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  1. #81
    The Typing Tabby grey_beard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hard View Post
    No I didn't see this one. I didn't look particularly hard. I have access to the paper through my university, but they recent updated the system for it (and COMPLETELY SCREWED IT UP BY DOING SO) so I can't actually get the paper at the moment to look at it. The abstract looks promising though, and the journal has decent impact factor.
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  2. #82
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    So, going back to climate change... one should note that there was a scientific consensus before climate change was politicized. It also used to be a bipartisan consensus in the US that climate change was real, but how the country should deal with it was seen as political.

    Now that all proposals on the table (even the previously conservative ones, like cap and trade) are seen as political, the original problem is denied. It's hard to argue that a politically-motivated conclusion came first, since the politics post-date the apolitical (and bipartisan) consensus by a number of years.
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  3. #83
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    So, first people want to criticize scientists for having political viewpoints, and now you want to poke fun at their wardrobe? If we are discussing their work as scientists, factors like these are irrelevant.
    You misunderstand. I was poking fun at the concept that firstly you can classify a set of humans as "scientists" and declare they are all the same and secondly that scientists are some kind of ideal of virtue in terms of objectivity. They aren't. The same as engineers aren't always the best people with technology despite working in that sector.

    The idea that a history professor knows more about history than a janitor is probable but jot guaranteed. The idea that he has better analysis skills is pure assumption based on the prior probability.
    What you seem to be talking about here is values. Scientists have them just like everyone else, as do the organizations that sponsor their work. What a scientist ends up working on will be influenced by both his or her individual preferences, as well as the mission of any sponsor. If you are funded by the Heart Association, it stands to reason that you should be researching heart disease and its treatments. We can argue about the merits and utility of researching topic A vs. topic B, but bias on this level, if you want to call it that, is much different from bias in the conduct of an experiment itself. This is where proper use of scientific method will compensate, even for unconscious bias, say in formulation of a hypothesis. Some scientists may not be conscientious about this, but then they are not doing their job right.
    Again you misunderstand.

    If you are set to research a specific thing then you do not need passion, just wages. However if you are setting out a career based in a field then you need passion for that field.

    Also there are many cases of scientists pursuing a course of research and claiming to have made ground only to be corrected later by someone who wasn't so invested in the solution (personally invested, not necessarily financially).

    I have no objection to scientists per se and they are a boon. However they're not the messiah.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  4. #84
    The Dark Lord The Wailing Specter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Scientists are not disqualified from having political opinions or even personal beliefs like anyone else. If their science is good or bad, it is so independent of any of this. Your arguments would have more credibility if M. Mann were not the only scientist you felt prepared to attempt to discredit. I can understand quite well how the rings of obviously irregular trees can be used to get quite reliable climate data, or even how trees in Canada can be used to approximate conditions in Europe. For that matter, I have seen boneless chicken used as a convincing stand-in for the flesh of young children. It is part of scientists' job to identify and use analogous circumstances or even approximations in investigating questions. The correlation factor is the only evidence you have presented so far against the soundess of this particular study. Fortunately Mann is far from the only scientist studying climate change. That is part of science, too: results must be repeatable, and corroborated (or refuted) by the work of others.
    Not to mention that if any more convincing and more supported hypothesis comes along, the consensus will support it within just a couple of years. The only reason consensus could be held this long is if it has survived multiple experiments and other hypothesis have failed.
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  5. #85
    The Green Jolly Robin H.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hard View Post
    No it's not. They even specified what they meant by scientist by polling an orginization of scientists. Educationally there is also a big difference between the general average public and scientists.
    Fair enough.
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  6. #86
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Isn't this kinda futile in a country which regularly buys heavy vehicles with powerful rear wheel drive, front engines and dubious weather?

    Sometimes you're just asking for too much of a cultural change at once.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?
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  7. #87
    Senior Member Studmuffin23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post

    It is often joked in the UK that we sent the criminals to Australia and the religious nuts to the states.
    This is one of the cleverest patriotic jokes I've ever read.

  8. #88
    Senior Member Studmuffin23's Avatar
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    I think the biggest issue here is regarding the natures of science and religion; both seem to be grossly misunderstood by the two sides.

    The social-religion of American churches? That's not religion; that's humanism presented in a spiritual wrapper.

    The society-guiding-science of the academic community? That's not science; that's a political movement masquerading as truth (nothing humanity hasn't seen before)

    Religion in it's true essence (NOT institutional religion, mind you) is indifferent toward the affairs of society and science, because it calls on mankind to give up their worldly pursuits and desires. Science can lay no charge against penitent monks and their renunciation of life, save for ridicule, which proves nothing.

    Science in it's true essence consists of observations, not speculations. The academic community, which is one of the most politically-charged of human institutions (and therefore the least rational), has turned science into 95% speculation and 5% observation. To them, the former (theory) is indisputably true, whereas the latter (facts) can be negotiated to fit the former. Science is the reverse of that. The only reason that the word "science" is invoked in such debates is because it adds fictional authority to the argument.

    However, the debate between academia and the public is not just religious. There are all sorts of politically-motivated scientific theories being shoved down the throats of uneducated people, which naturally makes them feel resentful and distrustful toward the intellectual realm altogether. It sort of reminds me of 19th century class warfare, with academia being the ruling classes and non-academics being the working classes.

    To anyone interested, I would highly recommend Rupert Sheldrake's "Science Set Free", which sheds a lot of light on the public vs. academia war that's going on right now. Science and religion have nothing to do with it; it's a purely political struggle.
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  9. #89
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tellenbach View Post
    "THE overwhelming consensus among climate scientists is that human-caused climate change is happening. Yet a fringe minority of our populace clings to an irrational rejection of well-established science. This virulent strain of anti-science infects the halls of Congress, the pages of leading newspapers and what we see on TV, leading to the appearance of a debate where none should exist." Michael Mann

    Coriolis, that quote from Dr. Mann is nothing more than an ad-hominem attack on climate skeptics. It's an irrational argument (again, the appeal to authority). He's doing much more than just sharing research information. He's the attack dog for the radical environmentalist movement.
    The opinion of one scientist who apparently is not very good at his job? That's all you have? My comment on how scientist can contribute to political discussion still stands.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...
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  10. #90
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Studmuffin23 View Post
    I think the biggest issue here is regarding the natures of science and religion; both seem to be grossly misunderstood by the two sides.

    The social-religion of American churches? That's not religion; that's humanism presented in a spiritual wrapper.

    The society-guiding-science of the academic community? That's not science; that's a political movement masquerading as truth (nothing humanity hasn't seen before)

    Religion in it's true essence (NOT institutional religion, mind you) is indifferent toward the affairs of society and science, because it calls on mankind to give up their worldly pursuits and desires. Science can lay no charge against penitent monks and their renunciation of life, save for ridicule, which proves nothing.

    Science in it's true essence consists of observations, not speculations. The academic community, which is one of the most politically-charged of human institutions (and therefore the least rational), has turned science into 95% speculation and 5% observation. To them, the former (theory) is indisputably true, whereas the latter (facts) can be negotiated to fit the former. Science is the reverse of that. The only reason that the word "science" is invoked in such debates is because it adds fictional authority to the argument.

    However, the debate between academia and the public is not just religious. There are all sorts of politically-motivated scientific theories being shoved down the throats of uneducated people, which naturally makes them feel resentful and distrustful toward the intellectual realm altogether. It sort of reminds me of 19th century class warfare, with academia being the ruling classes and non-academics being the working classes.

    To anyone interested, I would highly recommend Rupert Sheldrake's "Science Set Free", which sheds a lot of light on the public vs. academia war that's going on right now. Science and religion have nothing to do with it; it's a purely political struggle.
    It is a political struggle, and politicians know it is easier to sway the public with ideology and even religious appeals than to make a solid case based on evidence and reason. This is what makes religion, especially institutionalized religion, such a powerful weapon in the hands of politicians.

    As for the rest, it is full of assumption and unsubstantiated opinion that barely merits dispute. What you perceive as the influence of politics on the conduct of science is largely the influence of economics (i.e. availability of funding) on the conduct of science. Its influence is seen most strongly in what gets researched at all and what does not. Fortunately it takes much less funding to poke holes in a poor study than to conduct one deliberately biased to secure additional funding. Most spiritual paths I am aware of concern themselves quite significantly with society, urging followers to treat their fellow humans in some specific way, often embodied by some golden rule. Similarly I cannot imagine why scientists would trouble themselves with the affairs of monks, unless to extend to them advances in medicine and technology that can improve even their lives, should they choose to use them.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

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