Scientists' role in swaying public opinion studied

Nov 05, 2012
Scientists' role in swaying public opinion studied

(Phys.org)—Whatever their political persuasion, people are more likely to believe that global warming is caused by humans if they find out that most climate change scientists believe this is the case.

Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, of The University of Western Australia's School of Psychology, was the team leader of a study to determine whether people's belief in anthropogenic (AGW), was different if they thought there was consensus on the issue among scientists.

For the study, "The of Perceived Scientific Consensus in Acceptance of Science", published in Nature Climate Change earlier this month, the researchers recruited members of the public to find out if the way they thought about scientific issues was consistent with their personal ideology or worldview.

Half the participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: a control group in which no consensus information was provided; and a second group in which participants were told that 97 per cent of climate change scientists agreed that AGW was happening.

When asked afterwards to express their opinions about AGW, and to attribute recent trends in temperature or to human , people who had received the consensus information were more likely to accept the scientific evidence than the .

"Clearly, the presentation of the consensus amongst climate scientists has a powerful effect on people's beliefs," Professor Lewandowsky said.

Participants were also asked to respond to a series of statements to assess their worldview, for example their opinion of the free market, and the researchers found (as in previous studies) that those who endorsed a fundamentalist view of the free market leaned towards a rejection of AGW.  However, in this investigation, the researchers found that highlighting the consensus amongst climate scientists could be a powerful interacting factor.

"For me, the most interesting aspect of the study was that the strong correlation between belief in free-market ideology and lack of belief in AGW was attenuated for people who were told that 97 per cent of agree that the global atmosphere is warning, and it is very likely to due to the burning of fossil fuels," Professor Lewandowsky said.

"This is important, because it highlights the potentially crucial role that underscoring the scientific consensus can play on beliefs in members of the general public, irrespective of their political persuasion."

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Tausch
2.2 / 5 (10) Nov 05, 2012
GCC - Global Climate Change.
For this a consensus is no longer needed.

Human existence aside - We will adapt.
Or die trying. Human nature.
ryggesogn2
2.5 / 5 (24) Nov 05, 2012
A consensus of physicians did not believe bacteria caused certain ulcers.
This consensus mentally persists until there is a paradigm shift, as Kuhn notes.

""This is important, because it highlights the potentially crucial role that underscoring the scientific consensus can play on beliefs in members of the general public, irrespective of their political persuasion.""

But doesn't requires the science to be correct, only that there is a consensus.
So then any science zealot only needs to engage in a political campaign for a consensus instead of providing the data, and details of how that data was collected and analyzed and exposure to conflicting data.
rubberman
3 / 5 (14) Nov 05, 2012
Are you saying you have data and observational evidence that says AGW isn't real and climate change isn't happening?

Rygg- "But doesn't requires the science to be correct, only that there is a consensus.
So then any science zealot only needs to engage in a political campaign for a consensus instead of providing the data, and details of how that data was collected and analyzed and exposure to conflicting data."
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (21) Nov 05, 2012
Are you saying you have data and observational evidence that says AGW isn't real and climate change isn't happening?


That's not the way science is supposed to work. Science is supposed to demonstrate AGW IS false, not try to lobby FOR it.
Tausch
2.3 / 5 (16) Nov 05, 2012
That's not the way science is supposed to work. Science is supposed to demonstrate AGW IS false, not try to lobby FOR it. -R2


This is not a personal attack:
You are not a scientist.
None of any of your commentary has demonstrated otherwise.
Maggnus
2.9 / 5 (15) Nov 05, 2012
That's not the way science is supposed to work. Science is supposed to demonstrate AGW IS false, not try to lobby FOR it.


First, you do not understand what "falsifiable" means.
Second science is supposed to demonstrate facts.
Third you do not understand how science works.

antialias_physorg
3.4 / 5 (17) Nov 05, 2012
That's not the way science is supposed to work. Science is supposed to demonstrate AGW IS false

Sicen is supposed to do npo such thing. Science is supposed to impartially investigate whether AWG is real or not. It has done so. The results from all studies is pretty conclusive: it's real.

The lobbying part starts when politics comes into play. Just having that result is worthless if policymakers don't act on it.

However, policymakers don't listen to experts but only to what the majority of voters think. So one has to find out what voters would advocate when faced with the facts (or in this case overwhelming expert opinion).

That these voters actually listen to experts is somewhat heartening.
ryggesogn2
2.5 / 5 (22) Nov 05, 2012
"Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period.

—Michael Crichton, Aliens cause Global Warming [January 17, 2003 speech at the California Institute of Technology]
Tausch
1.5 / 5 (11) Nov 05, 2012
...What is relevant is reproducible results. ...


My goodness. How many earths did this amazing man have?
O.k. you win. The greater the consensus the greater the

...correlation between belief in free-market ideology and lack of belief in AGW ... attenuated for people who were told that 97 per cent of climate scientists agree that the global atmosphere is warning, and it is very likely to due to the burning of fossil fuels," Professor Lewandowsky said.


We made a mistake. We told you.
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (19) Nov 05, 2012
"In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual."
― Galileo Galilei

"Today, the methods for exacting consensus have changed but the result could be the same: The death of the spirit. The use and abuse of "consensus science" is at least partially responsible for the current crisis in the scientific and medical peer review system. Although peer review may be considered one of the sacred pillars of the scientific edifice, it has been under fire for some time now because peer review controls access to publications and funding, thus bringing the problem into sharp focus."
"...consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E = mc2. Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way" (M. Crichton).
http://www.ncbi.n...2719747/
ryggesogn2
1.9 / 5 (17) Nov 05, 2012
"The US Supreme Court has recently been wrestling with the issues of the acceptability and reliability of scientific evidence. In its judgement in the case of Daubert versus Merrell Dow, the Court attempted to set guidelines for US judges to follow when listening to scientific experts. Whether or not findings had been published in a peer-reviewed journal provided one important criterion. But in a key caveat, the Court emphasized that peer review might sometimes be flawed and therefore this criterion was not unequivocal evidence of validity or otherwise. A recent analysis of peer review adds to this controversy by identifying an alarming lack of correlation between reviewers' recommendations."
http://www.scienc...00016187
ValeriaT
1.9 / 5 (14) Nov 05, 2012
whatever their political persuasion, people are more likely to believe that global warming is caused by humans if they find out that most climate change scientists believe this is the case.
And what these poor laymans are supposed to do? They're forced to generate money for life and research of these scientists and they've no time to verify their babbling all the time. It's just the scientists itself, who are responsible for their failures. In this context the reading of articles The era of expert failure by Arnold Kling, Why experts are usually wrong by David H. Freeman and Why the experts missed the crash by Phill Tetlock may be useful not only for layman people.
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (18) Nov 05, 2012
This consensus is ignored though:
"The Institute of Physics is a scientific charity devoted to increasing the practice, understanding and application of physics. It has a worldwide membership of over 36,000 and is a leading communicator of physics-related science to all audiences, from specialists through to government and the general public. Its publishing company, IOP Publishing, is a world leader in scientific publishing and the electronic dissemination of physics."
"The CRU e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law. The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their ideas and results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital"
http://www.public...3902.htm
ValeriaT
1.7 / 5 (12) Nov 05, 2012
Science is supposed to demonstrate AGW IS false, not try to lobby FOR it
This is a nonsense: the assumption, that the global warming exists and it's caused with humans is as relevant hypothesis, like the assumption, the global warming doesn't exist or it's not caused with humans. Both theories should be falsified with the same relevance. The negation of every hypothesis is another hypothesis and unfortunately we have no clue, which one is more relevant in advance.
Galileo Galilei: "In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual."
Me as a single voice proponent of AWT should be sympathetic with this stance - but from my personal experience, just the fact, you're alone doesn't mean, you're automatically right. Many crackpots can be as wrong, as the "voice of God", i.e. voice of people.

We should analyze the situations, under which the intersubjective opinion becomes more relevant, than the individual opinions.
ValeriaT
1.3 / 5 (12) Nov 05, 2012
If I take it from AWT perspective, then the "voice of people" should be more relevant in decisions, which do require a holistic perspective based on "longitudinal wave mediated approach". Whereas the opinion of experts should gain weight in decission of problems, which do require quantitative deterministic expertise ("transverse wave mediated approach").

But from my private experience, the dense æther model is refused both with experts, both with laymans in the same way - there is absolutely no correlation between it. And my assumption, the majority of global warming is of geothermal origin is dismissed as well with both groups. So I presume, we cannot get a relevant clue for decision between stance of individuals and stance of experts in general case: they can be both wrong and missleading in the same way.
rubberman
3.2 / 5 (11) Nov 05, 2012
So in the case of climate science we should re-word the statement of contention to: "97% of all scientific studies related to climate indicated to the researchers that the climate is changing and that human emissions of CO2 are a contributing factor". Refer to the studies and the evidence, not the scientists. Would this suffice?
Tausch
2.5 / 5 (8) Nov 05, 2012
And what these poor laymans are supposed to do? - VT&co.

Well in R2's case: To read the above article and realize the bias in the comments he is posting pointed out by Professor Lewandowsky by means of consensus.

And the manipulation (or if you will, consensus) is working - as in R2's case - to reinforce preexisting bias.
Tausch
1.9 / 5 (8) Nov 05, 2012
@rubberman
Yes. Normally. Unfortunately there is more than one R2 that need more than this.
Gammakozy
1.7 / 5 (17) Nov 05, 2012
What this article does not say is actually more interesting, and telling, than what it does say. Who were the subjects? Were they impressionable University students who still do not know enough to question their left-leaning professors? Why is it that those who believe in "free markets" are also more likely to question AGW? But the most telling question is why are those who do not support "free markets" i.e., Socialists, so eager to believe in AGW. The following link provides all one needs to know about the motives and methods of this author and many academics like him.
http://wattsupwit...on-list/
Sanescience
2.5 / 5 (8) Nov 05, 2012
The debate of AGW aside, I found this section very unfortunate:

"lack of belief in AGW was attenuated": What is that supposed to mean? Had to read that twice and realized it was a double negative. And "attenuated" is a very inexact term.

Then this unholy massacre: "told that 97 per cent of climate scientists agree that the global atmosphere is warning, and it is very likely to due to the burning of fossil fuels," That is straight marketing gibberish. The source is 2007, Harris Interactive survey. The article wording clearly equates warming as AGW. The survey does not.

Tausch
2.6 / 5 (7) Nov 05, 2012
Just in time...yes, the commentary focused on cognitive bias.

Thank you for your input.
ryggesogn2
1.5 / 5 (15) Nov 05, 2012
So in the case of climate science we should re-word the statement of contention to: "97% of all scientific studies related to climate indicated to the researchers that the climate is changing and that human emissions of CO2 are a contributing factor". Refer to the studies and the evidence, not the scientists. Would this suffice?

Still have the same problem with incestuous peer review, very few researchers with agendas and journals limiting publication of alternative hypotheses and data.
ValeriaT
1.9 / 5 (8) Nov 05, 2012
97% of all scientific studies ..that the climate is changing and that human emissions of CO2 are a contributing factor
Definitely yes (after all, the climate was always changing and nothing very strange is about) - but the question persist about scope of this "contributing factor". For example, whereas I'm pretty certain, that the people contribute to the droughts with production of aerosols (and we even have some direct observational evidence for it - which is rather rare case in climatic science), I'm not so sure, that the people are main factor of global warming as such. And the way of preventive measures is even more questionable and of strategical nature: for example, it may be more advantageous to accelerate the technological progress with faster fossil fuel burning, which would enable us to fight with climate more effectively later, than to slow down the agony with carbon taxes right now
lengould100
2.9 / 5 (9) Nov 05, 2012
People need to realize this article as about politics, not science. A nuance that obviously escapes the likes of Ryggesoon2 et all, quoting Galileo's advice to scientists.

The science is done, it's the politics that remain to be done.
ryggesogn2
1.9 / 5 (17) Nov 05, 2012
People need to realize this article as about politics, not science. A nuance that obviously escapes the likes of Ryggesoon2 et all, quoting Galileo's advice to scientists.

The science is done, it's the politics that remain to be done.

Yes, it IS about politics and the science is not complete.
Tausch
1.8 / 5 (10) Nov 05, 2012
Churches are tax free. The science of religion. The politics and science done. :) The consensus of one. God.

Yeah, yeah...(deleted...pointless verbiage)
tpb
2.6 / 5 (10) Nov 05, 2012
participants were told that 97 per cent of climate change scientists agreed that AGW was happening

What the hell is a "climate change scientist"?
Tausch
2 / 5 (8) Nov 05, 2012
Thank you full disclosure.
For singling me out.
What is your unit of measure?
Bias? Or scorn for irony?
wretched childishness?
julianpenrod
1.5 / 5 (15) Nov 05, 2012
The claim that "scientists" agreeing with a particular point of view tends to sway people's perceptions, however, is not consistent with the often quoted "observation" that up to 40% of the public doesn't believe in "evolution" or the "safety of vaccines".
On the other hand, to whatever extent this is true, it represents a serious situation, people completely surrendering any inkling of personal mandate to "the experts". Based on the presumption that "the experts" know everything and are absolutely, utterly trustworthy. And "science" devotees respond to issues of whether "scientists" can be trusted not by proving they can, but by mocking those who ask!
But this is a lot of power for a group to have, and, historically, situations like that have been abused. What keeps them from hiring into "research" positions only the crooks they can work with and selling their influence for money?
full_disclosure
1.3 / 5 (13) Nov 05, 2012
Churches are tax free. The science of religion. The politics and science done. :) The consensus of one. God.

Yeah, yeah...(deleted...pointless verbiage)


More likely a pointless diversion......
ValeriaT
1.7 / 5 (6) Nov 05, 2012
Tausch
1.6 / 5 (7) Nov 05, 2012
Yes. Of course. pointless diversion.
Tausch
1.8 / 5 (5) Nov 05, 2012
Let hear some spot on comments on this from you full disclosure.
full_disclosure
1 / 5 (12) Nov 05, 2012
nullius in verba
lengould100
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 05, 2012
None of these discussions outside of the reviewed articles are science, therefore they are ALL politics. At least I recognize that.
Tausch
2.1 / 5 (7) Nov 05, 2012
Yes. Of Course. Pointless then. Like rating.
djr
4.6 / 5 (10) Nov 05, 2012
"And "science" devotees respond to issues of whether "scientists" can be trusted not by proving they can, but by mocking those who ask" Julian - do you use a cell phone, drive a car, go to the doctor, get a flu shot - etc. If yes - then you benefit from science like the rest of us. Why do you have to use a childish term like 'science devotees'? We are all in this together. Of course not all scientists are honest - neither are all doctors - but modern medical science is sound. Why does any one have to prove that scientists are honest? Where did you get that any one says scientists know everything, or are utterly trustworthy? We know what we know at any given time - and it is always subject to revision - that is the process of science. I don't get why people read boards like physorg - if they have such scorn for the process of science. Head on over to a young earth creationist site - and commune with the superstitious.
ValeriaT
1.5 / 5 (8) Nov 05, 2012
We know what we know at any given time - and it is always subject to revision - that is the process of science.
Of course, the self-healing process of science works - the question is, whether it works effectively. The contemporary science evolved in something, which has no support of progress of civilization as a primary motivation. This is just a consequence of its orientation to basic research, i.e. the research which is serving the scientists only, but not the rest of society, which is paying all of it after all. The private companies aren't any better with their applied research: we all know, how the Monsanto or big pharma companies are motivated into development of really effective solutions, which could threat their income. With the honest exception of electronics we actually have no effective research for critical areas of energetics and health care. It's because the science has become driven with employment, not with actually useful results.
Jeddy_Mctedder
1.4 / 5 (11) Nov 05, 2012
groupthink. who knew.
ValeriaT
1.4 / 5 (11) Nov 05, 2012
IMO the principle of free market did hit its limits: when the introduction of more effective solution could threat the profit in existing areas, then the effective solution is delayed instead. If big pharma can keep its patients with production of viagra instead of development of real cures, then it would be stupid if it wouldn't continue with it. If the scientists could lose their jobs in research of solar cells, biofuels or batteries, they they would be really stupid, if they would support the cold fusion, which would replace them all. This less or more hidden, but omnipresent negative feedback is of emergent nature, but it becomes apparent as a slowing of the progress of the human society.

In the 1940 it took just six years for development of working nuclear bomb from first observation of fission in the lab. But now we aren't even able to replicate the trivial cold fusion experiments during twenty years. What happened with science during last sixty years?
ValeriaT
1.4 / 5 (9) Nov 05, 2012
This ignorance is not about conspiracy or laziness of scientists - it has its roots in economical rules, in which the original research is valuated in contemporary science. We all know, at the moment, when the physicists could confirm their theories (Higgs boson) and keep their jobs with it, then they're able to collect huge amount of money and to exert incredible effort for it. But at the moment, when some theory or finding could threat the jobs in existing areas of research, then the very same or even much simpler research becomes suddenly unfeasible.

Because I'm oriented to physics, I do realize, this conservatism limits the progress of physics itself. For example, the development of SUSY or string theory could continue a way more easily, if the scientists would realize, that the neutrinos are supersymmetric particles, or that the extradimensions are all around us. But the physicists aren't accept even their own ideas at the moment, when they could threat the existing theories.
HannesAlfven
2 / 5 (12) Nov 05, 2012
It's interesting that some of the commenters imagine that they can somehow separate the politics from the science. Politics is embedded into the very core of the process for science today, at the level of the PhD program. After all, a student can pass the qualifying exam for their PhD and still be refused a doctorate. But, perhaps it helps to remind people that around 50% of all PhD candidates are weeded out -- either dropping out or kicked out. Jeff Schmidt wrote an entire book about the process, and concludes that it is far from a politically-neutral process.

So, for those who wish to imagine that science is somehow separable from politics today, perhaps they should start demanding that universities self-report the status of their doctoral and masters candidates? Some may be surprised to learn that such data is not even required to be disclosed. Somehow, many are convinced -- without even collecting very basic data about the edu system -- that there is no politics in science!
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (13) Nov 05, 2012
Are you saying you have data and observational evidence that says AGW isn't real and climate change isn't happening?
No Global Warming in nearly 12 years, and as many as 15 years.

HannesAlfven
2.1 / 5 (14) Nov 05, 2012
Also: The most comical part about peer review is that nobody thinks to read the peer review papers which gauge the efficacy of peer review -- for, if they did, they'd see that there are MAJOR problems. This is arguably the most ironic feature of modern science today.
ValeriaT
1.4 / 5 (11) Nov 05, 2012
Of course, there are another sources of the progress stagnation. The national governments declared state secrets most of patents and findings, which could help their economies, but they're dedicated to military industry first. Or they simply remain hidden in treasures for ever. I'm pretty sure, most of cold fusion research is kept in secrecy as well.
ValeriaT
1.4 / 5 (11) Nov 05, 2012
Two recent examples of the suppression of cold fusion research (1, 2). The rest of scientists will simply adopt to this situation and they don't risk anything. It's difficult to distinguish, who is the main culprit here: the government or scientists itself. But the consequences of their synergy are disastrous for progress in this area.
Maggnus
3.9 / 5 (11) Nov 06, 2012
This is great! An article about scientists role in influencing people's opinions on science have been taken over by an electric universe nut, a climate warming denier, and a cold fusion buff.

We only need a creationist and an iron sun proponent, and we'll have the whole nut bar club represented.
djr
5 / 5 (6) Nov 06, 2012
"But the consequences of their synergy are disastrous for progress in this area." Do you know how many nutters get on this board alone and spout off about the great cold fusion cover up? If you all got together - and did research instead of spending your time on physorg - we might have a working cold fusion plant already - unless of course it doesn't work - I had not thought about that possibility....
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (8) Nov 06, 2012
Do you know how many nutters get on this board alone and spout off about the great cold fusion cover up?

One. With various sockpuppets.
barakn
4.1 / 5 (9) Nov 06, 2012

We only need a creationist and an iron sun proponent, and we'll have the whole nut bar club represented.

Hah. You forgot the Illuminati/New World Order conspiracist, represented by julianpenrod.
Shinobiwan Kenobi
2 / 5 (6) Nov 06, 2012
Also: The most comical part about peer review is that nobody thinks to read the peer review papers which gauge the efficacy of peer review -- for, if they did, they'd see that there are MAJOR problems. This is arguably the most ironic feature of modern science today.


I am stunned. An HA post that does not mention plasma...

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (5) Nov 06, 2012
The most comical part about peer review is that nobody thinks to read the peer review papers which gauge the efficacy of peer review

Peer review has its drawbacks (and no one knows this better than the people who are doing peer review). Criticizing it is easy. But unless you have a better idea to check on the quality of scientific publications I don't think you have the right to get all huffed up about it.

You have to understand the position reviewers are in. Optimally reviewers are people who are better/more knowledgeable at the subject than the author of the paper is.

But this is science. I.e. the author is the expert. He is the only one on the planet who has done that particular work and studied it to such a depth as to produce these results. So the reviewers are NEVER in that optimal position.
They do the best they can to evaluate the methodology and to find obvious flaws.

Again: if you have a better idea - let's hear it.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (12) Nov 06, 2012
Again: if you have a better idea - let's hear it.

Change the system.
End the university pressures to publish or perish. Change the way funding is allocated for research.
Incentives work. Incentivize papers and you will get papers, good, bad doesn't matter. More papers incentivize more journals, good or bad.
Maybe universities could incentivize teaching. Professors would be rewarded for teaching instead of producing PhDs.
VendicarD
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 06, 2012
Clueless RyggTard doens't even know that most scientists must pay publishers to publish their papers.

"Incentives work. Incentivize papers and you will get papers, good, bad doesn't matter." - RyggTard

Tard boy clearly thinks that journals are not awash in papers to consider.

It is a buyers market and prices are so low, they are negative.

Poor RyggTard. He just doesn't live in the reality based community.
VendicarD
3.5 / 5 (8) Nov 06, 2012
One shutters to think what Tard Boy thinks these professors should be "teaching", and how producing PHD's isn't.

"Maybe universities could incentivize teaching. Professors would be rewarded for teaching instead of producing PhDs." - RyggTard

My guess is that like most Randites, RyggTard hates those who are his intellectual superiors, as demonstrated by his constant attack on reason, and his regular dismissal of expert analysis as the opinion of Liberal elites.

Anti-intellectualism runs deep in America's Conservative Culture. That is why Conservative Americans are so easily duped by the nonsense propaganda coming from Faux News, the Heritage foundation, Cato and the other Corporate propaganda businesses.

JoeBlue
1.3 / 5 (12) Nov 09, 2012
Well this explains why the AGW Theory is so prevalent. So many of these "scientists" are running around telling everyone what is real and what is not. I want a position where my title is "Scientist".
Maggnus
4.1 / 5 (9) Nov 09, 2012
Well this explains why the AGW Theory is so prevalent. So many of these "scientists" are running around telling everyone what is real and what is not. I want a position where my title is "Scientist".


No problem! Start by finishing middle school.
VendicarD
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 10, 2012
What an odd thing to say?

"Science is supposed to demonstrate Gravity IS false, not try to lobby FOR it." - RyggTard

Libertarians and Randites have long been the enemies of Science and reason.
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (5) Nov 10, 2012
IMO the people are cheaters by their nature and without public feedback they would find many ways for comfortable life - after all, they're doing already even in peer-review system, which is abused in this way. For example, because all scientists are payed for authorships of articles, the number of authors bellow each article is growing steadily. Because the scientists can get more citation for research of subject, which has been already cited with someone else, they're motivated in research of unoriginal and superfluous subjects (1, 2, 3) with avoidance of negative results (4, 5).
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (4) Nov 10, 2012
Is this diversion a product of some willful stance or even organized conspiracy? Of course not - it's actually "just" an independent confirmation of evolutionary theory. The community of scientists who are payed from mandatory fees is behaving like the "selfish meme" or simply like virtual living organism penetrating human society like its symbiont (or even parasite), which is trying to maximize its profit from this symbiosis. The individual scientists itself can hardly recognize their actual role and position in this mechanism, despite they're participating on it at daily basis. The rest of human society - which is poorly organized with compare to the scientific community - is gradually losing in this symbiosis due the various synergies, as the scientific community grows and expanding gradually.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4.3 / 5 (6) Nov 10, 2012
A short time ago in a galaxy near, very near.... A New Hope. It is a period of anti-science sentiment. Science articles, striking from a peer review base, have won their first victory against the evil Anti-scientist Empire.

@ ryggesogn2:

"paradigm shift". Testability, or it can't happen. There is no testable definition, no data, no peer review papers: Kuhn is a blathering fool philosopher, for Einstein's sake!

Consensus is a measure for non-scientists and a quick check for scientists, no more but no less. And that is what the article is about. It says that your side of blathering fool anti-scientists are losing among the public, your only and last redoubt of 'doubt'.

As for AGW as the current climate regime: it is of course is well evidenced, see IPCC -07 for a review. Precisely because it is the accepted science is why the article says nothing on that point.

Would you really want it to expose you being further down the mental waste pipe that is anti-science?
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4 / 5 (5) Nov 10, 2012
"Libertarians and Randites have long been the enemies".

Randites are of course more blathering fool philosophers, rationality without empirics and so more often wrong than not. So are ideologues like libertarians too. I used to think it was a fair parsimonic hypotheses, but it is easy to put up a similarly simple coupled model showing that generic constraints can be beneficial.

And that is what Rosling's statistics show. Functional societies aren't just free markets, they are democratic _and_ social medicine. We all know why fundamentalists thrives in US: it is dysfunctional because it lacks social security.

Now that has changed. Woe the libertarians, they will de-liberate into insignificance now.

So there is both the science X-wing fighters and the political Star Cruisers in the alliance that will defeat the evil Fundamentalist Empire.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (6) Nov 10, 2012
"Any paper, however bad, can now get published in a journal that claims to be peer-reviewed."
"The blame for this sad situation lies with the people who have imposed a publish-or-perish culture, namely research funders and senior people in universities. To have "written" 800 papers is regarded as something to boast about rather than being rather shameful. University PR departments encourage exaggerated claims, and hard-pressed authors go along with them."
http://www.guardi...-science
VendicarD
4.3 / 5 (6) Nov 10, 2012
The pressure to publish in order to maintain your position at a university is a REAL problem in science.

It stems from the fact that there are no objective ways to rapidly measure intellectual productivity.

RyggTard demands that the system be changed, but he has no concept of how it can be changed to be substantially better than it is now.

RyggTard for example gets a lot of his claptrap from the Guardian newspaper. And the Guardian regularly quotes Judith Curry. Judith Curry publishes her own quack journal that among other things has published a paper claiming that the sun is a solid ball of iron.

Quacks, using quacks, using quacks as sources is one of the thing the current system of ranking avoids, even though quacks like RyggTard don't know how to use the ranking system, and don't care to because their quack sources often support their own quack ideology.

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (7) Nov 10, 2012
Any paper, however bad, can now get published in a journal that claims to be peer-reviewed

Erm. No. If peer review is going on then bad papers will likely not pass.

The blame for this sad situation lies with the people who have imposed a publish-or-perish culture, namely research funders and senior people in universities

Publish or perish is a real problem. You know when it started? When research institutions were tasked to fight for grants instead of funding institutions of a limited size.
I.e.: It started with trying to make research (something inherently non-competitive) into a capitalist enterprise.
Howhot
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 11, 2012
R2 says:
The blame for this sad situation lies with the people who have imposed a publish-or-perish culture, namely research funders and senior people in universities.


In the first place R2, is it really that "SAD"? Is the situation really that bad? I think your just blowing smoke again.

ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (6) Nov 11, 2012
It started with trying to make research (something inherently non-competitive) into a capitalist enterprise.


Non-competitive? How is funding determined? There are always more research proposals than funds to pay. Someone must decide how to allocate those funds.
Only if private funds are involved to fund the research is capitalism involved in such research.
Most research is funded from wealth plundered by the state. No capitalism here.
And there is significant competition for that plundered wealth. The classic example is the continued fight between manned and unmanned space exploration.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4 / 5 (12) Nov 11, 2012
In the 1940 it took just six years for development of working nuclear bomb from first observation of fission in the lab. But now we aren't even able to replicate the trivial cold fusion experiments during twenty years. What happened with science during last sixty years?
Hmmm let's see...
1) it's probably not good for blowing up large enemy cities
2) if it works it would probably disrupt world economies at a time when they are weakest and so
3) it will have been explored in private and under secrecy to understand it's potential before being released into the world and if so
4) then world economies would have to be adjusted FIRST before releasing it
5) kind of like apple did with the PC before IBM went and made it ubiquitous; only different.
6) Rossi gets to sell limited quantities of large clumsy ecats and meanwhile economies are now being 'readjusted' worldwide aren't they?
7) and oil-based infrastructures are also being 'readjusted' with pending wars and AGM politics.
8) Relax
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Nov 12, 2012
Non-competitive? How is funding determined? There are always more research proposals than funds to pay.

Before the grants-craze started you had small institutes, each being funded with a fixed amount by the university they were associated with (as part of the normal budget). The institute decided what to fund.

This wasn't deemed optimal (and in some cases with good reason).
Then researchers were told to stop doing fundamental research and start doing 'industry-friendly' research (i.e. only research stuff that could be put into production in a short time).

This had the advantage that you got money from companies for the research while companies could downsize/close down their own R&D sections (paying grad students is WAY cheaper than paying full time employees. At about a factor of 3:1).

Upside: More grad student positions
Downside: Fundamental research all but collapsed - which pretty much doomed the economy of any country that put this scheme in place in the long run.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Nov 12, 2012
...I'm not saying that the new system is all bad. But it's not all good, either. It trades short term benefits fo long term desaster. And publish or perish is just the way that funding is distributed. It has led to such a multitude of papers being published that it's impossible for any researcher to even read all the stuff published in his field - much less look into other fields (and this cross-field view is where most revolutionary ideas come from)

Most research is funded from wealth plundered by the state.

The ROI on research (e.g. for NASA) is about 14 to 1. Show me any investment - other than the drug trade - that is THAT good at generating wealth.

Yes, the initial investment is first 'plundered' by the state. But the return is enormous.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.5 / 5 (13) Nov 12, 2012
Then researchers were told to stop doing fundamental research and start doing 'industry-friendly' research... This had the advantage that you got money from companies for the research while companies could downsize/close down their own R&D sections (paying grad students is WAY cheaper than paying full time employees. At about a factor of 3:1).
How does this relate to NASA, DOE, CERN, and all the many other govt-funded R&D research efforts? It doesnt. Big science is funded by big govt not big business.
Show me any investment - other than the drug trade - that is THAT good at generating wealth.
Military R&D is the most profitable in terms of forcing new tech and creating new markets. NASA is primarily a military agency.

War is competition in its purest form. Winning is necessity in its purest form. The People in Charge of the military industrial complex know full well that the wealth they generate would be worthless if the system which guarantees it was allowed to collapse.