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Thursday, May 28, 2015

SCIENCE is not science

Whatever happened to the idea that science is self-correcting?
Over the past few days a scandal has begun to plague political science. A UCLA graduate student, Michael LaCour, appears to have faked a data set that was the basis for an article that he published in the highly prestigious journal Science. I have examined a second paper by LaCour. As I’ll explain, I’m convinced that it also is the product of faked results.

The Science article purportedly showed that personalized, door-to-door canvassing is effective at changing political views. LaCour and his co-author, Don Green of Columbia University, enlisted members of an LGBT organization at UCLA to contact voters who had earlier indicated on a survey that they opposed gay marriage. The article shows, based on follow-up surveys, that the LGBT door-to-door canvassing had a significant effect in shifting voters toward pro-gay-marriage views.

Two graduate students at UC Berkeley, however, had significant difficulties in replicating the study. They called the private firm that LaCour had supposedly enlisted to conduct his survey. The firm, however, said that it did not conduct such a survey. LaCour had also reported to the grad students the name of an employee of the survey firm with whom he worked. The firm, however, said that it had no records of such an employee ever working at the firm.

After confronting his coauthor, Green requested that Science retract the article. LaCour still stands by his results. Science, faced with this dilemma, has not (yet) retracted the paper.
That pretty much settles the question of whether Science concerns scientody - the scientific method - or scientistry - the scientific profession. An "editorial expression of concern" is not sufficient. The study could not be replicated and there is evidence that the first study was not legitimate. Therefore, a reputable publication that was actually dedicated to scientody would retract the study immediately pending further evidence of its replicability. Science is observably not such a publication.

Especially when the man who developed the method that researcher utilized has come out very strongly against the legitimacy of LaCour's work:
I think the bulk of the evidence suggests that LaCour faked at least some of the results of this second paper. Not only would I be willing to bet on this conclusion, I would be willing to give 10:1 odds on it. Still, I’m not certain, and I would be hesitant to give 100:1 odds. And I would refuse to give 1,000:1 odds.

Regardless, I am certain that LaCour faked the results of the original paper—the one published in Science. I predict that UCLA will refuse to award him a PhD, and I predict that Princeton will retract the assistant professorship that it offered him. I predict that UCLA or Princeton or both will conduct an investigation. I suspect that they will find that LaCour faked results in a few papers, not just one.
But the most damning thing, as far as the credibility of Science goes, is this observation, "It is very rare for political scientists to have our results mentioned alongside results from the “hard” sciences." So why, then, was this apparently fraudulent paper selected for such unusual publication in the first place?

Labels: ,

68 Comments:

Anonymous Daniel #0189 May 28, 2015 4:31 AM  

The humane thing to do is to test Political Science experiments on rats first anyhow.

Anonymous Daniel #0189 May 28, 2015 4:33 AM  

I also think it is funny that Science put the decision on whether it was scientific or not to a straight vote, and it ended in a 1-1 deadlock.

Science affirmed!

Blogger Peter Blandings May 28, 2015 5:20 AM  

i've worked on a number of campaigns and they always set up phone banks and send out young people to go door to door. each time i've advised against both practices but have been ignored. but if you sit in a phone bank room all you hear is, "hello? hello? are you still there?" then the volunteer hangs up and dials another number on their list. it's worse for the door to door people. somebody in the neighborhood ALWAYS calls the police and they are forced to come back to the office. and yet campaigns continue to use these tactics in every election. what i always tell them is that the only thing people hate more than a telephone solicitor is a door to door salesman, which is what they are. the candidate is the product and the vote (in the rare instance it is obtained,) is the payment. politicians are very slow to learn. so i would say it is a certainty that this guy faked his results.

Anonymous Difster VFM #109 May 28, 2015 5:43 AM  

Vox, I think you need to add a new category of science to your list: Orthoscientosis

This would describe the complete transformation of a scientific work in to something abnormal or diseased.

Such a word would apply to scientific findings known or highly suspected of being fraudulent or derived from other fraudulent works.

Blogger Markku May 28, 2015 5:46 AM  

I don't understand why that would be the word, since ortho- means upright.

Blogger Rantor May 28, 2015 5:51 AM  

Science is run by SJWs and they always ____. Science also promotes anthropogenic global warming and other bizarre theories. They seem to have forgotten the heliocentric model and the previously accepted heliogenic theory of global warming.

Anonymous Difster VFM #109 May 28, 2015 5:52 AM  

Somewhere I had it in head that ortho was a prefix for transformation also. I withdraw my word.

Anonymous Difster VFM #109 May 28, 2015 5:54 AM  

Let's just go with transcientosis then.

Blogger Rantor May 28, 2015 5:55 AM  

Ortho: straight. Orthopedics means to make the child straight.

Blogger Markku May 28, 2015 5:57 AM  

And straight is upright.

OpenID jeffro May 28, 2015 6:03 AM  

"Good heavens, Miss Sakamoto! You're beautiful!"

Blogger Rantor May 28, 2015 6:03 AM  

Someday I must go to Finland

Blogger Rantor May 28, 2015 6:04 AM  

Jeffry is blinded...by science

Anonymous Anonymous May 28, 2015 6:14 AM  

Back in the days of Edison, Wright Bros, Tesla, etc, there was no "science is so kewl" movement because one wasn't needed-- it was self evident.

As science became more useful, the parasites/SJWs began to latch on. Parasites produce nothing, but they do need hosts-- in the case of politics, they need blind followers who can be triggered to action or decision making via a simple word. When I was a kid, "science" was emphasized to also almost religiously-- "the blessings of science" "scientific progress" etc. These days, it's even worse with web pages like "I Fucking Love Science" and hipsters in Seattle filling a glass with water, then causing a minor chemical reaction and exclaiming "science!" on YouTube in the same way that a televangelist might cry "Jesus!"

As soon as someone feels the need to "pretty up" a thing that is already useful and good, you can be sure it has stopped being useful and good, but HAS become politically useful.


Anonymous Anonymous May 28, 2015 6:28 AM  

One more additional thought:

Back in ye olde days of yore, when Thomas Edison wired up a city, reporters and citizens would come up to him and say "Mr. Edison, you are an exceptional man!"

These days, when a great man does something, we all get together and say "wow, SCIENCE sure is amazing." Calling someone a great man might trigger non-great men.

Blogger Krul May 28, 2015 6:45 AM  

Anon - "Back in the days of Edison, Wright Bros, Tesla, etc, there was no "science is so kewl" movement because one wasn't needed-- it was self evident.

As science became more useful, the parasites/SJWs began to latch on. Parasites produce nothing, but they do need hosts-- in the case of politics, they need blind followers who can be triggered to action or decision making via a simple word. When I was a kid, "science" was emphasized to also almost religiously-- "the blessings of science" "scientific progress" etc."


Actually, what you describe was already going on back then. The trick of calling some wild speculation in the humanities "scientific", even though the scientific method had had nothing to do with it, allowed charlatans to point to the manifest benefits of actual science as a justification for their own shams in economics, psychology, social and political "science".

In fact it was arguably worse back then. That was when Marx and Engels foisted "Scientific Socialism" on the world, and you know how that turned out.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan May 28, 2015 6:58 AM  

I'm still waiting for Science to prove the theory of human equality. The last SJW to show up here to tell us how smart he was and how evil we were for some reason refused to show us any evidence of human equality. I'm still waiting Owen.

Blogger James Higham May 28, 2015 7:01 AM  

Common theme of mine too - Royal Society big science versus real science. The more examples which come out the better.

Anonymous Anonymous May 28, 2015 7:03 AM  

Krul,

I'll admit that my timeline might be wrong, but not the premise. Note how "scientific socialism" tries to put itself in the same class as science that actually does something, like fires rockets or cures diseases.

Blogger guest May 28, 2015 7:10 AM  

I picked up the phone a few years ago, and found myself stuck with a poll about opinions about the death penalty. I stated that I was for it. Then my questioner, kept asking me well what about.... There were a number of "facts" posed. Such as trials that had been overturned, and that the death penalty favored whites. Those kinds of things. It wasn't only that I had a response for each of these, but I had the feeling that these facts were being used to change my mind about the death penalty, not just that they were counting my opinion is a random study. I ended up stating that the conversation had caused me to be even more pro death penalty than before the conversation. At which case the pollster ended the questions and bade me farewell.

Blogger VD May 28, 2015 7:15 AM  

Pick a name, Anonymous.

Blogger Dexter May 28, 2015 7:16 AM  

The humane thing to do is to test Political Science experiments on rats first anyhow.

Oh no, they went straight to human testing... but unfortunately no evidence is sufficient to convince them their theories are false, no matter how many trillions of dollars are spent or how many corpses pile up.

Anonymous Peter Garstig May 28, 2015 7:28 AM  

In the history of humanity, it has never been as easy as today to share data, source code, models. Yet, few scientific papers do so freely. Some do it behind pay walls. Most don't do it at all.

So how serious are scientists really taking the scientific method?

Anonymous totenhenchen May 28, 2015 7:31 AM  

They mock conservative "truthiness" while displaying their own scienceyness like peacocks.

Anonymous daddynichol May 28, 2015 7:55 AM  

I wonder what is Mr. LaCour's sexual preference?

Blogger sysadmn May 28, 2015 8:03 AM  

Faked a funding source and teaching award as well - http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2015/05/michael-lacour-made-up-a-teaching-award-too.html?mid=twitter-share-scienceofus

Lamest cover up EVAH:
I emailed LaCour for comment, and he asked if I'd hold off on publishing this until he released a planned statement about the whole affair. I told him I couldn't unless the statement contained information pertinent to the nonexistent teaching award. Shortly thereafter, a browser extension I installed to notify me when his website changed pinged me. His website's link to his CV, which he'd taken down down recently, is now back up. This version no longer lists the Emerging Instructor Award, and the entire "Original Grants & Data" section has been cut.

LaCour then emailed me again: "I'm not sure which CV you are referring to, but the CV posted on my website has not had that information or the grants listed for at least a year." As of 6:20 p.m., the CV with the false information can still be viewed on the UCLA website.

Anonymous Porky May 28, 2015 8:07 AM  

LaCour still stands by his results.

Hehehe.

He also faked his CV.

He's gone full retard.

Anonymous MendoScot May 28, 2015 8:14 AM  

The "editorial expression of concern" is a heads-up that the publication is problematic while they go through the laborious - and usually slow - process of determining whether to withdraw it against the author's wishes.

That said, they also pushed the LeVay paper in the 90's. It took me 5 minutes to work out that it not only shouldn't have been published in Science, it shouldn't have been published at all. It's well known in the field that the work was unrepeatable, but it not only has never been retracted, it still appears in the textbooks as fact. I heard him give a lecture back then, and he seemed entirely disinterested in defending the work. The proto-SJWs in the audience were much more enthusiastic about it than he was.

Blogger Engineer-Poet May 28, 2015 9:08 AM  

"Whatever happened to the idea that science is self-correcting?"

You're seeing the process in action.  Peer-review is to catch errors and omissions; it is not set up to detect fraud.  That happens downstream.

"Over the past few days a scandal has begun to plague political science."

Ah, all is explained.  "Political" is one aspect of "social", and as we all know "social" is a modifier meaning "not":  social science, social work, social security....

Blogger JDC May 28, 2015 9:11 AM  

I don't understand why that would be the word, since ortho- means upright.

Your grammatical acumen is making the linguistic nerd's members orthostatic.

Blogger James Dixon May 28, 2015 9:16 AM  

> So why, then, was this apparently fraudulent paper selected for such unusual publication in the first place?

It must be one of those eternal mysteries man was not meant to know. :)

Blogger JDC May 28, 2015 9:21 AM  

Markku - I have a question for ya...may I send you an email?

Anonymous Brother Thomas May 28, 2015 9:38 AM  

Science is not science. It is politics and it is business.

Anonymous fish May 28, 2015 9:38 AM  

"Good heavens, Miss Sakamoto! You're beautiful!"


God I love this site! The first thing that popped into my misshapen skull when I saw that post was "She Blinded Me With Science"!

SCIENCE!!!!!

Anonymous fish May 28, 2015 9:42 AM  

I wonder what is Mr. LaCour's sexual preference?


sigh....

Ten bucks says he's got feathers between his teeth.

Blogger darkdoc May 28, 2015 9:47 AM  

Science, and Scientific American, both "reputable journals" have been politically correct lib-prog promotion and policy tools since at least the 80's. What they are willing to print is PC filtered in all instances.

Anonymous Rob May 28, 2015 9:47 AM  

Back in the days of Edison, Wright Bros, Tesla, etc, there was no "science is so kewl" movement because one wasn't needed-- it was self evident.

Of course, those men weren't so much doing science as they were creating technology. The conflation of science with technology is one of the two greatest factors in the current fetishization of SCIENCE! (the other being the scrubbing of actual transcendental values from society).

Anonymous Paul Sacramento May 28, 2015 9:50 AM  

More issues with science:
http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/05/16/editor-in-chief-of-worlds-best-known-medical-journal-half-of-all-the-literature-is-false/

Blogger Aeoli Pera May 28, 2015 10:00 AM  

>Ten bucks says he's got feathers between his teeth.

Took me a minute to figure that out and now I want my minute back.

Blogger seth datta May 28, 2015 10:21 AM  

Until almost every evil jew is dead, western white peoples and many others will be killed off by the bankers and their backers.

Anonymous Arnold Horshack May 28, 2015 10:30 AM  

So why, then, was this apparently fraudulent paper selected for such unusual publication in the first place?

OOH!! OOH!!! OOOOOHHHH!!!

Blogger Aeoli Pera May 28, 2015 10:51 AM  

>OOH!! OOH!!! OOOOOHHHH!!!

I'm less certain about this one, but I'm going to say "it had the result somebody wanted, and 'somebody' makes the decision on these things".

>Until almost every evil jew is dead, western white peoples and many others will be killed off by the bankers and their backers.

Where do people like this come from? I mean, SJWs I understand. They are bred in eldritch warrens and grown to maturity in fell vats filled with corn syrup, SSRIs, and complex carbohydrates. I believe these vats are usually called "schools".

But where do the internet antisemites come from? Are they the same kids who draw swastikas on the stalls in men's bathrooms?

Anonymous Trimegistus May 28, 2015 10:57 AM  

Aeoli: I think the Joo-baiters are baffled by the way a group as uniformly successful at intellectual pursuits as Jews have been can nevertheless be so stupid and self-destructive in their political choices. Trying to make sense of why a white subgroup encourages nonwhite immigration into the only country which has welcomed and supported them, or trying to understand why they support the political party which allies itself with a religion which wants to murder all of them, leads one to conspiracy thinking. They can't be that stupid, can they? How could people who have won so many Nobel Prizes and started so many successful enterprises be so fucking stupid?

Answer: people are fucking stupid. Jews are no exception.

Anonymous The other robot May 28, 2015 11:04 AM  

They can't be that stupid, can they? How could people who have won so many Nobel Prizes and started so many successful enterprises be so fucking stupid?

A parasite that has behavior inimical to its host (but I repeat myself) has to distract its host's defenses.

Anonymous MendoScot May 28, 2015 11:20 AM  

OT: but having to do with dangers of entryism:

The school, which was all-male until 1975, was, like many independent schools in that era, something of a refuge for gay teachers who could not find work in the public schools. Most of the gay teachers behaved entirely appropriately, but a few succumbed to their attraction to some of the boys on campus. The Seventies were a time when sexual rules fell away in New York, and some teachers took advantage of the new freedoms, often inviting boys to spend weekends at their homes under the guise of providing intensive tutoring, piano lessons, art classes or biology help. The new freedom was innocently liberating for many, but a few pedophiles abused the liberalized atmosphere to wield their authority over boys who were struggling to find themselves in a period without clear rules.

OpenID mattse001 May 28, 2015 11:27 AM  

"It is very rare for political scientists to have our results mentioned alongside results from the “hard” sciences."

And this episode is a reminder why.

Anonymous BigGaySteve May 28, 2015 11:28 AM  

I wonder what is Mr. LaCour's sexual preference? Buysexual like a certain dwarf author

So why, then, was this apparently fraudulent paper selected for such unusual publication in the first place?

Retraction watch is like Nicholas Stix but without pointing out the ethnicity of people pictured. They covered both this story and how it was committed. http://retractionwatch.com/2015/05/23/weekend-reads-gay-canvassing-study-redux-editors-fired-how-the-worlds-biggest-faker-was-caught/

How could people who have won so many Nobel Prizes and started so many successful enterprises be so fucking stupid?

Many of the smart things they do are scams that Martin Luther wrote about hundreds of years ago. Reading his book will lower your view on their IQ.

Blogger automatth0x3ew May 28, 2015 11:35 AM  

"But where do the internet antisemites come from? Are they the same kids who draw swastikas on the stalls in men's bathrooms?"

That particular comment smells like a false flag, meant to make VP look bad.

Anonymous Michael Maier May 28, 2015 11:52 AM  

Aeoli Pera May 28, 2015 10:00 AM >Ten bucks says he's got feathers between his teeth.

Took me a minute to figure that out and now I want my minute back.


I don't know... that's pretty funny.

Blogger rycamor May 28, 2015 11:57 AM  

A few weeks ago I was driving and listening to NPR (let's call it taking one for the team), and I heard an interview with some Left Coast political organizer who was discussing this study. These people work *extremely* hard on getting the tone of these things just right. The man sounded so humble and personable and persuasive. "We found if we just... talk to people, we can overcome these differences."

Obviously the point of the study, as is everything with SJWs, was purely rhetorical. They were hoping to reach just enough people on the Right side of things who still harbor a rabbit-like need of fitting in with the crowd. Present those people with "evidence" that many among them are "reasonable" about gay marriage and "willing to compromise", and plant that seed of doubt.

Anonymous BGS May 28, 2015 11:58 AM  

There is a Hillary pillow for $50 that says "A woman's place is in the white house" but I don't think it has feathers. http://www.gaypatriot.net/2015/05/26/would-you-bite-this-pillow/

Anonymous Giuseppe May 28, 2015 12:21 PM  

Anonymous,
Not only pick a name, but pick better versions of history.
Edison was an unmitigated asshole and a liar. And lighting up a city block, he could only do with a power station. That's right, one per block. A great man was the one who literally changed it for everyone. Nikola Tesla. Fuck Edison.

Anonymous Trimegistus May 28, 2015 12:44 PM  

Giuseppe: Tesla has become the poster boy for the modern SJW hipster class because he was a fucking failure. If there's one thing SJWs HATE with a nova-like flame it's success. Edison was incredibly successful. He built whole industries, he changed the way humans live. Tesla was a bit player in that story who had a good grasp of PR and a tendency to make wild claims. When his mental illness overcame him and he died in obscurity, nobody noticed or cared. It's only the "science-loving" SJWs who have made him a hero because of his bogus claims and their love of failures.

Don't buy the hype. Don't exalt history's failures. Tesla was a nobody. Edison remade the world.

Anonymous Giuseppe May 28, 2015 1:11 PM  

Trimegistus,
You're an idiot. A brainwashed idiot. Edison was a thief, a liar and an asshole. He was, though, excellent at PR. So you only got that 180 degrees wrong.

Tesla invented the alternating current motor, and a lot more besides. Your ability to talk stupendous shit on the Internet literally depends on the work Tesla did. There IS no hype about Tesla.

You happen to be talking to someone who has gone to the trouble of researching Tesla in more than a little bit of detail. Like getting his collected patents.

Edison's only success was financial, which obviously is all that counts with you. Tesla literally changed the world for the better, more than any other man alive except possibly Jesus.

The failure of Tesla was of being honourable and not being a salesman. The only one here who has bought a line of snake oil is you.
And if Tesla was "mentally ill" I say we need a few more like him. Also, see Vox's first rule of intelligence, which non-coincidentally puts you at midwit at best level. But more likely just average IQ, with an inflated ego.

You are ignorant and spout off your ignorance as if it were wisdom. Go do that on the other faggy blogs you frequent. Your bullshit will be called on here.

OpenID luagha May 28, 2015 1:15 PM  

On 'where do internet anti-Semites come from?'

This sort of anti-Semitism is a symptom of a disease, somewhat like Tourette's Syndrome. It's a lack of control over a variety of processes in the mind - pattern recognition, guilt, blame assignment, etc.

When you see old drunkards muttering curses at nothing on a park bench, it's the same sort of disorder. I always wonder who they were when they were young.

As for Trismegistus's classic question of "If the Jews are so smart why do they do what they do?" the sainted E. Gary Gygax has already explained that Intelligence is a different thing than Wisdom.

Blogger Aeoli Pera May 28, 2015 1:15 PM  

>I don't know... that's pretty funny.

Oh definitely, but I could do without the visual.

Anonymous That Would Be Telling May 28, 2015 1:42 PM  

Science, and Scientific American, both "reputable journals"

Unscientific Americans was never a "science journal", but rather a popular magazine presenting science to the public at large. Way back when, instead of sending someone to a (carefully vetted) Wikipedia article you'd give them reprints or photocopies of their articles, they were that good (they might still be OK about pure science, I gave up on them decades ago for the sort of political reasons you mention). They're not in the habit of retracting their pronouncements.

Science, on the other hand, the official journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, was, last time I checked years ago, the 2nd most prestigious science journal in the world, the place you went if your paper wasn't quite good enough for Nature. But for a very long time it too has publicized political garbage like the self-refuting TTAPS (S for Sagan) "nuclear winter" paper, which I read at the time before I also gave up on it and the AAAS.

Blogger haus frau May 28, 2015 1:44 PM  

I can't believe such a study isn't fraudulent on the face of it. If some limp write SJW showed up on my doorstep to talk me out of my personal views on gays, abortion, etc I'd set the dogs on him. That is the normal human reaction to self-righteous meddling. At least missionaries are truly concerned about your welfare in the after life. SJw's couldn't care less about the individual.

Blogger Krul May 28, 2015 1:50 PM  

Trimegistus and Giuseppe,

You're both being unfair. Edison and Tesla both created technological innovations that revolutionized the world, and they both had severe character flaws. Edison gave us the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and the lightbulb. Tesla gave us the ability to use AC current effectively both for motors and for long distance power transmission. Edison was ruthless and dishonest, Tesla was naive and impractical. It isn't an either/or situation.

Anonymous VFM.0157 aka Forrest Bishop May 28, 2015 2:00 PM  

"Fraud in Science" might make an interesting Brainstorm Session.

The editor of Lancet just published a letter claiming
“The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue..."

*Nature* did the same awhile ago, saying 1/3rd of the papers in it were fraudulent and/or defective in some way. Fraud, plagiarism, and gaming the Citation Index are quite common, they're an ingrained part of the culture of big science.

Anonymous woiefj May 28, 2015 2:20 PM  

And, by the looks of it, it seems this is a pretty easily replicable experiment.

Now imagine how many papers are published and never checked because it is hard to replicate. (Logistics, equipment, etc)

Blogger Cee May 28, 2015 5:49 PM  

*Nature* did the same awhile ago, saying 1/3rd of the papers in it were fraudulent and/or defective in some way. Fraud, plagiarism, and gaming the Citation Index are quite common, they're an ingrained part of the culture of big science.
And p-hacking, ignorance about statistics, bad experimental design that will absolutely give you the results you're looking for, working backward from data to hypothesis, etc. etc. etc.

The Lancet letter was very interesting in its focus simply on the social and psychological reasons for the problem, versus the mathematical ones. I do find the idea of suggesting a much tinier p-value for significance in biological science sort of funny, though; that's not going to change a lot of the misbehavior, just alter how they handle their data. Getting a p-value that small on a very tiny regression coefficient doesn't mean anything significant happened.

Now imagine how many papers are published and never checked because it is hard to replicate. (Logistics, equipment, etc)
Definitely a big and known problem. However, if your paper is BIG and SHOCKING enough, you will have a lot of people trying to replicate it in order to prove you wrong, because of all the coverage they'll get. (And/or, if your discovery is old and entrenched enough, ... etc. Scientists are as prone to being glory-hounds as any other public figure, and a big part of why false or misleading discoveries get immediately publicized is that they're frequently incredibly "sexy," so no one has any incentive to make sure they're actually correct, replicable, or statistically supported.)

Related to the topic: Dang. I knew when I published my comment previously that "scientody" was the wrong one of the word pair.

Science also is not at all above publishing hilariously bad things because they support a political agenda. I really ought to dig out my special issue on global warming that had an article with projected deaths due to climate change listed as something like 30 million +/- 50 million people. I paraphrase the numbers, but the margin of error really was bigger than the actual effect. Climate change could spontaneously create several million people!

Blogger MidKnight (#138) May 28, 2015 8:38 PM  

@Krul, Trimegistus and Giuseppe,


Yeah.

Tesla now has hipster cred, but both contributed greatly in different ways.

Edison didn't have as much "inspiration" (note the quote he was known for) but he developed one of the first working motion picture devices, phonographs, light bulbs, etc.

And yeah, an asshole and a slesman as much as anything else.

Tesla, the erratic genius, dealt more in the conceptual, but his conceptual inventions (carrying three phases of current over three wires vice six, AC/DC power conversion) are still in use today, though rare with the greater proliferation of solid state rectifiers.

Both created things utterly fundamental to a modern technological society.

It was amusing to stand between westing house and general Electric (nee General Edison) components in a nuclear plant and reflect on the war between the two, especially over electrical distribution (Westinghouse hired Tesla).

It's also amusing to consider how in a way, though Tesla was right for the near and mid term in AC vs DC transmission and losses (Tesla "invented" the electric chair trying to prove AC mroe lethal, turned out DC was more likely to lock you in place so you fried...), these days, if I recall, long distance ultra-high voltage lines now use DC because the loss properties at those ranges actually favor DC. So in a way, Edison kinda turned out to be right, though not for the reasons he thought, or the use cases he was looking at.

Blogger denizenofgoo May 28, 2015 10:38 PM  

The charlatanry of Gould is taught still.

Anonymous Giuseppe May 29, 2015 3:26 AM  

Krul,
Edison did not, in fact, invent the lightbulb. And my point was and went mostly to character and the statement that Tesla was a "failure and a bit player" who used "PR".

Without Tesla this would be a very different world. Without Edison, not so much. But I probably also reacted to the demonstrably false accusation that I had somehow bought into some Tesla "sense of cool" as some kind of rabbit signal.
Tesla formed a chapter of my first book, published in 1995. If anything, I am one of the few who knew who Tesla was and what he actually did long before
SJWs, or Trimegestius, began to misappropriate and continued to misrepresent him.

Ultimately I found Trimegestius whole statement to be so misrepresentative and either completely ignorant or willfully dishonest as to be infuriating.
And as you know we all sometimes fail at not reacting to idiocy and dishonesty on the Internet. Some people here would no doubt react badly to say a characterisation of Jesus as "a failed carpenter who got nailed to a tree for doing PR wrong". Because it is demonstrably and utterly wrong, and missing the point.

Tl;Dr - facts and character matter

/End rant

Anonymous VFM.0157 aka Forrest Bishop May 29, 2015 3:51 AM  

Giuseppe et al,

Can't we at least credit Edison for maybe inventing the phonograph and the modern industrial research lab? Sure, his elbows were as sharp as Bill Gates's but wasn't there also some inventive spirit in him as well? It's too bad he didn't set up a motion-picture branch office in LA.

denizenofgoo May 28, 2015 10:38 PM The charlatanry of Gould is taught still.

Thanks for the word. This blog is particularly useful for vocabulary building, aside from noting the mis-measure of Gould.

For a Brainstorm, Rupert Sheldrake would make an excellent guest. His newer book "The Science Delusion" (a reference to Dawkins), aka "Science Set Free", calls out all sorts of really fundamental and fascinating problems across many sciences. He is also quite familiar with censorship in science. His recent run-in with TED Talks is a type of victory, or at least a stalemate, with the SWJ gatekeepers.

Anonymous asdf May 29, 2015 7:53 AM  

"Definitely a big and known problem. However, if your paper is BIG and SHOCKING enough, you will have a lot of people trying to replicate it in order to prove you wrong, because of all the coverage they'll get."

True, but leftist views will not be seen as "BIG and SHOCKING". If the paper states something already taken as gospel, the above will not happen.

Same thing with global warming. How many papers "prove" it? Few people will try to refute it, since it is taken as gospel by academia.

Blogger Cee May 29, 2015 11:01 AM  

True, but leftist views will not be seen as "BIG and SHOCKING". If the paper states something already taken as gospel, the above will not happen.
Oh, sure. The idea applies more to those fields that haven't become sclerotic with outside politics. If you can "prove" a central dogma of your field is wrong, you're going to get press time thrown at you even if your work is 100% wrong.

Even in the absence of leftist views dominating climate science, psychology, etc. etc., this tendency would still end up distorting the practice of science.

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