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(Salon)   Scientists prove scientists are better than everyone else   (salon.com) divider line 49
    More: Obvious, Jonathan Haidt, religiosity, technological progress, academic publication, morality  
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3156 clicks; posted to Geek » on 24 Mar 2013 at 4:18 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-24 11:40:54 AM
I am so bringing this to work with me tomorrow.
 
2013-03-24 12:39:52 PM
Sometimes I look up from my work, all my tubes and wires and careful notes, and yell, "Science!" If my friends are there, they yell "Quant suff!" right back at me. It's like that old-time religion.
 
2013-03-24 01:44:29 PM
The researchers found no relationship between the participants' religiosity or ethnicity and their judgment of John's actions. But science majors (including those studying biology, chemistry and psychology) judged him more harshly than non-science majors.

I don't know what's funnier... the conclusion that psychology majors are "better people" in a study conducted by psychologists, or the idea that psychology is a science comparable to biology and chemistry.

And I say this as an ABD social psychologist.
 
2013-03-24 02:41:39 PM
FTA:  After revealing some personal information, including their major, each participant finished the experiment by responding to the question, "How much do you believe in science?" on a one-to-seven scale.

pbs.twimg.com
 
2013-03-24 03:36:43 PM
Atheists tend to be better people than the religious, and elite scientists tend to be atheist. Makes sense to me.
 
2013-03-24 03:56:36 PM
I'm not sure I buy this.  I've known plenty of dickheads in science who will knife anyone who gets in their way.  That said, I think the institutions set up within the field of science (scientific method, peer review, etc.) do act as a good check on scientists' worst impulses.  It's not perfect by any means, but the threat of never being able to publish again does wonders for aligning most people's moral compasses.
 
2013-03-24 04:24:24 PM
Well I think if this is factual, it's that science itself is setup in a way that those who study according to its methods are generally less likely to believe everything is set in stone and unshakable. Those with extremist views tend to get marginalized in science, but in its counterpart, fundamentalist, dogmatic religion, those with extreme views are generally promoted. It also helps to have an objective line to help scientists stay closer to reality than just a pure subjective basis on which everything is right or wrong purely based on only yourself.
 
2013-03-24 04:26:07 PM
Because rape, rape.
 
2013-03-24 04:34:36 PM
So if you get someone to use an impartial, logical mind set, they are less selfish? SHOCKING!
 
2013-03-24 04:35:45 PM
How much do you believe in science?

Science isn't a matter of belief.

/Been covered already, just reiterating the point
 
2013-03-24 04:39:18 PM
Whenever I question my actions and behavior I always find it useful to look at how stupid everyone else is and I immediately feel better about myself....
 
2013-03-24 04:39:26 PM
Oh don't worry, someone will declare that science is a religion because math and emotional experience and stuff.
 
2013-03-24 04:41:53 PM
Maybe it would be better to say that people who are neither fundies or stupid are better....

Of course being either a fundy or stupid makes it very unlikely that one is really interested in science.  Another factor is that science actually values truth...
 
2013-03-24 04:44:16 PM

Via Infinito: FTA:  After revealing some personal information, including their major, each participant finished the experiment by responding to the question, "How much do you believe in science?" on a one-to-seven scale.


I'd give it a 6 out of 7. Mostly they will be right but crackpots get published to.
 
2013-03-24 04:46:01 PM

NotARocketScientist: So if you get someone to use an impartial, logical mind set, they are less selfish? SHOCKING!


But... Doesn't your logical and impartial mind tell you that there's no such thing as a logical and impartial mind?
Doesn't your logical and impartial mind tell you that selfishness has no greater or lesser inherent value than unselfishness?
 
2013-03-24 04:47:38 PM

DerAppie: Via Infinito: FTA:  After revealing some personal information, including their major, each participant finished the experiment by responding to the question, "How much do you believe in science?" on a one-to-seven scale.

I'd give it a 6 out of 7. Mostly they will be right but crackpots get published to.


Zero. Science doesn't require belief.
 
2013-03-24 04:48:59 PM

TheMysteriousStranger: Another factor is that science actually values truth...


"Truth" is kind of a philosophical thing. You mix up "science" and "truth", and you get wacky things like Intelligent Design.

Science values observation without bias, or something like that. How close people get to being without bias is also kind of up for discussion.

I don't think science is always true. That's why you have more science... to figure out where the old models are incorrect.
 
2013-03-24 04:51:51 PM
Scientists are better than everyone else, but sometimes science can be risky.
 
2013-03-24 04:54:24 PM
Ancient Astronaut Theorists agree.
 
2013-03-24 04:55:14 PM

OhioKnight: But... Doesn't your logical and impartial mind tell you that there's no such thing as a logical and impartial mind?


Indeed, impossible for humans because of information biases

OhioKnight: Doesn't your logical and impartial mind tell you that selfishness has no greater or lesser inherent value than unselfishness?


On the contrary, for a human population to survive it is necessary for individuals to be unselfish and logically moral. An individual apart from a population can only survive by ensuring personal survival.

Wall of text explication if you want it
 
2013-03-24 04:58:49 PM

RodneyToady: The researchers found no relationship between the participants' religiosity or ethnicity and their judgment of John's actions. But science majors (including those studying biology, chemistry and psychology) judged him more harshly than non-science majors.

I don't know what's funnier... the conclusion that psychology majors are "better people" in a study conducted by psychologists, or the idea that psychology is a science comparable to biology and chemistry.

And I say this as an ABD social psychologist.


Good point. Besides, everyone knows that social psychologists aren't real scientists and that PLOS isn't a real journal anyways...
 
2013-03-24 04:59:34 PM

OhioKnight: DerAppie: Via Infinito: FTA:  After revealing some personal information, including their major, each participant finished the experiment by responding to the question, "How much do you believe in science?" on a one-to-seven scale.

I'd give it a 6 out of 7. Mostly they will be right but crackpots get published to.

Zero. Science doesn't require belief.


"Science" doesn't need belief because it is simply a method. When that doesn't mean that you have to accept every conclusion ever published. By not believing conclusions or entire papers that people scienced into existence we get more knowledge. I would even go as far as claiming that the scientific method requires people not to believe most things scientists do because otherwise the entire part about falsifying results would be useless.

Build and test an airplane and we'll believe it works if it doesn't crash. Write a paper about how an airplane works and you'd better be prepared to defend it from people who belief you to be wrong.
 
2013-03-24 05:19:29 PM
I am kind of annoyed, just a little bit, about the whole issue of belief in relation to science. In my mind, this is scientists, science-educators, science students, and fans of science doing to the word "belief" what creationists and global warming deniers are doing to the word "theory": relying on people's lay-intuitions about what the word means as opposed to using what the word actually means to convey a sentiment.

I am a cognitive scientists and a psychologist. I am not a chemist or a physician or a biologist, even though I appreciate reading about and learning about those fields on occasion. Still, my expertise is not in those areas. I very much believe in the efficacy of them, though, because I do not have expertise in them nor do I have any real plans of intently developing expertise within them. With regards to the areas I am relatively expert in, I work with the material and am intimately familiar with the topic. I still believe in them, however, because believing in something does not preclude knowing about something. All knowledge is a belief. Just because the terms "belief" or "believing" or "believe" can refer to claims that find no epistemic or evidentiary support does not mean they no longer apply to claims that are supported epistemically and with evidence. And we do a disservice by treating the terms as if they do.

For a broad profession that prides itself on precision and discipline, it kind of irks me when people within the profession decide to start being very loose with the language to prove a point. All it does is demonstrate a poor understanding of language, and that can lead to continued confusion by the scientifically lay public.
 
2013-03-24 05:22:50 PM

DerAppie: I would even go as far as claiming that the scientific method requires people not to believe most things scientists do because otherwise the entire part about falsifying results would be useless.


Falsifying a scientific theory has nothing to do with belief, and everything to do with evidence.
Theories can still be falsified even if everyone accepts them.
 
2013-03-24 05:32:12 PM
Kome

I honestly believe (out of emotional and cultural background and individual experience) that words need a more solid definition. In a case such as you describe, perspective is more accurate: It is an opinion, or belief, combined with facts. Knowledge or evidence is the inherently riskier (more easily proved false) amalgam of pure facts an individual may know. Different perspectives often arise when human beings, out of information bias, consciously or unconsciously warp and or ignore the facts as they stand to better suit their own beliefs about the nature of something.
 
2013-03-24 05:34:30 PM
There's so much fail in both that study and that article.
 
2013-03-24 05:42:05 PM

whatshisname: DerAppie: I would even go as far as claiming that the scientific method requires people not to believe most things scientists do because otherwise the entire part about falsifying results would be useless.

Falsifying a scientific theory has nothing to do with belief, and everything to do with evidence.
Theories can still be falsified even if everyone accepts them.


Yes, but people tend to try and disprove conclusions they do not agree with (or believe). No one, apart from college students, is going to spend grant money and time to try and falsify theories they believe in.

So once again, either you believe that the conclusion is right or you don't. This, for all intents and purposes, is believing or not believing in "science" because "science" isn't always right. Just because you don't believe a specific part doesn't mean it is all bull. Remember that science had once proven that the imbalance of the 4 humours caused illness. Science isn't infallible and therefore I do not always believe what scientists claim, at least until their theory manages to get some back up from unrelated scientists.
 
2013-03-24 05:44:31 PM

DerAppie: No one, apart from college students, is going to spend grant money and time to try and falsify theories they believe in.


This is a logical element called a sweeping generalization. If only one person has ever contradicted this argument, it is proved false. And I know someone in reality who has spent twenty years trying to falsify a theory he holds as true, and who has not been successful
 
2013-03-24 05:44:39 PM
cdn.hsmemes.com
 
2013-03-24 05:52:15 PM

Skywolf the Scribbler: DerAppie: No one, apart from college students, is going to spend grant money and time to try and falsify theories they believe in.

This is a logical element called a sweeping generalization. If only one person has ever contradicted this argument, it is proved false. And I know someone in reality who has spent twenty years trying to falsify a theory he holds as true, and who has not been successful


Come on, this is fark. You should be able to recognise some hyperbole as used in informal communication.
 
2013-03-24 06:11:00 PM
I'd still give all those nerds wedgies, I don't care how good they think they are.
 
2013-03-24 06:34:02 PM
well we do have nifty labcoats.

/scientist
//labcoat disguises when I'm not wearing pants.
 
2013-03-24 06:37:30 PM

Via Infinito: FTA:  After revealing some personal information, including their major, each participant finished the experiment by responding to the question, "How much do you believe in science?" on a one-to-seven scale.

[pbs.twimg.com image 600x449]


Another fun point to argue: did you read, check and verify all the evidence behind the quest for and discovery of the Higgs boson/voyager travel to the edge of the solar system/the latest in stem cell treatments/aerodynamics? If not, how do you know it is true or not? Because you read something a scientist wrote or even a news report of something a scientist wrote? That would mean that you trust/believe/whatever you want to call it that other people did their work correctly. Unless you read all evidence and check the veracity of all that evidence by redoing the maths and the experiments you are taking things on faith (in the system). Just because the system has a very good track record doesn't mean that you aren't simply accepting someone else's word for it.

Note that the things I listed aren't exactly consumer grade technology so claiming "they work" isn't going to cut it. The latest in stem cell treatment is simply something someone tried on a rat somewhere in a lab. It is very, very likely that no one you know saw that happen, performed the experiment or had it happen to them. In the same vein we find the Higgs boson, all we know of the existence of this particle is a report written by a group of people, once again do you know anyone who worked on the project? Uses tech in which the Higgs boson is manipulated to perform some specific function? If not, do you think they actually found it? If so, why?
 
2013-03-24 06:40:54 PM
A new study suggests that scientists are more likely to have a strong moral compass than those outside the field er.
 
2013-03-24 06:58:25 PM

legion_of_doo: TheMysteriousStranger: Another factor is that science actually values truth...

"Truth" is kind of a philosophical thing. You mix up "science" and "truth", and you get wacky things like Intelligent Design.



Values truth.  Not necessarily getting capital-T Truth.

There is a big difference between seeking truth and saying that you have found it.

Science values truth and the pursuit of truth, it does not pretend to have it.   Creationists and other pseudoscientists say they have truth and yet have so damn little regard for the truth in their arguments.

Science values observation without bias, or something like that. How close people get to being without bias is also kind of up for discussion.

I don't think science is always true. That's why you have more science... to figure out where the old models are incorrect.
 
2013-03-24 07:43:10 PM

RodneyToady: The researchers found no relationship between the participants' religiosity or ethnicity and their judgment of John's actions. But science majors (including those studying biology, chemistry and psychology) judged him more harshly than non-science majors.

I don't know what's funnier... the conclusion that psychology majors are "better people" in a study conducted by psychologists, or the idea that psychology is a science comparable to biology and chemistry.

And I say this as an ABD social psychologist.


imgs.xkcd.com

/oblig
 
2013-03-24 07:46:44 PM
Geek tab readers prove Geek tab readers are better than everyone else.

I came in here expecting the kind of monkey-poo-flinging, get out your popcorn show you get over in the Politics tab. Reasoned positions? No ad hominem attack attacks? No WelcometoFark.jpg?

Well done.
 
2013-03-24 07:52:41 PM
Well maybe a few ad hominem attacks.

/Sorry socialiologists/psychologists
 
2013-03-24 08:46:49 PM

ghostwind: RodneyToady: The researchers found no relationship between the participants' religiosity or ethnicity and their judgment of John's actions. But science majors (including those studying biology, chemistry and psychology) judged him more harshly than non-science majors.

I don't know what's funnier... the conclusion that psychology majors are "better people" in a study conducted by psychologists, or the idea that psychology is a science comparable to biology and chemistry.

And I say this as an ABD social psychologist.

Good point. Besides, everyone knows that social psychologists aren't real scientists and that PLOS isn't a real journal anyways...


Well, seeing as how their definition of peer review is "looks all right to me", I do tend to take anything published in plos one with a fraggin huge grain of salt.
 
2013-03-24 08:59:19 PM
You can tell scientists are better just by looking at the IPCC reports. They took a subject that was riddled with axe-grinders on all sides, and produced reports that were pure science, without any politics in them at all. The only group more obviously tuned into right and wrong are the Noble Peace Prize Committee folks. They've nailed every single one since Gandhi Kissinger...or was it Arafat.
 
2013-03-24 09:40:39 PM

Son of Thunder: Well, seeing as how their definition of peer review is "looks all right to me", I do tend to take anything published in plos one with a fraggin huge grain of salt.


Completely off-topic, but I went to the website in your profile, and oddly enough I've probably been involved in some coursework that's related to your research interest.  For three years, I was a recitation leader in a course on Soul Beliefs (interdisciplinary, but taught by two psychologists) that included a week on TMT that had Sheldon Solomon as our guest lecturer.

It's not my area, but I generally like the ideas behind TMT and mortality salience.  When I'm teaching undergrads, I usually bring it up as it relates to advertising, especially political ads.
 
2013-03-24 11:15:19 PM

RodneyToady: Completely off-topic, but I went to the website in your profile, and oddly enough I've probably been involved in some coursework that's related to your research interest.  For three years, I was a recitation leader in a course on Soul Beliefs (interdisciplinary, but taught by two psychologists) that included a week on TMT that had Sheldon Solomon as our guest lecturer.

It's not my area, but I generally like the ideas behind TMT and mortality salience.  When I'm teaching undergrads, I usually bring it up as it relates to advertising, especially political ads.


Oh yeah, love TMT.  My doctoral dissertation involved a terror management study, and when I teach it to my students, I hit political advertizing hard (especially since researchers have found that reminding people about 9/11 works as a mortality salience manipulation, and can influence attitudes toward candidates.).
 
2013-03-25 05:51:34 AM

Skywolf the Scribbler: OhioKnight: But... Doesn't your logical and impartial mind tell you that there's no such thing as a logical and impartial mind?

Indeed, impossible for humans because of information biases

OhioKnight: Doesn't your logical and impartial mind tell you that selfishness has no greater or lesser inherent value than unselfishness?

On the contrary, for a human population to survive it is necessary for individuals to be unselfish and logically moral. An individual apart from a population can only survive by ensuring personal survival.

Wall of text explication if you want it


Inherently, selfishness doesn't have a value different than selflessless. It only gains its attributable value when you associate conditions to the logical scenario. For instance, the old "save many people or save a loved one" scenario. If you associate the condition of species health, than you should pick the many people option. But, if you are looking out for you and your progeny, you would probably pick the loved one. In this case, you're being selfish by saving you and your immediate family, but protecting your family is a logical conclusion to reach.

You are correct though, in that for society to survive, people need to be selfless.
 
2013-03-25 09:11:47 AM

Kome: I am kind of annoyed, just a little bit, about the whole issue of belief in relation to science. In my mind, this is scientists, science-educators, science students, and fans of science doing to the word "belief" what creationists and global warming deniers are doing to the word "theory": relying on people's lay-intuitions about what the word means as opposed to using what the word actually means to convey a sentiment.

I am a cognitive scientists and a psychologist. I am not a chemist or a physician or a biologist, even though I appreciate reading about and learning about those fields on occasion. Still, my expertise is not in those areas. I very much believe in the efficacy of them, though, because I do not have expertise in them nor do I have any real plans of intently developing expertise within them. With regards to the areas I am relatively expert in, I work with the material and am intimately familiar with the topic. I still believe in them, however, because believing in something does not preclude knowing about something. All knowledge is a belief. Just because the terms "belief" or "believing" or "believe" can refer to claims that find no epistemic or evidentiary support does not mean they no longer apply to claims that are supported epistemically and with evidence. And we do a disservice by treating the terms as if they do.

For a broad profession that prides itself on precision and discipline, it kind of irks me when people within the profession decide to start being very loose with the language to prove a point. All it does is demonstrate a poor understanding of language, and that can lead to continued confusion by the scientifically lay public.


That's a highly prescriptivist way of looking at language. I mean, there's a point in there about how formal languages interact with natural languages, but somehow you managed to miss it.
 
2013-03-25 09:20:19 AM

DerAppie: Skywolf the Scribbler: DerAppie: No one, apart from college students, is going to spend grant money and time to try and falsify theories they believe in.

This is a logical element called a sweeping generalization. If only one person has ever contradicted this argument, it is proved false. And I know someone in reality who has spent twenty years trying to falsify a theory he holds as true, and who has not been successful

Come on, this is fark. You should be able to recognise some hyperbole as used in informal communication.


Yeah, but hyperbole means taking a generally true statement and exaggerating it. Most scientists aren't going to spend lots of effort to reduplicate reliable experimental results, but if there's a question of the accuracy of a belief--either a new one like a quantum gravity or an old one like Newtonian mechanics when new evidence becomes available--experiment to demonstrate or falsify the belief is the inculcated reflex.
 
2013-03-25 01:35:31 PM

chrylis: DerAppie: Skywolf the Scribbler: DerAppie: No one, apart from college students, is going to spend grant money and time to try and falsify theories they believe in.

This is a logical element called a sweeping generalization. If only one person has ever contradicted this argument, it is proved false. And I know someone in reality who has spent twenty years trying to falsify a theory he holds as true, and who has not been successful

Come on, this is fark. You should be able to recognise some hyperbole as used in informal communication.

Yeah, but hyperbole means taking a generally true statement and exaggerating it. Most scientists aren't going to spend lots of effort to reduplicate reliable experimental results, but if there's a question of the accuracy of a belief--either a new one like a quantum gravity or an old one like Newtonian mechanics when new evidence becomes available--experiment to demonstrate or falsify the belief is the inculcated reflex.


Which was exactly my point, well done.
 
2013-03-25 04:52:06 PM
Yeah Mr White.  Yeah SCIENCE!
 
2013-03-26 07:50:16 AM
If mathematics is the "purest" field, what "contaminates" all the others? Reality?
 
2013-03-27 07:34:42 PM
Human obstinance & stupidity
 
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