User Tag List

Results 1 to 3 of 3

  1. #1

    Default Evaluating sources of science facts and what is the current scientific viewpoint

    When it comes down to basic facts, very little in the way of debate can help. It simply comes down to what sources you believe.

    So how do you choose your sources?
    Do you look at what the established experts in their fields say?
    Do you specifically look at the contrarian view points?
    Do you always insist on being able to reproduce results?
    or Do you look for sources who say what it is you want to believe?

    When it comes the "current scientific viewpoint," similar issues are involved.

    Who do you trust? Why do you trust them?

    Science affects policy in modern society, so I think everyone needs some good ways to evaluate scientific sources, and sources that report science.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  2. #2
    Member MJ_'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    MBTI
    INFj
    Posts
    72

    Default

    When it comes down to basic facts, very little in the way of debate can help. It simply comes down to what sources you believe.
    I'd have to say, yes and no to that statement. Some sources of information are indeed terrible. Media reports of the latest and greatest scientific 'discoveries', health research, or political situations tend to be overly simplistic, and are usually biased toward confirming beliefs that people already hold. Often, controversial topics are completely ignored despite their validity, and 'facts' that are quite dubious are reported because of shock value, or they fit in with the prevailing viewpoints we see culturally. Scientific knowledge that is accepted by researchers can be shown in a light that makes it appear to be very controversial to the public at large.

    Debate can be helpful. When people are communicating about any topic, differing viewpoints and different sources of information can be discussed. More information can't hurt, as long as people have the tools to sort the good sources from the bad.

    For the average person, asking 'why is this news?' and critically examining the facts themselves (where possible) is probably the most helpful way to sort fact from fiction, or fact from someones questionable hypothesis. For a person that does not have a background in the topic of their interest, or access to original research, there is very likely someone with a blog with that background that dissects the issue in a way that anyone can understand.

    So how do you choose your sources?
    Do you look at what the established experts in their fields say?
    Do you specifically look at the contrarian view points?
    Do you always insist on being able to reproduce results?
    or Do you look for sources who say what it is you want to believe?
    When it comes the "current scientific viewpoint," similar issues are involved.
    Who do you trust? Why do you trust them?
    Science affects policy in modern society, so I think everyone needs some good ways to evaluate scientific sources, and sources that report science.
    (From a science background): A good source of information is usually complex.

    (There should be an introduction to the topic. How the information was gathered and how the data was treated should be clearly stated. The data must be reproducible. There should be a detailed discussion of what the information means and how and why it is the same or different from the established 'facts'. The limitations of the research should be detailed).

    That isn't to say it must be hard to understand. But, if something is too simplistic, or concludes that a finding indicate something it actually doesn't, or makes broad over-generalizations from very specific findings, then it should probably be taken with more than a grain of salt. Nothing is ever entirely certain, but if something is just bad research, the best a person can say is 'maybe its true'.

  3. #3
    Permabanned
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    MBTI
    ExTJ
    Posts
    1,377

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    So how do you choose your sources?
    Ones that I can find most easily. Google, wikipedia links, college library books, etc.

    Do you look at what the established experts in their fields say?
    I'm usually not sure who the "established experts are", so can't really answer this effectively.

    Do you specifically look at the contrarian view points?
    I don't specifically look for opposing viewpoints from the start, but i assume there are some and if I seesuch a viewpoint, i will look at them.

    or Do you look for sources who say what it is you want to believe?
    This kind of switches on and off. I know its a bias, sometimes this bias is stronger than my 'avoidance response", sometimes the avoidance response is stronger.

    Who do you trust? Why do you trust them?
    I tend to assume there is some grain of truth in what most people are saying, but generally rely on seeing a lot of sources to work out what is most likely to be true. Of course, if someone has an obvious political bias, or seems to be taking things a bit extreme, etc., I'll read the source with this in mind.

Similar Threads

  1. what is the psychology of conservatives and liberals?
    By jcloudz in forum General Psychology
    Replies: 142
    Last Post: 07-20-2012, 09:20 PM
  2. What IS the "logical framework and structure of the outside world?"
    By Retmeishka in forum Myers-Briggs and Jungian Cognitive Functions
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 02-03-2011, 01:13 PM
  3. What is the source of class distinction?
    By coberst in forum Philosophy and Spirituality
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-17-2009, 11:04 AM
  4. The New Seven Deadly Sins- Courtesy of the Pope - do you agree and what is your list?
    By Geoff in forum Politics, History, and Current Events
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 12-16-2008, 03:47 PM
  5. What is the purpose of Science Fiction?
    By The Ü™ in forum Arts & Entertainment
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 03-04-2008, 06:53 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO