The cult of science - Page 9 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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By Sivad
#15030073
Science Going Bad and How to Improve It, Lee Jussim


Is science going off the rails? Lee Jussim reviews scientific failures, and their causes, across the natural and social sciences, and argues that promising solutions to counter this trend include intense skepticism, intellectual diversity, accountability, and transparency.


Dr. Lee Jussim is Distinguished Professor, Chair and Graduate Director of the Department of Psychology at Rutgers University. 2013-2014, Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Co-founder of Stanford’s Best Practices in Science group.
By Sivad
#15030141
Rancid wrote:I don't think it's going off the rails


How would you know if it was going off the rails? What would be the signs? Personally, when I see scores of top scientists and researches saying that science has major institutional problems I take that as an indication that science might be going off the rails.
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By Godstud
#15030203
@Hindsite I did that purposefully to show you how stupid it truly is. :lol:
#15030210
Godstud wrote:@Hindsite I did that purposefully to show you how stupid it truly is. :lol:

Well, you succeeded in looking stupid. Good job.
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By Rancid
#15030249
Sivad wrote:How would you know if it was going off the rails? What would be the signs? Personally, when I see scores of top scientists and researches saying that science has major institutional problems I take that as an indication that science might be going off the rails.



Science is decentralized enough that I don't think you could say all of science is fucked up. I'm sure some areas have more issues than others.
By Sivad
#15030463
If we had a healthy culture in this society the information in this thread would be made into a weekly tv series like Cosmos and broadcast on every major network. You never see or hear any of this shit on the liberal airwaves because the liberal establishment isn't interested in a well informed and skeptical public. The goal of the liberal establishment is only to cultivate trust in its authorities and its institutions.
By Sivad
#15031002
Science's data secrecy problem
A surprising amount of publicly funded research data stays private

researchers who looked specifically at high-impact studies— those published in the most prestigious journals—found that only 10 percent of publications contained the raw data on which their findings were based.

This might come as a surprise. The entire scientific enterprise is, in theory, built on sharing data – it’s how researchers convince skeptics, how they pressure-test one another’s theories.

https://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2 ... lem-000589

Without the data you can't replicate the science, you can't even adequately analyze the science. This is one of the main reasons for the reproducibility crisis in science.
By Sivad
#15031060
"There is no such thing as quasicrystals, only quasi-scientists."

From the day Shechtman published his findings on quasicrystals in 1984 to the day Linus Pauling died (1994), Shechtman experienced hostility from him toward the non-periodic interpretation. "For a long time it was me against the world," he said. "I was a subject of ridicule and lectures about the basics of crystallography. The leader of the opposition to my findings was the two-time Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling, the idol of the American Chemical Society and one of the most famous scientists in the world. For years, 'til his last day, he fought against quasi-periodicity in crystals. He was wrong, and after a while, I enjoyed every moment of this scientific battle, knowing that he was wrong."

Linus Pauling is noted saying "There is no such thing as quasicrystals, only quasi-scientists." Pauling was apparently unaware of a paper in 1981 by H. Kleinert and K. Maki which had pointed out the possibility of a non-periodic Icosahedral Phase in quasicrystals (see the historical notes). The head of Shechtman's research group told him to "go back and read the textbook" and a couple of days later "asked him to leave for 'bringing disgrace' on the team." Shechtman felt dejected.

Shechtman was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery of quasicrystals

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Shechtman
By Sivad
#15033035
Scientists are not immune to confirmation biases and motivated reasoning. Values influence each phase of the research process, including how people interpret research findings. Reviewers’ theoretical and ideological views can influence their evaluation of research reports, leading them to judge studies that oppose their beliefs more critically than studies supporting their views. Consequently, they are then less likely to recommend publication of studies with undesired findings or funding for studies based on undesirable theories or hypotheses.

There are powerful incentives to present a strong, compelling story when describing their research. Most of us are motivated to get the science right, but we are also motivated to get the studies published and our grants funded. We want our colleagues to find our research sufficiently interesting and important to support publishing it, and then to cite it, preferably a lot. We want jobs, promotions, and tenure. We want popular media to publicize our research and to disseminate our findings beyond the confines of our lab. We might even hope to tell a story so compelling we can produce a bestselling popular book and receive lucrative consulting and speaking engagements, or have our findings influence policy decisions.

In brief, powerful incentives exist that motivate us to achieve — or, at least, appear to achieve — a “Wow Effect”. A “Wow Effect” is some novel result that comes to be seen as having far- reaching theoretical, methodological, or practical implications. It is the type of work likely to be emulated, massively cited, and highly funded.

Compelling, persuasive narratives are amply rewarded by promotions, grants, named chairs, etc., but the relationship of “compellingness of narrative” to validity (effect size, replicability, generalizability, etc.) is currently unknown. This raises the possibility that for some unknown and possibly substantial portion of the time, we are rewarding research practices that produce Wow Effects that are false, distorted, or exaggerated

https://www.dropbox.com/s/elimpj5u0aaeu ... l.pdf?dl=0
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By ingliz
#15033080
Sivad wrote:Scientists are not immune to...

As long as science is 'useful', what does it matter?


:)
#15033590
Sivad wrote:Scientists are not immune to confirmation biases and motivated reasoning.

The human foibles and fallibility of scientists are precisely why the scientific method is so valuable. Replication and hypothesis testing expose and correct the individual errors of scientists. That is one reason the trend to keeping data and methods secret is so troubling. Science needs transparency, but the absurd and evil intellectual property rights environment encourages scientists to regard their data and methods as their private property.
There are powerful incentives to present a strong, compelling story when describing their research. Most of us are motivated to get the science right, but we are also motivated to get the studies published and our grants funded. We want our colleagues to find our research sufficiently interesting and important to support publishing it, and then to cite it, preferably a lot. We want jobs, promotions, and tenure. We want popular media to publicize our research and to disseminate our findings beyond the confines of our lab. We might even hope to tell a story so compelling we can produce a bestselling popular book and receive lucrative consulting and speaking engagements, or have our findings influence policy decisions.

Yes, too much of the professional rewards of science are disconnected from the epistemological validity of research.
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By Wellsy
#15033618
I think when examining some sort of way of life such as the institutionalized practice of a science we can take notice of things which correupt and degenerate the practice away from the ideal concept of what science is about. Although it is never a perfect identity, people never are a perfect reflection of the ideal view of how science is to be done, it is a point to criticize the tendencies that do undermine it whilst also not equating the whole practice with its corruptible influences.

So for example, medical science is often subject to skepticism because the influence of companies to bribe scientists and doctors to pursue their particular ends. But in those times, people can revitalize the concept of the project, science, in not only criticizing it but seeking to effect change through a movement with a clear idea of what is to be rectified and institutionalized in the practice.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/comments-thomas-teo.pdf
There are two kinds of ‘external critique’ – dogmatic criticism and critical exposé.
...
Critical exposé is where the target theory or aspects of it are shown to express the point of view or interests of some social group, and are therefore not objective or universal. For example, when Feminists point out that “mainstream” Psychologist is saturated with patriarchy. Orthodox Marxist critique was of this kind, denouncing political and philosophical opponents as ‘bourgeois’. Most of the critiques of Psychology treated by Teo are of this kind, too. This kind of critique may not destabilize the foundations of the target science and may be fruitful where it is backed by a substantial social movement engaged in a widespread critique of ideology and social conditions. But where an external critique goes to fundamentals, it generally takes a social revolution for such a critical exposé to be successful.


And what seems to be the issue isn't the concept necessarily, but the practice/institutions of science and how it is done.

But in a world dominated by capital, it is difficult for established institutions to not be corrupted by external rewards to the detriment of the internal rewards.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/Virtue%20and%20Utopia.pdf
Internal Goods
Participants in a practice are striving for some good which is intrinsic to that practice; they may be motivated to do so by external goods. The distinction between goods internal to a practice and goods external to the practice is crucial. The successful solution of a difficult problem in medical science is an example of an internal good, and the scientist achieving it will feel good about it, whilst winning the Nobel Prize is an external good. In both cases, the participant may experience pleasure, but only in the case of the internal good does the community as a whole receive a benefit. Practices arise in response to some problem (or opportunity) with the formation of a concept of the problematic situation, the realization of which is the end at which the practice aims. This concept undergoes development as people learn from the experience of trying to realize it. The enjoyment (and fame) arising from the successful practice of medicine, (which is the well-being of patients), for example, is not the end at which medicine aims. Rather this enjoyment supervenes upon the successful activity (1981, p. 184), that is, it is a by-product of pursuing the good of the practice. The good at which the practice is directed is definitive of the practice even though both the practice and its aim change over time, the practice maintains a narrative unity as it undergoes historical development and both its ends and its means change.

But how does one maintain the reproduction of virtues entailed to the internal goods of a practice from the corrupting influence of external rewards? Hell, even for the person motivated by the internal goods may well end up be distorted by the fossilized practices that have been corrupted that make it difficult to do as job for it's own sake.
This is an issue in general in which more and more relationships are mediated by exchange and don't have any basis for actual trust.
MacIntyre distinguishes between institutions and practices. Institutions, he says, are concerned with external goods, so as to sustain themselves and the practices of which they are the bearers ‒ good performances are rewarded, and wages are paid for full-time commitment and apprentices are given formal training by old hands. Education systems based on testing regimes are an example of how institutions can undermine the very virtues that they set out to sustain. “For no practices can survive for any length of time unsustained by institutions … institutions and practices form a single causal order in which which the creativity of the practice are always vulnerable to the acquisitiveness of the institution …without the virtues … practices could not resist the corrupting power of institutions” (p. 181).
...
In the early days of working class organization, breaches of union discipline were punished with fines; gradually, over a period of 100 years, these sanctions faded away as the norms of unionism were internalized by workers and new generations raised in the necessary virtues. No-one would argue that these fines exercised a “corrupting power,” but the point is that the virtue of solidarity took a protracted period of time to become instilled in the broad mass of the working class and where unions are still strong, is still maintained this day by means of other sanctions. How this virtue became instilled and maintained in masses of people is a question of great interest for us.
...
MacIntyre’s advice quoted above is relevant here: “without the virtues … practices could not resist the corrupting power of institutions.” The fossilization of delegate structures into hierarchies is a symptom not a cause of the loss of the practical virtues...

And I guess this lack of identity between the concept of some institutionalized practice is also that many people come to a thing with different motives and don't perfectly reflect the structure that's outlined in policy.
The education system could be lambasted for it's ideological function but to reduce it to just this would be to abstract out but an aspect away from the positive impact it can and does have.
But the problem of maintaining virtues against the corrupting influence of external rewards is a difficult one for modern life as so many institutions can seem more and more sorely influenced primarily by them.
By Sivad
#15033694
Thank you, @Wellsy, for that very thoughtful and insightful post.

I don't know how the left ever came to the idea that science was immune to the corruption of the capitalist order? How in the fuck does the left maintain its faith in an institution driven by ruling class interests? It seems like a major fucking disconnect to me.

I think @ingliz spelled it for us when he said it doesn't matter if it's fake science so long as it's "useful" to their dreadful fucking gulagist politics. Thug bullies always have some bullshit justification for oppressing people, it used to be religion and now it's "Science". It's the same old cuntery just under a different guise.
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