Jump to content


Click Here To Visit Our Sponsor


Photo

Predjudice and bias in "Science"


  • Please log in to reply
35 replies to this topic

#16 Caniswalensis

Caniswalensis

    Villager

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 276 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The cold, scary world of Skepticism

Posted 27 December 2010 - 11:26 AM

I just wanted to point out that outside of the field of medicine, the modern peer-review process for scientific papers did not become common until the middle of the 20th century.

Referring to scientific ideas or theories that were formulated before then as "peer reviewed" is almost certainly meaningless by today's standards.

Regards, Canis

"It is proper for you to doubt ... do not go upon report ... do not go upon tradition ... do not go upon hear-say." ~ Buddha


#17 canuck

canuck

    Senior Villager

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 343 posts

Posted 27 December 2010 - 07:18 PM

I just wanted to point out that outside of the field of medicine, the modern peer-review process for scientific papers did not become common until the middle of the 20th century.

Referring to scientific ideas or theories that were formulated before then as "peer reviewed" is almost certainly meaningless by today's standards.

Regards, Canis

Yes, more or less true.

But take into account the history of science: scientific ideas have always been subject to review and very critical analysis by their "peers" of the time.

The only difference between historical practices and the present, is the format that was applied; in the "old days", the "peer review" was very loud, very public, and very personal.

As you are probably aware, the history of science is rich with the great scientific controversies and debates; duels were fought over differences in scientific opinion.

The peer review process we know today was the result of the maturing of science, and the realisation that public debate and rancor was not helpful to the advancement of science. A more formal and private process was developed.

As has been discussed previously, the "peer review" process as practiced today is fraught with problems; particularly since science has become politicised to an unprecidented level.

However, despite the fact that it involves all the emotional, political, financial and career components that affect every human activity, it is still the best we have.

#18 plindboe

plindboe

    Has a pseudoscience radar

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 946 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Interests:I'm an atheist and a skeptic regarding paranormal beliefs, but nonetheless I find other people's belief systems fascinating. I think it's important for people who hold different beliefs to discuss with, and learn from, one another. The free exchange of ideas are essential to progress, and it's no coincidence that mankind's two greatest ideas, democracy and science, are based on this.<br /><br />Feel free to message me, if you want to talk. :)

Posted 05 January 2011 - 02:37 PM

Without going into a lot of detail (You can find statistics online to back this up.) consider the opinion that the earth is warming up. The impression is left by the advocates of global warming that this is some kind of an anomaly; that we are causing it. This is an example of an agenda controlling the outcome.

If one actually looks into the geological and botanical evidence though, fossilized records indicate that millions of years ago, and for extended periods of time, the earth was much warmer than it is now. Fossilized remains of dinosaurs have been found in northern Alaska and near Antarctica. Leaf fossils indicate that even tough these areas are near polar extremes that the climate was temperate. Clearly man didn't contribute to that as this predated human existence.

In fact, if one looks at the records found in nature it is evident that while certain periods may have been colder, the majority of the time the earth was actually considerably warmer than at present. Therefore if we take the data available it can be concluded that global warming is not a disaster humans have caused, rather it is simply the earth getting back to normal. This outcome runs counter to what the proponents of global warming suggest though, the reason being they have disregarded the evidence of millions of years and instead selectively chosen to base their results on a short period of time from the Little Ice Age to the present when it indeed has shown a warming trend.

Thus the bias is evident here. They are looking only at data which supports their cause, not the overall picture.


Hi CaveRat. I'm too ill to rant for long, so I'll just make a few important points.

It is true that looking at the overall picture, we're pretty much in a cold period for the moment. I'm not sure why you think that climatologists ignore the fact that climate has changed in the past. In fact studying the distant past is essential when they want to explain what's happening now, and I doubt there's a single climatologist in existence who isn't intimately familiar with the past climate. The fact that it has been warmer in the past doesn't change the fact that a relatively rapid warming now would be detrimental to our species, as we (like all other species) thrive on stability. We have huge cities near costal lines, and we have divided the planet into nations, with sharply defined borders, that would no doubt start warring if parts of the landmass become submerged. Try looking at the last ice age which as far as I recall was only ~5 degrees C colder globally than today and notice how radically different the landscape was (especially in Nothern Europe). Just saying that the climate is reverting back to the norm is complete missing the point, as there is no right or wrong temperature. The rate of climate change is the real issue.

I wonder if you read the actual scientific litterature. There are so many impressive sounding arguments on the GW denialist side that seem to be based on myths, misunderstandings and over-simplifications of the actual scientific research and claims. Many GW proponents are just as bad, and there are plenty of hysterics and exaggerated claims (though these nearly always come from non-experts). Almost no one seem to check the primary sources, and it's not surprising that so many denialists end up thinking that climatologists are complete morons. Whenever you hear a claim, try tracking down where it comes from (which is not always easy) and read the paper to see if the claim has any validity. ~99% of the time it turns out to be a distortion or a misunderstanding of what was actually said.

For an example, perhaps you remember this article: "Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995". This has been linked by denialists ad nauseum, despite the fact that's it's a complete distortion of what he said in the interview. Try to read the actual BBC interview and compare it to the Daily Mail article. It's a fascinating insight into the distortions that daily go on in the press.

Or instead, you can simply watch the following video which is very educational and explains this example better than I would be able to:

Peter :P
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." (Bertrand Russell)

#19 plindboe

plindboe

    Has a pseudoscience radar

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 946 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Interests:I'm an atheist and a skeptic regarding paranormal beliefs, but nonetheless I find other people's belief systems fascinating. I think it's important for people who hold different beliefs to discuss with, and learn from, one another. The free exchange of ideas are essential to progress, and it's no coincidence that mankind's two greatest ideas, democracy and science, are based on this.<br /><br />Feel free to message me, if you want to talk. :)

Posted 05 January 2011 - 07:05 PM

So have any of you ever participated in the peer review of a scientific paper? It's alot easier to imagine a conspiracy when you're standing on the outside with no idea of what actually takes place. I also wonder if you ever actually read science. Try to read journals like Science or Nature. They're crammed with articles challenging and debunking prevailing thinking and popular hypotheses. There are countless examples of groundbreaking research changing the way scientists look at the world. So when people say that peer review is weeding out anything that questions prevailing thinking, they're denying an easily observed reality.

Peer review ideally captures obvious mistakes, unfounded assumptions and it encourages articles that are easy to read and to the point. Tons of scientists, even noted scientists, have their articles returned all the time, often with suggestions on how to improve the article in question. If you haven't had a paper rejected, you're not doing science. Of course what gets through peer review isn't perfect either, and peer reviewed articles are contested by scientists on a daily basis, because the scrutiny doesn't just end when a paper is published.

As someone studying science I witness the measures to counteract bias every time I go to classes. Students are encouraged to criticize and question the research. What are the unmentioned assumptions? Did they use the right statistical testing? Could they have explained their points better? Is the hypothesis good? Is it useful? Is it too broad or too narrow? Do the predictions follow logically from the hypothesis? Does the conclusion follow from the results? Are there any problems with the research that the authors failed to address? There are tons of questions like this, and guess what, many articles are severely criticized in class. There are no sacred cows, and students aren't reprimanded from criticizing peer reviewed science; they are in fact encouraged and complimented when they point out problems.

The mechanisms I mentioned in my first post in this thread are easily observed throughout science. You'll see them all the time if you participate in science, and if you read science. I find very few anti-bias mechanisms in paranormal belief systems. I do appreciate the fact that some paranormal investigators today see the value of skepticism and try to apply it though, and that's a start at least.

Peter :P
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." (Bertrand Russell)

#20 plindboe

plindboe

    Has a pseudoscience radar

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 946 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Interests:I'm an atheist and a skeptic regarding paranormal beliefs, but nonetheless I find other people's belief systems fascinating. I think it's important for people who hold different beliefs to discuss with, and learn from, one another. The free exchange of ideas are essential to progress, and it's no coincidence that mankind's two greatest ideas, democracy and science, are based on this.<br /><br />Feel free to message me, if you want to talk. :)

Posted 05 January 2011 - 07:32 PM

For you two http://www.ghostvill...mp;#entry556124


Thank you, but I find that thread depressing. No communication at all, just people copy-pasting huge amounts of text.

Peter :P
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." (Bertrand Russell)

#21 canuck

canuck

    Senior Villager

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 343 posts

Posted 06 January 2011 - 11:35 PM

For you two http://www.ghostvill...mp;#entry556124


Thank you, but I find that thread depressing. No communication at all, just people copy-pasting huge amounts of text.

Peter :weeee:

I suggest that you read the thread entitled "The Dumbing Down of Science" here:

http://www.ghostvill...mp;#entry555624

You may find it instructive; it is certainly very relevant to your responses.

#22 ohreally?

ohreally?

    Junior Villager

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 148 posts

Posted 09 January 2011 - 10:04 AM

For you two http://www.ghostvill...mp;#entry556124


Thank you, but I find that thread depressing. No communication at all, just people copy-pasting huge amounts of text.

Peter :)


If you tire of this lack of engaging discourse then give these two a try. First http://www.skeptiko.com/ and this http://forums.randi.org/ . The Skeptiko site deals mainly with proving survival of the consciousness after death. There are few skeptics to present a balanced response at skeptico. The JREF forum cover many more and varied topics other than the paranormal and supernatural. Good debate occur on both sites.

#23 canuck

canuck

    Senior Villager

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 343 posts

Posted 09 January 2011 - 07:58 PM

For you two http://www.ghostvill...mp;#entry556124


Thank you, but I find that thread depressing. No communication at all, just people copy-pasting huge amounts of text.

Peter :)


If you tire of this lack of engaging discourse then give these two a try. First http://www.skeptiko.com/ and this http://forums.randi.org/ . The Skeptiko site deals mainly with proving survival of the consciousness after death. There are few skeptics to present a balanced response at skeptico. The JREF forum cover many more and varied topics other than the paranormal and supernatural. Good debate occur on both sites.

Interesting links in your post; I extracted the following from one link which was entitled “Skeptical of Skeptics, Chris Carter Tackles Near Death Experience Science”

During the interview Carter explains how the acceptance of paradigm changing science like near death experience and telepathy wouldn’t change science as we know it.

“…I do not agree with you that the acceptance-say of telepathy, or the acceptance of the near-death experience as a genuine separation of mind from body, I do not think that would challenge any aspect of science. I don’t think it would change the way that neuroscientists come in and do their jobs. I think that everything would be exactly the same. They’d continue looking for the same chemicals, the same neurotransmitters, the same areas of the brain that light up. They’d still be trying to work with split brain patients and patents who have damaged brains. I don’t think that anything would change. Except, yes, their conversations down at the pub on weekends would change. Absolutely. The philosophical conversations would change. But I really don’t think that it would impact anything in science simply because modern neuroscience is completely neutral as to whether the brain produces the mind or whether the brain acts as a receiver/transmitter for the mind.”

In other words, this confirms the comments that have been made in the collection of threads that have been posted here: that scientists are just like regular people: they believe what they want to believe, regardless of the evidence; and that as a whole they are not as bright as they used to be.

In fact, if we consider the implications of the assertions made in this interview: the implication is that neuroscientists are dumber than a bag of doorknobs.

Certainly, if this assertion is extended more broadly across the world of science, it would explain a lot about the generally poor state of science in today’s world; and why scientists are rapidly achieving the status of used car salesmen in our society.

The implications for the progress of the study of spookology are obvious.

#24 ohreally?

ohreally?

    Junior Villager

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 148 posts

Posted 11 January 2011 - 10:17 PM

For you two http://www.ghostvill...mp;#entry556124


Thank you, but I find that thread depressing. No communication at all, just people copy-pasting huge amounts of text.

Peter :headbang:


If you tire of this lack of engaging discourse then give these two a try. First http://www.skeptiko.com/ and this http://forums.randi.org/ . The Skeptiko site deals mainly with proving survival of the consciousness after death. There are few skeptics to present a balanced response at skeptico. The JREF forum cover many more and varied topics other than the paranormal and supernatural. Good debate occur on both sites.

Interesting links in your post; I extracted the following from one link which was entitled “Skeptical of Skeptics, Chris Carter Tackles Near Death Experience Science”

During the interview Carter explains how the acceptance of paradigm changing science like near death experience and telepathy wouldn’t change science as we know it.

“…I do not agree with you that the acceptance-say of telepathy, or the acceptance of the near-death experience as a genuine separation of mind from body, I do not think that would challenge any aspect of science. I don’t think it would change the way that neuroscientists come in and do their jobs. I think that everything would be exactly the same. They’d continue looking for the same chemicals, the same neurotransmitters, the same areas of the brain that light up. They’d still be trying to work with split brain patients and patents who have damaged brains. I don’t think that anything would change. Except, yes, their conversations down at the pub on weekends would change. Absolutely. The philosophical conversations would change. But I really don’t think that it would impact anything in science simply because modern neuroscience is completely neutral as to whether the brain produces the mind or whether the brain acts as a receiver/transmitter for the mind.”

In other words, this confirms the comments that have been made in the collection of threads that have been posted here: that scientists are just like regular people: they believe what they want to believe, regardless of the evidence; and that as a whole they are not as bright as they used to be.

In fact, if we consider the implications of the assertions made in this interview: the implication is that neuroscientists are dumber than a bag of doorknobs.

Certainly, if this assertion is extended more broadly across the world of science, it would explain a lot about the generally poor state of science in today’s world; and why scientists are rapidly achieving the status of used car salesmen in our society.

The implications for the progress of the study of spookology are obvious.



If you have a pair join both forums. I'll see you there.

#25 canuck

canuck

    Senior Villager

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 343 posts

Posted 20 January 2011 - 06:49 PM

Thank you for the links to the other forums; they should be interesting to those who wish to debate the issues.

However, it is useful to remember the reason we made a digression into the areas of “Global Warming”, and “The Dumbing Down of Science” in the first place.

Specifically, the perennial question asked on this site is “why doesn’t conventional science take Spookology seriously?” The digressions were a response to this question.

I have long maintained that the primary reason for this is the fact that science as it is currently practiced is a reflection of any human activity: it is rife with dogma, ideology, ambition, greed, fraud and incompetence.

The most recent illustration of this is the current “Global Warming Fraud”. In this, a group of ideologically driven individuals abused their position of trust to advance their personal agenda, and in doing so have corrupted an entire body of science.

The further effect of this corruption is to bring the entire practice of science, and the entire scientific community, into disrepute.

However, the picture is somewhat more grim and extends beyond just this one instance of scientific fraud. The general environment in which these individuals operate has long since been debased by the general decline in the quality and credibility of the practice of science.

As has been commented on by numerous prominent scientists recently, we have armies of people with scientific credentials issued by institutes whose whole reason for existence is to perpetuate their own existence through the sale of qualifications.

This retailing of qualifications has given their recipients a grossly inflated view of their own knowledge and capabilities; and has ensured the inevitability of such scandals as the “Global Warming Fraud”.

The relevance of this to Spookology is that a frightening proportion of practitioners of “science”, regardless of credentials and qualifications, operate on the basis of belief and dogma; as opposed to critical thinking and analysis.

It is easier to believe than to think and analyse; this is reflected in many of the comments made by the resident cheerleaders for science on these pages.

Just as an illustration of how far science has fallen in public esteem over the past year or so, we need to look no further than the jokes currently in circulation. In the past, the staple used to be lawyer jokes. Things have changed.

Here are a few jokes I have heard recently:

“What do you call a busload of scientists driving over a cliff? A good start.”
“How many scientists does it take to change a lightbulb? Depends on how much money there is in it.”
“Give some examples of an oxymoron. Military intelligence; honest politician; scientific integrity.”
“You don’t like that theory? Wait a week and we will come up with another one.”

#26 plindboe

plindboe

    Has a pseudoscience radar

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 946 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Interests:I'm an atheist and a skeptic regarding paranormal beliefs, but nonetheless I find other people's belief systems fascinating. I think it's important for people who hold different beliefs to discuss with, and learn from, one another. The free exchange of ideas are essential to progress, and it's no coincidence that mankind's two greatest ideas, democracy and science, are based on this.<br /><br />Feel free to message me, if you want to talk. :)

Posted 02 February 2011 - 11:09 AM

If you tire of this lack of engaging discourse then give these two a try. First http://www.skeptiko.com/ and this http://forums.randi.org/ . The Skeptiko site deals mainly with proving survival of the consciousness after death. There are few skeptics to present a balanced response at skeptico. The JREF forum cover many more and varied topics other than the paranormal and supernatural. Good debate occur on both sites.


Thank you. I hadn't heard of Skeptiko before but I'm quite familiar with the JREF forums where I have more than 1200 posts. Haven't been active in all this skepticism stuff though for some years since I started with my studies.

Peter ;)
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." (Bertrand Russell)

#27 plindboe

plindboe

    Has a pseudoscience radar

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 946 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Interests:I'm an atheist and a skeptic regarding paranormal beliefs, but nonetheless I find other people's belief systems fascinating. I think it's important for people who hold different beliefs to discuss with, and learn from, one another. The free exchange of ideas are essential to progress, and it's no coincidence that mankind's two greatest ideas, democracy and science, are based on this.<br /><br />Feel free to message me, if you want to talk. :)

Posted 02 February 2011 - 11:24 AM

I suggest that you read the thread entitled "The Dumbing Down of Science" here:

http://www.ghostvill...mp;#entry555624

You may find it instructive; it is certainly very relevant to your responses.


Hilarious Penn and Teller episode mentioned in that thread. One reason why I find petitions worthless. That said, there are other factors to consider than simply scientific ignorance. Humans are sheep, and being approached by a beautiful and persuasive woman with a petition will make us sign just about anything. Heck, I'd sign a petition declaring that 2+2 equals 5 if the woman P&T used in that episode approached me. P&T openly admit that their experiments are far from scientific though, so I'm ok with them. They make some very valid points, though I advice skepticism.

I don't have time to read the entire thread, I'll bookmark it and might read the whole thing another day.

Peter ;)
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." (Bertrand Russell)

#28 canuck

canuck

    Senior Villager

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 343 posts

Posted 03 February 2011 - 02:32 AM

I suggest that you read the thread entitled "The Dumbing Down of Science" here:

http://www.ghostvill...mp;#entry555624

You may find it instructive; it is certainly very relevant to your responses.


Heck, I'd sign a petition declaring that 2+2 equals 5 if the woman P&T used in that episode approached me.

That’s the whole point: when one of our resident cheerleaders for science admits that his integrity can be bought for a smile, it makes you wonder what he would do for a research grant.

That is how the entire “Global Warming Hoax” came to be; a group of totally corrupt “scientists” sold what little integrity they had for fame and fortune; and they have been followed onto the grants gravy train by a large portion of the scientific community who are similarly integrity challenged.

So think of how this relates to Spookology. If “scientists” will sell their integrity so cheaply, how many of them are going to risk their meal tickets by challenging the established scientific dogma regarding Spookology?

In the event that you have not yet developed total contempt for “climate scientists”, you might like to read this link:

http://wattsupwithth...ers/#more-32172

Read it and weep; as you are weeping, think about how much these “scientists” have cost you so far. And how much they will be costing you in the future.

#29 plindboe

plindboe

    Has a pseudoscience radar

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 946 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Interests:I'm an atheist and a skeptic regarding paranormal beliefs, but nonetheless I find other people's belief systems fascinating. I think it's important for people who hold different beliefs to discuss with, and learn from, one another. The free exchange of ideas are essential to progress, and it's no coincidence that mankind's two greatest ideas, democracy and science, are based on this.<br /><br />Feel free to message me, if you want to talk. :)

Posted 03 February 2011 - 03:00 AM

I suggest that you read the thread entitled "The Dumbing Down of Science" here:

http://www.ghostvill...mp;#entry555624

You may find it instructive; it is certainly very relevant to your responses.


Heck, I'd sign a petition declaring that 2+2 equals 5 if the woman P&T used in that episode approached me.

That’s the whole point: when one of our resident cheerleaders for science admits that his integrity can be bought for a smile, it makes you wonder what he would do for a research grant.


You're very quick to misunderstand and judge.

My point wasn't about integrity but about human fallibility, and that being social animals we can all be manipulated by the right social pressure under the right settings. Recognizing your own flaws is essential if you want to have any hope of correcting them.


That is how the entire “Global Warming Hoax” came to be; a group of totally corrupt “scientists” sold what little integrity they had for fame and fortune; and they have been followed onto the grants gravy train by a large portion of the scientific community who are similarly integrity challenged.

So think of how this relates to Spookology. If “scientists” will sell their integrity so cheaply, how many of them are going to risk their meal tickets by challenging the established scientific dogma regarding Spookology?

In the event that you have not yet developed total contempt for “climate scientists”, you might like to read this link:

http://wattsupwithth...ers/#more-32172

Read it and weep; as you are weeping, think about how much these “scientists” have cost you so far. And how much they will be costing you in the future.


I'll read it later when I have time. I just skimmed it, and must admit that there are no tears in my eyes yet.

Peter :)
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." (Bertrand Russell)

#30 Caniswalensis

Caniswalensis

    Villager

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 276 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The cold, scary world of Skepticism

Posted 03 February 2011 - 03:10 AM

I am wondering at this point if we could possibly drop the sarcasm & condesension that keeps croping up in this thread.

For instance, I could call people who have formed a different opinion from my own "cheerleaders for belief" or some other meaningless term, but it does not really make a point or carry any power explain my own position. Nor does it say anything about the opposing viewpoint. It is just a sort of cheap way to make the other person's opinion seem foolish or dogmatic. Sort of like calling names on the school playground.

I would like to think that we could be better that that in terms of logic & friendliness here at GV.

I think we should be sticking to facts that either support our own opinion, or directly refute the opposing side. Lets leave the personal attacks out of this.

Edited by Caniswalensis, 03 February 2011 - 03:12 AM.

"It is proper for you to doubt ... do not go upon report ... do not go upon tradition ... do not go upon hear-say." ~ Buddha





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users