Home > All, General Rants, Security Issues > For AMTSO to be trusted in the good things it claims to do…

For AMTSO to be trusted in the good things it claims to do…

There have been a few responses to my latest article on AMTSO; for example

It’s worth reading them for an alternative view to mine; and if anyone comes across others, please add them as a comment below.

I would like to add only one point. Would you be happy with a government that said to you, you don’t have the intelligence or knowledge to understand things; so we, the government, the police and the judiciary, are going to tell you how things are and how things are to be done and you don’t have any say in it?

The principle, I repeat, the principle, is exactly the same. For AMTSO to be trusted in the good things it claims to do, it must be ultimately subject to the voice of the user.

  1. July 6, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Alternative view Blog from David Harley: AMTSO, not ISO


  2. July 2, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    kurt wismer :

    truth, the goal of good science, is not a democracy.

    Truth is a fallacy that doesn’t exist. It is the best explanation of current perception. As perception (ie, understanding) evolves, so does the best explanation for it. Truth is not therefore something in which we can trust. It will be different tomorrow. If science doesn’t understand that, it is built on quicksand.


    • July 2, 2010 at 5:26 pm


      truth is not a fallacy, it’s an ideal. it’s something we strive for.

      yes we believe the best explanation we currently have is the truth until we discover otherwise, then we come up with a better explanation and hope that is the truth. that is how we advance our knowledge towards the ideal that is truth. it’s how we make progress.

      the fact that you seem to distrust this process and instead think we should hand over the reigns to the masses in order to make things ‘democratic’ tells me more than anything i could have imagined you saying.

      democracy, like truth, is an ideal. in the real world it has practical limitations. it doesn’t work for all things. for example “majority rule don’t work in mental institutions” (to quote NOFX).

      you haven’t answered my questions, though – do you think the layman should be involved in determining what cancer treatments are effective or what the results of seismographic measurements mean or whether extra-solar radio signals are indicators of intelligent life? do you really think expertise is so irrelevant? doesn’t that seem dangerous to you (and in at least 2 of those examples i mean in the ‘peoples lives are at stake’ sort of way)?


      • July 2, 2010 at 5:56 pm

        Yes, the reins should always be in the hands of the masses. The people may not do the research, but they should always control its use. Your meritocratic scientist may come up with a cure; and your meritocratic statistician may say that this cure should be used in these circumstances but it is too expensive in those circumstances: but it is always the people who should decide if and when and where that cure can be used. Not the scientist.

        So back to your reins. The people should always hold the reins. They may not be the horses driving the wagon, but they should always have the final say in how and where the wagon’s payload should be delivered.

        And back to AMTSO. The scientists may come up with the theories, and indeed should come up with the theories, but the users need to have control over the application of those theories.

        We are not going to agree.


  3. July 2, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    the principle is not the same. if the principle were the same then it would also apply to cancer research (you think the layman should have a say in which treatments show statistically significant results?) or geophysics (maybe laymen should be interpreting the seismographs?) or radio astronomy (maybe we should let the layman decide if a signal is evidence of intelligent life or not).

    the entire value proposition of having experts is so that they can save the average joe from having to do the heavy mental lifting. most people concede this is necessary because they know they can’t do those things.

    you’re effectively framing a meritocracy as elitism.


    • July 2, 2010 at 4:00 pm

      Yes, meritocracy without democracy is elitist and dangerous.


      • July 2, 2010 at 4:09 pm

        truth, the goal of good science, is not a democracy.


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