Trust Me. I’m A Scientist — WMBriggs Podcast

Download MP3.

You’ll have to listen in. This is the busiest time of year for me, so I haven’t the time to write out a transcript of the show. However, here is an outline.

1. Scientism, scidolatry, scientific clericalism;
2. Science as culture and dogma;
3. ‘Impact factors’ and the quantification of the unquantifiable;
4. Grants and democratic inflation;
5. Uncritical peer-review and criticism;
6. Cheating, scheming, shifty liars;
7. A return to metaphysics and philosophy.


  1. brad tittle

    “Quantifying the unquantifiable” — And its side effect which I call buckets. I use buckets to help me quantify, but my buckets are arbitrarily defined. Even 1-p buckets manage to exclude information…

  2. Joy

    ”If the best man’s fault were written across his forehead he would draw his hat over his eyes.”

    Scientists are supposed to care about ultimate truth though. It is the point!
    There was nobility in many disciplines but maybe time filtered out the dishonest ones. Maybe it’s because Truth is what sticks in the fullness of time.

  3. Gary

    FWIW, the actors on TBBT have no clue about the physics terminology or concepts. They admitted on a late night talk show a few weeks ago that they mouth the dialog without the least bit of curiosity about what it means. That puts them in the same bin as science journalists. They just get paid better.

    Matt, at most public institutions college administrators don’t select new faculty. The faculty in departments select their new colleagues. Administrators generally rubber stamp the selections or at most urge the selection of those who are academic stars or good at securing funding. Current faculty are the gatekeepers.

  4. ECM

    Not a slam, but why is it the voice of the person you’ve been reading for ages never matches what you think they should sound like? 🙂

  5. Leo

    If more funding leads to more bad papers which clog the system, perhaps less funding would lead to a better result.

    The idea being that there is a good range of funding. Below the range there’s not enough funding, and above it, too much garbage clogs it up leading to reduced value.

  6. Oldavid

    A good show, Briggsy. Perhaps you and I are on a similar mission after all.

    But blardy mathematism and scientism possess the same corpse, both being “animated” by ideological Materialism, I will contend. Your implication that science is limited to empiricism I will also contend.

    While you do a pretty good job of presenting the symptoms and deleterious effects of the disease I am much more interested in the cause of the disease and what makes one susceptible to it.

    One of your mates is still in my sights as an apologist/rationalist insinuating Materialist dogmas into philosophy and theology.

    Anyhow, I can’t argue with your presentation of a problem… although I might change emphasis here and there.

  7. I wish Briggs was as skeptical of the work coming out of the private sector.


  8. Oldavid

    I wish Jersey was as skeptical of the work coming out of the public sector.

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