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Science under attack
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/20...cy?INTCMP=SRCH

grim, from t'other side of scientific developments
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this is the most telling:
"It has taken the scientific community a long time to realise what it is up against," says Oreskes. "In the past, it thought the problem was just a matter of education. All its practitioners had to do was make an effort to reach out and talk to teachers, the public and business leaders. Then these people would see the issues and understand the need for action.

"But now they are beginning to realise what they are really up against: massive organised attempts to undermine scientific data by people for whom that data represents a threat to their status quo. Given the power of these people, scientists will have their work cut out dealing with them."


It's a massive problem because the forces of stupidity are immune to reason and facts, so dialogue is pointless but you can't ignore them either because they have so much money behind them.
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Accurate Simpsons quote from 500th episode "Humanity is in an inexorable upward march ... or it was until the year 2000"
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Just like what happened to Dr Nutt.
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the americans are really driving this scary shit
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America : Religious Theocracy -> Atomic Bomb -> Man on the Moon -> The Internet -> Religious Theocracy
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Scientist- "Lots of big words. extremely cautious on predictions. Lots of use of the word probablity."

Denialist- "Its crap. Make up stuff on why it's crap"

Scientist- "Lots of big words on why that isn't true. extremely cautious on predictions. Lots of use of the word probablity."

Denialist- "See, told you it's crap."

When Scientists talk to the general public, they use the same language as when they are talking to other scientists. Other scientists understand what they are saying, the public doesn't. It's sounds like uncertainty, waffle, and spin.
Hey hey, you can change this shit again. Only a couple of years late.
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Or to put it another way

Is climate change real?

Yes

Should we do something about it?

Yes

Is that going to be really hard?

Yes

----------------------------------------

Is climate change real?

No

So what should we do?

Nothing

------------------------------------------

See that?

I just solved climate change.
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Maybe it just needs a Richard Dawkins to go in swinging

example:
here is Howard Stern ripping Glen Beck a new orifice (in absentia)
not that scientific but it's probably more effective because of that
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Scientists and other Academics are largely responsible for the problems they are facing with a population that treats science like magic with holy men they can pick and choose to follow based on what outcome they would prefer to be true.

Given it's scientists and academics responsible for creating our education system and staffing it, they really have no-one but themselves to blame for the fact they intentionally don't bother teaching people logic, critical thinking or the benefits of skeptical scientific thought till people make it to University (some of those don't even bother till you start to do honours).

Then they wonder why the populations high-school and TAFE graduates can't follow logic, think rationally or understand why the scientific method is important.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Griggle View Post

Given it's scientists and academics responsible for creating our education system and staffing it

I think you're being unfair, It's the scientist's primary role to do science, they have a duty to present their findings, they might have a moral duty to educate the public at large, but it there's only so much you can say to people who don't want to listen, and there's the media gate to the public to negotiate as well, which is why those chaps started 'the conversation'
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Yeah, most universities do put their number one priority as being Research rather than education but there isn't a university on the planet that doesn't include education as one of its institutional goals.

Maybe it's more the Education and Teaching academics that are to blame as they have the biggest role in developing the curriculums and teaching techniques used by teachers who are trained at universities, but academics from pretty much every field of study are involved in the development of curriculums.

Sure they can claim their job is primarily research but when a major institutional goal of every university on the planet is educating people enough that they can understand the research the science boffins are coming up with, it's a little weak for those same academics to complain that the average person isn't educated enough to understand what they are talking about.

I'm not apportioning blame so much as saying the tools for remedying the problem are in the hands of academics and they should probably have a little bit of a rethink of the priorities of the institutions they are members of if they are failing to communicate to the general population.

Imagine the difference if we started teaching kids to think for themselves and to use logic and reason in Year 8 rather than University. You wouldn't even have to go too far in depth on the topics just enough that they wouldn't be operating under the Dunning Kruger effect when it comes to logic and reasoning.

As much fun as it is using Dunning and Kruger to make ad hominem attacks on people, I think a large element of that paper that was ignored by most people that reference it is they also demonstrated the effect could be nearly totally eradicated simply by showing people how to do basic problems in the field being tested.

If the general population thinks they understand science better than scientists, Ipso Facto: the problem is scientists aren't providing basic education to people on the science in question.

Once people understand enough about a topic to realise they don't know much about it they would be more inclined to listen to people who do know a lot about it.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Griggle View Post

Given it's scientists and academics responsible for creating our education system and staffing it, they really have no-one but themselves to blame for the fact they intentionally don't bother teaching people logic, critical thinking or the benefits of skeptical scientific thought till people make it to University (some of those don't even bother till you start to do honours).

Then they wonder why the populations high-school and TAFE graduates can't follow logic, think rationally or understand why the scientific method is important.

Excuse me? Scientists and Academics are responsible for the creation of our education system including secondary and primary? I thought that was the province of Teachers and Bureaucracy. Sure you have a minor input from various fields of psychology but come on now, creating our education system? I think you'll find that curriculum direction comes largely from senior teachers at the curriculum council. Academic input is most likely going to be restricted to 'what would be best to teach those that do wish to enter university' and filtered through 3 layers of bureaucracy from there. I sincerely doubt anyone is looking for academic input, specifically from science disciplines, on non-university entrance streams and would be very surprised if scientific thought was a priority for year 8-10 students in the eyes of teachers, who are ultimately responsible for what actually occurs in the classroom. Moreover I think you'll find that university academics, especially in science and maths fields, do lobby government and the curriculum council to provide more focus on logical reasoning and critical thinking. In an age of NAPLAN testing, do you think this is the priority for teachers and the education department?

I appreciate the idea that scientists in influential positions should call for greater emphasis on scientific education, however I completely disagree with the notion that they have the power to drastically affect the way our education system functions. Or that it is a creation of the scientific community.


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Originally Posted by Griggle View Post

Once people understand enough about a topic to realise they don't know much about it they would be more inclined to listen to people who do know a lot about it.

This I completely agree with. Despite a science background, it's something I have to apply often enough.

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Originally Posted by B_e_de View Post

It's the same as going out on a busy street and looking at the people around you, most of them are fgts.

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In a mild change to an earlier comment, perhaps the public are weary of made-up stats (that email scandal where an institution was found to have made-up/enhanced a few figures) and outlandish statements (Antartica will be gone within the next 10 years)

The pro-climate change scientists aren't helping themselves with stuff like that.

Plus not treating sceptics as if questioning stuff was somehow tantamount to heresy. The feeling that the climate change bunch are close to evangelical Christians in their fervent belief in their cause is putting a lot of people off-side.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Dubz View Post

1.In a mild change to an earlier comment, perhaps the public are weary of made-up stats (that email scandal where an institution was found to have made-up/enhanced a few figures) and outlandish statements (Antartica will be gone within the next 10 years)

The pro-climate change scientists aren't helping themselves with stuff like that.

2. Plus not treating sceptics as if questioning stuff was somehow tantamount to heresy. The feeling that the climate change bunch are close to evangelical Christians in their fervent belief in their cause is putting a lot of people off-side.

Oy vey.

1. They didn't make up stats. There have been several reviews since then that have cleared the scientists involved of any fraudulent behaviour.

No one has made any such statement about Antarctica either. There was a reference in one of the last IPCC reports about the Himalayan icecaps melting in 20 years or something as such. The IPCC admitted their fact-checking error, removed it, and apologised. Interestingly there was about 700 other scientific assertions made in that report, and none have found to be incorrect (from what I've read about it anyway).

2. It is when the sceptics are you or buffed or Barnaby Joyce all of whom have nfi about the science (I have not much myself but I'm not the one disputing scientific projections based on nothing other than the feeling that AGW is somehow some Marxist plot to destroy capitalism) that you are dismissed. Scientists such as Professors Plimer and Carter didn't have their views sneered at at first. It was only after they had been debunked many times yet continued to claim things that were demonstrably false that the sneers started to happen.

Professor Carter (both he and Plimer are geologists ostensibly) has submitted just one paper for peer-review on his disputation of the effects of AGW which was reviewed and refuted due to him adding up his own figures incorrectly.

About the only person who had any credibility in the skeptic camp was Prof. Richard Lindzen, an atmospheric physicist at MIT, but his calculations were also shown to be demontrably incorrect. Which isn't surprising as it was later revealed that he had accepted significant sums of money to consult with the oil and coal industries, and that OPEC funded his one paper which attempted to debunk the AGW theory.

It's funny how the smear that climate scientists cop every time is that they are somehow concocting figures to prove the effects of AGW so they can reap the windfall of research cash from governments. Yet it is casually dismissed that the smears are generally generated and dissemeniated by the people who stand to lose the most from a global change to energy sources supply. Those people being the oil, gas, and coal industry bigwigs.

Much better to doubt the motives of those filthy rich climate scientists rather than those povvo fossil fuel execs ay?

I feel stupid though because I'm sure you've already got the skinny on all of this, innit?
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Quote:

Originally Posted by YossarianIsSane View Post

I appreciate the idea that scientists in influential positions should call for greater emphasis on scientific education, however I completely disagree with the notion that they have the power to drastically affect the way our education system functions. Or that it is a creation of the scientific community.

Is science the exception? Historians could be argued to play that part in society.
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Wasnt the whole point of the article more to do with the political climate of america at the moment, and the rightwing mentality that is pushing science backwards, or at least, trying to convey a lack of importance in terms of scientific data, evidence and facts?
And how big corporations are also gaining traction and drowning out scientific research with their own botched 'everything is fine, CONSUME MORE' ethos?? Or did i read the wrong thing??
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Yeah, basically Corporations and the Wealthy need to increase their $$$ and anything that gets in the way (like scientists pointing out they are ruining the planet) must be sidelined or destroyed. Eternal Consumption Engine. Eternal Consumption Engine. Eternal Consumption Engine.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by dbb618 View Post

Yeah, basically Corporations and the Wealthy need to increase their $$$ and anything that gets in the way (like scientists pointing out they are ruining the planet) must be sidelined or destroyed. Eternal Consumption Engine. Eternal Consumption Engine. Eternal Consumption Engine.

Seems like the climate change bunch are happy to use any means as well

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/cl...221-1tlv1.html
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yeah the climate change bunch, those nerds
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http://thinkprogress.org/green/2012/...and-institute/

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I bet the Germans, who are paying an extra $250 on average every year for their electricity due to policies which have completely failed and were cooked up by "scientists and experts", wish someone put those "scientists and experts" feet to the fire.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by smorchika View Post

Wasnt the whole point of the article more to do with the political climate of america at the moment, and the rightwing mentality that is pushing science backwards, or at least, trying to convey a lack of importance in terms of scientific data, evidence and facts?
And how big corporations are also gaining traction and drowning out scientific research with their own botched 'everything is fine, CONSUME MORE' ethos?? Or did i read the wrong thing??

While its mainly the far right that is challenging climate change, its the far left that is at war with genetically engineered food.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Abziie View Post

I bet the Germans, who are paying an extra $250 on average every year for their electricity due to policies which have completely failed and were cooked up by "scientists and experts", wish someone put those "scientists and experts" feet to the fire.

as someone who has been to germany 20 or so times and speaks to friends/family there all the time, I can tell you they are themost part stoked with the electricity generation being so green and proud to be ahead of the rest of the planet.
And by failed do you mean the fact that they are looking like being at 100% renewable by 2030 is a fail is it?
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There are a lot of useful idiots for people like the Kochs.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by jdoodle View Post

And by failed do you mean the fact that they are looking like being at 100% renewable by 2030 is a fail is it?

$130 Billion in solar subsidies for less that 0.5% of total energy production.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Dubz View Post

Seems like the climate change bunch are happy to use any means as well

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/cl...221-1tlv1.html

lol your efforts to "demonize" climate change scientists are pitiful....

"ohhh look ZOMG, a scientist pretended to be someone else to obtain some documents about a US think tank. Oh look ZOMG, a lonely email contained some evidence that maybe a single result in a single study was slightly exaggerated. ZOMG climate change science is tricksy and false. You can't trust those heathens"

These incidents are isolated and they stand out like a grain of salt on a white sandy beach where the rest of the sand is bona fide research all pointing to the same conclusion. These trivial incidents are all but forgotten except by people like you whom have have got nothing.

Meanwhile, the climate change denial machine owns multibillion dollar media enterprises such as Foxnews and are buying up more in order to sway public opinion. They present and publish outright lies and propaganda on a regular basis. You have climate change deniers whom represent the biggest multinational corporation in the history of mankind literally saying that the entire thing.... 40+yrs of scientific research amounting to thousands upon thousands of published articles in a wide variety of disciplines, is all a conspiracy and a hoax?

Fuck dubz, you srsly need to get some perspective and a grip on reality.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Abziie View Post

$130 Billion in solar subsidies for less that 0.5% of total energy production.

I call bullshit, back that number up sport
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http://www.spiegel.de/international/...809439,00.html

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_a...ubsidies_.html
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The problem Germany is having is that their Solar lobby is so strong they are ignoring other forms of renewable energy production. Add that to the fact that Germany is pretty cloudy and they have gone to far in one direction.

From that Spiegel article

Quote:

The relationships are just the reverse for wind energy. For the same cost, wind supplies at least five times as much electricity as solar, while hydroelectric power plants generate six times as much. Even biomass plants are still three times as efficient as solar. Because of the poor electricity yield, solar energy production also saves little in the way of harmful carbon dioxide emissions, especially compared to other possible subsidization programs. To avoid a ton of CO2 emissions, one can spend €5 on insulating the roof of an old building, invest €20 in a new gas-fired power plant or sink about €500 into a new solar energy system.

But that's there. In places like Africa or here, we have a large amount of available sunlight so it would make more sense to go more solar. Germany should be adding more wind power to their generation.
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cheers, interesting articles
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Good articles!

I'm actually in favour of finding different sources of energy, mainly to stop us being so reliant on the middle east and Russia, but so far the ones that are touted around the place are astonishingly wasteful.

The massive investment in wind farms in the UK has done fuck all for energy production in that country, and Germany is having similar issues with its solar.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Abziie View Post

I bet the Germans, who are paying an extra $250 on average every year for their electricity due to policies which have completely failed and were cooked up by "scientists and experts", wish someone put those "scientists and experts" feet to the fire.

It's bureaucrats and politicians who make decisions not scientists
and what profession is an "expert"?
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Dubz View Post

Good articles!

I'm actually in favour of finding different sources of energy, mainly to stop us being so reliant on the middle east and Russia, but so far the ones that are touted around the place are astonishingly wasteful.

The massive investment in wind farms in the UK has done fuck all for energy production in that country, and Germany is having similar issues with its solar.

Hydro and wind power now account for 27% of energy use in Scotland. Not generation capacity - use.

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Originally Posted by gotamangina View Post

I hate it when you're right and I'm not.

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Also - lol at putting peoples feet to the fire over 68 cents a day.

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Originally Posted by gotamangina View Post

I hate it when you're right and I'm not.

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Don't worry guys, baby jesus won't let the world go to hell.

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Reminds me of this Chomsky article I read last week:

Quote:

Shortly before the US Department of Energy reported the most recent carbon dioxide emissions figures, which "jumped by the biggest amount on record" to a level higher than the worst-case scenario anticipated by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). That came as no surprise to many scientists, including the MIT program on climate change, which for years has warned that the IPCC predictions are too conservative.

Such critics of the IPCC predictions receive virtually no public attention, unlike the fringe of denialists who are supported by the corporate sector, along with huge propaganda campaigns that have driven Americans off the international spectrum in dismissal of the threats. Business support also translates directly to political power. Denialism is part of the catechism that must be intoned by Republican candidates in the farcical election campaign now in progress, and in Congress, they are powerful enough to abort even efforts to inquire into the effects of global warming, let alone do anything serious about it.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...e-noam-chomsky
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That solar subsidy is about 4.6 cents a kWh per person.

You can't expect policy mediated growth of these industries to occur in some kind of perfectly linear, perfectly demand-matched fashion. It will be lumpy, there will be policy failures, companies will fail. There will oversupply due to people with entrepeneurial spirit and there will be under supply due to technology supply scaling problems. But you need to look much further ahead. Consider 2030, not 2012.

There will continue to be critics of renewable technology who use every short term problem to prove its not viable. Meanwhile renewable capacity continues to grow, but not fast enough globally.

Who here thinks that when a new base load thermal power station is built it runs at full capacity as soon as it's commissioned. Who here doesn't know that our base load thermal power stations run at excess capacity every night?
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The photo voltaic industry is not a great example to look at anyway because it is so screwed up, it's like a breaking wave about to crash and there will be much carnage.
While all this brouhaha with feed in tariffs and other subsidies is going on, wholesale prices for solar panels are now down to $0.70/W!! which bizarrely makes it the cheapest form of electricity generation, but that is simply not sustainable.
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Originally Posted by horst View Post

The photo voltaic industry is not a great example to look at anyway because it is so screwed up, it's like a breaking wave about to crash and there will be much carnage.
While all this brouhaha with feed in tariffs and other subsidies is going on, wholesale prices for solar panels are now down to $0.70/W!! which bizarrely makes it the cheapest form of electricity generation, but that is simply not sustainable.

Yeah I just see this as early days. We are still watching the birth of all of this relatively speaking. Think of the war of the currents.
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what profession is an "expert"?

Isn't it a euphemism for anyone you don't know who is wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase?

Or is that a consultant?
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Originally Posted by Griggle View Post

Isn't it a euphemism for anyone you don't know who is wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase?

Or is that a consultant?

the guy who will con you out of money while insulting you?
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Originally Posted by claude glass View Post

Yeah I just see this as early days. We are still watching the birth of all of this relatively speaking. Think of the war of the currents.

I think there is an interesting future ahead because the cheap prices have spurned other industries, was just reading about a swiss company that are going to manufacture affordable batteries for self storage of solar power, and I'm really taken by a roofing system that foregoes tiles and consists only of PV panels which makes them even cheaper when building new and without the shanty town aesthetic.
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One of the problems I think that are bringing us to the "Dark Ages" - a phrase I've used before, too - is the proliferation of bad science being published. There have been so many peer review problems that the process is practically worth nothing. Well, maybe that's an exaggeration...
However, it's possible to download articles that have been published in reputable journals, and then discover, after a careful read, that the statistical method was completely flawed and the conclusions are bunk.
I just read an article today which highlights some of this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...ion-healthcare although i believe theese refer to unpublished articles.
I worry for the future. Most people either don't know how, or don't bother, to check the methods of published research - they take it all on face value, and even worse, let it inform their opinion.
It concerns me that so many people simply take things on face value.
What griggle said about our society losing the critical faculty is bang on.
I did a little internet experiment once regarding an article I found that was rooted in bad science and, well, bullshit. The top result was snopes proving it was rubbish. After that single result, there were hundreds and hundreds of different sites, which had copied and pasted the article as gospel truth. I think this aspect of it is a problem essentially with lazy thinking, rather than an issue at an academic level. However, lazy thinking is starting to become endemic. It's a problem.
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Last edited by becy: 19-Mar-12 at 09:00pm

Reason: removed appalling use of word "literally"

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Originally Posted by becy View Post

One of the problems I think that are bringing us to the "Dark Ages" - a phrase I've used before, too - is the proliferation of bad science being published. There have been so many peer review problems that the process is practically worth nothing. Well, maybe that's an exaggeration...
However, it's possible to download articles that have been published in reputable journals, and then discover, after a careful read, that the statistical method was completely flawed and the conclusions are bunk.
I just read an article today which highlights some of this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...ion-healthcare although i believe theese refer to unpublished articles.
I worry for the future. Most people either don't know how, or don't bother, to check the methods of published research - they take it all on face value, and even worse, let it inform their opinion.
It concerns me that so many people simply take things on face value.
What griggle said about our society losing the critical faculty is bang on.
I did a little internet experiment once regarding an article I found that was rooted in bad science and, well, bullshit. The top result was snopes proving it was rubbish. After that single result, there were literally hundreds and hundreds of different sites, which had copied and pasted the article as gospel truth. I think this aspect of it is a problem essentially with lazy thinking, rather than an issue at an academic level. However, lazy thinking is starting to become endemic. It's a problem.

No, that is not the problem at all. The problem is a rejection of scientism, the rejection of enlightment thinking, in part because science has brought problems. It has nothing to do with occassionally published poor science. Poor science was always there and it never before caused this crisis of confidence.

There are conservative elements, largely conservative voters, pushing this notion of post-normal science. we have the rebirth of creationism, feeding off a loss of confidence and a loss of intellectual rigour. Do not blame the scientists, except that they need to understand the notion of science is being eroded by the manipulation of folkloric ignorance.
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*shrugs*

I don't agree. Poor science is not being published "occasionally". It's happening all the time and it's worse now than it was, say, around forty years ago. If science can't get itself together to be intellectually rigorous about what it calls acceptable research methods, then why should anyone outside the scientific community respect its findings?
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Originally Posted by becy View Post

*shrugs*

I don't agree. Poor science is not being published "occasionally". It's happening all the time and it's worse now than it was, say, around forty years ago. If science can't get itself together to be intellectually rigorous about what it calls acceptable research methods, then why should anyone outside the scientific community respect its findings?

Prove to me there is a higher percentage of rubbish being published now than 40 years ago. If you are able to do that you have an amazing grasp of the quantum of science being published.

You know how spinach is a great source of iron? Big mistake in a science publication. Popeye could never bulge those biceps the way he did.

You need to to justify this statement, or you simply prove my point.
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How can I prove it to you unequivocally? I suspect that's impossible.

I can show you some evidence though.

The number of retractions per 100,000 papers published has increased by this much....

http://pmretract.heroku.com/byyear

I don't need an "amazing grasp of the quantum of science being published" (thanks for the laugh at that unbearably pompous phrase btw!). I just need to have a look on the net, because someone else, as always has thought of it first.
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You're off trying to find evidence of the exact opposite of what I'm saying, am i right? the thing is, you'll probably find it.

Which proves my point.

Also, you haven't addressed my assertion that if people knew how to critically THINK, they would be empowered to accept science on the basis that they approach it from a learned and practised rational point of view, rather than an emotional one.
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Last edited by becy: 19-Mar-12 at 09:52pm

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Quote:

Originally Posted by becy View Post

How can I prove it to you unequivocally? I suspect that's impossible.

I can show you some evidence though.

The number of retractions per 100,000 papers published has increased by this much....

http://pmretract.heroku.com/byyear

I don't need an "amazing grasp of the quantum of science being published" (thanks for the laugh at that unbearably pompous phrase btw!). I just need to have a look on the net, because someone else, as always has thought of it first.

If you can't prove it then you shouldn't make such bold statements. Are you a scientist becy? Because if you are you perhaps put forward a good supporting argument. Because this sample of 20 publications is not sufficiently representative, and doesn't actually support your argument. why?

1. There is no information on the methodology used.

2. 20 journals is not a sufficient sample size.

3. The graph actually shows a declining % of retractions over the time period with a peak in the last few years.

4. Retractions are actually the system working. what you want to look for is papers not retracted that should be retracted.

This is the problem. You think I'm pompous. I think you think googling gives you greater insight than scientists. And this is one of the problems
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