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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A scientist admits science corruption

And attacks the major science publications, or what he calls the "luxury journals":
I am a scientist. Mine is a professional world that achieves great things for humanity. But it is disfigured by inappropriate incentives. The prevailing structures of personal reputation and career advancement mean the biggest rewards often follow the flashiest work, not the best. Those of us who follow these incentives are being entirely rational – I have followed them myself – but we do not always best serve our profession's interests, let alone those of humanity and society.

We all know what distorting incentives have done to finance and banking. The incentives my colleagues face are not huge bonuses, but the professional rewards that accompany publication in prestigious journals – chiefly Nature, Cell and Science....

It is the quality of the science, not the journal's brand, that matters. Most importantly of all, we scientists need to take action. Like many successful researchers, I have published in the big brands, including the papers that won me the Nobel prize for medicine, which I will be honoured to collect tomorrow.. But no longer. I have now committed my lab to avoiding luxury journals, and I encourage others to do likewise.
It should be interesting to see if the science fetishists who attack me for being "anti-science" when I point out the many problems with the science industry will do the same to this Nobel prize-winner.

This is one aspect of the problems I have been pointing out. One doesn't have to know ANYTHING about science to know that the incentive system will lead to major problems, one only has to know about the existence of the incentives and been in contact with the occasional human being.

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38 Comments:

Anonymous Porky December 10, 2013 5:39 PM  

Cool. Anarchy. I like it.

Anonymous Idle Spectator December 10, 2013 5:40 PM  

Oh shit a paper on littering? I sure am missing out on science.

Anonymous Idle Spectator December 10, 2013 5:42 PM  

one only has to know about the existence of the incentives and been in contact with the occasional human being.

OK, with scientists we are going to need to work on that second part there. A lot.

Anonymous WaterBoy December 10, 2013 5:42 PM  

Vox: "It should be interesting to see if the science fetishists who attack me for being "anti-science" when I point out the many problems with the science industry will do the same to this Nobel prize-winner."

Does this mean that "Vox Day: ~Nobel prize-winning scientist" will be appearing on your tagline, soon?

Anonymous Will Best December 10, 2013 6:29 PM  

been in contact with the occasional human being

Genius! except for the part where actions are irrelevant when there are happy thoughts to be had.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2013 December 10, 2013 6:43 PM  

If they start with their conclusions [eg. Cholesterol is bad, neurons don't regenerate, Lyell is right, Lamarck is wrong, CO2 is poison and a "heat trap", an organism is the sum of its parts] then it's all garbage in garbage out.


http://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/new-studies-conspiracy-theorists-sane-government-dupes-crazy-hostile/

Here is one link imbedded inside another link - how confusement can surround the simplest of things

Anonymous JN December 10, 2013 6:46 PM  

...and been in contact with the occasional human being.

And I think you just identified their problem.

Blogger RobertT December 10, 2013 6:54 PM  

"Mine is a professional world that achieves great things for humanity."

I assume he's talking about the Lipid Hypothesis that has murdered countless Americans ever since the food pyramid first came out. It's becoming more obvious just damaging that menu is for humanity since the first cry and whey was raised by Gary Taubes in Good Calories, Bad Calories. I greatly recommend the latest book of revelations ... The Grain Brain by Perlmutter

Or perhaps it's East Anglia?

Blogger RobertT December 10, 2013 6:58 PM  

That's funny ... cry and hue not cry and whey ... that's my phonics background winning out again ... and other assorted errors as per usual

Anonymous Crispy December 10, 2013 7:01 PM  

The sooner we get government out of the sciences and the "incentives" games the better! Let the corporations make that investment.

Blogger Krul December 10, 2013 7:02 PM  

From PhillipGeorge(c)2013's (get a shorter handle, dude) link:

Professor deHaven-Smith explains why people don’t like being called “conspiracy theorists”: The term was invented and put into wide circulation by the CIA to smear and defame people questioning the JFK assassination! “The CIA’s campaign to popularize the term ‘conspiracy theory’ and make conspiracy belief a target of ridicule and hostility must be credited, unfortunately, with being one of the most successful propaganda initiatives of all time.”

In other words, people who use the terms “conspiracy theory” and “conspiracy theorist” as an insult are doing so as the result of a well-documented, undisputed, historically-real conspiracy by the CIA...


Heh.

If this is true, then it's my new favorite fact.

If not, it's my new favorite theory.

Anonymous DT December 10, 2013 7:08 PM  

Clearly the problem is the questioning of evolution and global warming in schools. We need higher taxes and more public school funding to address this serious issue and save the nation from the radical right's war on science.

Anonymous Idle Spectator December 10, 2013 7:28 PM  

Heh.

If this is true, then it's my new favorite fact.

If not, it's my new favorite theory.


They did the exact same thing during the development of nuclear weapons. Except the cover stories were UFOs, aliens, and secret installations.

With people looking around for E.T. phoning home and avoiding alien anal probes, they tend to ignore the bombs.

Anonymous GG December 10, 2013 8:03 PM  

The world has it all backwards. Today science must be taken with absolute faith while faith in God must be constantly proven. My father was a physicist and he used to say, science is simply an institution used to validate people's perceptions of reality. It was his way of saying, don't worship at the altar of science because the moment you do, it loses it's integrity.

I suppose science has always been influenced by money, politics, power, but these days it seems so cheap. I always think of the French revolution and their goddess of reason.

Blogger tz December 10, 2013 8:45 PM  

De Nature, Padded Cell, Junk Science.

Of course the names were shortened.

Some things are poisoned by "The Free Market", even in its good and true sense. It delivers the most desired things most efficiently, but truth and justice are rarely desired in and of themselves.

Virtuous men will do so, but the temptation is great to substitute the auctioneer's gavel for the one the judge or president of an organization holds.

One reason the Jesuits were good at science is that they didn't have axes to grind. They even confirmed Galileo's observations (Starry Messenger was insulting to the Pope resulted in something similar to what Obama had the IRS do to the Tea Party - lest you think we have changed).

Even if money is to influence science, the goal needs to be truth. Businesses will do badly if they get lies instead of the truth. Perhaps not quickly, but eventually.

Blogger neal December 10, 2013 9:14 PM  

Cannot serve two masters. Piss off the holy, be the bitch, not a good deal. I told MIT and Naval Intelligence to piss off when I was twelve. Maybe not pretty, but it is a rare surfboard, and flashlight, in the long run.

Anonymous Mike M. December 10, 2013 9:38 PM  

There is still hope. This will spread, and we may yet see the conventional wisdom smashed - and this will spark breakthroughs.

Anonymous Scipio Africanus December 10, 2013 10:11 PM  

I dont expect academic research to last more than 20 years or so. The Universities are the worst managers of financial and human capital, just short of the communists.

My alma matter has a perfectly good agriculture campus. They have decided that they need to move it about 1/3 of a mile or so, across a river. All of this so that it can "interface" with the rest of the university that is located on the other side.
The price tag is at least 500 million dollars. I suppose they plan to breed trees that grow large denomination bills in order to pay for this?


- Scipio africanus

Anonymous bob k. mando December 10, 2013 10:19 PM  

Scipio Africanus December 10, 2013 10:11 PM
The price tag is at least 500 million dollars. I suppose they plan to breed trees that grow large denomination bills in order to pay for this?


no, that's what alumni contributions are for.

you are aware that many colleges have endowments valued in the billions aren't you?

http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/the-short-list-college/articles/2013/10/01/universities-with-the-largest-financial-endowments-colleges-with-the-largest-financial-endowments

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2013 December 11, 2013 12:44 AM  

Start each day, trying to self refute everything you think you know.
Its a small investment.

Anonymous The other skeptic December 11, 2013 12:48 AM  

Not to mention all those who deny that the correlation between crime and Black percentage is so high.

Indeed, sociologists normally wet their pants over correlation coefficients that high.

Anonymous Hoss December 11, 2013 1:18 AM  

Sounds a little self-serving that he only gets on the high-horse after he's won his Nobel. Maybe it's just me.

Anonymous VryeDenker December 11, 2013 3:35 AM  

Sounds a little self-serving that he only gets on the high-horse after he's won his Nobel. Maybe it's just me.

He probably thinks he's immune now.

Blogger Lud VanB December 11, 2013 6:58 AM  

Good...now lets see a christian apologist admit scriptural corruption...now that would be a sight indeed

Blogger Krul December 11, 2013 7:12 AM  

LudVanB - Good...now lets see a christian apologist admit scriptural corruption...now that would be a sight indeed

That would be sight, considering that "scriptural corruption" isn't even a thing.

Anonymous VD December 11, 2013 7:23 AM  

Good...now lets see a christian apologist admit scriptural corruption...now that would be a sight indeed

Be happy to do so. The new German gender-neutral "translation". That is clear-cut scriptural corruption. Intentional, no less.

Blogger Lud VanB December 11, 2013 8:34 AM  

fine...go on pretending you didn't know exactly what I meant

Blogger Krul December 11, 2013 8:50 AM  

I honestly don't.

Anonymous Alec Bradley December 11, 2013 9:10 AM  

fine...go on pretending you didn't know exactly what I meant

I don't know what you meant.
Please define "scriptural corruption".
Thank you.

Anonymous Alec Bradley December 11, 2013 9:34 AM  

Direct question Lud:

What is your definition of scriptural corruption?

Blogger Lud VanB December 11, 2013 10:37 AM  

here's the best example...the story of Adam and Eve, a Hebrew tale meant to be taken as a metaphor illustrating the passage from innocence (childhood) to responsibility (adult) with all the consequences that go with it (knowledge of eventual death, working for a living, having children and the pains that go with bearing and raising them). A story that has been repurposed by Christians as the basis for their messianic hogwash about man falling from grace and the need to grovel at the feet of a blood sacrifice to be "saved" from what has been his intended nature all along.

Anonymous The other skeptic December 11, 2013 10:42 AM  

here's the best example...the story of Adam and Eve, a Hebrew tale meant to be taken as a metaphor illustrating the passage from innocence (childhood) to responsibility (adult) with all the consequences that go with it

Oh. I was under the misapprehension that that was what this poem by Frost was about.

Oh well.

Blogger Krul December 11, 2013 10:50 AM  

Lud - so are you saying a Christian who decides Christianity isn't true "would be a sight indeed"? Because that actually happens quite a lot - it's called apostasy.

Anonymous Alec Bradley December 11, 2013 10:50 AM  

Two things Lud:

A. That's not a definition.
B. Your question begging, so that's not a great example, either.

Anonymous WaterBoy December 11, 2013 2:31 PM  

Lud VanB: "the story of Adam and Eve, a Hebrew tale meant to be taken as a metaphor illustrating the passage from innocence (childhood) to responsibility (adult) with all the consequences that go with it"

Interesting, because there's yet another interpretation that says it's about the relationship between Mankind, Christ, and the Church.

So many interpretations...what to do, what to do?

Anonymous Edjamacator December 11, 2013 5:24 PM  

Good...now lets see a christian apologist admit scriptural corruption...now that would be a sight indeed

People corrupt scripture sometimes. There ya go.

Anonymous Anonymous December 11, 2013 6:17 PM  

I agree that there is a lot of corruption in science, but I think that he is wrong to put too much emphasis on the big name journals. If you publish in Science or Nature people are more likely to try to reproduce your results.

The smart way to commit scientific fraud is to publish papers which give unexciting results in middle ranking journals. Me too papers which confirm earlier findings.

The even smarter way to manage things is not to commit the fraud yourself, but design experiments for your graduate students to carry out which only have a single acceptable result. If the student is unlucky he or she has to carry out the fraud themselves and you can claim that it had nothing to do with you.

AKAHorace

Anonymous Anonymous December 11, 2013 6:48 PM  

For more on this topic see

http://landscapesandcycles.net/

AKAHorace

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