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Science can be corrupted
Posted: 10 October 2013 11:44 AM   [ Ignore ]
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economist article on how science can be corrupted for personal gain.

http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21587197-it-seems-dangerously-easy-get-scientific-nonsense-published-sciences-sokal

This shows that some scientists are no less corruptible than some preachers, and many scientific publishers are no better than some religious organizations.

It just means we are all human and many of us often use our skills and training for the betterment of our own selves rather than the benefit of general society, even if it means we are being dishonest.

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Posted: 10 October 2013 05:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I agree that it’s a problem, but I’m going to be a bit of a nit-picker.  Certainly some scientists can be corrupted, but science, by definition, can’t be corrupted.  As soon as some crap is slipped in, it’s no longer really science.  I know my concern seems minor, but the fundamentalist theists love to get their hands on anything like this to denigrate science as a whole.

Occam

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Posted: 10 October 2013 06:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Occam. - 10 October 2013 05:45 PM

I agree that it’s a problem, but I’m going to be a bit of a nit-picker.  Certainly some scientists can be corrupted, but science, by definition, can’t be corrupted.  As soon as some crap is slipped in, it’s no longer really science.  I know my concern seems minor, but the fundamentalist theists love to get their hands on anything like this to denigrate science as a whole.

Occam

I agree. saying science can be corrupted is like saying religion can be corrupted or politics. Parts of any human-created organization will be corrupted as long as there are fallible people. The whole organization doesn’t become corrupted because of a few bad apples. As for science, it is self-correcting, religion and politics are not.

Lois

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Posted: 11 October 2013 10:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Occam. - 10 October 2013 05:45 PM

I agree that it’s a problem, but I’m going to be a bit of a nit-picker.  Certainly some scientists can be corrupted, but science, by definition, can’t be corrupted.  As soon as some crap is slipped in, it’s no longer really science.  I know my concern seems minor, but the fundamentalist theists love to get their hands on anything like this to denigrate science as a whole.

Occam

I agree with this statement. Science can’t be f### with.

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Posted: 11 October 2013 01:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I am kind of curious to know who the author of the article is.
If the author is a journalist and not a scientist, they may not be very well grounded in how professional editing is done. (Though the example documented are quite obviously bad).

The economist is a news source, which may at times not always give the full story.
See
http://stopbsl.org/fortherecord/scientific-studies/  (this may not be an academic source either but it does higlighy my point )

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Posted: 12 October 2013 06:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Fortunately, science has such a jaw-dropping record of accomplishment and advancement that Occam’s point is not in serious dispute among the well-informed.

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Posted: 13 October 2013 04:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I.J. Abdul Hakeem - 11 October 2013 01:34 PM

I am kind of curious to know who the author of the article is.
If the author is a journalist and not a scientist, they may not be very well grounded in how professional editing is done. (Though the example documented are quite obviously bad).

The economist is a news source, which may at times not always give the full story.
See
http://stopbsl.org/fortherecord/scientific-studies/  (this may not be an academic source either but it does higlighy my point )

It was most likely written by an editorial staff member, otherwise it would have had a by-line. It reads more like an editorial than a scientific piece.  You could always ask the Economist who wrote the article. When there is no byline on a newspaper or magazine article you can usually be sure it was staff written. If it got out that somene else wrote it it would look bad for the publication for presenting it as a staff-written piece. Responsible publications don’t take that chance.

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Posted: 14 October 2013 09:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Lois - 13 October 2013 04:45 PM
I.J. Abdul Hakeem - 11 October 2013 01:34 PM

I am kind of curious to know who the author of the article is.
If the author is a journalist and not a scientist, they may not be very well grounded in how professional editing is done. (Though the example documented are quite obviously bad).

The economist is a news source, which may at times not always give the full story.
See
http://stopbsl.org/fortherecord/scientific-studies/  (this may not be an academic source either but it does higlighy my point )

It was most likely written by an editorial staff member, otherwise it would have had a by-line. It reads more like an editorial than a scientific piece.  You could always ask the Economist who wrote the article. When there is no byline on a newspaper or magazine article you can usually be sure it was staff written. If it got out that somene else wrote it it would look bad for the publication for presenting it as a staff-written piece. Responsible publications don’t take that chance.

FYI:  The Economist doesn’t use by-lines.

If people here remember, I posted sometime ago, to the effect that science may becoming modern day religion.  The point I was trying to make then and still think is a least partially true, is that we individual humans must take much on “faith” due to the fact that no one of us individually can keep up with everything going on in the world.  We must depend on specialists in various fields for much of the knowledge we make our life decisions on.  (We can call this division of labor.)  Whether we call them “Priest” or “Doctor”  we still must be aware that some humans will use this normal and understandable individual weakness for their personal advantage.

Science generally corrects itself over the long term, but in the meantime can be highly damaging; I.E. eugenics or bleeding as a medical treatment.

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Posted: 14 October 2013 05:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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garythehuman - 14 October 2013 09:00 AM
Lois - 13 October 2013 04:45 PM
I.J. Abdul Hakeem - 11 October 2013 01:34 PM

I am kind of curious to know who the author of the article is.
If the author is a journalist and not a scientist, they may not be very well grounded in how professional editing is done. (Though the example documented are quite obviously bad).

The economist is a news source, which may at times not always give the full story.
See
http://stopbsl.org/fortherecord/scientific-studies/  (this may not be an academic source either but it does higlighy my point )

It was most likely written by an editorial staff member, otherwise it would have had a by-line. It reads more like an editorial than a scientific piece.  You could always ask the Economist who wrote the article. When there is no byline on a newspaper or magazine article you can usually be sure it was staff written. If it got out that somene else wrote it it would look bad for the publication for presenting it as a staff-written piece. Responsible publications don’t take that chance.

FYI:  The Economist doesn’t use by-lines.

If people here remember, I posted sometime ago, to the effect that science may becoming modern day religion.  The point I was trying to make then and still think is a least partially true, is that we individual humans must take much on “faith” due to the fact that no one of us individually can keep up with everything going on in the world.  We must depend on specialists in various fields for much of the knowledge we make our life decisions on.  (We can call this division of labor.)  Whether we call them “Priest” or “Doctor”  we still must be aware that some humans will use this normal and understandable individual weakness for their personal advantage.

Science generally corrects itself over the long term, but in the meantime can be highly damaging; I.E. eugenics or bleeding as a medical treatment.

Science has its flaws but not as many as religion has. Responsible scientists never claim anything is absolute truth.  They always take the position that refuting evidence may come along sooner or later. Most religions reject all evidence that refutes its basic premises.

Lois

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Posted: 14 October 2013 05:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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garythehuman - 14 October 2013 09:00 AM
Lois - 13 October 2013 04:45 PM
I.J. Abdul Hakeem - 11 October 2013 01:34 PM

I am kind of curious to know who the author of the article is.
If the author is a journalist and not a scientist, they may not be very well grounded in how professional editing is done. (Though the example documented are quite obviously bad).

The economist is a news source, which may at times not always give the full story.
See
http://stopbsl.org/fortherecord/scientific-studies/  (this may not be an academic source either but it does higlighy my point )

It was most likely written by an editorial staff member, otherwise it would have had a by-line. It reads more like an editorial than a scientific piece.  You could always ask the Economist who wrote the article. When there is no byline on a newspaper or magazine article you can usually be sure it was staff written. If it got out that somene else wrote it it would look bad for the publication for presenting it as a staff-written piece. Responsible publications don’t take that chance.

FYI:  The Economist doesn’t use by-lines.

If people here remember, I posted sometime ago, to the effect that science may becoming modern day religion.  The point I was trying to make then and still think is a least partially true, is that we individual humans must take much on “faith” due to the fact that no one of us individually can keep up with everything going on in the world.  We must depend on specialists in various fields for much of the knowledge we make our life decisions on.  (We can call this division of labor.)  Whether we call them “Priest” or “Doctor”  we still must be aware that some humans will use this normal and understandable individual weakness for their personal advantage.

Science generally corrects itself over the long term, but in the meantime can be highly damaging; I.E. eugenics or bleeding as a medical treatment.

If the Economist never uses bylines, they are taking full responsibility for all the articles that appear there. I know they give original sources. You can always check those out.

Lois

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Posted: 15 October 2013 08:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I agree with Gary.  (I doubt that surprises anyone.)  No matter how theoretically incorruptible science itself may or may not be, it is still a construct of corruptible, self-serving, deeply fallible humans and dependent on them to implement and interpret scientific methodology and data.  It’s not a fundamental maxim of the universe.  (Also, it bothers me to even refer to science like it’s an entity or something more than an abstract, but it seems difficult to avoid it.)  Human beings, whether intentionally or not, can kick things far off the rails.  It’s not inconceivable that politics, cognitive biases, expediency, greed, incompetence, and other factors could, over time, conspire to render the scientific institution as debased and corrupt as the political one or the reality of science as distorted and far from its core and purpose as some religions get.

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Posted: 15 October 2013 09:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Dead Monky - 15 October 2013 08:16 AM

I agree with Gary.  (I doubt that surprises anyone.)  No matter how theoretically incorruptible science itself may or may not be, it is still a construct of corruptible, self-serving, deeply fallible humans and dependent on them to implement and interpret scientific methodology and data.  It’s not a fundamental maxim of the universe.  (Also, it bothers me to even refer to science like it’s an entity or something more than an abstract, but it seems difficult to avoid it.)  Human beings, whether intentionally or not, can kick things far off the rails.  It’s not inconceivable that politics, cognitive biases, expediency, greed, incompetence, and other factors could, over time, conspire to render the scientific institution as debased and corrupt as the political one or the reality of science as distorted and far from its core and purpose as some religions get.

Following the scientific method puts you on much firmer ground than any other methodology. Of course it’s not perfect, but it’s closer to perfection than religion or politics, neither of which use objective tests for their premises.  The scientific method does. You can denigrate science all you want when it suits you, but you use it every day. Your life depends on it.

Lois

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Posted: 15 October 2013 04:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Lois - 15 October 2013 09:50 AM
Dead Monky - 15 October 2013 08:16 AM

I agree with Gary.  (I doubt that surprises anyone.)  No matter how theoretically incorruptible science itself may or may not be, it is still a construct of corruptible, self-serving, deeply fallible humans and dependent on them to implement and interpret scientific methodology and data.  It’s not a fundamental maxim of the universe.  (Also, it bothers me to even refer to science like it’s an entity or something more than an abstract, but it seems difficult to avoid it.)  Human beings, whether intentionally or not, can kick things far off the rails.  It’s not inconceivable that politics, cognitive biases, expediency, greed, incompetence, and other factors could, over time, conspire to render the scientific institution as debased and corrupt as the political one or the reality of science as distorted and far from its core and purpose as some religions get.

Following the scientific method puts you on much firmer ground than any other methodology. Of course it’s not perfect, but it’s closer to perfection than religion or politics, neither of which use objective tests for their premises.  The scientific method does. You can denigrate science all you want when it suits you, but you use it every day. Your life depends on it.

Lois

Science works well in the physical arena;  not so well in the study of human social organization.  To much subjectivity and self interest involved!!!

For example:  http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21587820-many-professors-are-hostile-online-education-learned-luddites

[ Edited: 15 October 2013 04:43 PM by garythehuman ]
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Posted: 15 October 2013 05:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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As a physical scientist, I hate to admit it, but physical sciences are far more simplistic than the biological, and especially the social sciences.  We are at about the same level of certainty with them that we were when it was alchemy.  Give it another about 300 years and maybe we’ll have been able to get rid of most of the human biases from them.

Occam

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Posted: 16 October 2013 08:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Lois - 15 October 2013 09:50 AM

Following the scientific method puts you on much firmer ground than any other methodology. Of course it’s not perfect, but it’s closer to perfection than religion or politics, neither of which use objective tests for their premises.  The scientific method does. You can denigrate science all you want when it suits you, but you use it every day. Your life depends on it.

Lois

I’m not denigrating science.  (That you assume I am raises an interesting little flag.)  I’m simply pointing out that any system dependent upon human beings for it’s function and implementation, no matter how theoretically sound it otherwise is, is vulnerable to corruption and abuse.  And to deny or ignore such a reality is the very sort of blind, unwavering faith that allows it to happen.  And lends credence to Gary’s initial argument.

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Posted: 19 October 2013 10:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Ah yes, climate science is a perfect example of science bordering on religion…...for example…...just try questioning anything about scary agw and you will risk censure or worse ....maybe burned at the stake for heretical thoughts !

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