The cult of science - Page 8 - Politics | PoFo

Wandering the information superhighway, he came upon the last refuge of civilization, PoFo, the only forum on the internet ...

All sociological topics not appropriate or suited to other areas of the board.
Forum rules: No one line posts please.
User avatar
By Godstud
Blah Blah Bla... as usual, spamming Youtube blogs by the fringe element who engage in pseudoscience. :roll:

Not an argument.
By Sivad
Beauty is truth, truth is beauty, and other lies of physics

Who doesn’t like a pretty idea? Physicists certainly do. In the foundations of physics, it has become accepted practice to prefer hypotheses that are aesthetically pleasing. Physicists believe that their motivations don’t matter because hypotheses, after all, must be tested. But most of their beautiful ideas are hard or impossible to test. And whenever an experiment comes back empty-handed, physicists can amend their theories to accommodate the null results.

This has been going on for about 40 years. In these 40 years, aesthetic arguments have flourished into research programmes – such as supersymmetry, the multiverse and grand unification – that now occupy thousands of scientists. In these 40 years, society spent billions of dollars on experiments that found no evidence to support the beautiful ideas. And in these 40 years, there has not been a major breakthrough in the foundations of physics.

My colleagues argue that criteria of beauty are experience-based. The most fundamental theories we currently have – the standard model of particle physics and Albert Einstein’s general relativity – are beautiful in specific ways. I agree it was worth a try to assume that more fundamental theories are beautiful in similar ways. But, well, we tried, and it didn’t work. Nevertheless, physicists continue to select theories based on the same three criteria of beauty: simplicity, naturalness, and elegance.

With simplicity I don’t mean Occam’s razor, which demands that among two theories that achieve the same thing, you pick the one that’s simpler. No, I mean absolute simplicity: a theory should be simple, period. When theories are not simple enough for my colleagues’ tastes, they try to make them simpler – by unifying several forces or by postulating new symmetries that combine particles in orderly sets.

The second criterion is naturalness. Naturalness is an attempt to get rid of the human element by requiring that a theory should not use assumptions that appear hand-picked. This criterion is most often applied to the values of constants without units, such as the ratios of elementary particles’ masses. Naturalness demands that such numbers should be close to one or, if that’s not the case, the theory explains why that isn’t so.

Then there’s elegance, the third and most elusive aspect of beauty. It’s often described as a combination of simplicity and surprise that, taken together, reveals new connections. We find elegance in the ‘Aha effect’, the moment of insight when things fall into place.

Physicists currently consider a theory promising if it’s beautiful according to these three criteria. This led them to predict, for example, that protons should be able to decay. Experiments have looked for this since the 1980s, but so far nobody has seen a proton decay. Theorists also predicted that we should be able to detect dark matter particles, such as axions or weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs). We have commissioned dozens of experiments but haven’t found any of the hypothetical particles – at least not so far. The same criteria of symmetry and naturalness led many physicists to believe that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) should see something new besides the Higgs boson, for example so-called ‘supersymmetric’ particles or additional dimensions of space. But none have been found so far.

How far can you push this programme before it becomes absurd? Well, if you make a theory simpler and simpler it will eventually become unpredictive, because the theory no longer contains enough information to even carry through calculations. What you get then is what theorists now call a ‘multiverse’ – an infinite collection of universes with different laws of nature.

For example, if you use the law of gravity without fixing the value of Newton’s constant by measurement, you could say that your theory contains a universe for any value of the constant. Of course, you then have to postulate that we live in the one universe that has the value of Newton’s constant that we happen to measure. So it might look like you haven’t gained much. Except that theorists can now write papers about that large number of new universes. Even better, the other universes aren’t observable, hence multiverse theories are safe from experimental test.

I think it’s time we take a lesson from the history of science. Beauty does not have a good track record as a guide for theory-development. Many beautiful hypotheses were just wrong, like Johannes Kepler’s idea that planetary orbits are stacked in regular polyhedrons known as ‘Platonic solids’, or that atoms are knots in an invisible aether, or that the Universe is in a ‘steady state’ rather than undergoing expansion.

And other theories that were once considered ugly have stood the test of time. When Kepler suggested that the planets move on ellipses rather than circles, that struck his contemporaries as too ugly to be true. And the physicist James Maxwell balked at his own theory involving electric and magnetic fields, because in his day the beauty standard involved gears and bolts. Paul Dirac chided a later version of Maxwell’s theory as ugly, because it required complicated mathematical gymnastics to remove infinities. Nevertheless, those supposedly ugly ideas were correct. They are still in use today. And we no longer find them ugly.

History has a second lesson. Even though beauty was arguably a strong personal motivator for many physicists, the problems that led to breakthroughs were not merely aesthetic misgivings – they were mathematical contradictions. Einstein, for example, abolished absolute time because it was in contradiction with Maxwell’s electromagnetism, thereby creating special relativity. He then resolved the conflict between special relativity and Newtonian gravity, which gave him general relativity. Dirac later removed the disagreement between special relativity and quantum mechanics, which led to the development of the quantum field theories which we still use in particle physics today.

The Higgs boson, too, was born out of need for logical consistency. Found at the LHC in 2012, the Higgs boson is necessary to make the standard model work. Without the Higgs, particle physicists’ calculations return probabilities larger than 1, mathematical nonsense that cannot describe reality. Granted, the mathematics didn’t tell us it had to be the Higgs boson, it could have been something else. But we knew that something new had to happen at the LHC, before it was even built. This was reasoning built on solid mathematical ground.

Supersymmetric particles, on the other hand, are pretty but not necessary. They were included to fix an aesthetic shortcoming of the current theory, a lack of naturalness. There’s nothing mathematically wrong with a theory that’s not supersymmetric, it’s just not particularly pretty. Particle physicists used supersymmetry to remedy this perceived shortfall, thereby making the theory much more beautiful. The predictions that supersymmetric particles should be seen at the LHC, therefore, were based on hope rather than sound logic. And the particles have not been found.

My conclusion from this long line of null results is that when physics tries to rectify a perceived lack of beauty, we waste time on problems that aren’t really problems. Physicists must rethink their methods, now – before we start discussing whether the world needs a next larger particle collider or yet another dark matter search.

The answer can’t be that anything goes, of course. The idea that new theories should solve existing problems is good in principle – it’s just that, currently, the problems themselves aren’t sharply formulated enough for that criterion to be useful. The conceptual and philosophical basis of reasoning in the foundations of physics is weak, and this must improve.

It’s no use, and not good scientific practice, to demand that nature conform to our ideals of beauty. We should let evidence lead the way to new laws of nature. I am pretty sure beauty will await us there.

Sabine Hossenfelder is an author and theoretical physicist who researches quantum gravity. ... of-physics

@49:33 What physicists should be doing instead of chasing beauty

@ 24:06
Sabine Hossenfelder: getting papers published and certainly the ability to publish a lot of papers makes that look more important.

Robert Wright: yeah well that is a fundamental incentive for most working scientists right? and you think in some ways a corrupting one?

Sabine Hossenfelder: Yeah.

Robert Wright: yeah because for one thing it leads people to buy into the established model, it's like once string theory is a cool thing and they're in and it's getting funded and stuff then there's an incentive to buy into that?

Sabine Hossenfelder: yeah that's a very strong incentive because you need to get money, you need to have a position from it, so in the fields where people have the money you will get a position. I mean it's as simple as this, people go where money goes, money goes where people go, so you get this feedback loop where you get all of this research and these are really hard to get rid of once they have reached a certain size.
User avatar
By Godstud
More Youtube videos? Maybe you should include some Twitter feeds to go for maximum stupidity in your posting.
By Hindsite
Godstud wrote:More Youtube videos? Maybe you should include some Twitter feeds to go for maximum stupidity in your posting.

You just don't like the truth, atheist.
User avatar
By Godstud
:eh: What has religion, or lack thereof, to do with anything, you fake Christian?

You wouldn't know "truth" if it came up and bit you on your ass. You believe Trump, after all. I'm not surprised you believe Sivad's Bullshit posts. It goes hand in hand.

By Hindsite
Godstud wrote::eh: What has religion, or lack thereof, to do with anything, you fake Christian?

You wouldn't know "truth" if it came up and bit you on your ass. You believe Trump, after all. I'm not surprised you believe Sivad's Bullshit posts. It goes hand in hand.


Ha ha. Sometimes you get so emotional and irrational that you blame Trump for everything.
User avatar
By Godstud
You get so silly most of the time. :lol: I am merely pointing out that if you fall for the lies of one person, you are susceptible to the lies of another. I never blamed Trump for anything, since your own choices are your own.

If you choose to believe Trump's lies, then that's entirely on YOU, not him. It's a sad reflection of your character.
By Hindsite
Godstud wrote:If you choose to believe Trump's lies, then that's entirely on YOU, not him. It's a sad reflection of your character.

I choose to believe Trump's truth and ignore the lies about him.
By Sivad
Post-normal science (PNS) represents a novel approach for the use of science on issues where "facts [are] uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent". PNS was developed in the 1990s by Silvio Funtowicz and Jerome R. Ravetz. It can be considered as a reaction to the styles of analysis based on risk and cost-benefit analysis prevailing at that time, and as an embodiment of concepts of a new "critical science" developed in previous works by the same authors. In a more recent work PNS is described as "the stage where we are today, where all the comfortable assumptions about science, its production and its use, are in question"

Jerome (Jerry) Ravetz is a philosopher of science. He is best known for his books analysing scientific knowledge from a social and ethical perspective, focussing on issues of quality. He is the co-author (with Silvio Funtowicz) of the NUSAP notational system and of Post-normal science. He is currently an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford.

Interview – Jerome Ravetz ... me-ravetz/

Dr Ravetz discusses climategate and what it tells us about climate science and the philosophy of science in general. From post-normal science to the Extended Peer Community, we discuss how new concepts of science are needed for a new technological paradigm.

Jerry Ravetz - Post-Normal Science in an Age of Decisions(Linus Pauling Memorial Lecture Series)
By Hindsite
Sivad wrote: Physicists believe that their motivations don’t matter because hypotheses, after all, must be tested. But most of their beautiful ideas are hard or impossible to test. And whenever an experiment comes back empty-handed, physicists can amend their theories to accommodate the null results.

That is partially true. In the case of the theory of evolution, portions of the theory can be tested and other portions can not be tested. The problem is when they use extrapolation to assume their entire theory has been tested and declare it a proven fact. They do a lot of this extrapolation with the global warming and climate change scares too.

In my opinion the real scientists are those that do practical science that benefit the society and show positive physical results such as in medicine, engineering, energy, and in all manner of inventing. Theories are dime a dozen.
By Sivad
Dissecting The Crisis of Science - Andrea Saltelli

Professor Andrea Saltelli has worked on physical chemistry, environmental sciences, applied statistics, impact assessment and science for policy. His main disciplinary focus is on sensitivity analysis of model output, a discipline where statistical tools are used to interpret the output from mathematical or computational models, and on sensitivity auditing, an extension of sensitivity analysis to the entire evidence-generating process in a policy context. At present he is adjunct professor at the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities (SVT) - University of Bergen (UIB). He lives and works in Barcelona, and is visiting fellow at Open Evidence Research, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), Barcelona.

Andrea Saltelli - “Science on the Verge”

“New Currents in Science: The Challenges of Quality” workshop | Ispra, 3-4 March 2016 In conversation with: "Is Science on the verge? Challenges of quality in science for policy: reproducibility, demarcation and accountability"
By Sivad
Scientists ‘should take ethics oath like doctors’

Scientists need their own version of the Hippocratic oath and a regulation system similar to doctors to avoid a big scandal, the head of their standards body has said.
Belinda Phipps, who took over at the Science Council last year, accused the sector of complacency and said the public trusted scientists only because they did not understand their work.
“What struck me, coming into this sector is just how unregulated it is compared to the medical profession,” Ms Phipps said. “Think what damage a scientist could do if he or she behaved badly or fraudulently. The potential damage is enormous" › news › world › the-times
By Sivad

What are the effects of industry (for example, pharmaceutical, petroleum, or food industries) when they sponsor specific research programs? Dr. Marks, Associate Professor of Bioethics, Humanities, and Law at Penn State University tackles this challenging question by showing how results of industry-sponsored research are favorably correlated with results that suit the interests of the sponsors. Although the mechanisms that produce this correlation are not entirely known (i.e. systemic biases, funding effects, etc.), Dr. Marks unveils a broader picture in order to highlight the ethical challenges raised by this research practice. His interest lies in the ways in which industry/academic collaborations not only favor commercializable results, but also shape the kind of questions that ought to be asked and how they ought to be answered.

@19:35 The Perils of Public-Private Partnerships w/ Jonathan H. Marks

The Perils of Partnership: Industry Influence, Institutional Integrity, And Public Health
By Sivad
Slanted Science

In a landmark decision, a jury found the chemical company Monsanto responsible for a man’s terminal cancer. The case focused on a popular weed killer used by millions of Americans. But Monsanto’s epic loss, may have been sealed by inside documents exposing a disturbing use of slanted science.

Medical Ghost-Writing


Any assistance an author receives with writing a scientific article that is not acknowledged in the article is described as ghost-writing. Articles ghost-written by medical writers engaged by pharmaceutical companies who have a vested interest in the content have caused concern after scandals revealed misleading content in some articles. A key criterion of authorship in medical journals is final approval of the article submitted for publication. Authors are responsible for the content of their articles and for acknowledging any assistance they receive. Action taken by some journals and medical writer associations to encourage acknowledgement is an uphill task in the light of disinterest from the pharmaceutical industry and ignorance or similar lack of interest by those who agree to be named authors. However, acknowledgment alone is not sufficient to resolve medical ghost-writing; issues of how the acknowledgement is formulated, permission to acknowledge and access to raw data also need to be tackled.


Medical ghost-writing is a new term, different from the ghost-writing of autobiographies, fiction and political speeches. The ghost-writers in medicine are medical writers used by pharmaceutical companies or contract research organisations and medical communication agencies that serve the industry. Some medical writers are employed by the industry or its service agencies, others are self-employed and work under contract.

Articles written by medical writers are published in medical journals. These articles can influence doctors and policy makers in their decisions that effect health. Therefore the articles have marketing potential and there is a feeling that articles associated with manufacturers of pharmaceuticals make exaggerated promises and omit information that might disadvantage their products - but whereas advertisements carry the name of the manufacturer, a ghost-written article does not.

So industry writes up the junk science and these lying scumbag babbitt fraud academic scientists from big university departments will put their name on it to create the illusion of independent CoI free science. What do the babbitt frauds get in return? They probably get grants and speaking engagements at big conferences and promotions and all the status and recognition that comes with whoring your ass to the establishment. And so what if some high school groundskeeper gets a little terminal cancer, that's just the cost of keeping industrial civilization weed free. :lol:
  • 1
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8

Michele Brill-Edwards is a Canadian whistle-blower[…]

Memes could be filtered out by EU copyright […]

I think they call your way of arguing "mott[…]

The idea of the Democrats leading a revolution is […]