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Science can be corrupted
Posted: 18 November 2013 11:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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The problem is that the public is too quick to believe anything “experts” say, and that includes “scientists”, politicians, religious leaders, etc.  We really need to teach kids very thoroughly to use critical thinking as a matter of course.

Occam

I agree with that; but we human’s don’t always have the time or the “ambition’ to investigate everything as individuals.  Science, at it’s best, is intended to be self-correcting which is why it is often a more useful tool, in the physical sphere, than religion.

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Posted: 19 November 2013 12:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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Occam. - 17 November 2013 04:56 PM

my belief system breaks down about like this.  1) Complete belief = something I’ve verified myself, e.g., gravity;  2) Tentative belief = something that’s been around for a long time and has been reviewed and tested by quite a few scientists, Relativity;  3) Sounds likely = A report of something that makes sense within my prior experience, weather probability predictions;  4) Interesting but I’ll have to see more work by others on this = Something new that sounds strange, cold fusion;  5) Oh geez, another nut masquerading as a scientist = “Alternative” medicine and global warming deniers.

That is a nice ‘spectrum of beliefs’.

Occam. - 17 November 2013 04:56 PM

The problem is that the public is too quick to believe anything “experts” say, and that includes “scientists”, politicians, religious leaders, etc.  We really need to teach kids very thoroughly to use critical thinking as a matter of course.

I don’t know. This is surely happening, but at the moment I think the pendulum is going in the other direction: disbelief about what scientists say. The ‘golden age’ of science (the fifties/sixties) with the promise of ever going on progress is over. What we see now is a strong counter-science movement: creationism, climate denialism, CAM, 9/11 truthers etc etc. All of these say we should be ‘sceptical’ about science. It is funny to see that both parties, science and the anti-science movement, claim the use of the concept of ‘scepticism’.

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Posted: 11 December 2013 02:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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Another example of problems with how today’s science can be corrupted.  This in the area of GM foods. 

http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21591159-study-suggested-gm-food-may-cause-cancer-has-been-retracted-smelling-rat

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Posted: 12 December 2013 03:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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In 2011 Dr. Perlmutter and his colleagues discovered that the universe was expanding at an accelerating rate. There conclusions led to a model of expansion which is not constant, but rather oddly shaped to preserve the big bang… anyone think this is a bit of corruption? confused

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Posted: 18 December 2013 04:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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Randy Sckekman’s , 2013 Nobel Prize winner’s, criticism of scientific journals; and the publish or perish system of gaining a scientific reputation.

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Posted: 18 December 2013 09:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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garythehuman - 18 December 2013 04:32 PM

Randy Sckekman’s , 2013 Nobel Prize winner’s, criticism of scientific journals; and the publish or perish system of gaining a scientific reputation.

Yes. I heard about that. Plus the peer review system and how that is a often a sham.

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Posted: 19 December 2013 07:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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I think what it shows is that there is “politics” in science like most any other human endeavor.  The scientific community is subject to the same human tendencies as everything else. It is something we need to be aware of.  Its ideals, however it is to be self correcting and that is one of its advantages.

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Posted: 19 December 2013 07:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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garythehuman - 19 December 2013 07:20 AM

I think what it shows is that there is “politics” in science like most any other human endeavor.  The scientific community is subject to the same human tendencies as everything else. It is something we need to be aware of.  Its ideals, however it is to be self correcting and that is one of its advantages.

I wish I could remember the details of the radio show I heard on the CBC. It talked about Journals and scientific papers.
I can’t remember the guest.
Scientific Journals can be bought and paid for by industry. Complete with “peer review”, Boards, the whole nine yards.
The only science that isn’t cheated on is the science that can’t be sold to the public.
Like studying Moth Testicles or how many moons are surrounding a distant planet.

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Posted: 19 December 2013 08:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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Is this really so revealing to everyone ie. that people can be corrupt? Science is not corrupt but some small percentage of the people who practice it can be. Why should that surprise anyone? People are more or less the same all over the world and through out time. That’s why we have the scientific method and the scientific process. Ultimately the truth always comes out. Whether it takes a week a month or a century. It doesn’t really matter who or how someone tries to falsify the data the truth always comes to the top eventually if we stick to scientific principals. The beauty of the scientific method is that it has the ability in the long run to cancel out corruption. Its what happens in the long run that matters, not whether someone can fake a result for a year or two. If you want the scientific process to be perfect every moment of every day then you need to perfect humanity. Good luck with that. And good luck finding a method of investigation that works better than the scientific method.

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Posted: 19 December 2013 11:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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I think it’d be interesting to compare the level of scientific corruption today with at times past, say 500 years ago, 2000 years ago etc (allowing for a broad definition of science of course).  Was Euclid corrupted for material gain? Newton?  My guess is, what we’re seeing is what science looks like when the cancer of capitalism has taken hold. We tend to miss the forest for the trees.  We look at poverty, we look at corruption of science, we look at losses in education, and so on, as stand alone concerns. But they’re linked. They’re just symptoms of the cancer of capitalism/fascism that has overcome the whole world, but the US in particular.

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Posted: 19 December 2013 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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CuthbertJ - 19 December 2013 11:17 AM

I think it’d be interesting to compare the level of scientific corruption today with at times past, say 500 years ago, 2000 years ago etc (allowing for a broad definition of science of course).  Was Euclid corrupted for material gain? Newton?  My guess is, what we’re seeing is what science looks like when the cancer of capitalism has taken hold. We tend to miss the forest for the trees.  We look at poverty, we look at corruption of science, we look at losses in education, and so on, as stand alone concerns. But they’re linked. They’re just symptoms of the cancer of capitalism/fascism that has overcome the whole world, but the US in particular.

Yeah, my money is on that bet too.

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Posted: 19 December 2013 12:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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Anything can be corrupted, even science. We know that the desire and ability to corrupt systems is hard wired into humans. But at least science is self-correcting eventually. The important thing is to understand the possibility of corruption in any system and be on the lookout for it. We will never create a completely incorruptible system. Occam said that science is “often”  a more useful tool, in the physical sense,  than religion.  I’d say it’s always a more useful tool. Religion has nothing to contribute to our understanding of the physical world.

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Posted: 20 December 2013 05:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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Vyazma and CUthbert you two are far too predictable. You both have this rosy view of the past and everything today is just decrepit and corrupt. I guess neither of you ever heard of Piltdown Man.

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Posted: 20 December 2013 11:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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GdB - 19 November 2013 12:46 AM
Occam. - 17 November 2013 04:56 PM

my belief system breaks down about like this.  1) Complete belief = something I’ve verified myself, e.g., gravity;  2) Tentative belief = something that’s been around for a long time and has been reviewed and tested by quite a few scientists, Relativity;  3) Sounds likely = A report of something that makes sense within my prior experience, weather probability predictions;  4) Interesting but I’ll have to see more work by others on this = Something new that sounds strange, cold fusion;  5) Oh geez, another nut masquerading as a scientist = “Alternative” medicine and global warming deniers.

That is a nice ‘spectrum of beliefs’.

Occam. - 17 November 2013 04:56 PM

The problem is that the public is too quick to believe anything “experts” say, and that includes “scientists”, politicians, religious leaders, etc.  We really need to teach kids very thoroughly to use critical thinking as a matter of course.

I don’t know. This is surely happening, but at the moment I think the pendulum is going in the other direction: disbelief about what scientists say. The ‘golden age’ of science (the fifties/sixties) with the promise of ever going on progress is over. What we see now is a strong counter-science movement: creationism, climate denialism, CAM, 9/11 truthers etc etc. All of these say we should be ‘sceptical’ about science. It is funny to see that both parties, science and the anti-science movement, claim the use of the concept of ‘scepticism’.

This is nothing new. The “pendulum is not swinging innthe “other” direction. A counter science movement has been going on since the practice and study of modern science started.  There was always a backlash by religionists, especially, because science denies the “truth” of their religion. More people understand and accept science than ever before in history and fewer are embracing supernatural religion. When a large part of the population actually inderstands how the scientific method works, we will have a more educated population.  More and more people will come to understand why scientific tests are sometimes wrong and that they can be and usually are corrected. Religion does not work that way.

As for skepticism, anyone can corrupt the term and use it to their own ends.  Whenever any philosophy or movement comes to the forefront, there will be people who will deny it. They may call themselves skeptics, but, as any true skeptic knows, skepticism is not just doubt. It also requires further study and a determined effort to understand what actually works and what doesn’t, to separate fact from fiction and wishes from reality (and bad science from good)  False skeptics don’t do this. They think that simply rejecting something that goes against their unsupported philosophy is skepticism.  It isn’t.  It is merely a first step and it requires further steps.  But false skeptics speak their opposition and then close the door until their next opportunity to voice their opposition, though they seldom have anything to back it up. True skeptics try to get at the truth through every means possible. They are not simply deniers. They don’t jump on every mistake the opposition makes and declare that that means the whole system is corrupt—also with no evidence that it is. To accept that such people are skeptics is a blatant misnomer.  It is doublespeak. There is a world of difference between being a skeptic and being a denier.

[ Edited: 20 December 2013 12:12 PM by Lois ]
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Posted: 20 December 2013 12:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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VYAZMA - 18 December 2013 09:53 PM
garythehuman - 18 December 2013 04:32 PM

Randy Sckekman’s , 2013 Nobel Prize winner’s, criticism of scientific journals; and the publish or perish system of gaining a scientific reputation.

Yes. I heard about that. Plus the peer review system and how that is a often a sham.

It is sometimes a sham because there are people in the field who are corrupt, ignorant or who have an ax to grind. It is up to real science and real scientists to test every premise and to be sure scientific method was correctly followed.  Most peer reviewed science with the backing of a respected scientific community is handled correctly.  It is peer review (and science) deniers who point to any lapse as proof that the whole system is corrupt. They have absolutely no evidence that it is, but they will continue to exaggerate every lapse they can find (even when the lapse was a result of poor or false science in the first place) and declare that they have proven their point.

[ Edited: 20 December 2013 12:15 PM by Lois ]
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