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Discussion of discussing, generally
Posted: 15 July 2017 09:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Lausten - 14 July 2017 04:00 AM

Here’s the full post

It includes this quote from Bart Carpolo

“Science can’t proceed unless people agree to be honest with each other about their results. Everything has to be verifiable. When people lie about their results, it slows down the whole process. Science is a conversation and this conversation can only go forward if we agree to these ground rules. In the same way, collective governance, the social contract, social cooperation can only really do well if we agree to have the conversation where we all use the same facts. If we are going to live together, have a community, large or small, we’ve gotta agree to some rules of conversation. The first of those is everybody’s gotta tell the truth about physical things, money that can be accounted for, etc. Without that, we can’t make any decisions, we can’t even argue.”

Can’t find much problem with that

You meant Bart Campolo - who clearly doesn’t understand science or scientists. Perhaps he just failed to verify - the first bullet of the pledge. Maybe you can let him know and then see if he is willing to retract - another bullet item.
Scientists aren’t some breed of super-ethical beings who are honest to protect their calling - as organizations like Retraction Watch (http://retractionwatch.com) demonstrate. Fraudsters can, and do appear in science and with many profiting from the grey area between science and pseudoscience. Science and scientific tradition has succeeded because the scientific community places a great deal of importance upon third-party verifiability and repeatability. Peer review before publication has been a longtime tradition. Some argue that it isn’t the answer (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1420798/) but it must be a disincentive to flagrant fraudsters. It has been somewhat undermined by what has become known as Predatory Publication in some journals (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4315198/). Media attention often focuses on new findings that have been peer-reviewed and published but have not been repeated by other labs. An essential part of the scientific process that is too slow to be acceptable in media circles looking for an exclusive or first-to-the-post story that will gain them attention (https://www.theguardian.com/science/2011/sep/05/publish-perish-peer-review-science). They are reporting half-verified science.
The bottom line is that scientists (and many individuals in other disciplines) are held to a standard of honesty by their peers who collectively have an interest in honesty. Dishonesty is identified and perpetrators often lose their jobs and certainly credibility. If you want to change the basis of ” collective governance, the social contract, social cooperation”, the focus needs to be on formalizing a process to ensure honesty and this isn’t going to be done by taking any pledge. A pledge is just another contortion that can be used by dishonest people to give the impression that “they took the pledge, so what they say must be true.”
A related issue would be to reintroduce the notion of scepticism as a part of a school curriculum to provide people with better skills to recognize questionable honesty. I’m not sure this would go down too well since it may well reduce the effectiveness of propaganda and marketing.
all I did was add a space

[ Edited: 15 July 2017 09:54 AM by JohnH ]
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Posted: 15 July 2017 03:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Having a site like retraction watch is exactly why I trust scientific journals over websites designed to promote an agenda. If you aren’t willing to retract something, what are you basing your review on? Willingness to say you were wrong, once you have more information, is a key element of the scientific method. That there are fraudsters does not prove the method wrong, it proves people are fallible. You go on to say these things, so I don’t understand what you are trying to say in the first few sentences. Were you trying to explain the difference between media and science? I have no argument with that.

I don’t understand how you can be FOR the pledge when it applies to scientists, but against it when it applies to people discussing things without expert level knowledge in the field. You are trying to be both for the principles but against the specific implementation, or something. Hard to tell.

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Posted: 15 July 2017 06:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Lausten - 15 July 2017 03:06 PM

I don’t understand how you can be FOR the pledge when it applies to scientists, but against it when it applies to people discussing things without expert level knowledge in the field. You are trying to be both for the principles but against the specific implementation, or something. Hard to tell.

Science and scientific tradition has succeeded because the scientific community places a great deal of importance upon third-party verifiability and repeatability.

In other words, truth isn’t accomplished by scientists taking “the pledge”. It is accomplished (in many other areas of endeavor also) by formal and informal mechanisms of third-party verification with career or economic consequences if fraud is detected (“buyer beware”, “due diligence”). I’m very much in support of honesty in any endeavor and for important decisions I always try to verify third party statements wherever they come from. If ever I don’t verify, I am very aware that I’m making a risky decision - even if the information is based on “expert” opinion. The solution isn’t to make promises of honesty which may or may not be kept, it is to educate people how to verify information for themselves.

There are some indications that individuals will be marginally more honest if they are aware of honesty issues before their honesty is tested, so maybe “the pledge” would have a marginal effect, but hardly enough to provide any confidence in the truth of a statement without further verification. Other suggestions in “the pledge” offer ways to simplify verification and encourage honesty but again, taking the pledge doesn’t guarantee anything.

The other issue is that even honest individuals, including “experts” can be dishonest, at times maybe even unintentionally (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-honest-people-do-dishonest-things/) so it pays to be personally vigilant. As a perceived “expert” I used to advise my students not to believe what I said but to use it as a stepping stone to forming their own opinions. And I would say that regardless of any pledge I had made.

The importance of “the pledge” is perhaps in making people aware of what they should be doing - whether they are the originator or the recipient of a statement.

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Posted: 15 July 2017 08:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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JohnH - 15 July 2017 06:32 PM
Lausten - 15 July 2017 03:06 PM

I don’t understand how you can be FOR the pledge when it applies to scientists, but against it when it applies to people discussing things without expert level knowledge in the field. You are trying to be both for the principles but against the specific implementation, or something. Hard to tell.

Science and scientific tradition has succeeded because the scientific community places a great deal of importance upon third-party verifiability and repeatability.

In other words, truth isn’t accomplished by scientists taking “the pledge”. It is accomplished (in many other areas of endeavor also) by formal and informal mechanisms of third-party verification with career or economic consequences if fraud is detected (“buyer beware”, “due diligence”). I’m very much in support of honesty in any endeavor and for important decisions I always try to verify third party statements wherever they come from. If ever I don’t verify, I am very aware that I’m making a risky decision - even if the information is based on “expert” opinion. The solution isn’t to make promises of honesty which may or may not be kept, it is to educate people how to verify information for themselves.

There are some indications that individuals will be marginally more honest if they are aware of honesty issues before their honesty is tested, so maybe “the pledge” would have a marginal effect, but hardly enough to provide any confidence in the truth of a statement without further verification. Other suggestions in “the pledge” offer ways to simplify verification and encourage honesty but again, taking the pledge doesn’t guarantee anything.

The other issue is that even honest individuals, including “experts” can be dishonest, at times maybe even unintentionally (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-honest-people-do-dishonest-things/) so it pays to be personally vigilant. As a perceived “expert” I used to advise my students not to believe what I said but to use it as a stepping stone to forming their own opinions. And I would say that regardless of any pledge I had made.

The importance of “the pledge” is perhaps in making people aware of what they should be doing - whether they are the originator or the recipient of a statement.

For the third time, the pledge is not for scientists, it’s for regular people who discuss science, as we all should be doing to help us make decisions about what is best for all of us. So, you agree with the idea of the pledge, but you just don’t seem to understand what it is. You even put it in bold as if it is me who isn’t getting it. And of course people do dishonest things, that’s why you make a promise to listen when someone corrects you and set up so rules so when it happens it’s a fair and consistent application of those rules. You have some visceral reaction to pledges, and given how obstinate and difficult you are, I’m not interested in why.

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