Science Says We Must... | INFJ Forum

Science Says We Must...

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Jack, Aug 18, 2010.

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  1. Jack

    Jack Community Member

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  2. DoveAlexa

    DoveAlexa Chaz's Lovey Bunny
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    Uhg... yeah, not helping science sound impartial when we tell everyone what they have to do. We do what we will with the information given, if they don't like it they can piss off. Telling people what to do is a fantastic way of only getting them to give you the finger.
     
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  3. Wyote

    Wyote Meka Istaqa
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  4. IndigoSensor

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    The short of it is it's simply causing a knee-jerk reaction in a lot of people, but there are many factors with this, all of them connected in one giant circles. aka, it's become a vicious cycle.

    You get one study that says this, and another study that says the complete reverse. People don't know what to make of it, and don't know who to trust. Then in comes the politics. It's unfortonate, but politics has become a part of science and it will be very hard to remove it. Science has become very useful in pushing legislation and laws, because science is based on fact and logic; the pi
     
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  5. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    I agree that science is often communicated poorly, especially in regards to epidemiology where the media sensationalises even the weakest correlations into dogmatic proclamations of causation.

    The truth is most observational studies produce more questions than answers, but we WANT answers and we want them now, that's why one week coffee kills you the next it cures you (and as much as they'd like to think they're controlling for confounding this is always limited by the data and the imaginations/bias of the researchers). Scientists don't discourage this sense of urgency either, they encourage it and exagerrate their findings in order to ensure more research funding.

    My biggest problem with science at the moment is the $ involved, greed, power, status, reputations and livelihoods all get in the way of truth. Scientific truths can be bought.
     
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  6. durentu

    durentu Regular Poster

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    fall of religion, rise of science. then the demise of civilization. the ruins left for the next epoch to discover our ipods as symbols of religious significance.
     
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  7. Phoenix Down

    Phoenix Down Permanent Fixture

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  8. KazeCraven

    KazeCraven Graduated from Typology : May 2011
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    *facepalm*
     
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  9. Matariki

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    In soviet Russia, you don't use science, science uses you.
     
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  10. bagelriffic

    bagelriffic Community Member

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    this ^
     
  11. the

    the Si master race.
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    Do you have an example?
     
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  12. freybell

    freybell Community Member

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    So, our planet is fucked because people don't like to be told what to do?
     
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  13. Ecton

    Ecton Community Member

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    I'd say people would rather be educated, freybell, but only if it doesn't contradict their beliefs and desires. This goes for all factions. Unfortuantely, partisan groups do not help science. In general, partisan factions have spent the last 10,000 years applying science to their campaigns of idea dominance. That will not change. What is being bemoaned is the swirl of conflagrated media that now drowns out original scientific language and suffocates it in ideological re parsings. This is also not new (I own some old 19th century encyclopedias that effectively prove the point). But it used to sit on a shelf next to the opinions. Now, most people are 3 to 4 steps removed from original sources with little access to the original.

    Which is why the AEI article contains more than a touch of irony as well as some truth, because it is also a metaparse.

    A good question about examples of scientific malfeasance. I do have some examples, but I'm loathe to share them in public as to not offend reputations. But if anyone is interested, I'll share them in private. Its far more common than you would want to believe. Sorry to be elusive, but this is one area where talking about it over a beer is superior to spitting on big wigs on a public forum.

    I agree with what Indigo said. As someone who has published and went through the whole process, I think he nailed the fundamental issues on the head from the point of view of the honest professional scientist. I'd love to read the perspective of a 'science writer', who tries to make science palatable to the belief driven masses on all sides. It is a very hard job that continues to get harder.
     
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    #13 Ecton, Aug 18, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  14. enfp can be shy

    enfp can be shy people vs the bad people?
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    Science should not become an idol which nobody understands, but everybody listens to. Science which is only understood by few, can easily be manipulated. The future of science is in making it available and comprehensible by the majority of people. Then hopefully the phrases won't sound "scientists say that we must", but just the reasons why; and since people understand the reasons they don't get annoyed at scientists.
     
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  15. frozen_water

    frozen_water Community Member

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    also seconded what Indigo said. Watching scientists talk is extremely interesting, because every step of the way, I'm hard-pressed to say that anyone is really at "fault"... or if they are at fault, it always seems like such a minor one which nobody could (without being a huge hypocrite) bitch them out for.

    I do, however, cringe inside every time someone tries to tell me I should be a certain way because of some study that was just done. People get their knowledge about scientific studies from the news... and quite frankly, it's very obvious that the studies which "make it" to the news don't do so because they're especially enlightening or carefully executed, but because they coincide with what people want/expect to hear already. Nearly every time I hear about some study at some university that linked food with a lower/higher chance of getting [some disease], my immediate reaction is "this is not real research. A monkey could carry out an experiment testing the correlation between eating black beans and getting stomach cancer, and a computer with a list of foods and diseases could piece together [food] and [disease]. Professors want recognition, which is best gotten through groundbreaking theoretical work--which, in this case, would probably include isolating the ingredient that cures the disease, then making a concrete argument explaining why it works so well." People living in tribes long ago could figure out that chewing bark from a Willow tree could help with various ailments. Scientists realized that it's because of a certain chemical which the tree contains, and used its chemical properties to develop aspirin.

    What the average person reads about in news articles are things done by undergrad students who (quite frankly) have nothing more creative to research. As an undergrad science major, it looks great if you can get something published, almost no matter what its quality or importance is. Faculty at the university, of course, are also happy encourage any kind of research, since it helps their undergrads get accepted into better grad schools and makes their department look better. The news looks for things with some credibility which relate to the average person. The average person can eat black beans or not, so if XYZ study comes out from some univeristy, it gives them something to tell their viewers that they might be interested in. "I just have to eat a cup of black beans a day to decrease my chance of stroke by 40%? Why yes, I love hearing that the worst problems in life can be cured easily! *watches/listens intently*"

    Meanwhile, everyone is trying to convince someone else that what they're doing is of value. The researcher needs to convince the journal their work is sound in order to get it published. The journal needs to convince its readers that it's credible so that they keep subscribing. The news reporters need to convince its viewers that its information is reliable. Since people get their information about science from the news, it's being filtered through not only the dumbing-down that Indy mentioned, but also filtered through several levels of "making this sound as convincing as possible." At each level where information is transmitted, details and doubts are downplayed, results and conclusions are emphasized, and the media spits out a very simple 'rule for a better life.'

    Aside from that whole issue, there's the simple fact that the news adds a lot to the science, when they report it. For example...

    http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/nearsighted-americans-texting-partially-blame/story?id=9347796

    (if you're skeptical, watch this before you read so you can keep track of your own train of thought, before I try to alter it :p. It has the potential to be more eye-opening that way)

    ^^this video effectively killed all my interest in the news forever, and I couldn't even watch the whole thing. First it starts off with that whole huge lead-in segment,

    "A new study conducted by the National Eye Institute shows that the rate of nearsightedness or myopia in America has increased from 25% in the 1970s to a staggering 41% this decade..... This current study didn't examine possible causes, but experts say factors include genetics, or perhaps a lack of outdoor light. Another possible reason? An increase in 'near-work' [cue background images of people sending text messages]"

    And then shortly after, while talking to the scientist...

    "You say that this study does not, uh, did not look at the causes of this nearsightedness... but there's something in the paper this morning that's kind of astonishing. Shows that in the last year there were 110 billion text messages... double the year before that. So we see these trends happening, at the same time. What do you think of this theory that there's some connection here?"

    oh... is that it? You see, apparently there's this theory that there's a connection between people sending text messages and their increasingly poor eyesight. Well at least they never said that the experts thought near-work had something to do with this--they just listed iit as a possible cause right alongside them. And I'm sure glad our theories concerning causes for things are at least built on thorough investigations, and not just an unrelated statistic gathered from another newspaper clipping. Wait... fuck.

    The reality is that 'science' is not the one speaking with authority. The media is speaking with authority, saying things in such a way that it sounds like scientists are. Even in the original post here... look at the graph: "authoritarian science phrases in print media". All the evidence of "science's authoritarian tone" came from media sources! Of course, I know that the media is driven by what people want to hear--so if they're starting to tell people what to do "in the name of science," it's only because people trust science and want clear/easy rules and explanations for things. Still, thanks, "Journal of the American Enterprise Institute", for respecting the entity enough to recognize that it exists apart from how portrayed by the media. Wait... nevermind. Somehow along the line the news has grown so saturated in its own egotism that it doesn't notice anymore. Fuck. You. News.
     
    #15 frozen_water, Aug 18, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  16. Ecton

    Ecton Community Member

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    But science is complicated and detailed. And most people don't want to follow all of those details. They want it condensed. It cannot often truly be condensed. Many important ideas have no simple closed form. And those that do are often mathematical in nature. People don't want the math and they want abstractions that are inherently inaccurate. I would contend that until society owns up to the WORK that is science, they will never master it, and always be the slaves of the ideologues.

    Meanwhile, the scientific establishment is filling up with least-publishable-unit mills that spout endless reams of near-meaningless advances.
     
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    #16 Ecton, Aug 18, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  17. Faye

    Faye ^_^
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  18. DoveAlexa

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    As a bit of an aside, people seem to expect certain things to be 100% bad or 100% good, but even oxygen has harmful effects on us, but we can't exactly live without breathing, now can we?

    If simple people (read: people who believe everything someone tells them based on how much mascara the news anchor has globbed on) weren't so obsessed with absolutes, we wouldn't have to worry about these mad swings of public opinion of such important things as the whole climate change business. Even if the world isn't going to die on 2020, isn't cooling, isn't getting hotter, throwing tons upon tons of shit into it still isn't a good idea. It'd be nice if people didn't stop all attempts at behaving themselves because they heard from a friend of a friend who were told on the news that some scientists fudged a few tests results.
     
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  19. ZcM4xzkjgzCjytBc

    ZcM4xzkjgzCjytBc Well-known member

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    F*cking magnets, how do they work?
     
  20. frozen_water

    frozen_water Community Member

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    This is something I completely agree with (iiiirony :D). I'm not sure if... maybe it's due to this reductionist mindset? But even in science, an explanation is (theoretically) accepted if it's the least complicated one. An example from a philosophy class I had: we can't tell whether things fall towards the earth because matter attracts itself, or because there are trillions of invisible bunnies swarming around us all the time, and every time an object is loose in the air, they lunge up and grab it to drag it back down to the ground. They're observationally equivalent, if the bunnies are undetectable in every other way. Since that brings up more questions than it solves, though (why does it work the same in space? for example), it's not an accepted explanation.

    This same idea (I think) gets taken too far, though, so that we don't take the time to foresee all the consequences of our actions. Science is sort of like... "it doesn't happen until we see it... or at least a minor occurance of it, and a predictable trend so that we can easily guess the behavior at the extremes." This is magnified, of course, when there's money to be made (such as a cheaper way to manufacture things, but with more pollution).

    I don't think climate change is the only place where this is a problem... but I also can't think of any other examples where I suspect we're cutting too many corners (at least, not at 2:30 in the morning).
     
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