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(Forbes)   Are scientists actually d*cks to new ideas? Or do they just seem that way when they smack down and then ignore the bad ones?   (forbes.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, Big Bang, Scientific method, Universe, Dark matter, scientific ideas, prevailing theories, new headline, overwhelming majority of these grand proposals fail  
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561 clicks; posted to Fandom » on 29 Sep 2020 at 3:50 AM (2 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2020-09-29 2:52:04 AM  
Science doesn't care. Science is about repeatable tests, and reproducible results.

If your latest pet theory flies in the face of established data, expect nobody to take it seriously until you have some results that can be tested and confirmed, repeatedly.
 
2020-09-29 4:12:48 AM  
*offer not valid for theoretical physics and some quantum physics
 
2020-09-29 4:19:21 AM  
Somebody asked Leon Lederman that when he gave a lecture at my university.  He said about 1/3 of current experiments at Fermilab were aimed at disproving current theories or testing new ideas.
 
2020-09-29 4:19:26 AM  

bloobeary: Science doesn't care. Science is about repeatable tests, and reproducible results.

If your latest pet theory flies in the face of established data, expect nobody to take it seriously until you have some results that can be tested and confirmed, repeatedly.


I'm guessing this ^^^ (accurate btw) plus the Dunning-Kruger effect is why so many are so incredibly hostile towards education.
 
2020-09-29 4:33:10 AM  
Most of the scientific findings that make it into mainstream news media are massively overblown by the time they get reported. Often a relatively weak correlation is defined as a cause of something, a new and interesting but not well validated results is presented as over turning existing knowledge, when it is unlikely to survive any major challenges.

Scientists are cantankerous, we all remember what it was like to be young and want to destroy the foundation of everything we were being taught with something new and exciting. Then you get older, and realize the foundations are often very solid but there are tons of new and exciting things to find all around. Presentation
 
2020-09-29 4:41:52 AM  

Smoking GNU: I'm guessing this (accurate btw) plus the Dunning-Kruger effect is why so many are so incredibly hostile towards education.


Education is hostile to education when you look into it.  Mature college campuses partition humanities/social sciences, physical sciences, and engineering with a little space to keep the arson to a minimum.
 
2020-09-29 5:04:02 AM  
New ideas are cheap, making a working experiment out of them is hard and expensive.
 
2020-09-29 5:08:34 AM  
90% of the time B.  10% of the time A.  Or something along those lines.


(If you're asking for money to do an experiment, then reverse the numbers.)
 
2020-09-29 6:05:49 AM  
Asimov books are filled with dictatorial head scientists that will destroy the careers of those with theories contrary to the one they build their career on. Some people can be pretty vicious when they feel that they are going to get overshadowed.
 
2020-09-29 6:05:54 AM  

pup.socket: New ideas are cheap, making a working experiment out of them is hard and expensive.


speaking of  hard and expensive...
 
2020-09-29 6:07:47 AM  

chawco: Most of the scientific findings that make it into mainstream news media are massively overblown by the time they get reported. Often a relatively weak correlation is defined as a cause of something, a new and interesting but not well validated results is presented as over turning existing knowledge, when it is unlikely to survive any major challenges.

Scientists are cantankerous, we all remember what it was like to be young and want to destroy the foundation of everything we were being taught with something new and exciting. Then you get older, and realize the foundations are often very solid but there are tons of new and exciting things to find all around. Presentation


Science is "little c" conservative, and it has to be by the very nature of nature.

When the bulk of scientific knowledge is so intertwined and the underlying theories become more and more fundamental and span across many disciplines, can explain and predict so much, a new theory must be a huge leap forward now to gain acceptance.

Pointing out where there is a shortcoming between existing theories (looking at you String Theory) isn't enough unless what is brought can be shown with the strength and pragmatic utility of what it replaces. Oh and metric ass tons of hard experimental data.

Even then... In practice we use the physics of Relativity for our GPS satellite signals/ ephemeris, but we still loft the things with centuries old Newtonian calculus / mechanics. Because it's sufficient and concise, even if it is not fundamentally correct.
 
2020-09-29 6:13:56 AM  
Paul Dirac observed that scientific progress proceeds through a series of funerals, meaning that one must wait for older holders of consensus to die before the consensus can change. I'd like to think that science today has outgrown that, but I still can't be sure.
 
2020-09-29 6:15:50 AM  

thehellisthis: Smoking GNU: I'm guessing this (accurate btw) plus the Dunning-Kruger effect is why so many are so incredibly hostile towards education.

Education is hostile to education when you look into it.  Mature college campuses partition humanities/social sciences, physical sciences, and engineering with a little space to keep the arson to a minimum.


The internet killed science discipline partition. Damn good thing too. I couldn't imagine cross discipline work with card catalogs and journal searches
 
2020-09-29 6:46:37 AM  

yohohogreengiant: thehellisthis: Smoking GNU: I'm guessing this (accurate btw) plus the Dunning-Kruger effect is why so many are so incredibly hostile towards education.

Education is hostile to education when you look into it.  Mature college campuses partition humanities/social sciences, physical sciences, and engineering with a little space to keep the arson to a minimum.

The internet killed science discipline partition. Damn good thing too. I couldn't imagine cross discipline work with card catalogs and journal searches


So you trade the horrors of actual work and effort for the black abyss of the internet and its crackpot theories, pay to publish journals, and all around destruction of humanity?
 
2020-09-29 6:56:38 AM  
All I know is that when I was in a scientific field, I heard the words "That isn't the way things are done" more times than was palatable from the PHDs

Even after producing repeatable results at 4x the accuracy, the best any of the old guard could muster for a compliment was "This isn't the way things are done, but it appears to work".

Yes, science wants data to back up theories and ideas. Scientists have a tendency to want to remain right in ~their own way~ forever.

Dicks.
 
2020-09-29 7:08:34 AM  

yohohogreengiant: Even then... In practice we use the physics of Relativity for our GPS satellite signals/ ephemeris, but we still loft the things with centuries old Newtonian calculus / mechanics. Because it's sufficient and concise, even if it is not fundamentally correct.

Newton's Laws are fundamentally correct.  You can derive them from Special Relativity (the full equation, not the oft-quoted E=mc2) for v<<c and the relativistic effects vanish.  This is in fact how general equations are used; you modify them according to the initial conditions because in their purest form they are way too unwieldly.  Even F=ma is unsolvable for a variety of problems, being a second-order differential equation.

This is the sort of petty crap that gets scientists irritated.

If scientists are being terse, it's because they're sick of everyone's shiat.
 
2020-09-29 7:29:51 AM  

dragonchild: yohohogreengiant: Even then... In practice we use the physics of Relativity for our GPS satellite signals/ ephemeris, but we still loft the things with centuries old Newtonian calculus / mechanics. Because it's sufficient and concise, even if it is not fundamentally correct.
Newton's Laws are fundamentally correct.  You can derive them from Special Relativity (the full equation, not the oft-quoted E=mc2) for v<<c and the relativistic effects vanish.  This is in fact how general equations are used; you modify them according to the initial conditions because in their purest form they are way too unwieldly.  Even F=ma is unsolvable for a variety of problems, being a second-order differential equation.

This is the sort of petty crap that gets scientists irritated.

If scientists are being terse, it's because they're sick of everyone's shiat.


Sorry, yup I even misspoke here...

"Relativity is a more fundamental theory" is probably more like it, but sure in the end when you build the satellite it's all F=ma , but it's software is all:
Fark user imageView Full Size


I was taught this during my first physics class three lives ago, specifically as an example about fundamentals and don't piss off physicists.

The class was a survey of physics and went fast. No calculus required but you ended up doing a bunch anyway. It was designed as a "science for poets" class to complement philosophy of science, but got taught by a physicists who worked on hardening packages against EMP and did actual testing... On the range back in the 50s. He had absolutely no farks left to give and taught the class like any physics class.

The dean forced him to grade on a curve because no one was passing.

Great teacher. Just not for poets.
 
2020-09-29 7:32:52 AM  

bloobeary: Science doesn't care. Science is about repeatable tests, and reproducible results.


True.
Scientists, however are human and care a lot about how new ideas impact them.

Especially in academia.
"Academic politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small."
- Attributed to Henry Kissinger, but not too different from an observation by Samuel Johnson in 1765.
 
2020-09-29 8:08:00 AM  
Dicks.
 
2020-09-29 8:09:07 AM  

yohohogreengiant: a physicists who worked on hardening packages against EMP and did actual testing... On the range back in the 50s. He had absolutely no farks left to give and taught the class like any physics class.

If he had a career in the 1950s I can't imagine he's alive today, but if he was, imagine what he'd feel about the direction America's going now.  Hoh-lee crap.
 
2020-09-29 8:12:29 AM  
Every few months, a novel headline will fly across the world, claiming to revolutionize one or more of our most deeply held scientific ideas. The declarations are always sweeping and revolutionary,[...] And yet, despite the glowing coverage of the novel proposal, it most frequently languishes in obscurity, attracting little mainstream attention other than a myriad of dismissals.

There's also a big dose of this going on:

d30womf5coomej.cloudfront.netView Full Size


Media reporting on any specialized technical subject tends to be a dumpster fire at the best of times.
 
2020-09-29 8:19:12 AM  
No, your perpetual motion device isn't really a perpetual motion device.
 
2020-09-29 8:31:16 AM  

lifeslammer: yohohogreengiant: thehellisthis: Smoking GNU: I'm guessing this (accurate btw) plus the Dunning-Kruger effect is why so many are so incredibly hostile towards education.

Education is hostile to education when you look into it.  Mature college campuses partition humanities/social sciences, physical sciences, and engineering with a little space to keep the arson to a minimum.

The internet killed science discipline partition. Damn good thing too. I couldn't imagine cross discipline work with card catalogs and journal searches

So you trade the horrors of actual work and effort for the black abyss of the internet and its crackpot theories, pay to publish journals, and all around destruction of humanity?


Except that you can't build something on bogus science and have it work.

Perfect example:  The guy who designed the first transatlantic telegraph cable was a crackpot who had some dumb ideas about electricity worked, ideas that were at odds with the scientific consensus of the time.   He thought "thin cable, high voltage", and his own proprietary indicator.   The first cable was a disaster.   It took nearly a whole day to transmit Queen Victoria's congratulations to President Buchanan, a message of fewer than 100 words.

The designer, Edward Whitehouse, thought that using even more voltage on the cable would improve things, and he ended up burning it out.   It had lasted for just 3 weeks.

After the Civil War, it was attempted again, and this time the cable company relied on the advice of someone relatively competent (William Thomson) to design the cable, and it was a huge success.   Instead of a speed of about 0.1 words per minute like the 1858 cable, the 1866 cables* worked fine, with a speed of between 10 and 12 words per minute with rival designer William Thompson's sensitive mirror galvanometer.

Point being, even if the scientific process fails initially, when you try to put your theories into practice, the Universe will biatch-slap you unmercifully if your theories are incorrect.

By the way, even after the success of the new cables Whitehouse was convinced that he was still correct and that there was some kind of conspiracy to spread calumnies against him.

Oh, and William Thomson is probably better known by the sobriquet Lord Kelvin.

*They had paid out a cable in 1865, but it had broken in mid-Atlantic.  They tried again in 1866 and were successful, and they grappled the 1865 cable, tested it, found it was good, and spliced it to some new cable, so there were 2 working cables by the end of 1866.
 
2020-09-29 8:33:29 AM  

dragonchild: yohohogreengiant: a physicists who worked on hardening packages against EMP and did actual testing... On the range back in the 50s. He had absolutely no farks left to give and taught the class like any physics class.
If he had a career in the 1950s I can't imagine he's alive today, but if he was, imagine what he'd feel about the direction America's going now.  Hoh-lee crap.


If he was teaching in the 1950's, he probably saw the disruption of the late 1960's/early 1970's, and would be having deja vu now if still alive.
 
2020-09-29 8:43:19 AM  

syrynxx: He said about 1/3 of current experiments at Fermilab were aimed at disproving current theories or testing new ideas.


What were the other 2/3 for?
 
2020-09-29 8:52:37 AM  

Atomic Jonb: syrynxx: He said about 1/3 of current experiments at Fermilab were aimed at disproving current theories or testing new ideas.

What were the other 2/3 for?


Trying to get laid.
 
2020-09-29 9:04:01 AM  
i do not have to go beyond today's headlines to prove that the stakes have never been higher, and the speed of technological revolution has never been faster. The need for rigor and skepticism SHOULD be high.

Today, we have systems that can quickly allocate VAST, unprecedented amounts of capital, the seed corn of humanity, and focus it on development of ideas, infrastructure, processes, materials, etc. An idea that makes cracking crude oil 1% more efficient is worth many billions of dollars per year, and for good reason. A better strain of rice could feed a billion more people and prevent war and strife lasting for generations. Better springs. More flexible plastics. Cheaper building materials. Better, faster, cheaper virus testing. We need it all and we need it fast. R and D have received a huge boost from the internet.

So new ideas are needed, but misallocation of trillions of dollars today to dead end technologies, specifically exotic and wasteful batteries to make toys for rich people to impress their girlfriends, might lead to a wasteful disaster. is more consumption the answer? Can't we use less energy by making lighter, somewhat slower vehicles, rather than heavy fast ones? Why aren't scientists as excited about EVs as certain car enthusiasts and bankers are? Has fracking been a boon or a calamity? Nuclear power has become dominated by politics. Maybe it needs another try, or maybe it was a blind alley technology.

So science SHOULD be conservative sometimes, and slow us down rather than just providing new ways to kill ourselves with cadmium, lead, or plutonium. We also need to protect the seed corn of capital for development of the best ways to support future generations.

In the long run, engineers and economists and politicians are all going to have to do their jobs to move progress along, but scientists have to be the front line in examining and testing new ideas, and rejecting them if necessary. Humanity does not have time to try out full-scale global rollouts of every dumb idea that comes down the pike. Good ideas that have been critiqued and tested and proven are what we need, and only scientists can do that service for humanity.

/ send more scientists
// skeptical is better
/// dumb ideas will always be plentiful
 
2020-09-29 9:08:16 AM  

Atomic Jonb: syrynxx: He said about 1/3 of current experiments at Fermilab were aimed at disproving current theories or testing new ideas.

What were the other 2/3 for?


Measuring parameters of old theories with a significant digit or two more than before.
 
2020-09-29 9:08:50 AM  

JasonOfOrillia: No, your perpetual motion device isn't really a perpetual motion device.


Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-09-29 9:10:05 AM  
You can come up with new ideas. Just be prepared to show your work.
 
2020-09-29 9:11:38 AM  

JasonOfOrillia: No, your perpetual motion device isn't really a perpetual motion device.


I've developed a perpetual inertia device.  It comes with an ironclad warranty*.  Once set in motion, it's guaranteed to stay in motion, and if set at rest, it's guaranteed to stay at rest.

*Warranty void if perpetual inertial device is acted upon by an outside force.
 
2020-09-29 9:13:08 AM  

Abe Vigoda's Ghost: You can come up with new ideas. Just be prepared to show your work.


Last time I did that I got 6 months and a restraining order.
 
2020-09-29 9:17:00 AM  

bloobeary: Science doesn't care. Science is about repeatable tests, and reproducible results.

If your latest pet theory flies in the face of established data, expect nobody to take it seriously until you have some results that can be tested and confirmed, repeatedly.


lol.  Sure jan.  Try working in "science" sometime.

"Science" is mainly academia.  It only cares about reputation.  There are a lot of "big dogs" who are famous in their community because they got their name attached to a theory.  Anytime a new theory or set of data comes out that threatens their theory's supremacy they will go on the attack.  Anything to keep themselves on top of the pile for another day.

It's only been going on for 500  years.
 
2020-09-29 9:18:50 AM  

bloobeary: Science doesn't care. Science is about repeatable tests, and reproducible results.

If your latest pet theory flies in the face of established data, expect nobody to take it seriously until you have some results that can be tested and confirmed, repeatedly.


Now explain why we still use mice to test medicine when we know the data is almost useless.
 
2020-09-29 9:22:23 AM  
Very few ducks are scientists.  However...
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-09-29 10:03:39 AM  

KerwoodDerby: Paul Dirac observed that scientific progress proceeds through a series of funerals, meaning that one must wait for older holders of consensus to die before the consensus can change. I'd like to think that science today has outgrown that, but I still can't be sure.


I can attest that's the case in hematology, looking at you Factor IIa. All the papers are from the same group and when I came in to do researcher I saw some very obvious flaws, but was instantly smacked down because it wasn't the accepted theory. I didn't bother putting up a fight because it was so niche and I had better things to do.
 
2020-09-29 10:38:46 AM  
Yes.
 
2020-09-29 10:57:27 AM  

dragonchild: yohohogreengiant: a physicists who worked on hardening packages against EMP and did actual testing... On the range back in the 50s. He had absolutely no farks left to give and taught the class like any physics class.
If he had a career in the 1950s I can't imagine he's alive today, but if he was, imagine what he'd feel about the direction America's going now.  Hoh-lee crap.


He was about to retire (yet again) back in '88, so yeah, Doc Collins is safely dead. Great teacher though.
 
2020-09-29 10:57:48 AM  
My first thought was the hyperloop. Hype it all you want but it's still never going to happen. The only way it can be made safe is to get rid of the vacuum tube part, then it's just a farking train.
 
2020-09-29 11:04:49 AM  
Remember the Australian doctor who showed that there was a definite link between h. pylori bacterial infections and ulcers? He showed that you could treat most ulcers with a course of antibiotics, and ended up winning a Nobel for it. This was simple, basic science, but contrary to the common "wisdom."

Even after his work was becoming known and accepted, I saw him give a presentation, and the doctors (mostly active researchers) were having none of it. They were yelling, and some of them were just flat threatening, because "science" had proven it was stress (and only stress) that caused ulcers.
 
2020-09-29 11:09:26 AM  
The average HUMAN is an ego driven chimp, even if they have a PhD. They will behave the same in science as they do in business.
once you are the "reigning champ" with the theory that works best and is currently accepted but still awaiting a proof.
They typical human in that position will basiaclly do whatever they can to shiat on any up and coming theory that would unseat theirs as the currently accepted reality.

They are not interested in what is true or good for all of us, their position and prestige and status is what matters to them. They will suppress the truth and undermine advancements in knowledge made by others, just so we can all ignorantly continue to believe they are correct.


All humans should be assumed to fall on the same bell curve.
Don't call a human by any other label than, human, and you won't forge it.

That's not a "scientist" running under some other model of behavior, that's a human, the same model applies.
Not landing center of bell for human behavior is the exception, not the expectation.
 
2020-09-29 12:34:26 PM  

cirby: Remember the Australian doctor who showed that there was a definite link between h. pylori bacterial infections and ulcers? He showed that you could treat most ulcers with a course of antibiotics, and ended up winning a Nobel for it. This was simple, basic science, but contrary to the common "wisdom."

Even after his work was becoming known and accepted, I saw him give a presentation, and the doctors (mostly active researchers) were having none of it. They were yelling, and some of them were just flat threatening, because "science" had proven it was stress (and only stress) that caused ulcers.


We should also not forget that a gentleman's hands are clean.
 
2020-09-29 1:03:24 PM  

cirby: Even after his work was becoming known and accepted, I saw him give a presentation, and the doctors (mostly active researchers) were having none of it.

"Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded."
 
2020-09-29 3:24:28 PM  
Private-Public Partnerships guarantee that the successful scientists are the ones who refine old ideas instead of testing new ones. In other words, engineers. If you want science, then the only structure we have for it nowadays is public funding. At least some sciences like botany, paleontology, ethology, physical geography, can make discoveries, and challenge paradigms, using old fashioned equipment. But neuroscience, chemistry, physics, astronomy, anatomy, biology, aerospace, are not capable of getting the funding they need for challenging the ideas that are making money for the private sector without seriously state-of-the-art tools.

So the answer depends on how much poverty you want for the entire realm of science.
 
2020-09-29 3:46:27 PM  
As someone who's worked with some of the best (still living, and some who have gone before us), I can say that I've never met a world-class scientist who was set in their ways.

Have you ever met a doctor who had been in the same spot for 20 years, and is prescribing medication that was the standard 30 years ago?  That may be the kind of 'scientist,' you ran into.

Maybe they are great at classical mechanics equations, so they are kept for that reason.  But you can't expect them to be useful for something outside of their specialty.  You need a different breed of scientist to be working on truly difficult problems.
The problem is that people come up with ideas, and think they're really on to something, but they aren't aware there's already a scientist from 200 years ago with his name on the thing.  "No, really, Millikan did that oil drop experiment already.  We're pretty sure about that quantized value.  Does your new theory explain why he got that result and explain some unresolved issues, without violating any broadly repeated experimental results?"


The answer is almost always 'No.'  But if you can show that Millikan missed something, and that scientist can go back and measure it himself and match your result, you'll have his attention. For real.  Because you don't get your name on something unless it's new.
 
2020-09-29 3:58:12 PM  

cirby: Remember the Australian doctor who showed that there was a definite link between h. pylori bacterial infections and ulcers? He showed that you could treat most ulcers with a course of antibiotics, and ended up winning a Nobel for it. This was simple, basic science, but contrary to the common "wisdom."

Even after his work was becoming known and accepted, I saw him give a presentation, and the doctors (mostly active researchers) were having none of it. They were yelling, and some of them were just flat threatening, because "science" had proven it was stress (and only stress) that caused ulcers.


The field of medicine is incredibly young, and full of people who suffer from a God complex like no other fields that I know of.  However, the research Doctors I've met and discussed cancer treatments with, were not closed minded at all.  Most of the idiot-level behavior came from doctors that had never been outside of their office before.
 
2020-09-29 4:03:47 PM  

aungen: As someone who's worked with some of the best (still living, and some who have gone before us), I can say that I've never met a world-class scientist who was set in their ways.


Fun fact: Nowhere near "most" scientists are "world class".

/Pretty much by definition even
 
2020-09-29 4:05:27 PM  

DerAppie: aungen: As someone who's worked with some of the best (still living, and some who have gone before us), I can say that I've never met a world-class scientist who was set in their ways.

Fun fact: Nowhere near "most" scientists are "world class".

/Pretty much by definition even


You may not realize how many of them there are.
 
2020-09-29 4:13:01 PM  
Lets look at a company I used to work for, as an example.  It is a multinational corporation of about 500k employees.  About 30k of those are engineers, and they employ about 1000 scientists.  Of those ,they break down into categories, of which 200 are world-class.

Now this is a German engineering company, so they don't let just anyone take a position like that.  But that's 200 people doing experiments, advising, teaching and training, and supporting projects across the entire planet.  And that's just one company.

If you look at the South Pole base, we have multiple countries sending some of their best particle physicists to help work on the project.  Some 40 people, out of 200 during the summer months, many of whom have since won numerous awards.

Now I'm working with a group that's far larger than either of those, but with a lot more people like the ones being described here.  They tend to be very good at their little thing, and kept in a pocket and only brought out when that is needed.  You shouldn't even bother approaching them with your ideas, anyway.  They cant handle it and will treat you ... like that.

But within this effort are FAR more than 200.  Easily over 1000 of the best of the best.  Mostly brain-drained from other places.
 
2020-09-29 4:15:55 PM  

aungen: DerAppie: aungen: As someone who's worked with some of the best (still living, and some who have gone before us), I can say that I've never met a world-class scientist who was set in their ways.

Fun fact: Nowhere near "most" scientists are "world class".

/Pretty much by definition even

You may not realize how many of them there are.


That hardly matters when talking about proportions. So yeah, world class scientists might not be predisposed to sticking with their pet theories, but "world class" X are supposed to be the best at X. You can have a lot of them. By definition it can't even be half of them.

So if we have a shiatload of "world class" scientists, then there are a lot more who aren't "world class" but happen to be famous because one of their theories kinda sorta worked. If that enters the zeitgeist of the field, it can, will, and has, definitely affect(ed) the acceptance of competing theories.

/Unless we're really stretching "the best at" to include "of average skill"
 
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