realistic  and lets people know the limitations of science. While footballs can deflate without human tampering, science is not equipped with omniscience or any other divine characteristic to say who did what when. Scientists can only say that natural deflation was a possibility but it cannot say it was the only option.

But this reality is not good enough for Wetzel as he continues:

However, once Ted Wells’ report was published last spring, including an appendix showing Exponent’s work, actual scientists started doing what actual scientists do: review the conclusions of a new study.

As time has allowed more serious analysis to come in, the results have been an overwhelming destruction of the conclusions of Wells, Exponent and the consulting work of Princeton professor Daniel Marlow.

It’s been from all directions: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (multiple studies), Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Chicago, Boston College, the University of Nebraska, the University of Illinois, the University of New Hampshire, Bowdoin College, Rockefeller University, where a Nobel Prize winner couldn’t have lampooned it more viciously, and so on and so on.

Then there were unaffiliated retired scientists, climate experts, professional labs, even the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, which crushed the science of Wells’ report. A fourth-grader in Sacramento discredited it for her school science fair.

Notice though that Wetzel does not publish their remarks nor shows any evidence where the above quoted reality (quote #2) is not true. He just declares that they squashed the initial report, with an odd comment by one scientist. Flawed methodology may have taken place but it also may have taken place in the subsequent experiments of those objecting to the initial conclusion by Exponent. Those criticizing those results are assuming that their experiments were correct and without error and that may not be. But we do not because a lot of people put more faith in their work than they do the work of others thus they will stand by their results even if human error is a possibility in their analysis.

The Colts’ balls were as much out of range as the Patriots’ balls,” Leonard told a class on the deflate-gate at UNH, according to the Boston Globe. “It’s pretty much an open-and-shut case, but somehow [commissioner Roger] Goodell never understood it, and still doesn’t to this day

This is a very bad conclusion for Leonard, in the quote, assumes that both sets of footballs were deflate din the same manner except he cannot prove that point. The Colts footballs could have deflated naturally or were tampered with. Having the same out of range measurement does not mean both sets of footballs deflated naturally. One set, the other or both could easily have been tampered with or one set was tampered with and the other was not but deflated naturally.

Science cannot tell you those facts because it was not monitoring the footballs or studying atmospheric pressures on the game balls. Nor can they say that humans were or were not involved in the deflating. There is no scientific experiment that would reveal that information. You cannot appeal to fingerprints because there were probably too many different sets of fingers on the ball throughout the game.

But Wetzel is not finished as he continues to write:

What Goodell undoubtedly understands is that for regular people, science is confusing.

Science is not confusing. Its supporters and participants just do not know how to speak clearly when it comes to scientific matters. They use too many words that only scientists know and refuse to simplify their terminology. Those involved in science, also, do try to confuse people and keep the truth from them but science in and of itself is not confusing. Most of science is made up of assumption, conjecture, speculation, theories and hypothesis but very little truth and fact.

Science is vastly far too limited to be the final word on any given subject. This includes biblical events and other facts recorded in the Bible. This is why the Bible does not tell its readers to go to science for the answer to their problems, biblical events, the life and times of Jesus and the apostles and so on. Science cannot provide the answer to the questions people have about the Bible and its contents.

Nor can it provide the right answers to football or other sports’ scandals or controversies. There is nothing that qualifies science or scientists as the final word on anything. So we must take their ideas about our origins, the universe and life with suspicion because you are usually dealing with another human’s subjective opinion and not the words of God.


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Posted by on January 22, 2016 in academics, astronomy, controversial issues, General Life, Genetics, history, Justice, leadership, science


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