The cult of science - Page 2 - Politics | PoFo

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By One Degree
With the system I'm proposing the government would supply the funds but it wouldn't direct them. Funding would be controlled democratically, primarily by the scientific community but the public could also be included in the process.

Sounds reasonable.

That's not true, private money is just as corrosive to the integrity of science as public money.

Not worth arguing about. Both have too much influence.
By Sivad
Professionalism produces lackeys and attendant lords

The discipline of economics provides another striking case of the *paradigm-enforcement* described by Preston, which is in fact characteristic of much of the modern university. In 1982 Nobelist Wassily Leontieff wrote “The methods used to maintain intellectual discipline in the country’s most influential economics departments can occasionally remind me of those employed by the marines to maintain discipline on Parris Island.” (q. Redman pp. 158-9: compare Putnam’s quote above.) As in philosophy, the training serves to drive out many or most potentially independent thinkers: “By the time that students are a couple of years into their studies, both these questions [about rationality of agents and about the validity of modeling] are forgotten. Those students that remain troubled by them have quit the field; those that remain have been socialized and no longer ask about such things” (John Sutton in Coyle, pp. 249-50). In economics, the dominance of the unnamed old boys network (”more club than profession”, according to Schumpeter: Redman, p. 166) is at least as strangling as in philosophy: “The leading journals are extraordinarily dominant and consequently receive many more submissions than they can publish” (Coyle, p. 250). The power of the old boy networks, in economics as in philosophy, is shown by the fact that their members are never named, not even by their opponents — survival within the profession depends on gaining their approval. Few or none of the critical books I’ve read about philosophy or economics have ever fingered any specific person as an oppressive influence on the profession.

There are many who believe that economics, despite its self-serving methodological principles, is corrigible. This belief strikes me as wishful: like some of the nobility of the French ancien regime, some of the old boys might be nice people, and selectively open to new ideas if approached deferentially enough, but with economics as with philosophy, we’re dealing with sociology, not ideas. Personal reputations, networks of friendships, career competition, and (in contrast to philosophy) political power and wealth are at stake, and we cannot be sure that the old boys will not succeed in cloning themselves when they die off. (Redman’s book ends on a hopeful note, but twenty years later Coyle, Colander, Holt, and Rosser are still hoping).


The advice Colander, Holt, and Rosser give to economists hoping to do original work tells them how to approach the always-nameless old boy network: “The dynamic approach to change that we are introducing here involves stealth changes….The change, however, is so gradual that the profession often does not notice that it has occurred (Rosser, p. 5) ….Heterodox economists are highly unlikely to get funding through normal channels such as the National Science foundation….(Rosser, p. 9), ... lblog.html

James Bradford "Brad" DeLong (born June 24, 1960) is an economic historian who is professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley. DeLong served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury in the Clinton Administration under Lawrence Summers.

He is an active blogger whose "Grasping Reality with Both Invisible Hands" covers political and economic issues as well as criticism of their media coverage.[1] According to the 2016 ranking of economists by Research Papers in Economics, DeLong is the 740th most influential economist alive.
By Sivad
The myth that there is no politics of science is dangerous as it prevents the important and urgently needed institution of some democratic control of the existing system of politics within the commonwealth of learning. – Joseph Agassi(Israeli academic with contributions in logic, scientific method, and philosophy. He studied under Karl Popper and taught at the London School of Economics. He later taught at the University of Hong Kong, the University of Illinois, Boston University, and York University in Canada)

Politics of Science
J Agassi
Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol. 3, No. 1, 1986
It is an empirical fact that when I report to colleagues, philosophers, scientists, university professors and administrators, and other intellectuals, that I wish to discuss the politics of science, they first ask me if I mean science policy. When I say, no, the politics within the commonwealth of learning is what I wish to discuss, the response is, there is no such thing. When I say, I have ample empirical evidence to the contrary, they say, there should be no such thing. When I retort that there should be no more war, they say, war is a part of political life, willy-nilly; but university politics and politics in learned societies, and other intrigues and power struggles do not in any way belong to science. Scientists, they say, may very well be politicians, yet as scientists they cannot do politics within science. There is no room, they say, for politics in science.

The simple-minded view does seem to be dogmatic, pig-headed and harmful. Yet I should not be indignant, not only because indignation does not become a philosopher, but also because it is a standard conservative defence of the status-quo and the top-dog’s way to tell the under-dog that there is no status-quo and no top-dog, that everyone who is very good has a road open to the very top. In other words, the theory that there is no politics of science is not only simple-minded, it is rooted in naivety and ignorance-in the same naivety and ignorance exhibited by any member of any tribe, society or club, who says the same. Nevertheless, for the top-dog to say to the under-dog that there is no top-dog and no under-dog but that everyone has his just share is plainly self-serving.

The claim that science and politics do not mix is not an empirical claim. The principle in question is that of impartiality. Now what forces science to be and stay impartial? Answer: science is inductive, induction is the basing of one’s beliefs rationally upon facts, and given a state of a science inductive logic prescribes unanimity. Schools and factions are thus unscientific. But inductive logic is a myth and in different ways. First, it does not preclude the misguided choice of data, only, allegedly, the misguided choice of theories in the light of data. On the whole, as Karl Popper has put it, even if inductive logic forbids the disregard for, or the explanation away of, unpleasant data, it does not forbid the shying away from the search for them.

In addition to this, though inductive logic forbids the disregard for and the explanation away of, unpleasant data, thus imposing unanimity, scientific practice goes the other way: there is no unanimity in science and each school decides which data it finds unpleasant and it then attempts to explain them away. Though inductive logicians oppose this practice, they nevertheless participate in it by making it sound insignificant: they gloss over the fact that scientific schools and factions exist. Yet the claim that these schools contribute to the growth of science in many ways is more plausible than inductive logic. Hence, science is inherently political, and its politics was fairly democratic before it became big business. It is time to rescue the inner democracy of science before the damage becomes too extensive.

The band-wagon effect discussed thus far has been independently discovered about one generation later, by a leading American sociologist who is credited, quite rightly I think, with the very invention of the field of the sociology of science. Robert K. Merton has announced the Matthew effect: an accredited scientist will find it easier to find a platform to express his opinions than an unknown scientist. The Matthew effect is explained in public on many occasions and, unlike the band-wagon effect, it causes no laughter at all. Nobody thinks it indicates that journal referees are as much inept and parasitical as the critics who praise famous playwrights. This, of course, makes them even more harmful to the system.

What is the role of the Matthew effect? It is to keep the establishment in the position of power, in which they can determine, for a few years, who is the best. And they decide that they themselves are the best and they give themselves a few years to learn who is the best available and to induct the best into their ranks; and if the worst comes to the worst, and then use this as evidence that you cannot keep a good scientist down. But at least they try, and this guarantees their power.

What gives any scientist power? His influence on others. His holding office in a learned society. His ability to influence appointments to jobs. His ability to get jobs to his pupils and cronies. His ability to secure the publication of a paper by an unknown writer in a prestigious periodical. Everyone knows that: we all try to get a powerful colleague to recommend us for a job, for a grant, for an acceptance by an editor. The Matthew effect, thus, is the means of maintaining the stability of power in a society in which there is no use for the normal means of the perpetuation of stability, such as money and power.

Hence, the tyranny of science must be checked before it goes too far and the trend becomes irreversible. Anyone who cares for pluralism, be one pro-science or not, must volunteer some effort to control the aggression of science.

What, then, should be done to curb the aggressive conduct of science? Feyerabend has a proposal: separate state and science.

Let us assume that science does have authority, that the authority of Science exercises power, and that at times it does this quite unjustly. Which authorities? It seems clear that universities, scientific societies, national scientific research and development institutions, are among the candidates. To the extent that we can speak of the authorities of science separately from science, then we do need to control them and prevent them from misusing their power.

How are such things determined in practice? They are determined, to make an empirical observation, by the scientific leadership. Who are the scientific leaders? Empirically, again, we may observe that we do not know in principle, that we do know in fact. Why Einstein was not a leader and Niels Bohr was, is, in my opinion, a matter of self-selection. What causes self-selection I do not know, but it may be a sense of responsibility, personal ambition, the self-assessment as a burnt-out researcher, and more.

Let me say at once that as long as it is impossible to become a scientist with no college degree, science is facing the real risk of sclerosis, ossification, petrification. The Matthew effect is only the tip of an iceberg. To repeat, recruitment and job placement spell political power, and it is in the hands of the Ivy League universities, which take themselves to constitute the standards of excellence.

There is much more to the politics of science, of course, including the political power of journal editors and conference organisers, its use and abuse, the political control of access of scientists to mass media, legislators, and more. To repeat, these raise many background questions which have hardly been studied. Also, clearly, there are almost no longitudinal studies of current policies of editors, of grant-giving committees, and the like. Even the reassessment, in historical perspective, of researches which led to Nobel prize awards has hardly begun.

We can study the contributions in journals whose policy is not to publish controversies, we can ask how fruitful this or that controversy was. We will find that considered controversy is the leaven of progress, I think. But I will not elaborate now. Rather, I should say, what seems to me most urgently needed now is the replacement of the current institutions of science, based on the view that science and controversy do not mix, with institutions based on the canons of proper scientific conduct, especially in controversy and debate

The canons of conduct of the commonwealth of learning have served it admirably well. Yet this is not to say that we cannot study empirically their desirable and undesirable effects and attempt to reform them. The inductive philosophy which has helped establish the commonwealth of learning was based on the idea of the scientists as amateurs and of scientific information as easily available. It is no longer adequate. What we need most are standards and values regarding scientific schools and controversies.
By Sivad
Jeff Schmidt on Academic Freedom

Jeff Schmidt was an editor at Physics Today magazine for 19 years, until he was fired for writing this provocative book "Disciplined Minds". He has a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Irvine, and has taught in the United States, Central America, and Africa.
By Sivad
Hundreds of academics at top UK universities accused of bullying
Senior professors among 300 people alleged to have bullied students and colleagues

Hundreds of academics have been accused of bullying students and colleagues in the past five years, prompting concerns that a culture of harassment and intimidation is thriving in Britain’s leading universities.

A Guardian investigation found nearly 300 academics, including senior professors and laboratory directors, were accused of bullying students and colleagues.

Dozens of current and former academics spoke of aggressive behaviour, extreme pressure to deliver results, career sabotage and HR managers appearing more concerned about avoiding negative publicity than protecting staff.

In response, Prof Venki Ramakrishnan(structural biologist), the president of the Royal Society, called for an overhaul of workplace practices, saying bullying had become ingrained in the culture of too many academic institutions.

“In science, like in many creative professions such as the film industry, there are huge power differentials,” he said, adding that intense competition and lack of oversight risked allowing bullying to go unchecked.

Other leading academics called for an end to the culture of secrecy around the issue.

Prof Athene Donald, a distinguished physicist and the master of Churchill College, Cambridge, said: “I know of two instances where it is hard to think a cover-up is not going on.

“They’re at different universities, different situations. I’m really quite bothered about universities desperately trying to damp things down.”

The Guardian sent freedom of information requests to 135 universities. Responses revealed a total of 294 complaints against academics at 55 institutions. A further 30 universities reported 337 complaints against all staff – academic and non-academic. Across 105 universities, at least 184 staff have been disciplined and 32 dismissed for bullying since 2013.

Fourteen universities said they had used non-disclosure agreements to resolve bullying cases, with at least 27 staff signing confidentiality clauses in exchange for financial payouts.

Separately, more than 200 academics contacted the Guardian to share their experiences. Dozens were interviewed, with many giving accounts of behaviours that went well beyond robust academic discourse, professional rivalries or personality clashes.

One compared the management style of his boss, one of the country’s most eminent scientists, to that of Henry VIII. Staff were said to be subjected to “classic tyrannical” behaviour, with everyone’s motives treated with suspicion and everyone viewed as “someone else to be crushed”.

At another internationally renowned laboratory, the pressure was reportedly so extreme people were driven to falsify data rather than incur the wrath of the director.

A former researcher, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Mostly this was just a survival strategy to survive meetings and didn’t make it into the literature, but not always.

“Some students were driven to attempt suicide as a result, others broke down and simply vanished from science.”

A former PhD student from the same laboratory, who has since left academia, said he had experienced post-traumatic stress disorder.

A lecturer in social sciences at a different university described entering “a Kafkaesque nightmare” after making a formal bullying complaint against a colleague. It culminated in her being pushed to resign and sign a confidentiality agreement in exchange for a financial settlement.

As her family’s primary earner, she felt forced to comply and was escorted from her workplace of many years by a security guard. “They legally gagged me and threatened me,” she said.

“I lost my job, our entire family income and nearly my sanity. There are silenced victims like me all over the country trying to rebuild our shattered lives while the perpetrators carry on building their careers.”

The agreement stated she cannot return to work at the institution for several years, the terms of the settlement must be kept secret from all third parties and she must not make “any disparaging or derogatory statements” that could damage the reputation of the university.

Another PhD student spoke of “abuse of power” by their adviser, which included “career sabotage, IP [intellectual property] theft and more general bullying such as belittling comments, often in front of or in response to senior academics”.

In another role at a different institution, she said of her boss: “[He] refused to give me any control over my own projects, and shouted things like ‘I don’t give a shit about your science’ when I suggested improvements to experimental designs. I reported the abuse, but was told nothing would happen because he had just been given tenure and the university protects all their professors.”

Allegations of bullying have recently emerged concerning the Wellcome Sanger Institute(genomics and genetics research) in Cambridge and the Institute of Cancer Research in London. ... colleagues

My head tried to sabotage one of my research grants by insinuating in an email to the granting agency that I was unworthy, then failing to inform me when the grant was awarded. When I contacted the agency and discovered the good news, my head forbade me to engage in any further communications with the agency and went into micro-management mode for all of my grants, dictating how I spend the monies. Most heads of department are overwhelmed with administrative duties, so it is highly unusual for them to oversee a relatively small grant. My head has even dictated how I can, or cannot, decorate my office.

Bullies have no place in academia – even if they're star scientists

Anonymous academic

The highly competitive, hierarchical atmosphere of academia is well-known as a fertile breeding ground for bullying behaviour. Yet protections seem to me to be inadequate. ... n-academia
By Sivad
Norms are specific to a social group, though the group may be very broadly defined. The term “norm” is used in two distinct ways in the social science literature: norm may be a behavior that is typical within the social group, or it may refer to a behavior that is deemed desirable or ideal for the social group. These two types of norms have been described, respectively, as statistical versus professed (Barnes and Dolby, 1970), and descriptive versus injunctive (Christensen, Rothgerber, Wood and Matz, 2004).

The American sociologist Robert Merton (1942) sought to give shape (literally, “structure”) to the normative system of science overall by specifying norms that fairly and uniquely characterize the system. His pithy formulation of four norms was never intended as an exhaustive specification of the entire normative system of science. He specifically omitted from consideration what he termed “technical norms” (such as empirical evidence and logical consistency) that had to do with methodology. He chose norms that were not only manifest but also appeared to him to have high, if not universal, rates of subscription among scientists. Each norm was matched by what he later referred to as a “counter-norm,” that is, an impetus for action contrary to that enjoined by the norm. Finally, these norms, unlike rules or policies, were to be understood as largely informal in expression and transmission. The Mertonian norms are communality, universalism, disinterestedness, and organized skepticism.

The four Mertonian norms (often abbreviated as the CUDOS-norms) can be summarised as:

communalism: all scientists should have common ownership of scientific goods (intellectual property), to promote collective collaboration; secrecy is the opposite of this norm.
universalism: scientific validity is independent of the sociopolitical status/personal attributes of its participants
disinterestedness: scientific institutions act for the benefit of a common scientific enterprise, rather than for the personal gain of individuals within them
organized scepticism: scientific claims should be exposed to critical scrutiny before being accepted: both in methodology and institutional codes of conduct.


Ian Mitroff’s (1974) study of the Apollo moon scientists provided empirical evidence of the influence of “counternorms” in science. These counternorms (solitariness, particularism, interestedness and organized dogmatism, in Mitroff’s words) are point-for-point contrary to the Mertonian norms. Mulkay (1976) has argued that these counternorms “can also be interpreted, by participants as well as by observers, as being essential to the furtherance of science” (p.639). For example, scientists see a bias in favor of the work of those whom they trust as a matter of efficiency, without likely or perceptible loss of quality.

Mitroff identified a parallel set of four "counternorms", which Anderson describes as follows:

Particularism: Scientists assess new knowledge and its applications based on the reputation and past productivity of the individual or research group.
Individualism: Scientists protect their newest findings to ensure priority in publishing, patenting, or applications.
Self-interestedness: Scientists compete with others in the same field for funding and recognition of their achievements.
Organized dogmatism: Scientists invest their careers in promoting their own most important findings, theories, or innovations

British sociologist of science Michael Mulkay (1976, 1980) has argued that neither the Mertonian norms, nor Mitroff’s counternorms, nor both together represent the normative structure of science. Instead, he argues that the (Mertonian) norms are “better conceived as vocabularies of justification, which are used to evaluate, justify and describe the professional actions of scientists, but which are not institutionalised within the scientific community in such a way that general conformity is maintained” (1976, p.653–654). Their use is in providing a kind of verbal shorthand by which scientists reference ideologies that support their interests, political and otherwise, in the funding and social arenas of science. (For a rebuttal, see Zuckerman (1988, p.517).

Mulkay’s perspective suggests that the Mertonian norms exist largely as part of scientists’ intentional presentation of science to outsiders. Institutional theories of organizations (Meyer and Rowan, 1977) emphasizes the critical importance of such facades as a means of protecting an institution’s core activities from external interference and maintaining institutional legitimacy, which is the basis for continued support from external agents. The Mertonian norms then can be seen as reflecting and supporting the “social stereotype” (Mulkay, 1976, p.647) of scientists. They are statements that align with the expectations of outsiders.
This perspective not only rejects the role of norms as binding on behavior, but also suggests that it is more critical for normative statements to reflect the behavioral expectations of outsiders than to correspond to those of insiders. One might argue, then, that relative newcomers to science (students, postdoctoral fellows) would exhibit levels of subscription to standard formulations of normative principles that are at least as high as, if not higher than, those of established scientists.

Others have likewise criticized the Mertonian norms. Barnes and Dolby (1970) argue against the binding nature of the norms on scientists’ behavior. Gibbs (1981) raises a five-point challenge to norms in general, and concludes that the notion of norms be abandoned and replaced by a focus on the “normative properties” (p.18) of behaviors. Slaughter and Rhoades (2004) note that critical and social constructionist strands in the literature on norms and values in science have raised challenges to Merton’s formulation of the norms.

Controversies about the Mertonian norms have raised and clarified certain points relevant to the interpretation of the norms. Despite occasional renewed objections to the norms, many of the major points of controversy have been largely settled. Do the Mertonian norms, with their positive valence, adequately represent the norms of science? No, as Mitroff’s work has shown. Do the Mertonian norms together with Mitroff’s counternorms adequately represent the norms of science? No, as there have been suggestions (not based on empirical evidence) that principles such as autonomy and rationality (Barnes and Dolby, 1970; Barber 1952), emotional neutrality and emotional commitment (Mitroff, 1974), individualism (Hess, 1997), independence (Hagstrom, 1965), originality (Ziman, 2000) and openness (Slaughter and Rhoades, 2004) be added to the list. Are the norms binding on behavior or expressive of ideal behaviors? Hess represents the majority view: “For decades the consensus among social scientists has been that, as descriptions of the norms that actually guide scientists’ action, Merton’s norms do not exist in any pervasive form…. It is possible to salvage Merton’s delineation of the norms of science, but only as a prescription of how scientists should behave ideally” (1997, p.57). Ziman concurs: “Indeed, norms only affirm ideals; they do not describe realities. They function precisely to resist contrary impulses” (2000, p.31).2

Two other points of controversy relate directly to our own analysis below. First, are the norms of science directed to insiders in their prescriptions of ideal behavior, or are they aimed at outsiders as Mulkay has suggested? It seems likely that both perspectives are at least partially valid, and that the issue can be addressed empirically. If the norms are essentially a part of the culture of science, then insiders might be expected to subscribe to the norms more strongly than outsiders and even newcomers. If, instead, they function largely as signals and points of reference for outsiders, then the insiders might be expected to show lower levels of subscription to the norms. The same kind of test could be applied to determine whether the norms are largely the province of the scientific elite or of the scientific community in general.

Second, do the norms (and counternorms) adequately capture the overall normative system of science? The consensus is that they do not -- nor could any finite list of normative principles represent the complex normative system. In an analysis of normative statements by scientists studying pulsars, Mulkay has noted the “striking contrast between the simplicity and uniformity of sociologists’ version of the norm of communality and the complexity and diversity” of scientists’ interpretations of the rules for communicating results (1980, p.121). The normative system of science is affected by interpretation (Mulkay, 1980), context, contingencies, and differential power (Gibbs, 1981), among other factors. If the normative system of science is largely latent, as we have argued above, then it remains largely unknowable. One might conclude, then, that the construct of “norm” must then be omitted from empirical analyses of scientists and their behavior.
By Sivad
Collegiality and careerism trump critical questions and bold new ideas(full pdf)
Nicholson JM
Bioessays. 2012 Jun


Funding agencies (and journals) seem to be discriminating against ideas that are contrary to the mainstream, leading to the preferential funding of predictable and safe research over radically new ideas. To remedy this problem a restructuring of the scientific funding system is needed, e.g. by utilizing laymen--together with scientists--to evaluate grant proposals. ... .201200001

Research grants: Conform and be funded

Joshua M. Nicholson, John P. A. Ioannidis Published 2012 in Nature

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the largest funder of biomedical research in the world. Between 2002 and 2011, it issued around 460,000 research grants totalling almost US$200 billion. The NIH has unquestionably propelled numerous medical advances and scientific breakthroughs, and its funding makes much of today’s scientific research possible. However, concern is growing in the scientific community that funding systems based on peer review, such as those currently used by the NIH, encourage conformity if not mediocrity, and that such systems may ignore truly innovative thinkers. One tantalizing question is whether biomedical researchers who do the most influential scientific work get funded by the NIH. The influence of scientific work is difficult to measure, and one might have to wait a long time to understand it. One proxy measurement is the number of citations that scientific publications receive. Using citation metrics to appraise scientists and their work has many pitfalls, and ranking people on the basis of modest differences in metrics is precarious. However, one uncontestable fact is that highly cited papers (and thus their authors) have had a major influence, for whatever reason, on the evolution of scientific debate and on the practice of science. To explore the link between highly cited research and NIH funding, we evaluated scientists who have published papers since 2001 — as first, last or single authors — that have so far received 1,000 citations or more. We found that three out of five authors of these influential papers do not currently have NIH funding as principal investigators. Conversely, we found that a large majority of the current members of NIH study sections — the people who recommend which grants to fund — do have NIH funding for their work irrespective of their citation impact, which is typically modest. There are probably many reasons why highly cited scientists do not have current funding. They might have changed careers or moved to industry, for instance. Perhaps they are receiving some funding as coinvestigators, or are still young and have just started their own lab. But the NIH’s mandate is to fund “the best science, by the best scientists” — regardless of age or employment sector. We think our findings suggest that this aim is not being met. NATURE.COM For more on NIH research funding ... 4090d55f1f

How science goes wrong

One reason is the competitiveness of science. In the 1950s, when modern academic research took shape after its successes in the second world war, it was still a rarefied pastime. The entire club of scientists numbered a few hundred thousand. As their ranks have swelled, to 6m-7m active researchers on the latest reckoning, scientists have lost their taste for self-policing and quality control. The obligation to “publish or perish” has come to rule over academic life. Competition for jobs is cut-throat. Full professors in America earned on average $135,000 in 2012—more than judges did. Every year six freshly minted PhDs vie for every academic post. Nowadays verification (the replication of other people’s results) does little to advance a researcher’s career. And without verification, dubious findings live on to mislead.

Careerism also encourages exaggeration and the cherry-picking of results. In order to safeguard their exclusivity, the leading journals impose high rejection rates: in excess of 90% of submitted manuscripts. The most striking findings have the greatest chance of making it onto the page. Little wonder that one in three researchers knows of a colleague who has pepped up a paper by, say, excluding inconvenient data from results “based on a gut feeling”. And as more research teams around the world work on a problem, the odds shorten that at least one will fall prey to an honest confusion between the sweet signal of a genuine discovery and a freak of the statistical noise. Such spurious correlations are often recorded in journals eager for startling papers. If they touch on drinking wine, going senile or letting children play video games, they may well command the front pages of newspapers, too.

Conversely, failures to prove a hypothesis are rarely even offered for publication, let alone accepted. “Negative results” now account for only 14% of published papers, down from 30% in 1990. Yet knowing what is false is as important to science as knowing what is true. The failure to report failures means that researchers waste money and effort exploring blind alleys already investigated by other scientists. ... goes-wrong
By Sivad
Rancid wrote: I'm going to sacrifice a goat in the name of Science later.

You'll probably just take in some slick popsci propaganda bullhit like Cosmos presented by some whiggish idiot who doesn't know shit about how the science sausage actually gets made and you'll go away with a warm smug and an ahistorical and philosophically and sociologically naive conception of science. :knife:
User avatar
By Rancid
Sivad wrote:

You'll probably just take in some slick popsci propaganda bullhit like Cosmos presented by some whiggish idiot who doesn't know shit about how the science sausage actually gets made and you'll go away with a warm smug and an ahistorical and philosophically and sociologically naive conception of science. :knife:

I science every day my friend.
User avatar
By One Degree
That had to be the worst acting ever. Lol
By Sivad
Rancid wrote:No, I really do. I'm a performance engineer. I run experiments, and apply scientific principles to affect design decisions.

I actually apply the scientific method in my job on a daily basis. 8)

Exactly, there is no demarcation between "scientific principles" and everyday reasoning. What you do is just problem solving, you analyze system designs for scalability and compatibility issues and devise and test solutions, it doesn't involve any rarefied methodology unknown to ordinary mortals.
User avatar
By Rancid
Sivad wrote: it doesn't involve any rarefied methodology unknown to ordinary mortals.


A lot of people, especially children can intuitively apply these ideas. I see my son doing it all the time when he's playing with legos and shit. Nonetheless, it's important to formalize the process, which is basically what science is. It's just a formal process for trying to uncover truths about the universe.
By Sivad
Rancid wrote: Nonetheless, it's important to formalize the process

It can't be formalized.

Against Method explicitly drew the “epistemological anarchist” conclusion that there are no useful and exceptionless methodological rules governing the progress of science or the growth of knowledge. The history of science is so complex that if we insist on a general methodology which will not inhibit progress the only “rule” it will contain will be the useless suggestion: “anything goes”. In particular, logical empiricist methodologies and Popper's Critical Rationalism would inhibit scientific progress by enforcing restrictive conditions on new theories. The more sophisticated “methodology of scientific research programmes” developed by Lakatos either contains ungrounded value-judgements about what constitutes good science, or is reasonable only because it is epistemological anarchism in disguise.
User avatar
By Rancid
Sivad wrote:It can't be formalized.

I think you can. As far as I know it has been formalized.

The problem is, this cannot be applied to everything. Also, in many cases it cannot be perfectly applied either. Nonetheless, it can be formalized (i.e. defined). Definition, and implementation are two things.

Can you define it? Yes, of course! Can you implement it? Sometimes.. Maybe.. Occasaionlly.
By Sivad
Rancid wrote:As far as I know it has been formalized.

I've read quite a bit on it and as far as I know all the attempts to formalize it have been shown to be either problematic or at odds with the actual history of science. So it hasn't been successfully formalized in practice or theory.
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