There’s No Such Thing as “Scientists”

Posted on April 15, 2014 11:30 am

In my new PJ Media column, I argue there are no such thing as scientists, and we should stop using the word.

It’s like if you wanted music for your wedding, and someone came up to you and said, “I know a guy. He’s a musician.”

“What instrument does he play?”

“He’s a musician.”

“Is he any good?”

“He’s a musician.”

You see, when other occupations are vaguely described, we know to ask questions, but because we have blind faith in science, such reason is lost when we hear the term “scientist.” Which is why I’m arguing that for the sake of better scientific understanding, we should get rid of the word and simply replace it with “some guy.”

Rand Simberg also has out recently a column on a similar subject, “We Are All Scientist”.

So, what do you think? Are scientist made up, or have you seen one before? Am I a scientist? How can I be sure? Is there a test I can take to prove it one way or another?

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18 Responses to “There’s No Such Thing as “Scientists””

  1. CCO says:

    It’s somewhat interesting that one of the major news outlets uses a physicist as their go to guy for almost anything technical; since almost every other science (there’s even an xkcd comic about the hierarchy) depends on physics, in theory he should be good to go.

  2. jw says:

    i think that if the purpose of a satirist to to stimulate conversation, you certainly were a success this morning.

    as for what the commenters are discussing, i am less sure. the topics seem to be

    A) is this guy stupid (meaning you)
    B) is this guy a brilliant satirical writer (also meaning you)
    C) is it an insult to compare drummers to AGW believers and, if it is, who is being insulted

  3. walruskkkch says:

    Dr. Peter Venkman: Alice, I’m going to ask you a couple of standard questions, okay? Have you or any of your family been diagnosed schizophrenic? Mentally incompetent?

    Librarian Alice: My uncle thought he was Saint Jerome.

    Dr. Peter Venkman: I’d call that a big yes. Uh, are you habitually using drugs? Stimulants? Alcohol?

    Librarian Alice: No.

    Dr. Peter Venkman: No, no. Just asking. Are you, Alice, menstruating right now?

    Library Administrator: What has that got to do with it?

    Dr. Peter Venkman: Back off, man. I’m a scientist.

  4. Jimmy says:

    Frank, you have to ask yourself these questions:

    1. Do you ever wear a white lab coat?
    2. Do you use pocket protectors?
    3. Do you always have pens in your shirt pocket? (Engineers, stay out of this!)
    4. Are you obsessed with statistics but actually can’t do them?
    5. Do you make conclusions unrelated to your field because “you’re smart?”
    6. Have you ever replied to someone with, “Hey! Trust me, I’m a scientist!”

  5. Oppo says:

    To determine if you’re a scientist, knowing how to read a litmus test is the litmus test.

  6. Corona says:

    Just as annoying as ‘scientists’ is the term ‘experts’. “Experts say…” Right. What they don’t tell you is that these experts are students in your sons’ 12th grade science class.

  7. jw says:


    you might want to swing by the comments section over there and tell them “no fighting”.

    or perhaps not, just sell tickets.

  8. Jimmy says:

    I thought it was a really well-written piece that read fast and held my attention.

    You’re good, Frank. Now, write more here – for free!

  9. D-Rock says:

    As a biologist, I always liked the quote “applied math is physics, applied physics is chemistry, applied chemistry is biology, and applied biology is fun!”

  10. Frank J. says:

    I write every single day… just lately on things that aren’t yet published anywhere.

  11. Jimmy says:

    Frank – IMAO’s strongest attraction for me has always been the original material from you, Harvey, Basil, et al. Seriously, I hope it continues. You and your cobloggers have been a source of daily entertainment in my life for years now. This is just a great place to come every day. Thanks for keeping it going even when you don’t have the time to devote to it like you once did.


  12. FredKey says:

    Good thing we still have Dr. Science to set things straight! (He has a master’s degree! In Science!)

  13. AT says:

    “I’m a scientist.”

    “What kind of scientist?”

    “Gender theory.”


    /conversation probably had at Berkeley.

  14. Uncle Kevvie says:

    “…and I’m an apprentice gynecologist, with a minor in deep-cave exploration..and I’m not kidding.
    Let’s go to my place, dearest, and I’ll show you my diplomas…”

  15. WayneM says:

    Sure, everybody’s a scientist. It’s just that most of them aren’t any good at it.

  16. apostic says:

    About fifteen years ago a government R&D contractor offered me a job with the title “Scientist.” Prolly shoulda took it. (“Me! A scientist! Who knew?!”)

  17. apostic says:


  18. CCO says:

    …Here’s the xkcd I was thinking of, #435, Purity.

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