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(The New Yorker)   You can love science AND question it. As a matter of fact, you SHOULD love science and question it   (newyorker.com) divider line 93
    More: Obvious, science journalist, Neanderthal DNA, string theory, molecular biology, John Horgan  
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1639 clicks; posted to Geek » on 09 Nov 2013 at 4:37 PM (50 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-11-09 07:25:30 PM  

EngineerAU: SevenizGud: Unless it is about climate change, in which case even sounding something similar to questioning gets you labeled immediately as a denier on par with a flat-earther.

Unless it involves Elon Musk, in which case, the founder of PayPal can't be wrong. EVER!

/Yeah, he more engineering than science but the abandonment of skepticism and adoption of heroism in his case a bit disturbing


I don't know, I was plenty of skeptical of Space X & Tesla at first. You know what changed my mind? They started to have results. It is true though, Elon Musk's optimism is infectious but its also that he is pushing the boundaries of what is possible in a way the United States hasn't before. Or in a way that anyone has really.  He may still fail, but I think the United States can still do extraordinary engineering feats and that Elon Musk is the most prominent person in recent history to be pushing us in that direction.

We need more Elon Musk's, we need to be pushing the boundaries of what is possible.
 
2013-11-09 07:34:55 PM  

cameroncrazy1984: SevenizGud: Unless it is about climate change, in which case even sounding something similar to questioning gets you labeled immediately as a denier on par with a flat-earther.

Nah, it's just that the questioning is based upon bullsh*t. That'll happen when you don't understand science.


And that's the part that most folks forget.  Sound, intelligent criticism is great, but not all objections qualify as such.  That's why there are climate change deniers who hold up examples of scientists who were laughed at or disregarded as if they too are fighting the good fight and not just propping up their political agenda.  They forget that those scientists in their examples had EVIDENCE and EXPERTISE.
 
2013-11-09 07:36:57 PM  

BullBearMS: devek: If I conducted an experiment that disproved a major theory, I would be made famous.

Or maybe you would just be persecuted as a heretic by your colleagues and even your field's most notable Nobel prize winner.

An Israeli scientist who suffered years of ridicule and even lost a research post for claiming to have found an entirely new class of solid material was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry on Wednesday for his discovery of quasicrystals.

Three decades after Daniel Shechtman looked with an electron microscope at a metal alloy and saw a pattern familiar in Islamic art but then unknown at a molecular level, those non-stick, rust-free, heat-resistant quasicrystals are finding their way into tools from LEDs to engines and frying pans.

Shechtman, 70, from Israel's Technion institute in Haifa, was working in the United States in 1982 when he observed atoms in a crystal he had made form a five-sided pattern that did not repeat itself, defying received wisdom that they must create repetitious patterns, like triangles, squares or hexagons.

"People just laughed at me," Shechtman recalled in an interview this year with Israeli newspaper Haaretz, noting how Linus Pauling, a colossus of science and double Nobel laureate, mounted a frightening "crusade" against him, saying: "There is no such thing as quasicrystals, only quasi-scientists."

After telling Shechtman to go back and read the textbook, the head of his research group asked him to leave for "bringing disgrace" on the team. "I felt rejected," Shechtman remembered.

"Daniel Shechtman had to fight a fierce battle against established science ... His battle eventually forced scientists to reconsider their conception of the very nature of matter.

This story is only two years old


That could have been easily prevented if someone would have simply walked along with the person making the claim to reset the experiment to check the results. But no, common wisdom says... One of the first biases you learn about in statistics class prevents scientists to accept that things might not be the way they think it is. Things that have been published become truth in the eyes of many. This is a lesson we all learn in college: trust peer reviewed articles because those things have been vetted. After that we learn that the further anyone wants to go from what is published, the greater the chance that nothing gets done. Even as a student working with $400 of equipment ($380 of which is the computer in the library on which the report was to be typed and the last $20 would be paid out of the students own pocket), no one is willing to amuse him if he can't find at least 6 peer reviewed articles telling you that you are right before you even started. This idea is pounded into students so hard that it isn't all that strange that shiat like ignoring people who make startling discoveries happens.

During a discussion the professor who was to guide me along with my master's thesis told me that merely collecting a lot of data to see what correlations exist is "bad science" instead of a nice starting point for a more serious investigation because you need peer reviewed articles to agree with you before you start doing anything.
 
2013-11-09 08:02:45 PM  

DerAppie: That could have been easily prevented if someone would have simply walked along with the person making the claim to reset the experiment to check the results. But no, common wisdom says... One of the first biases you learn about in statistics class prevents scientists to accept that things might not be the way they think it is.


The very first words I ever heard in a college science class were, "half of the things I'm going to teach you will probably end up being proven false at some point, and if I knew which half I could save us all a lot of time and effort."

I'm always astonished that the scientific method isn't really taught today in "science" classes.

A real scientist is supposed to doubt theories and attempt to design experiments to test them. It's only after those theories stand up to repeated tests that you start to put a little trust in them.

Hell, NASA just carried out yet more experiments to verify the Theory of Relativity and it's been passing these tests for decades now.

You might think that when a scientific finding hasn't been seriously challenged for 93 years the matter would be pretty much settled, but experimentalists have been poking and prodding Einstein's premises ever since. There's more than just stubborn skepticism at work: some of relativity's more esoteric implications are fiendishly hard to confirm, so the physicists keep devising more and more sensitive and difficult studies - even though the theory keeps passing them all.

Science is never "settled" no matter how many tards who don't understand Science say it is.

What Science has are theories that have yet to be disproven, despite ongoing attempts to do so.
 
2013-11-09 08:03:14 PM  

DerAppie: To The Escape Zeppelin!: It's science. If you're not questioning it then it's not really science now is it?

This is exactly why I hate the whatshisname picture with the "science is true even if you don't believe in it" macro. Science isn't true. Very little that has been discovered is actually true. It is truer than what we used to know and it is true enough to do a lot of cool stuff. But "science" isn't "truth." Do you think that we'll ever get nuclear fusion to work if we used the various "constants" that were "scientifically discovered" and "verified" 150 years ago? We'd get really close to a large hole in the ground, if we got anything to happen at all. Things get replaced and updated all the time. Even the universal constants have been edited many times. And you know what? None of those values are true, those values are merely the best we can do at this point.


To me science is not so much about the truth as it is about facts. Truth has always seemed like a more human concept of how we live our lives and guide our minds. It's more a philosophical exploration of what we as humans should do. Science's concern is finding facts about the natural world. How does one molecule react to another? How much can this material hold before snapping? How does this disease spread? Science is amoral in that way. The quest is to find these facts as precisely as it possibly can. And I don't mean amoral in that threatening way like 'Oh so it's fine to secretly give black dudes syphilis because it's for science.' Not at all, because that's incorporating the human concept of truth and what we should do to ourselves and others into the process of doing science. I mean amoral in that if it isn't factual then it doesn't matter in its view. But science still needs human truth to give it purpose. Facts are great, but if we use what we learn in an incredibly destructive way like to better destroy cities or to better poison our food to preserve 'freshness' then that facts start to become our enemy. I feel like an increasing number of people feel like that's happening. And truth needs facts because if these truths do not reflect the nature and countenance of the world around and in us then what use is it? Facts and truth are two different concepts but they rely on each other for context and meaning.
 
2013-11-09 08:07:47 PM  

J. Frank Parnell: verbal_jizm: The general public can question science all they like but usually the only thing it really provides for science in general is a measure of the ability of the public to understand the theories and models that currently form the framework of our understanding. Only when someone goes through the formal methods of putting forward and testing hypotheses (especially at a rigorous level that passes peer review) does the questioning have any bearing on the actual scientific framework.

But my point was more that it isn't just science and the stupid people in the public who disagree. Within science itself there are skeptics to anything, or at least there should be if things are working properly. The idea all scientists frequently agree on things is a media fantasy. And it's like they want to make it that way now, by trying to silence or bury any dissent in scientific communities, when that is essential to science.

Here's a good article about that which i posted before, but it's even more fitting here.


Let me guess. The fact that your pet concern is now considered to be debunked or not backed by the current framework of understanding is the same as "silencing or burying dissent".

The truth is, the frameworks/models that explain the phenomena we observe are put together from a number of tested hypotheses that interlink and arrive at similar conclusions from different directions, like the way evolution is supported by archaeology, geology, molecular biology, genetics, molecular genetics, biochemistry, microbiology, comparative anatomy, comparative physiology, comparative immunology and so on. Just because some yahoo comes along (trained scientist and expert or otherwise) and disagrees with that framework, science as a whole ignores them until they can come up with a framework that explains phenomena in all of the fields listed BETTER than the previous one. That's how scientific consensus works. Not just a bunch of scientists taking a vote. Thus dissent is meaningless unless the dissenting individual has a framework (I avoid using theory since that word ends up getting abused so much) that explains all the phenomena, not just ones that can be tested in a single hypothesis.

As for the media, if anything, they give more credence to wannabe iconoclasts than they actually deserve since journalists rarely have the perspective to critically evaluate said wannabe's claims or research methods. Instead it's: this side says this and that side said that.
 
2013-11-09 08:59:01 PM  
Well, duh. Science is all about asking questions and questioning conclusions.
 
2013-11-09 09:37:41 PM  

verbal_jizm: J. Frank Parnell: verbal_jizm: The general public can question science all they like but usually the only thing it really provides for science in general is a measure of the ability of the public to understand the theories and models that currently form the framework of our understanding. Only when someone goes through the formal methods of putting forward and testing hypotheses (especially at a rigorous level that passes peer review) does the questioning have any bearing on the actual scientific framework.

But my point was more that it isn't just science and the stupid people in the public who disagree. Within science itself there are skeptics to anything, or at least there should be if things are working properly. The idea all scientists frequently agree on things is a media fantasy. And it's like they want to make it that way now, by trying to silence or bury any dissent in scientific communities, when that is essential to science.

Here's a good article about that which i posted before, but it's even more fitting here.

Let me guess. The fact that your pet concern is now considered to be debunked or not backed by the current framework of understanding is the same as "silencing or burying dissent".

The truth is, the frameworks/models that explain the phenomena we observe are put together from a number of tested hypotheses that interlink and arrive at similar conclusions from different directions, like the way evolution is supported by archaeology, geology, molecular biology, genetics, molecular genetics, biochemistry, microbiology, comparative anatomy, comparative physiology, comparative immunology and so on. Just because some yahoo comes along (trained scientist and expert or otherwise) and disagrees with that framework, science as a whole ignores them until they can come up with a framework that explains phenomena in all of the fields listed BETTER than the previous one. That's how scientific consensus works. Not just a bunch of scientists taking a vote. Thus ...


I hate to defend that assclown, but I think you're giving scientists entirely too much credit. Egos are important, and when a faulty theory becomes really entrenched it can be incredibly difficult to dislodge it, because you aren't just arguing against a theory, you're arguing against the life's work of many of your elders. Look at the neutrino problem; I think it was discovered in the 1960s that the Sun was only giving off 1/3 of the expected number of neutrinos, but rather than examine the theory physicists insisted that the detectors were faulty. They weren't, and eventually theory was altered, and the guy who built the detectors eventually shared in a Nobel Prize, after Alzheimer's had set in and he was barely capable of enjoying it, but the point is that there was never a legitimate reason to doubt him in the first place except that his findings didn't fit their preconceived notions. Or look at the Clovis First theory; archaeologists are only now finally coming around to admitting it's bullshiat, after decades of dating tests that strongly suggested that there were sites older than Clovis and despite the fact that the whole theory hinged on the existence of an ice-free corridor for which there is no evidence. It happens over and over again throughout the history of science. Scientists are humans, and they have all the flaws that implies. It's true that the media tends to give the worst kinds of contrarians undue attention, but it's also true that scientists are often biased against novel ideas for totally illegitimate reasons.
 
2013-11-09 09:46:05 PM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: As opposed to gods, who take it all personal when you do that.


Look, if a god can't articulate why he needs a starship, that's on him.
 
2013-11-09 09:47:11 PM  

Surool: Well, duh. Science is all about asking questions and questioning conclusions.


Then how do you explain the pyramids, which were built using technology that didn't exist at that time?
 
2013-11-09 09:55:31 PM  

syrynxx: Surool: Well, duh. Science is all about asking questions and questioning conclusions.

Then how do you explain the pyramids, which were built using technology that didn't exist at that time?


Just because people say it on TV, that doesn't make it true.
 
2013-11-09 09:57:56 PM  

syrynxx: Surool: Well, duh. Science is all about asking questions and questioning conclusions.

Then how do you explain the pyramids, which were built using technology that didn't exist at that time?


Easy... they were made with technology that did exist at the time.
 
2013-11-09 10:17:22 PM  

devek: If I conducted an experiment that was peer reviewed up and down and back again for decades and disproved a major theory, I would be made famous.


There's a reason why most Nobel winners in the sciences are in their 70s, when the work they were given their awards for happened in their 30s.
 
2013-11-09 10:45:28 PM  

doglover: devek: There is harm believing in creationism because to do so you have to reject science entirely.

No you don't.

God created evolution. Boom, done, moving on.


There is no God. Boom, done, moving on.

/see how easy that is?
//that's not science
 
kab
2013-11-09 11:09:19 PM  
Don't be silly, subby.   Questioning science means that you're a bible thumping creationist.

Science is never wrong.
 
2013-11-09 11:14:10 PM  
You can love science AND question it. As a matter of fact you SHOULD love science and question it

Funny, Thomas Jefferson had similar sentiments about religion.

"Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear."

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787
 
2013-11-09 11:55:40 PM  

kab: Don't be silly, subby.   Questioning science means that you're a bible thumping creationist.

Science is never wrong.


Are you kidding?
 
2013-11-09 11:59:44 PM  
A lot of people try and leverage currently accepted scientific conclusions as an infallible dogma.

Science doesn't work that way.
 
2013-11-10 12:13:37 AM  

Prophet of Loss: A lot of people try and leverage currently accepted scientific conclusions as an infallible dogma.

Science doesn't work that way.


And even more people believe that scientists really think they know it all. They became scientists to learn, not pontificate.
 
2013-11-10 12:19:35 AM  
So you should be like science's Overly Attached Girlfriend?
 
2013-11-10 12:45:26 AM  

R.A.Danny: Prophet of Loss: A lot of people try and leverage currently accepted scientific conclusions as an infallible dogma.

Science doesn't work that way.

And even more people believe that scientists really think they know it all. They became scientists to learn, not pontificate.


Then why are so many "pontificating" on topics like religion that have nothing to do with science?
 
2013-11-10 12:54:00 AM  

malaktaus: I hate to defend that assclown, but I think you're giving scientists entirely too much credit. Egos are important, and when a faulty theory becomes really entrenched it can be incredibly difficult to dislodge it, because you aren't just arguing against a theory, you're arguing against the life's work of many of your elders. Look at the neutrino problem; I think it was discovered in the 1960s that the Sun was only giving off 1/3 of the expected number of neutrinos, but rather than examine the theory physicists insisted that the detectors were faulty. They weren't, and eventually theory was altered, and the guy who built the detectors eventually shared in a Nobel Prize, after Alzheimer's had set in and he was barely capable of enjoying it, but the point is that there was never a legitimate reason to doubt him in the first place except that his findings didn't fit their preconceived notions. Or look at the Clovis First theory; archaeologists are only now finally coming around to admitting it's bullshiat, after decades of dating tests that strongly suggested that there were sites older than Clovis and despite the fact that the whole theory hinged on the existence of an ice-free corridor for which there is no evidence. It happens over and over again throughout the history of science. Scientists are humans, and they have all the flaws that implies. It's true that the media tends to give the worst kinds of contrarians undue attention, but it's also true that scientists are often biased against novel ideas for totally illegitimate reasons.


You showed two cases where the system I was describing actually worked. In both situations the current theory didn't explain observed reality at some level. The community resisted modifying or tossing the theory altogether until another theory came along and supplanted the first. That's exactly how it's supposed to work. The alternative is that we have no framework to base anything off of and any stupid idea is equivalent to something that has survived the testing of a lot of hypotheses.
 
2013-11-10 12:54:11 AM  

Prophet of Loss: R.A.Danny: Prophet of Loss: A lot of people try and leverage currently accepted scientific conclusions as an infallible dogma.

Science doesn't work that way.

And even more people believe that scientists really think they know it all. They became scientists to learn, not pontificate.

Then why are so many "pontificating" on topics like religion that have nothing to do with science?


That is exactly why.
 
2013-11-10 12:55:31 AM  

Prophet of Loss: R.A.Danny: Prophet of Loss: A lot of people try and leverage currently accepted scientific conclusions as an infallible dogma.

Science doesn't work that way.

And even more people believe that scientists really think they know it all. They became scientists to learn, not pontificate.

Then why are so many "pontificating" on topics like religion that have nothing to do with science?


You might want to separate scientists and science fans.
 
2013-11-10 01:06:57 AM  
So can someone give me a status update on how many contributions to innovation, discovery and technology religion has made in the last week, month, year, decade?

/ Coffee is for closers. Until religion can start putting some numbers up on the board they can shut their whore mouths.
 
2013-11-10 01:10:53 AM  
Science isn't a thing that you question. It is a process for questioning other things -- a methodology for analyzing facts. It is the journey, not the destination. It is the means, not the end. It is the messenger, not the message. All systems focus on providing answers. Science focuses on studying the questions.

You can't prove or refute science right or wrong. You can't prove science anything. You use science to test assertions, and whatever the outcome, it doesn't matter to science.

This is also why it's wrong to compare it to religion, which is a thing -- a dogmatic belief system. It's easier to think of science as a verb (something you do) rather than a noun (something that is). So for now on, I encourage everyone to only use science as a verb, as in "I'm sciencing this petri dish" or "I'll science a paper on it next week" or "I totally scienced your mom last night."
 
2013-11-10 01:21:16 AM  

Elzar: So can someone give me a status update on how many contributions to innovation, discovery and technology religion has made in the last week, month, year, decade?

/ Coffee is for closers. Until religion can start putting some numbers up on the board they can shut their whore mouths.


Stop being stupid.

Also, on an unrelated note, despite what some atheists and young-earth creationists and fundamentalists (oh my!) might tell you, science and faith are not at odds. One of the reasons I hate this argument so much.
 
2013-11-10 01:23:22 AM  

Ishkur: Science isn't a thing that you question. It is a process for questioning other things -- a methodology for analyzing facts. It is the journey, not the destination. It is the means, not the end. It is the messenger, not the message. All systems focus on providing answers. Science focuses on studying the questions.

You can't prove or refute science right or wrong. You can't prove science anything. You use science to test assertions, and whatever the outcome, it doesn't matter to science.

This is also why it's wrong to compare it to religion, which is a thing -- a dogmatic belief system. It's easier to think of science as a verb (something you do) rather than a noun (something that is). So for now on, I encourage everyone to only use science as a verb, as in "I'm sciencing this petri dish" or "I'll science a paper on it next week" or "I totally scienced your mom last night."


Well, the models, frameworks, and explanations that the method of science arrives at are also considered part of science. If they weren't then science would operate in a vacuum with no previous models to be modified with new hypotheses.
 
2013-11-10 01:23:38 AM  

Creative Name: despite what some atheists and young-earth creationists and fundamentalists (oh my!) might tell you, science and faith are not at odds. One of the reasons I hate this argument so much.


Really? Because science doesn't say God created the world. You can't explain that.
 
2013-11-10 01:32:48 AM  

Creative Name: Elzar: So can someone give me a status update on how many contributions to innovation, discovery and technology religion has made in the last week, month, year, decade?

/ Coffee is for closers. Until religion can start putting some numbers up on the board they can shut their whore mouths.

Stop being stupid.

Also, on an unrelated note, despite what some atheists and young-earth creationists and fundamentalists (oh my!) might tell you, science and faith are not at odds. One of the reasons I hate this argument so much.


Well, rationality and faith can exist in the same mind without warring, sure, but science and faith are completely opposing means of attempting to understand the world. Science requires empirical evidence whereas faith only requires irrational certainty.
 
2013-11-10 01:48:36 AM  

Creative Name: science and faith are not at odds


They are not at odds when people say I believe in god because I have faith and leave it at that.

They end up at odds when people try to prove their religion is true using science. Not that I am saying that they shouldn't question their religion or use science as the tool to use ... it has been proven time and time again to be the most effective method man has of getting answers.

It is just that religious claims fail quickly and miserably when exposed to impartial analysis. Which is why you end up with religious "scientists" who start with the conclusion that their religion is true and then attempt to prove it. You cannot start with a conclusion and call it science.
 
2013-11-10 02:24:46 AM  
As someone who works in science, things my field could address:

1. Statistics are terribly misunderstood in general. No one understands probability theory and rolls their eyes at you when you question analyses.
2. Backcross, people. If you aren't using carefully outbred strains of mice, please please please try to carefully backross your strains that you are comparing.


YOU CAN'T USE A MOUSE FROM A BALB/c AND COMPARE IT TO A B6.

>:|
 
2013-11-10 03:27:25 AM  

DerAppie: To The Escape Zeppelin!: It's science. If you're not questioning it then it's not really science now is it?

This is exactly why I hate the whatshisname picture with the "science is true even if you don't believe in it" macro. Science isn't true. Very little that has been discovered is actually true. It is truer than what we used to know and it is true enough to do a lot of cool stuff. But "science" isn't "truth." Do you think that we'll ever get nuclear fusion to work if we used the various "constants" that were "scientifically discovered" and "verified" 150 years ago? We'd get really close to a large hole in the ground, if we got anything to happen at all. Things get replaced and updated all the time. Even the universal constants have been edited many times. And you know what? None of those values are true, those values are merely the best we can do at this point.

People keep seeing that farking macro and go "Well, a smart man said it and he should know what he is talking about." Or people lash on to it in order to get people to get people interested in science. But at the same time those same people are instilling the idea that the science, as done by predecessors, is infallible.

I started reading the Foundation series last week (I know, the book has been recommended thousands of times and I should have read it sooner) and it perfectly illustrates this issue. Science is dying in the empire because everyone is reaching back to previous scientists. With the question about archaeology and the location of the Birth Planet of the human race being the most direct example given. Science becomes reading what other people have done and drawing conclusions from that. Doing the work yourself is considered useless because surely those scientists of olden days did the work already? There are tons of books and references to be found, and those are held to be rather infallible to a degree. It no longer is about seeking what is right and what is wrong, but providing a lot of i ...


Do you work in science at all? Because I do and none of that is correct. Non-scientists just aren't equipped to criticize modern science - it is so specialized and requires a hard-won set of skills that prevents most people from really giving to science without special training. There's a reason we spend 5-7 years in graduate school, then 1-3 years (if lucky) in postdoc training.
 
2013-11-10 03:49:37 AM  

DerAppie: Mentat: That's a good idea.  We should come up with some kind of method that formalizes that.

devek: If I conducted an experiment that disproved a major theory, I would be made famous.

I don't see why people think science is conspiracy lol.

The problem isn't a conspiracy or that there is no system for checking work that someone has done. It is that the work isn't being checked enough. Sure, the big once in a life time things will attract replication like a dog attracts fleas. But the small things? A lot gets published without ever being replicated. That way a lot of things that are demonstrably false don't get found out about because there is no one demonstrating anything. This one "scientist" merely made up some numbers and the peer review saw that the maths worked out without and the conclusion wasn't to outlandish and cleared it for publication.

Peer review and articles were once imagined to be a replacement for actual demonstrations. To reach the larger scientific community, as only a few people would fit in a laboratory at a time. The article would be read and people would actually check if things were true and write rebuttals. Over time, however, the system changed subtly. "Peer reviewed" became synonymous with "this is true" instead of "someone checked my maths for major errors and maybe someone else should actually replicate my study." Just keep an eye out and you'll find it everywhere. Even on Fark people will ask for "peer reviewed" articles as the final arbitrator of truth. Not reports of replications. Peer reviewed. As if the two people who were nowhere near the experiment (and often don't even work in the direct field) and only read the information provided could actually make an informed conclusion about the validity of the content.

Things need to change, especially now that we have the internet and electronic communication. Every publisher could add a counter to an article to show how often it has been successfully replicated or refuted. They could even add references to the articles. That information would be a lot more useful to see how reliable an article is than the vague "peer reviewed" status that has been elevated in importance to a position that is entirely undesirable.


Not that you don't have some valid points about the rapid expansion of scope in experimental science, but I think you might be mistaking "Peer reviewed = Automatically True" with "Peer reviewed = at least minimally qualified to be used as the foundation for a rational argument" or "Peer reviewed = more credible than the opinion of the average willfully ignorant jerkoff".

Just sayin'.
 
2013-11-10 06:17:04 AM  

kab: Don't be silly, subby.   Questioning science means that you're a bible thumping creationist.

Science is never wrong.


There is no way to be "wrong" ( or "right", either) if you aren't an entity, and don't have a position.
 
2013-11-10 07:17:43 AM  
"I Farking Love Science" has over 8 million likes on Facebook.  Now if only those 8m+ people would stop drooling over the pretty pictures of galaxies long enough to take one or two very basic, very general, intro to science classes...
 
2013-11-10 07:23:39 AM  

Matrix Flavored Wasabi: Do you work in science at all? Because I do and none of that is correct. Non-scientists just aren't equipped to criticize modern science - it is so specialized and requires a hard-won set of skills that prevents most people from really giving to science without special training. There's a reason we spend 5-7 years in graduate school, then 1-3 years (if lucky) in postdoc training.


Who is talking about non-scientists having any form of significance in criticising modern science? I'm not. I sure as hell don't feel qualified to critique (quantum) physics research beyond "wow, that sounds cool" or "Hmm, strange."

Z-clipped: Not that you don't have some valid points about the rapid expansion of scope in experimental science, but I think you might be mistaking "Peer reviewed = Automatically True" with "Peer reviewed = at least minimally qualified to be used as the foundation for a rational argument" or "Peer reviewed = more credible than the opinion of the average willfully ignorant jerkoff".


True, that is how things should be. As you say, peer reviewed materials are minimally qualified to be taken seriously. And yet I continually get the impression that a lot of people learn that the content of peer reviewed materials are established truth. Even from professors who should know better. And the more often a paper has been cited, the more established it becomes. An then, when people actually check the veracity of the claim, they get mocked for doubting a well known principle.
 
2013-11-10 08:02:33 AM  
She blinded me.
 
2013-11-10 10:40:47 AM  

DerAppie: Matrix Flavored Wasabi: Do you work in science at all? Because I do and none of that is correct. Non-scientists just aren't equipped to criticize modern science - it is so specialized and requires a hard-won set of skills that prevents most people from really giving to science without special training. There's a reason we spend 5-7 years in graduate school, then 1-3 years (if lucky) in postdoc training.

Who is talking about non-scientists having any form of significance in criticising modern science? I'm not. I sure as hell don't feel qualified to critique (quantum) physics research beyond "wow, that sounds cool" or "Hmm, strange."

Z-clipped: Not that you don't have some valid points about the rapid expansion of scope in experimental science, but I think you might be mistaking "Peer reviewed = Automatically True" with "Peer reviewed = at least minimally qualified to be used as the foundation for a rational argument" or "Peer reviewed = more credible than the opinion of the average willfully ignorant jerkoff".

True, that is how things should be. As you say, peer reviewed materials are minimally qualified to be taken seriously. And yet I continually get the impression that a lot of people learn that the content of peer reviewed materials are established truth. Even from professors who should know better. And the more often a paper has been cited, the more established it becomes. An then, when people actually check the veracity of the claim, they get mocked for doubting a well known principle.


...because checking the veracity of a claim is what happens in peer farking review. What part of that don't you get? It's been explained to you a half dozen times now. If there was a crack in its armor, it would have been found by now. Your inexperienced layman ass isn't going to find what dozens to hundreds of scientists already haven't.
 
2013-11-10 11:27:14 AM  

IlGreven: because checking the veracity of a claim is what happens in peer farking review


To the extent that peer review ensures that your methods are sound, sure, but they don't actually check for reproducibility (at least not in biology). That would be expensive and the NIH isn't putting up the money for that. DerApple does have a point there. In fact, it's actually difficult to publish when your results contradict one of the big players (though it still happens and can make a name for people). That's part of the reason The Reproducibility Initiative came about. That and the fact there have been a number of articles in the media reporting on fraud or widespread lack of reproducibility in certain fields. I should mention this all applies to the type of research you can find on Pubmed since that's my area.
 
2013-11-10 11:27:24 AM  
Few who have been paying attention should be surprised. With the continued government cutbacks of major scientific endeavors, it's moved to corporations to do the R&D. And since corporations are about money and not valid solidly based knowledge, they'll take whatever half-assed measure that comes out and use that. Then the competitors will simply copy it, because it must be right, their competitors are doing it!

Anyone in the Computer Systems field in the last 10 years will remember the great capacitor debacle of damn near every company from Dell to Apple.
 
2013-11-10 01:08:08 PM  

IlGreven: ...because checking the veracity of a claim is what happens in peer farking review. What part of that don't you get? It's been explained to you a half dozen times now. If there was a crack in its armor, it would have been found by now. Your inexperienced layman ass isn't going to find what dozens to hundreds of scientists already haven't.


Okay, let's do this the hard way.

A peer reviewer gets send a package. The package contains a data set and a paper. Please explain the following:

1) How does a peer reviewer check the veracity of the data?
2) Does the reviewer check every cited piece of literature to see if the theoretical basis is sound? And what about the theoretical basis of those papers?
3) How does the peer reviewer check how well the methodology has been followed?

If calling me an inexperienced layman makes you sleep better at night, go right ahead. Try talking to some professors at a college sometime, ask them who reviews there work. Especially those at the cutting edge of physics who hold conferences at which 5 people in the audience know what they are talking about. Or try reading a newspaper once in a while. You'll find reports of scientists who got caught in fraudulent behaviour, up to and including making up entire studies, which can go on for years without a peer reviewer catching it.

I'm far from the only one who has come to the realisation that peer review is far from ideal.
 
2013-11-10 07:35:44 PM  
Except gwobal worming.  That's a fact Jack.
 
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