Some of the ideas discussed in this blog are published in my new book called "The Stonehenge Bluestones" -- available by post and through good bookshops everywhere. Bad bookshops might not have it....
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Saturday 4 November 2023

"Follow the science" is a meaningless mantra

I've gone on about this before, but it was good to see Tory MP Esther McVey having a go at the phrases "follow the science" and "follow the evidence" in a recent speech in the house about Covid vaccines.   I have no wish to talk here about either Covid or the vaccines, but to hear somebody like McVey addressing the issue of scientific practice and reliability is actually quite refreshing.  I agree with her.  There is no such thing as THE science, and anybody who claims that is either a fool or a charlatan.  Yet we heard the phrase over and again -- almost on a daily basis -- in the TV briefings from Johnson, Hancock and their tame "scientific experts" during the course of the pandemic.  Just to re-iterate.  There is strong evidence and there is weak evidence -- some of it withstands scrutiny, and some doesn't. There MUST be scrutiny.  And there is good science and bad science, some of it produced by good scientists and some by people who are not scientists at all but who use technology and pretend that they are being scientific.  Science is all about knowledgeable questioning and about debate, and those scientists who pretend that their views are representations of the truth, or that their views are undisputed by others, are not just deluded but dangerous.


chris johnson said...

Excellent presentation. Shameful that so few MPs can be bothered to listen.

The Hallet Inquiry is failing to examine the evidence. I follow which focusses on the lack of evidence based policy and the distinct preference of politicians for a seductive narrative in preference to scientific inquiry. It is a good thing our Stonehenge scientific leaders are not in the healthcare business or we would be growing tails by now.

Tom Flowers said...

This reminds me of a visit I made to the Devizes Museum and was informed that MPP was lecturing in the town hall.

I was in Devizes to give the museum a copy of my CAD version of Woodhenge produced from GPS coordinates, which the lady behind the desk seemed happy to receive.

MPP is due to visit the museum after his lecture, and I will show it to him when he arrives. she said.

Well, MPP and I had already crossed swords when I found that he had tried to destroy the megalithic yard with his ridiculous short and long foot, etc. Furthermore, I was disgusted that he used this tripe as a foundation for a student's Ph.D.

So I called on him at his desk while in the Town Hall and reminded him who I was and that Woodhenge points at the moon and not the sun as claimed by the OU. He replied with his stock answer, “I do not agree.” I recorded an audio of this event.

My published books and booklets failed. I failed to get a listen on TV. My hypothesis of Stonehenge, scientific or not scientific, has never had an airing.

The professional response has been to flood the internet and other media with Stonehenge to such an extent as to drown out both our efforts, especially since we do not have that much time left!

The truth is, they cannot wait!

PS. The latest hypothesis is a rehash that Stonehenge was built for the sound it makes, and a picture shows it inside an anechoic chamber. Clearly, this chamber was built and disassembled in Pembrokeshire before transportation to Wiltshire.

Hugh Thomas said...

In a recent discussion a person informed me they could not subscribe to certain unusual experiences I had described over my years of exploring Preseli " without scientific back up" .
So I asked them about their views on bluestone transport , to which they replied along the lines " Well the TV programme said blah blah blah "
So I began to pick apart everything they actually truly only " believed in" but considered it to be true without any real scrutiny being carried out by themselves , " media faith and hype " is the problem as most will just accept it as fact, I hope that in 50 years attitudes will move forward and they will look back on this period for the attention seeking farce that it has become.
Very early on I decided that no matter how long it takes I would be patient and allow the landscape to reveal itself through my explorings and NOT "fill in the gaps myself with my own ideas " as others have done, I decided "not to follow the science" but be patient
In truth , I have been shown that people were no doubts active in the area at the right time BUT NOTHING I have been shown , has ever convinced me that stones were deliberately chosen and moved , until someone does , that will not change, I have NEVER seen a bluestone transport smoking gun of any sorts.
I believe I can stick my neck out and say I have literally been all over Preseli , there are indeed some very unusual features out there that appear to add up to some form of visual interpretation of a belief of sorts and with the natural quirks of this landscape does add up to something very special WITHOUT the shadow of Stonehenge , to me it seems to be more art based than of any science.
All I know is nowadays since covid lockdowns people are contacting my Facebook page Preseli360 wanting to go out into this landscape and find answers and to be honest they seem to be answers about themselves rather than bluestones , I am hoping this is signalling a bit of a shift towards deeper scrutinization of all things because ( as many have informed me) they seem to have realised you can NOT always trust the science and most are mentioning a rather dodgy TV programme...

Anonymous said...

Welcome Hugh. Your arrival reminds me that we remotely located individuals have heard nothing of the Pensarn dig. Should we expect dramatic discoveries? Or is there nothing to tell?

chris johnson said...

Welcome Hugh,
Any news on the Pensarn Dig? The silence is deafening!

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thanks Hugh -- I agree with you that on and around Preseli there is a fascinating landscape packed with features that are man-made. That indicates a long and probably continuous prehistoric occupation which seems to have had rather different characteristics than, for example, Ireland, Scotland or the South-West of England. I doubt that the density of Neolithic and Bronze Age features was exceptional or spectacular -- there were fewer alignments, rows and circles than elsewhere, for example, and maybe more emphasis on smaller and simpler stone monuments. Of course we have a few crowning glories like Pentre Ifan and Foel Drygarn and a few anomalies and enigmas ... but hey, so do other parts of the UK too. And like you I see NOTHING in the landscape or the monuments to justify making any link at all with Stonehenge. But what worries me about these dodgy TV programmes and the fantastical narratives that go with them is that they encourage innocent or gullible people into treating certain sites as quasi-religious or sacred sites. There is a lot of "invented significance" about, and also a reluctance among well-educated people to scrutinize properly some of the extraordinary stuff that they hear in lectures and see on the telly.