Do you believe the scientific community in 2020?

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pennzy
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What would these agendas be? I see political or corporate agendas but what would be scientific agendas. Money? Research money can be achieved without an agenda.

NorthernHarrier
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I believe in science. As for the community of scientists, there are good and bad as in every community.

Good science is still the most reliable method we have of knowing reality. The quality of the work has to be evaluated, as with any product from any community. Fortunately, the means and methods to do that evaluation are well known and readily available, to those people willing to learn.

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Tumbleweed48 wrote:
Peer reviewed science is the only thing I have any faith in.

All else is conjecture, wishful thinking or deception.

I have always been a believer in science and the scientific method. .

robertsig
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Well right now people believe men can be women and women can be men....or there is no difference between them at all.  So yeah, I'd say science today is a little worse than before.

djozz
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robertsig wrote:

Well right now people believe men can be women and women can be men….or there is no difference between them at all.  So yeah, I’d say science today is a little worse than before.

Facepalm I do not see any point in this remark
Lightbringer
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Some fields of science are most likely unbiased. Astrophysics, for example. Discover weird x-ray lines in a distant galaxy’s spectrum that make you rethink a particular theory, and it might be quite an upheaval to the AP world, but you won’t have anyone shouting you down as a Heretic.

Talk medicine, climate, anything along those lines, and money and politics both rule, and influence a) what studies get funded (or defunded), and b) the desired outcome of the study.

If you wouldn’t trust Big Tobacco to come up with a study that “proves” <coff!> how harmless smoking is, why would you trust Big Pharma to come up with a study that “proves” their intended outcome?

Statins are the a Boon To Mankind, according to Big Pharma, a billion-dollar industry that keeps repeating the same mantra of “controlling bad cholesterol”, yet they have effects that no one likes to talk about, not even your doctor who’s pushing them on you. See https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200108-the-medications-that-change-... for a quick rundown.

With all the news reports about the New Way Of The Week to cure cancer (gold nanoparticles, targeted delivery, etc.), it’s still all about cutting/poisoning/burning (ie, surgery/chemo/radiation). It ain’t about curing cancer, but managing it.

Definitely follow the money, but also be aware of Orthodoxy. If you’re branded a Heretic, you will be defunded, shouted-down, blackballed, and so on. That’s where politics comes in (what money influences).

Science is supposed to be about keeping an open mind, but when politics and funding determine what’s Good Science and Bad Science, it’s tainted.

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robertsig
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djozz wrote:
[I do not see any point in this remark

That's probably the problem.

jf_smm
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Science isn’t a democracy, ask Galileo. Somebody is going to be the first to know something, meanwhile the consensus says the opposite.

Do I trust them…that depends on who’s paying the bills.

Usually I take a wait and see approach because I’ve seen so many flip flops on so many studies that I’m getting a bit cynical.

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Science is almost always right…eventually.
News and popular science reporting usually is not. I have read an article that tells me my favorite beverage or snack is really healthy and I am skeptical unless I take the time to read the original research which is usually equivocal or a small sample size.

pennzy
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History repeats itself and the tobacco industry is a good example. They could afford to pay off a few corrupt scientist to conclude what they wanted but eventually the vast majority of scientific evidence prevailed.

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I have followed this subject my whole life, strange to see it here. First, I Love Science. Blushing
Here is my view after many years of observing. So many times we were told something to be a fact only to be disproved 30yrs later with other facts. Science in the definition everyone thinks only exists on subjects that can be proven factual. Let me give an example that can seemingly be argued until the end of time. “ If you go as fast as light, time stops moving forward. “ Can this be proven with facts, not some formula or hypotheses. So no, I personally think Science has to be viewed with the eye of common sense included. The Science I enjoy most is right here on earth, and the 2020 community has the best tools for discovery. When they go beyond earth, things get fuzzy fast.
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Oh no, I hope this is not a controversial thing here on BLF that is not allowed. Question
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Firelight2
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Tumbleweed48 wrote:
Peer reviewed science is the only thing I have any faith in.

All else is conjecture, wishful thinking or deception.


This.
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Hi everyone, please be very careful to avoid inflammatory or divisive topics.

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iamlucky13
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Rayoui wrote:
The majority of the time that people question the scientific community, they are either politicians, CEOs or people who read some Facebook post. I tend to believe the scientific community over those other groups on most subjects.

One thing to keep in mind is that people referring to what the scientific community says usually are not part of the scientific community.

Those who actually conduct or analyze the research instead typically refer to the research itself. When names are used, it’s in a manner intended to help people locate the research by author, not as argument by authority.

I’m reminded of this frequently when politicians in my state discuss issues. Often we concur at the most basic level on the conclusions, but in the quest to sound compelling, they then exaggerate to a level that not only exceeds what can be supported by the research, but sometimes is even contrary to what is supported by the research.

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I totally believe in science. In fact, that’s the opposite of science that I have troubles with.

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This question, and many like it, unfortunately highlights common misconceptions about science.

  • Science is a process, not a set of conclusions. The conclusions are called scientific theory, not to be confused with hypotheses. Very unfortunately, these terms are commonly used interchangeably.
  • The notion that “science can get it wrong” is nonsensical. Science has an element of trial and error, and that’s not a bad thing. The scientific process is not focused on “getting it right” on the first shot, but rather getting it right eventually. Also, knowledge of what wasn’t “right” or what didn’t work is equally, sometimes more, important. Not sure, but this fear of “mistakes” seems to come from dogmatic or authority-driven mindsets where mistakes are seen as discrediting.
  • Results from science come with differing levels of confidence. Confidence builds with replication of results. This is the element of consensus in the scientific community. It also means that the latest studies (or youngest scientific domains) on the “bleeding edge” of science usually have the least amount of confidence (but are the ones most reported, naturally!), while the ideas (or scientific domains) with the highest confidence tend to be older and more widely studied (but not as novel for reporting). As the body of knowledge grows, the ideas well within the limits are generally quite confidently known, while at the boundaries of knowledge, things are by definition less clear. So “flip-flopping” of latest results is not a failure, but rather to be expected in a system of incremental learning. Note that “flip-flopping” is rarely a total rejection of what was known to date, and typically a change in (some of) the conclusions.
  • Believe” is in principle the wrong word, but in practice, unfortunately still applicable. It is possible to hold correct ideas for invalid reasons, or discard correct ideas for invalid reasons, or even hold incorrect ideas (hopefully only temporarily) for valid reasons! Dogmatic people often think of science/scientists as also being dogmatic, since people generally think others are like themselves. Note that dogmatic people may also become scientists… but science by its very nature is not dogmatic.
  • “Follow the money / agendas” (questioning motives), “use common sense” (no such thing), “keep an open mind / anything is possible” (confusing possibility with probability), “Big Science” (notion of authority-based domains), “good/bad scientists” (placing too much importance on individual contributions versus the whole body of work), etc … these are all red herrings. Truth is true regardless of motives, agendas, what authorities say, etc. Science is based on replication, so incorrect information or conclusions, even if it were intentional, won’t matter much in the longer term.
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iamlucky13 wrote:
Rayoui wrote:
The majority of the time that people question the scientific community, they are either politicians, CEOs or people who read some Facebook post. I tend to believe the scientific community over those other groups on most subjects.

One thing to keep in mind is that people referring to what the scientific community says usually are not part of the scientific community.

Those who actually conduct or analyze the research instead typically refer to the research itself. When names are used, it’s in a manner intended to help people locate the research by author, not as argument by authority.

I’m reminded of this frequently when politicians in my state discuss issues. Often we concur at the most basic level on the conclusions, but in the quest to sound compelling, they then exaggerate to a level that not only exceeds what can be supported by the research, but sometimes is even contrary to what is supported by the research.

I see things like this every day in the news and on social media. The clickbait titles like “Scientists discover…” or “Scientists say…” without any references to real published results or studies. Then there’s the statistical studies where no actual experiments or science was performed; they just pull a bunch of data from the internet or poll a small, cherry-picked selection of individuals to produce the desired result.

It’s unfortunate that the majority of individuals today can’t be bothered to do a little bit of research of their own to try to find an actual source for the information they are reading on the internet.

MtnDon
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Rayoui wrote:

It’s unfortunate that the majority of individuals today can’t be bothered to do a little bit of research of their own to try to find an actual source for the information they are reading on the internet.

Thumbs Up And not solely for science related info.
phouton
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Rayoui wrote:
The clickbait titles like “Scientists discover…” or “Scientists say…” without any references to real published results or studies.

Or worse, over-generalize or even claim the opposite of what the scientists discovered or said.
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I agree with so much of what is said here. Raw data/science is the only truth. Always consider the source. Follow the money. If a politician is saying pay more in taxes in the name of science, it’s usually a spin for control. “Adjusted” means spun to fit a narrative.

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Science as we speak of today was called natural philosophy at one time. Philosophy is always suspect to “interpretation “. Scientists and philosophers have all the same strengths and weaknesses unique to mankind. Publishing in a prestigious journal can lead to exaggeration or simple falsification. My light produces 1quadrillion lumens from a aaa alkileak. Kickstarter link follows etc…… Philosophers etc. claim the secret to happiness is ……… I need a patron or matron to sponsor my Dr. Phi…….. show so I can sell ads and books. Some are genuine in their beliefs whether right or wrong. Some spout malarkey like “when you change your mind you change your mind”. Best advice is to follow the money.

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Quoting Peter Watts:

“Science doesn’t work despite scientists being asses. Science works, to at least some extent, because scientists are asses. Bickering and backstabbing are essential elements of the process. Haven’t any of these guys ever heard of “peer review”? . . .
The fact is, we are all humans; and humans come with dogma as standard equipment. . . The best we can do— the best science can do— is make sure that at least, we get to choose among competing biases.
That’s how science works. It’s not a hippie love-in; it’s rugby. Every time you put out a paper, the guy you pissed off at last year’s Houston conference is gonna be laying in wait. Every time you think you’ve made a breakthrough, that asshole supervisor who told you you needed more data will be standing ready to shoot it down. . .
This is how it works: you put your model out there in the coliseum, and a bunch of guys in white coats kick the shit out of it. If it’s still alive when the dust clears, your brainchild receives conditional acceptance. It does not get rejected. This time. . . .
Science is so powerful that it drags us kicking and screaming towards the truth despite our best efforts to avoid it. And it does that at least partly fueled by our pettiness and our rivalries. . .
Keep that in mind the next time some blogger decries the ill manners of a bunch of climate scientists under continual siege by forces with vastly deeper pockets and much louder megaphones.

http://www.rifters.com/crawl/?p=886

Quoting Aldo Leopold:

““One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”
― Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

how crazy is this
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robertsig wrote:

Well right now people believe men can be women and women can be men….or there is no difference between them at all.  So yeah, I’d say science today is a little worse than before.

I build databases. Worked with a Dr. who developed an excellent NICU application. Turns out in the real world, if you are caring for babies, you can not depend on a straight Male / Female binary choice to accurately describe a baby. I know that social values are changing radically but the truth is that the actual nature of human beings is not nearly as clear cut as we may want to believe.

Heard this on a drive a while back and it kind of blew my mind. Can’t believe how much we have learned since I left college in the early 80s. We certainly understand more now than we did then. FWIW, I think this is worth a listen.

https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab/articles/gonads-xy

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When I was in the 6th grade our science book told us that the Earth constantly went through cyclical changes and we were headed for an ice age in some many thousands of years. I was somewhat skeptical but knew I would not live long enough to know if they were right or not. The science teacher allowed a couple of students to hold Mercury in their bare hands and also demonstrated on a desktop how it behaved and rolled around in little balls. Science has evolved since then. When scientists are looking back in time or trying to predict the future there are always some variables that they don’t fully account for.
I’m pro science but always trying to think about the variables that they may be missing. No pointy hats.

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how crazy is this wrote:
robertsig wrote:

Well right now people believe men can be women and women can be men….or there is no difference between them at all.  So yeah, I’d say science today is a little worse than before.

I build databases. Worked with a Dr. who developed an excellent NICU application. Turns out in the real world, if you are caring for babies, you can not depend on a straight Male / Female binary choice to accurately describe a baby. I know that social values are changing radically but the truth is that the actual nature of human beings is not nearly as clear cut as we may want to believe.

Heard this on a drive a while back and it kind of blew my mind. Can’t believe how much we have learned since I left college in the early 80s. We certainly understand more now than we did then. FWIW, I think this is worth a listen.

https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab/articles/gonads-xy

Yet anthropologist can look to the bone fragments/skeletons fossils throughout ancient history and scientifically determine whether animals were male or female but according to this view they shouldn’t be able to?

So throughout history, we could determine male or female but now all the sudden recent studies say there’s a continuum?

How convenient.

hank
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Yep. One of my science teachers told me that in 30 years, everything I’d learned in college would be dated or wrong.
And that all that I’d have left to rely on was the habit of looking for answers.
True that.

how crazy is this
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Boro wrote:

Yet anthropologist can look to the bone fragments/skeletons fossils throughout ancient history and scientifically determine whether animals were male or female but according to this view they shouldn’t be able to?

So throughout history, we could determine male or female but now all the sudden recent studies say there’s a continuum?

How convenient.

I don’t know about ancient history but I do know that now babies are born and their sex is not possible to define as male or female. Perhaps their fossils could provide that evidence but their living beings do not. Of course there is also the point of time reference. How would the anthropologists address the fossilized remains of clownfish, wrasses, moray eels, etc.

With rare exceptions I think science is evolving and providing a clearer view of reality. I know that during the time I have been on this board flashlights have gotten better. It is easy to mis represent science. However, what is a Lumen other than an expression of a scientific principle? What is a driver other than an application of those principles? You can go into a field and claim that a 1,000 Lumen headlamp is not as bright as a 900 lumen C8 and a whole bunch of people would believe you. Does not meant that the science somehow got “convenient”.

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Yes, we can determine a person's sex at birth, unless you are part of the 1% who have a genetic issue like hermaphrodite.  Gender may be a social construct, but sex is not.

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I guess my question is where does real science stop and philosophy start? I don’t trust the peer review process.

Example: Why should we expect the future to be like the past?

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