Monday, September 27, 2010

Should journalists second guess the scientific truth?

This post is a reaction to recent article of Lubos Motl of the same name. It's not surprising, Motl supports his restrictive stance, regarding the rights to expression of private opinion from the side of journalists. But we shouldn't neglect the fact, with respect to climatic science Lubos is just an educated journalist like everyone else and he violates his own rules flagrantly, because he is trying to influent public meaning massively all the time. He is just trying to dispute rights of journalists to the same activity, which he dedicated most of his time - and because he uses Google Adsense on his blog, he's even earning some money for it like professional journalists.


In general, opinion of experts matters from intrinsic perspective only. But just because experts are specialized to narrow area of their private interest, they're not overmuch qualified in judging of their opinions in wider context - on the contrary, they tend to occupy their stances rather blindly - the more, the more they feel being an experts in given area. 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 (in Czech) may be useful not only for Lubos Motl.

Niels Bohr: "An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field".

152 comments:

Zephir said...

Stigler's law of eponymy is a process proposed by University of Chicago statistics professor Stephen Stigler in his 1980 publication "Stigler’s law of eponymy". In its simplest and strongest form it says: "No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer.". Stigler attributes its discovery to sociologist Robert K. Merton (which makes the law self-referencing).

(image)

Zephir said...

Actually it's not so surprising, because people, who are thinking intuitively (and actually inventing stuffs) are rather bad in formalization or realization of their ideas - so they're not presenting their finding in a way, which is accepted by mainstream science, at least in the time, when this idea was originally proposed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_examples_of_Stigler%27s_law

Zephir said...

Be wary of the righteous rationalist: We should reject Sam Harris's
claim that science can be a moral guidepost

Zephir said...

There is an old paper by Luigi Foschini about the problem of interpretation of quantum physics which has raised a discussion about the effectiveness of science and its limits:

Is Science going through a critical stage? (PDF)

Zephir said...

The bias for positive results is a complete shame - future scientists will laugh at us..

Here are two journals that publish null results, the second being more established than the first.

http://www.jasnh.com/
http://www.jnrbm.com/

Zephir said...

current phenomenon of “bloggers” should be of serious concern to scientists

Zephir said...

Scientists tend to publish positive, rather then negative articles (these denying existing theories the less)

http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0010271

As the result, scientists tend to publish unoriginal research (with many references to earlier work), rather then new, potentially controversial research (with few references to earlier work).

http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100813/full/news.2010.406.html

Why they're doing so? Because they're payed for references, not for the originality of research. As the result, the physicists are refuting to work on the topics, which don't play well with their existing theories and they tend to research topics, which are supporting them. The Wired article demonstrates it well for the case of cold fusion research:

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/6.11/coldfusion_pr.html
It's basically the same selfreinforcing mechanism, like this one disputed here:

http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-10-ut-professor-economic-inequality-self-reinforcing.html

Every large community postulates its own rules, which are enabling it to grow faster despite the rest of society. The laws developed politicians are primarily protecting the government, the principles of scientific work and grant system are following the interests of scientists, not the rest of society.

Zephir said...

The current publication system is slowing down scientific innovation, but not only this.
1. It discourages the replication of results due to a lack of novelty, although replicability is considered to be a fundamental pillar of modern science.
2. Many journals tend not to publish papers which contradict previously published results, since this may question the editorial process. If controversial contributions are not rejected by the editorial desk, they are often stopped by the referees.
3. Most journals do not publish commentaries or methodological contributions which could point out weaknesses of current results and questions (“grand challenges”) which should be addressed.
4. It is almost impossible to publish negative results, i.e. studies that did not deliver the results one was looking for. However, describing a model or experiment that failed would avoid similarly fruitless attempts and could help to identify successful variants more quickly.

Zephir said...

Trolls are like longitudinal underwater waves, forming annoying noise at the water surface, whereas the strictly formally thinking experts are like transverse waves spreading along water surface. At the distance these waves converge mutually, so that the every sufficiently farseeing genius is indistinguishable from cretin.

Frank Poe's law: "Any sufficiently fundamentalistic stance becomes indistinguishable from its parody" (examples)
Arthur E. Clarke's law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from medieval magic"

The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

The Poe's law (in which every sufficiently fundamentalistic stance becomes indistinguishable from its parody) and/or Asimov's law (in which every sufficiently advanced theory or technology is indistinguishable from ancient medieval magic) are not accidental at all - but a theorems of AWT model.

For example, with increasing level of formalism the advanced theories of string theorists are becoming as fuzzy and untestable, like the incomprehensible implications of modern philosophers (Martin Heidegger). AWT just explains, why is it so and why both group of thinkers converge to the same outcome undeniably, although they're using completely different tools for it.

At the water surface the strictly causal background independent transverse waves (which are representing strictly formal approach here) are gradually becoming as fuzzy, as the underwater longitudinal waves (which are representing holistic approach of philosophers) and their spreading converges into fuzzy noise from sufficient distance from observer. This can serve as an illustrative physical model of the dichotomy in evolution of human understanding.

Zephir said...

Interpreting Statements in Scientific Papers

Zephir said...

Why anthropology is ‘true’ even if it is not ‘science’.

"The opposite of ‘science’ is not ‘nihilistic postmodernism’, it’s ‘an enormously huge range of forms of scholarship, many of which are completely and totally committed to accuracy and impartiality in the knowledge claims they make, thank you very much’."

The same applies to another area of science, for example physics, which is very dogmatic too, because of the lack of reliable data for verification. The symptomatic aspect of this intellectual crisis is, young scientists are becoming more conservative, then these elderly ones, because their conformist thinking is carrier driven.

Zephir said...

Albert Einstein: "The bigotry of the nonbeliever is for me nearly as funny as the bigotry of the believer".

Zephir said...

Is there something wrong with the scientific method?

Zephir said...

In 1977 Michael Mahoney found that journal reviewer evaluations depend on a paper’s conclusion, not just its methods:
75 journal reviewers were asked to referee manuscripts which described identical experimental procedures but which reported positive, negative, mixed, or no results. In addition to showing poor interrater agreement, reviewers were strongly biased against manuscripts which reported results contrary to their theoretical perspective.

Zephir said...

It’s as if our facts were losing their truth: claims that have been enshrined in textbooks are suddenly unprovable. This phenomenon doesn’t yet have an official name, but it’s occurring across a wide range of fields, from psychology to ecology.
Abstract

Zephir said...

An article on the "decline effect" in science. How research might initially favor grandiose claims only to latter discover they're unsubstantia

Zephir said...

As cold fusion events demonstrate, modern science is ruled by conformity, not the search for scientific truth
"It all reminds me of the discovery of cold fusion in 1989 by Fleishmann and Pons, who were widely ridiculed by the arrogant hot fusion researchers who tried to destroy the credibility (and careers) of cold fusion researchers. After the very idea of "cold fusion" was attacked and demolished by these arrogant scientists, it soon returned under a new name: Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR).
LENR has now been verified as true by none other than the U.S. Navy -- along with hundreds of other researchers around the world (see link above). And yet, even today, the conventional scientific community still insists cold fusion doesn't exist and cold fusion researchers are frauds.

Zephir said...

Time to democratise science + Sabine's comment

Zephir said...

The incoming GOP majority has a new initiative called YouCut, which lets Americans propose government programs for termination. YouCut's first target was that notoriously bloated white elephant, the National Science Foundation.

Zephir said...

In praise of scientific error
Excessive caution more damaging to science than mistakes

Zephir said...

The disposable academic: Why doing a PhD is often a waste of time.
Research at one American university found that those who finish are no cleverer than those who do not. Poor supervision, bad job prospects or lack of money cause them to run out of steam.

Zephir said...

Walter Russell Mead: The Crisis of the American Intellectual

Zephir said...

Does Peer Review Work?

Peer review is important for professional scientific community, as it should prohibit earning money with complete BSs. But for truly innovative and independent scientists its just a brake of evolution, as Einstein already noted. BTW Most of string theory publications were presented just at ArXiv, simply because of lack of independent reviewers.

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/43691

Peer review cannot work well under the situation, when the density of informations and the degree of specialization increases up to level, only experts which are very close to authors can judge their article in qualified way. It violates the anonymity of referees and their objectiveness undeniably. The problem is, scientific community needs to decide about grant and money flow faster, then the completely objective process could enable. In general, I'd recommend, the works of independent researchers shouldn't be a subject of peer review. Only if scientists need a money from the rest of community for their research, they should accept rules of this community. The more public money is involved into research, the more strict should be its rules for publication.

For example, I'm developing AWT in my free time, I don't require money of tax payers for it - so it's solely in my competence to decide, where and how I will present it. Of course, professional scientists don't like it, because of my dumping price policy, but this is a life. Every community needs a competition from outside, or it will degenerate in less or more distant future. Actually I'm helping to increase effectiveness of scientific work for my own money, thus helping whole civilization.

Zephir said...

John Allen Paulos - The Decline Effect and Why Scientific 'Truth' So Often Turns Out Wrong.

In AWT (dense aether theory) this phenomena can be real emergent nature and it manifests like switching into dual opinion, when the density of facts increases certain level. It's analogous to dispersive spreading of waves at the water surface, which is switching its character with distance from longitudinal into transverse waves and back into longitudinal waves again. It corresponds the layered fractally nested character of Universe and observable reality.

For example, from terrestrial perspective the epicycle model of solar system appears relevant. With increasing scope this model has been replaced with heliocentric model but now the evolution of galactic arms can be described with epicycle model again. It's just the number of observable objects, which makes epicycle or heliocentric model more relevant.

After all, the acceptation/refusal of aether model is of the same emergent evolution. Before some time old Greeks believed in Aether, later (Newton) this concept has been replaced with concept of absolute space. In 19th century the aether based models were quite popular again, but they're were replaced later with relativity model of space-time. Now the aether model is returning into physics again with model of Higgs field, which is responsible for particle mass.

http://aetherwavetheory.blogspot.com/2008/11/how-ancient-physics-was-reborn.html

Zephir said...

Universities are aggressively seeking federal dollars to build bigger and fancier laboratory facilities, and are not paying an equal amount of attention to teaching and nurturing the students who would fill them, scientists say in the articles.

Zephir said...

Statistical Prediction Rules Out-Perform Expert Human Judgments

Zephir said...

Maybe journalists cannot guess the scientific truth, but you can!

arXiv vs. snarXiv game

Zephir said...

Nabokov Theory on Polyommatus Blue Butterflies Is Vindicated - well, just another example of peer-review process failure.

Zephir said...

The Science of Right and Wrong

Zephir said...

Understanding current causes of women's underrepresentation in science: based on a review of the past data ... some of these claims are no longer valid and can delay understanding of contemporary women's underrepresentation.

Zephir said...

"When a true genius appears in the world you may know him by this sign; that all the dunces are in confederacy against him."

Jonathan Swift

Zephir said...

When people can learn what others think, the wisdom of crowds may veer towards ignorance

Zephir said...

Efimov states are example of anyons, which are still searched with mainstream physicists, because one half of physicists apparently doesn't understand, what the second one does...

www.livescience.com/9776-strange-physical-theory-proved-40-years.html

www.physorg.com/news/2011-06-acrobatics-anyons-elusive-fundamental-particle.html

Zephir said...

Is modern physics rotting?

Zephir said...

Crazy Research The U.S. Government Is Funding

Zephir said...

An essay by Freeman Dyson on the missed opportunities in science: "The progress of both mathematics and physics has in the past been
seriously retarded by our unwillingness to listen to one another."

Zephir said...

Naturalism as dogma is one more enemy of the scientific spirit, Do Physicists Make the World a Better Place?
Physicists could indeed make the world the better place, but they're failing to do so. Most of their activities is serving for physicists itself and they tend to ignore really useful findings (cold fusion, antigravity, room superconductivity, ZPE devices) on behalf of useless and even redundant concepts (Higgs boson,  WIMPS, gravitational waves, string theory). They're driven with tendency to continue in research, rather than to reconcile their theories, as R. Wilson (a former boss of APS) pregantly expressed in his famous memo.
Therefore I'm not really sure, if physicists are really doing world better, than the people of other occupations (politicians, lawyers, people of big pharma companies), which are indeed important too, but overly motivated with interests of their own community

Zephir said...

When math and science rule the school In his article “Dehumanized,” Mark Slouka argues that the US
education’s focus on math and science and the neglect of the humanities spell the demise of democracy. The American education’s “long running affair with math and science
is “obsessive, exclusionary” and “altogether unhealthy.” And that is because the ways of science are “often dramatically anti-democratic.”

Zephir said...

Albert Einstein: "The greatest obstacle to understanding reality is not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge." (Autoritätsdusel ist der größte Feind der Wahrheit, 1901). Then he rejected the quantum mechanics.

Zephir said...

It's no secret, the peer-review process is in crisis by now. I do perceive it as a structural problem of information explosion. Due the high specialization the peer-review cannot be anonymous anymore, which leads into formation of hidden coalitions and/or blind negativism at the case of competition. Because the mainstream science is payed from research from public money, it definitely needs the feedback to avoid open frauds. I just believe, this feedback must be more opened and public too. It will enable not only to check submitters, but their reviewers too. It would require, all informations must be published at preprint servers first to remove the priority problems. It would lead into lost of influence of mainstream journals, because most of information will be possible to find outside of them. Apparently, just the existence of these journals which guarantee the quality of peer-review process is the largest brake of its further improvement.

Zephir said...

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin (Feb. 1998) "When you're one step ahead of the crowd you're a genius. When you're two steps ahead, you're a crackpot."

Zephir said...

reason versus utter crap (source)

Zephir said...

Albert Einstein: Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen. (Zdravý smysl je hromada předsudků, kterou hromadíme do osmnácti let.)

Zephir said...

The Alternative-Science Respectability Checklist

"Also, one last thing. Don’t compare yourself to Galileo. You are not Galileo. Honestly, you’re not. Dude, seriously." Just because I'm not a Galileo, such comparison is available for me. If I would be a Galileo, I couldn't compare to myself.

Zephir said...

We should warn against science journalism, a make-believe world where every story is a breakthrough and every upcoming result is an "answer."

Zephir said...

Michio Kaku: How physics got fat (and why we weed to sing for our supper)

Zephir said...

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, (Feb. 1998): "When you're one step ahead of the crowd you're a genius. When you're two steps ahead, you're a crackpot."

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860): "All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed; Second, it is violently opposed; and Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

Zephir said...

We Must Stop the Avalanche of Low-Quality Research

Zephir said...

Infographics: S.O.S. - Stop Out-of-Control Science. If we can have three Asimov's laws of robotics - why couldn't we apply them to scientists? Aren't the scientists supposed to serve their civilization less reliably than the robots? After all, the robot's can be financed with private companies - but the scientific research is mostly payed with tax payers directly.

Zephir said...

It's no secret that graduate education, in the United States at least, has become little more than a Ponzi scheme, where less than half of graduate candidates find gainful employment after their PhD's.

Zephir said...

The New Yorker: That the Smarter People Are, the More Susceptible They Are to Cognitive Bias

Zephir said...

Carlo Rovelli: Science is not about certainty. Science is about finding the most reliable way of thinking.

Zephir said...

Consider Yourself an Expert? Think Again

Zephir said...

In accordance to recent study having children tends to slow the career progress of women physicists but not that of their male counterparts. To generate the data that produced this graph, a global survey analyzed responses from some 15 000 physicists to compare their career progress with that of their colleagues.

Zephir said...

How/whether science blog posts should be cited in academic journals.

Zephir said...

Features of crackpot science
All crackpottery is foundational. Crackpots do not go for the small problems
Most physics crackpots are engineers. As this may be the only kind of cursus that provides one with enough math background to understand the equations and formulae in the textbooks without actually studying maths and physics.
All crackpots are male. There used to be the one lady valiantly posting ‘quantum physics disproved’ webpages but she recently died. Perhaps this extraordinary sex-ratio is explained by point [2] above.
Crackpots ignore other crackpots. In the crackpot’s worldview, there is ego with an enormously important discovery vs. the monolithic community of “establishment physics”.
The crackpot theory is invariably more intuitive than the standard one.
In the same way, the crackpot alternative is, almost universally, less mathematically challenging than the standard account. Tensors and other complicated tools of SR are replaced with college-level calculus.
The crackpot theory is based on textbooks. Most of my cranks cite virtually no recent publications in physics. The reason for this obsession with particular studies is that those are invariably cited by textbooks where the cranks get their scientific training.

Zephir said...

Science journalism: Let's talk about sex: examples 1, 2

Zephir said...

Social rejection can fuel imaginative thinking

Zephir said...

Terry Rudolph on Nature versus Nurture - story about how a paper was partly rejected by Nature, because it had been posted previously on the ArXiv

Zephir said...

Polling the experts, you might want to check out the YouTube documentary, "The Trouble with Experts"

Zephir said...

Scientists, journals, and science journalists behaving badly

Zephir said...

Zen . . . And the Art of Debunkery Crackpot index Anticrackpot index (Wiki)

Zephir said...

Brian Josephson lecture: Limitations and Pathology in the Scientific Process

Zephir said...

Teaching Science with Pseudoscience

Zephir said...

“Split chores cause divorce!” rooting out sensationalism in science journalism..

Zephir said...

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.

M. Crichton: "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"

Galileo Galilei: "In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. "

Zephir said...

Gilbert Keith Chesterton: "It isn't that they can't see the solution. It is that they can't see the problem." For experts the subject of their interest is often selfreferencing and therefore without problem. Such a problem arise only in confrontation with another theory or phenomena, not described with their pet theory.

Zephir said...

Newton’s Flaming Laser Sword: Why mathematicians and scientists don’t like philosophy but do it anyway.

Zephir said...

Online comments hurt science understanding, study finds

Zephir said...

Crowd funding for crank physics: A new design for bicycle cranks violates basic principles of physics, but that's not stopping the inventor of Z-Torque cranks from trying to raise thousands in start-up capital through crowd funding.

Zephir said...

A survey of leading thinkers shows that they are as far as ever from agreeing on the nature of reality: quantum computer expectations

Zephir said...

Dean Keith Simonton fears that surprising originality in the natural sciences is a thing of the past, as vast teams finesse knowledge rather than create disciplines.

Zephir said...

As Mark Twain said: "It's easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.". Are you under the spell of media hypnosis? Take this simple test and find out - Mike Adams goes on to show how the media uses hypnotic methods to get people to along with the "official story."

Zephir said...

Roland Benabou in "groupthink: collective delusion in organization and market" and "patterns of denial" describe a good model. Or course, a good denialist will bend the conclusion to reject inconvenient fact and justify others delusion... No hope. As usual all will be done by the market, neither by science community, nor by government. This is coherent with the innovator theory of Norbert Alter, with real history of steam engine, plane, radium. No reason to blame anybody except our naiveness.

Zephir said...

Believe it or not; pseudoscience provides the perfect launch pad for logical thought, says Dr Paul Willis.
It's not accidental, because most of pseudoscience is actually a protoscience, which just tries to explain the existing phenomena logically instead of with using of formal numerical regression of abstract theories. Because these theories don't often mean less or more, than the extrapolation of experimental facts with some kind of curve (no matter how complex it is), which has nothing to do with actual understanding of these facts. In dense aether model the intuitive understanding is dual to the formal one and it corresponds the mediation of information in form of longitudinal waves trough casual space instead of transverse waves. Both types of waves are complementary in particle environment (the system of many facts serves here as a scalar tautologies in causal space, i.e. like the particles).

Zephir said...

[url=http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/2013/02/debate-science-literature-false-fraud-error]Chemistry World editorial encourages scientific debate[/url] about ‘Bad Science’ and cites cold fusion during it. Scientists are behaving like priests saying "trust me im a scientist" and similarly pontificating about their certainty...and denegrating any who disagree. Scientists are behaving like priests saying "trust me im a scientist" and similarly pontificating about their certainty...and denigrating any who disagree. In many cases such a skepticism just a manifestation of primitive fear of competition from the side of more insightful people. They want to deny, not just to disprove the uncomfortable opinions.

Zephir said...

The cult of genius, Scientific genius is extinct, Why no new Einstein

Zephir said...

Study finds an bias against accents

Zephir said...

Aldous Huxley: about consistency

Zephir said...

Does “Science” Make You Moral? The Effects of Priming Science on Moral Judgments and Behavior

Zephir said...

"It is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom." // "I'd rather be an optimist and a fool than a pessimist and right." -- Albert Einstein

Zephir said...

Betteridge's law of headlines is an adage that states, "Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no." The name refers to Ian Betteridge, a British technology journalist, although the general concept is much older. The observation has also been called "Davis' law" or just the "journalistic principle."

Zephir said...

Many findings of recent era are closed into treasuries, just because they're useful and not least of all, weaponizable (1, 2, 3)

Zephir said...

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” ― Richard Buckminster Fuller

Zephir said...

Why is Science Behind a Paywall?

Zephir said...

Feynman: Take the world from another point of view (transcript).

Zephir said...

Bankrupting Physics: How Today's Top Scientists are Gambling Away Their Credibility, Farewell to Reality: How Modern Physics Has Betrayed the Search for Scientific Truth

Zephir said...

I personally disagree. As Werner Braun once said , "the basic research is when I am doing what I don't know what I am doing". Once you know it, then it's not a research anymore, but a stamp collection. Or do you believe, that the research of superconductivity or dark matter is impossible, just because we still have no reliable theory for these phenomena developed yet? In addition, it's not a true, that the cold fusion has not theoretical support - the problem actually is the quite opposite: we have too many theories for it in this moment. http://newenergytimes.com/v2/sr/Theories/LENR-and-Cold-Fusion-Theory-Index.shtml

Zephir said...

"It is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom." // "I'd rather be an optimist and a fool than a pessimist and right." -- Albert Einstein

Zephir said...

An attempt for vindication of incompetency of mainstream health science: It is risky to oversimplify science for the sake of a clear public-health message

Zephir said...

Albert Einstein: "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction."

Zephir said...

The problem with reductionism, Laughlin says, is that it’s susceptible to “Dark Corollaries”, which obscure the inconclusive nature of many experiments. One of these corollaries he has dubbed ‘the Deceitful Turkey’, to describe the phantom breakthrough that feels so tantalisingly close but will always be beyond one’s grasp, no matter what computer power or technology is at hand.

Zephir said...

Average physicist life-cycle (original)

Zephir said...

Isaac Asimov: The Relativity of Wrong. Theories are not so much wrong as incomplete.

Zephir said...

Armstrong formulated what he called "the author's formula", a set of rules that authors should use to increase the likelihood and speed of acceptance of their manuscripts.
Authors should:
(1) not pick an important problem,
(2) not challenge existing beliefs,
(3) not obtain surprising results,
(4) not use simple methods,
(5) not provide full disclosure, and
(6) not write clearly.
Armstrong, J. S. (1982). Barriers to scientific contributions: the author's formula. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 5, 197-199, referenced by http://vixra.org/abs/0907.0020

Zephir said...

The professors now protesting the onset of the Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) have a lot in common with the Luddites  two centuries ago. Luddites  were 19th-century
English textile artisans who protested against newly developed labour-saving machinery from 1811 to 1817.

Zephir said...

“Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.” – Richard Feynman

Zephir said...

G. Pollack lecture: Why/how does the scientific enterprise discourage radical ideas?

Zephir said...

How 'big science' stifles discovery

Zephir said...

The Case against Public Science The society should bribe the scientists so that their discoveries are more likely to be used to benefit the society and not against it. If we realize, that the actual findings and practical application come just from private research - if not garage scientists - (cold fusion) and the results of basic research rather conserve one hundred years misunderstandings, then I'm rather inclined to defund public science as a whole.

Zephir said...

Psychologists say 'group-level narcissism' linked to negative attitudes toward immigrants: The community of physicists (and whatever else experts) doesn't like the free thinkers and similar outsiders from the same reason: it's too immersed in its narcissistic perception of its own qualification and level of expertise.

Zephir said...

A new study co-authored by an MIT professor suggests that many people are, in fact, heavily influenced by the positive opinions other people express online—but are much less swayed by negative opinions posted in the same venues.

Zephir said...

Another problem of anonymous public voting is, the filter based on it affects the visibility of posts for all other readers, so that the spamvoters can manipulate with accessibility of posts by their pleasure. What I recommend instead is to implement the filter of posts and posters at personal basis. It essentially means, when you downvote someone, then his comments will remain hidden just for you. This not only would make the situation for voting trolls more difficult, but it will even eliminate their main motivation for their occasional mass downvoting of selected users. Of course, the other users (newcomers) could still use the black/white lists of trustful users as their default. IMO such a voting system would reflect the actual intersubjective opinion about quality and significance of posters for voting community a much better, so that even the site providers and admins could benefit from more relevant data about posters.

Zephir said...

Caveman Science Committee Concludes Fire Does Not Exist (copy), Cold Fusion, heavy criticism of independent tests: Interview with Bo Höistad, it defends the tester E-Cat

Zephir said...

Haters gonna hate, study confirms: people who have many negative opinions about things they know were more likely to have negative opinions about things they have not yet encountered.

Zephir said...

Science Is Not Your Enemy - but its still enemy of your pocket.

Zephir said...

S. Mo Jang of the University of Michigan set out to answer questions: Do people who claim to have a strong understanding of science challenge their views? Do people who claim religious affiliation read scientific studies that oppose their worldview?

Zephir said...

Comments can be bad for science. That's why some sites like the PopularScience.com, are shutting them off. Popular Science is owned by the Bonnier Corporation while Popular Mechanics is owned by the Hearst Corporation. Popular Science is a part of the new Cult of Scientism, a dogmatic circle jerk of intellectual bullies, who insist the only "science" that's true is their own selected brand of corporate-sponsored science. All legitimate science is excluded and attacked if it dares question the core beliefs of the Cult of Scientism. Those beliefs include some real whoppers, such as, "Corporate science is the only science that counts," and, "GMOs are safe, even without long-term testing, because we say they are." In this cult "Bad science," is anything that "has failed to convince many mainstream scientists of its truth." This, of course, is nothing more than "mob science" which isn't really science at all. If new science were only recognized once all the existing scientists were convinced of its truth, then science would never have advanced. According to PopSci, then, in 1616, then, the idea that the Earth was spherical would have been considered "bad science."

Zephir said...

A thought-terminating cliché is a commonly used phrase, sometimes passing as folk wisdom, used to quell cognitive dissonance. Though the phrase in and of itself may be valid in certain contexts, its application as a means of dismissing dissent or justifying fallacious logic is what makes it thought-terminating. The term was popularized by Robert Jay Lifton in his 1956 book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism. Lifton said, "The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating cliché. The most far-reaching and complex of human problems are compressed into brief, highly reductive, definitive-sounding phrases, easily memorized and easily expressed. These become the start and finish of any ideological analysis." In George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the fictional constructed language Newspeak is designed to reduce language entirely to a set of thought-terminating clichés. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World society uses thought-terminating clichés in a more conventional manner, most notably in regard to the drug soma as well as modified versions of real-life platitudes, such as, "A doctor a day keeps the jim-jams away." Political examples:
"Opposition at any cost!" (Bare assertion fallacy)
"That's racist/sexist/homophobic/heterosexist/anti-semitic!" (Poisoning the well/Begging the question attack).
"That’s just a (liberal/conservative/libertarian/communitarian/etc.) argument." (Association fallacy).
"Socialism or barbarism!" (False Dichotomy)
"'Anarchist organisations', isn't that an oxymoron?" (Equivocation)
"Love it or leave it." (False dichotomy)
"That's a conspiracy theory." <-- This is you.
"Fascist arguments need no comments." (Weasel words)
"You're either with us, or against us."
"Political correctness" or "PC"
"It's political correctness gone mad!"
"It's for the good of the public."

Zephir said...

"Never let the facts get in the way of a good story" isn't just a maxim for shady politicians and journalists. One study indicates that there may even be a "backfire effect," which happens when you show people facts that contradict their opinions.

Zephir said...

Shut up and let me think. Or why you should work on the foundations of quantum mechanics as much as you please

Zephir said...

Individualism: the legacy of great physicists It's sorta cheating of system of valuation of scientific work based on citations. The more authors the article has, the more scientists can get their citation. The co-authorship is a common social currency in scientific society.

Zephir said...

Science Marketing needs Consumer Feedback

Zephir said...

Unfortunately many of today scientists seem to be ignoring the lessons taught to us by Einstein.  They chose to look for reality only in terms of abstract mathematics instead of
the physical imagery given to us by the reality of what we can see and touch.

Zephir said...

Regarding my recent blurbs about emergence of scientific theories you may find relevant this: “In physics, the complications all condense into an emergent, simpler description,” Sethna said. “In many other fields, this condensation is hidden – but it’s still true that many details don’t matter.”

Zephir said...

Predicting academic success in higher education: what’s more important than being smart? Conscientiousness is the best predictor..

Zephir said...

Honey bees selectively avoid difficult choices

Zephir said...

Method for predicting future h-index comes under fire: Divinations of academic success may be flawed

Zephir said...

The role of reality in science: The universe's most powerful enabling tool is not knowledge or understanding but imagination because it extends the reality of one's environment.

Zephir said...

Science needs to be more dangerousIn short, scientists need room to propose ideas that could seem too far-fetched or controversial at first glance.
Wired writes about it in connection with cold fusion research:
"In a huge, grandiose convention center I found about 200 extremely conventional-looking scientists, almost all of them male and over 50. In fact some seemed over 70, and I realized why: The younger ones had bailed years ago, fearing career damage from the cold fusion stigma. I have tenure, so I don't have to worry about my reputation," commented physicist George Miley, 65. "But if I were an assistant professor, I would think twice about getting involved." This generation shift trend is supported even with Nobel prize statistics - the elderly physicists are today more successful than these young ones at the beginning of the last century.

Zephir said...

Carver Mead: "It is my firm belief that the last seven decades of the twentieth will be characterized in history as the dark ages of theoretical physics."

Zephir said...

Was Feynman cognitively lopsided and illiterate?

Zephir said...

How to Burst the "Filter Bubble" that Protects Us from Opposing Views Much social research shows that people prefer to receive information that they agree with instead of information that challenges their beliefs. This problem is compounded when social networks recommend content based on what users already like and on what people similar to them also like. This the filter bubble—being surrounded only by people you like and content that you agree with.

Zephir said...

Creative Thinking Is Too Often Absent From the Chinese Classroom, a typical lesson in a Chinese classroom

Zephir said...

Isaac Asimov who suggested that the cue for discovery in science is not "Eureka! I have it!", but "That's strange..". It seems recently that "That's strange.." is always interpreted as "That's dubious..". It is right that scientists should be skeptical, but pure skepticism is a sterile state.

Zephir said...

Michael Brooks: “It is the intuitive understanding, the gut feeling about what the answer should be, that marks the greatest scientists. Whether they fudge their data or not is actually immaterial.”

Zephir said...

Lots of researchers post PDFs of their own papers on their own web-sites. It’s always been so, because even though technically it’s in breach of the copyright transfer agreements that we blithely sign, everyone knows it’s right and proper. Preventing people from making their own work available would be insane, and the publisher that did it would be committing a PR gaffe of huge proportions. Enter Elsevier, stage left. Bioinformatician Guy Leonard is just one of several people to have mentioned on Twitter this morning that Academia.edu took down their papers in response to a notice from Elsevier. Here’s a screengrab of the notification

Zephir said...

How the Flawed Journal Review Process Impedes Paradigm Shifting Discoveries

Zephir said...

You can order the scientific community to do it whether they wish to do it or not

Zephir said...

McArdle, an economist, recently wrote that a substantial fraction of PhD programs really shouldn’t exist. McGowan goes further by pointing out that there is little demand for science and technology PhDs. I can only agree.
Even in a field like computer science, 55% all new PhDs go into industry, rarely landing a research position while less than 7% end up with a tenure-track position in a doctoral-granting school. Yet between 2000 and 2010, in the US, the number of STEM graduate students grew by 30%. Why?

Zephir said...

A Data Scientist Explains What Makes A Viral Reddit Post

Zephir said...

What scientific idea is ready for retirement? (via Woit's blog) The conservatives are typical by their hypocritical attitude: although they've mouth full of noble ideas about how to falsify the theories, but when their pet theory faces falsification, they just seek for excuses why not to do it. The SUSY and string theory has been falsified so many times in recent past, but what we are listening is just the "narrowing of parameter space".

Zephir said...

Should physicists stop looking for fundamental laws?

Zephir said...

The Metaphysical Baggage of Physics Lee Smolin argues that time is more fundamental than physical laws.

Zephir said...

People show prejudice-based aggression when it’s easily deniable, study finds

Zephir said...

The people who are "disengaged" from science are the most likely to think that it creates more problems than it solves and that we should depend more on faith.

Zephir said...

The moderators of web discussions have found the troll labeling increasingly useful shorthand for labeling anyone who publishes remarks with which they do not necessarily agree online I'm facing this situation quite often. In particular, the proponents of mainstream physics are getting upset, when they describe the same things, like I did before few years, which they did oppose wildly. It's not surprising, they're trying to cover the evidence of their ignorance. In many cases the scientists are just trying to keep their informational monopoly.

Zephir said...

An interesting aspect of this is that most scientists are very good people, very smart, logical, big well developed left brains who tend to have underdeveloped intuitive brains,
which undermines their creativity. Many have no clue about their biases and think they are "logical". Recent neurological science results
are revealing. Not surprisingly, many of the underappreciate the creativity.

Zephir said...

In an effort to get a better interaction between speaker and audience, organizers at a biweekly forum on the LHC at Fermilab
banned the use of any Powerpoint presentation by the speaker. My stance is, the interesting physics is interesting with slides or without it.

Zephir said...

A study: An optimistic language is  a predictor of poor performance of economy.

Zephir said...

The phrase "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" in fact originated with Marcello Truzzi. For the record of this record, Truzzy actually did use this quote in exactly the opposite meaning, than Carl Sagan routinely did, i.e. as an common example of fallacious arguments used with pseudoskeptics. His argument was, whereas any number of evidence can serve as proof of theory, just a single experiment is sufficient to disprove it. This stance is  supported explicitly with Feynman in his famous address about Cargo cult, where he just said: "It's a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty--a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid--not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you've eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked--to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated."
So if some opinion could threat an established theory, then such an opinion should be considered seriously just because of it, not ignored instead.
Max Born on truth "I believe that ideas such as absolute certitude, absolute exactness, final truth, etc. are figments of the imagination which should not be admissible in any field of science. On the other hand, any assertion of probability is either right or wrong from the standpoint of the theory on which it is based. This loosening of thinking (Lockerung des Denkens) seems to me to be the greatest blessing which modern science has given to us. For the belief in a single truth and in being the possessor thereof is the root cause of all evil in the world."

Zephir said...

Contrarians bully journal into retracting a climate psychology paper

Zephir said...

Early rejection, late ignorance : Trust the data, not the consensus

Zephir said...

The power of silence: Nicola Tesla knew it

Zephir said...

Einstein [url=http://old.post-gazette.com/healthscience/19980406bstern1.asp]advised the 24 year[/url] old Sternglass to pursue physics on his own and take a “cobbler’s job”. Einstein said that he had made a mistake in going from the patent office in Bern to the University of Berlin, where he had no formal duties.

Zephir said...

Why climb the greasy pole?
Getting a job at a top university will not make you a better researcher
?

Zephir said...

Feynman: "Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts"

Zephir said...

Study shows strongly held incorrect beliefs often cannot be changed by disputing facts. Instead, appealing to the sense of self can allow people to be more open-minded.

Zephir said...

“Theoretical Physics is a Quest for Simplicity” This blog post is very idealistic if not downright naive.
The contemporary physicists have lotta reasons for to avoid a simple solutions and unification: if nothing else, they're losing perspective of further job with it. The more complex theories we handle, the more theorists can keep their jobs. And as the medieval priests and shamans knew quite well, the complexity deters laymen public from meddlesome feedback of their actual work.
As the result, many theorists adore complexity explicitly. When physicist Leonard Susskind gives talks these days, he often wears a black T-shirt proclaiming “I ♥ Complexity”. In place of the heart is a Mandelbrot set, a fractal pattern widely recognized as a symbol for complexity at its most beautiful.

Zephir said...

Logical falacy poster

Zephir said...

The phenomenon of smart people being stupid is documented in Robert Sternberg’s Why Smart People Can Be So Stupid, which is an excellent but somewhat technical book.

Zephir said...

This study fits the above topic quite well: The wisdom of crowds breaks down when people are biased. Now researchers have discovered a simple method of removing this bias–just listen to the most confident. Do I appear confident enough? Do the people who just downvote angrily without arguments appear self-confident? Isn't it just their ego, which appears threatened by now?