Science Needs Vigilantes

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by longknife, Jan 1, 2014.

  1. longknife
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    longknife VIP Member

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    By Neuroskeptic | December 31, 2013

    Lately, there have been increasing numbers of online, unofficial – what might be called vigilante – investigations into published scientific work.

    [​IMG]
    vigilance

    The blog Retraction Watch and its comment section are a good example of this. Commenters, often anonymous, will get onto the trail of a certain researcher (generally following a retraction) and scrutinize their publications (e.g. here) looking for plagiarism, image manipulation, statistically improbable data, or other evidence of bad practice.

    At last, people are beginning to question “scientific findings” to determine whether or not they're politically motivated or actually good science. This article has lots of links and is well-worth reading @ Science Needs Vigilantes - Neuroskeptic | DiscoverMagazine.com
  2. Steven_R
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    Before we condone scientific vigilantism, how do we know the vigilantes even know what they are reading, much less why a paper is wrong? I don't want scientists spending all their time defending themselves from the allegations that some neckbeard that failed College Algebra makes.
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  3. Old Rocks
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    And when we find that some idiot has been doing nothing but lying on his or her allegations, the scientist has every right to sue the living shit out of that person. Cuccinelle, ex-attorney general of Virginia, and failed Governortorial candidate comes to mind. What a complete asshole.
  4. longknife
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    longknife VIP Member

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    And you just have no choice but to bring politics into a discussion of science?

    How calm and reasoned. :eusa_whistle:
  5. flacaltenn
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    flacaltenn USMB Mod Staff Member

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    There's a need for review of ANY science that affects public policy. Currently we have all KINDS of vigilantes weighing in.. CongressCritters, Sierra Club, consumer groups, corporations, and a long list of folks that aren't known FIRST for their social awkwardness and academic credentials.

    Can scientists COPE with that? Sure.. Because if they don't WANT all that attention, they will refrain from "stirring the pot"..

    Just finished reading Richard Feynmanns excellent autobio... He not only was a Manhattan Project bomb scientist, but contributed WIDELY outside his field of physics and was a beloved professor who taught WHAT SCIENCE REALLY IS..

    Wouldn't NEED vigilantes if those concepts didn't get lost every time science merged with Industry or Government to promote a position.. Since we lost the giants like Feyman, science has been TAUGHT and PROMULGATED as an advocacy weapon. Even HS texts rush to use highly charged cultural examples instead of better and broader application examples. Young student minds are not yet SKEPTICAL enough to separate authority from proof. And the general public and press are not skeptical enough by nature.

    If it takes vigilantes to RESTORE a sense of service and humility to science and method, then maybe its a good thing..
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
  6. flacaltenn
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    flacaltenn USMB Mod Staff Member

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    Might as well toss in the most important of those Feyman words. Here's the hell he sees for scientists that DON'T show enough honesty and humility..

    That speech ought to be the required reading for all College of Arts and Sciences freshman..
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  7. rdean
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    rdean rddean

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    Top 10 NASA Inventions You Use Everyday

    NASA's inventions benefit our lives on Earth - Technology & science - Space - Space.com | NBC News

    Apollo 11 moon landing: top 15 Nasa inventions - Telegraph

    Republicans think science is a faith. Like religion. They simply don't connect the computer they use or the tools the doctor uses. Or the medicines they take. Or what farmers have been taught and the feed they use. None of it to "scientists". Or alloys. Or what keeps food safe. The list of how science touches us is endless. And Republicans simply don't see the connection.

    In fact, most Republicans actually believe most scientists are employed by government.

    It's not just Democrats or Independents, but the entire world shakes it's collective head at the ignorance of such a large group of white people who live in both ignorance and the most advanced country in the world. Thank God for Blue States.
  8. rdean
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    rdean rddean

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    Climate change, evolution, Republicans have been bringing politics into science for the last 30 years.
  9. Matthew
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    Matthew Blue dog all the way!

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    This means it needs to be defunded!!! The conslosetives want too

    DEFUND SPACE TRAVEL
    DEFUND NEW TELESCOPES TO discover more extraplanets
    DEFUND the next generation of weather satellites
    Defund nws
    Defund nhc
    Defund and leave to die the people surviving extreme events

    Fuck you republicans.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
  10. Matthew
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    Matthew Blue dog all the way!

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    I don't know what kind of brain disfuction can lead some moron to hate science so much? Do they wish we never developed the tech to double life spans, do they wish we never started to give our children education???

    What kind of shit is this????
  11. JimBowie1958
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    JimBowie1958 Old Fogey

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    Yep, leave it to a libtard to bring race and politics into a discussion of science.

    :rolleyes:
  12. JimBowie1958
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    JimBowie1958 Old Fogey

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    What are you talking about? Sequestration?

    Seems like you drank some Kool Aid somewhere.
  13. JimBowie1958
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    JimBowie1958 Old Fogey

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    People that double check published papers are doing the scientific establishment a FAVOR.

    If the peer review process would do due diligence none of this would be an issue.

    And you can start tossing out the garbage with Mann whose hockey stick graph and anti-science efforts are a shame to real science, Matthew.
  14. Old Rocks
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    This is not a discussion of science, it is a discussion of vigilantes destroying science. We have judgment on science, it is called peer review. Many do not like it because the people the do the judging are fellow experts on the subject, rather than political appointees that the 'vigilantes' would be.

    I see this kind of thing all the time. And inevitably the person pushing the idiocy has zero scientfic credentials.
  15. Old Rocks
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    Really? So, link to scientific papers in peer reviewed journals that declare the Mann paper garbage. In the meantime, here you can find papers that support the Mann graph;

    What evidence is there for the hockey stick?

    A critique of the hockey stick was published in 2004 (McIntyre 2004), claiming the hockey stick shape was the inevitable result of the statistical method used (principal components analysis). They also claimed temperatures over the 15th Century were derived from one bristlecone pine proxy record. They concluded that the hockey stick shape was not statistically significant.

    An independent assessment of Mann's hockey stick was conducted by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (Wahl 2007). They reconstructed temperatures employing a variety of statistical techniques (with and without principal components analysis). Their results found slightly different temperatures in the early 15th Century. However, they confirmed the principal results of the original hockey stick - that the warming trend and temperatures over the last few decades are unprecedented over at least the last 600 years.

    While many continue to fixate on Mann's early work on proxy records, the science of paleoclimatology has moved on. Since 1999, there have been many independent reconstructions of past temperatures, using a variety of proxy data and a number of different methodologies. All find the same result - that the last few decades are the hottest in the last 500 to 2000 years (depending on how far back the reconstruction goes). What are some of the proxies that are used to determine past temperature?

    Changes in surface temperature send thermal waves underground, cooling or warming the subterranean rock. To track these changes, underground temperature measurements were examined from over 350 bore holes in North America, Europe, Southern Africa and Australia (Huang 2000). Borehole reconstructions aren't able to give short term variation, yielding only century-scale trends. What they find is that the 20th century is the warmest of the past five centuries with the strongest warming trend in 500 years.
  16. JakeStarkey
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    Science Needs No Vigilantes

    Peer review fulfills the role of keep science on track, because it is motivated by the review of empirical data bedrocking conclusions.

    Vigilantes review the philosophy bedrocking the assertions: very, very poor attempts at review.
  17. Old Rocks
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    So, you are suggesting that people like you do the review? No education in science, but you consider yourself capable of judging scientists papers? Wow.
  18. JimBowie1958
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    JimBowie1958 Old Fogey

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    There is nothing 'destroying' science when amateurs get it right and correct the experts, which has happened a few times, doofus.
  19. JimBowie1958
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    JimBowie1958 Old Fogey

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    Bullshit.

    Mann used proxy tree ring data until it became inconvenient then he tossed it in favor of actual measured temps while the proxy data showed a continued drop in temperature for the past 50 years.

    You establishment ass wipes cant think about science without appealing to authority like some half wit legal clerk, 'But Dr. So-n-so says it is valid...' but never dealing with the evidence directly.

    Mann should be shot for fraud like they do in China.
  20. Old Rocks
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    Yes it has. But I see no amateurs getting the science right on AGW. Most that have published on that subject, such as Monkton, are total fruitloops and have got it totally wrong. And having really stupid politically driven people judging what is science is the best way in the world to get it all wrong. An example of that, exactly the kind of thing you are promoting, was agriculture in the Soviet Union.

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