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Friday, August 28, 2015

The adjective modifies the noun

I wonder if all those people who were going on and on about how I hated and didn't understand science are going to come back and apologize now that my skepticism about scientistry is being supported by dozens of failed attempts to confirm previously published studies? I don't think I'll hold my breath.
The past several years have been bruising ones for the credibility of the social sciences. A star social psychologist was caught fabricating data, leading to more than 50 retracted papers. A top journal published a study supporting the existence of ESP that was widely criticized. The journal Science pulled a political science paper on the effect of gay canvassers on voters’ behavior because of concerns about faked data.

Now, a painstaking yearslong effort to reproduce 100 studies published in three leading psychology journals has found that more than half of the findings did not hold up when retested. The analysis was done by research psychologists, many of whom volunteered their time to double-check what they considered important work. Their conclusions, reported Thursday in the journal Science, have confirmed the worst fears of scientists who have long worried that the field needed a strong correction.

The vetted studies were considered part of the core knowledge by which scientists understand the dynamics of personality, relationships, learning and memory. Therapists and educators rely on such findings to help guide decisions, and the fact that so many of the studies were called into question could sow doubt in the scientific underpinnings of their work.

“I think we knew or suspected that the literature had problems, but to see it so clearly, on such a large scale — it’s unprecedented,” said Jelte Wicherts, an associate professor in the department of methodology and statistics at Tilburg University in the Netherlands.

More than 60 of the studies did not hold up. Among them was one on free will. It found that participants who read a passage arguing that their behavior is predetermined were more likely than those who had not read the passage to cheat on a subsequent test.
Most "social science" is not science at all. It's nothing more than science-flavored fiction concocted by people who look and talk like scientists, but are merely mimics.

Now, my dear critic, are you still entirely comfortable with your decision to dismiss out of hand my various other controversial statements about science? Are you still certain that your feelings trump my logical conclusions?

Labels:

118 Comments:

Anonymous Rigel Kent August 28, 2015 12:07 PM  

You're not expecting them to change their opinion based on the evidence are you? That'd be, that'd be, well I don't know if there's a word for it but I don't think you should expect pro-science people to act like that.

Blogger Daniel August 28, 2015 12:10 PM  

I wonder if I could get funding for research into the Vox Dayification of the American Psyche.

Blogger tihald August 28, 2015 12:13 PM  

Just out of curiosity.... maybe we should pick a particularly good example and nominate that 'scientific' paper for a Hugo? It is 'science-flavored fiction' after all.

Blogger Cunning Dove August 28, 2015 12:24 PM  

Feelings are always mostest important!!!

Feelings

Anonymous Jack Amok August 28, 2015 12:27 PM  

Most "social science" is not science at all. It's nothing more than science-flavored fiction concocted by people who look and talk like scientists, but are merely mimics.

Mimics with agendas too, especially when you're talking about psychology. What percentage of students who get a psych degree are anything close to normal? Psychiatrists are notorious for being crazy (I know too, I married into a family with one), and they at least have to be functional enough to get through Med School. Psychologists are their less-functional brethren.

Blogger dc.sunsets August 28, 2015 12:34 PM  

If the map is not the territory, then what do we make of our present position when the gate-keeper cartographers drew maps that describe the Utopia of Progressive statist dreams and not the territory as it exists?

Perhaps instead of the term, junk science, fact-fitting and "fact creation" could be termed Newstudy in parallel to the flexibility of Newspeak.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 August 28, 2015 12:34 PM  

Most "social" science is nothing more than prideful men and women seeking to make sense of an evil and fallen world.

Anonymous Krul August 28, 2015 12:35 PM  

@1 Rigel Kent - "You're not expecting them to change their opinion based on the evidence are you? That'd be, that'd be, well I don't know if there's a word for it but I don't think you should expect pro-science people to act like that."

There are many words for it.

Racist, sexist, homophobic, oppressive, patriarchal, discriminatory, problematic, unsafe, wowjustwowicanteven...

Blogger Durandel Almiras August 28, 2015 12:37 PM  

And it's not just the social sciences. Vox has posted plenty of items in the last years where various fields of science retested important studies and couldn't get the same result. I recall one post on a Greek medical doctor and his team retesting important medical studies and they could only get the same results for about 60% of them.

Scientists have become the new corrupt clergy.

Anonymous Krul August 28, 2015 12:37 PM  

@8 I forgot "politically incorrect".

Probably many more as well.

Blogger dc.sunsets August 28, 2015 12:38 PM  

If sanity is a relentless effort to perceive the world as it really is, and align ones actions accordingly, is it not of vast explanatory value to recognize that the people in charge of defining the relevant facts of reality were instead jotting down their own delusions?

Yes, the dominant Narrative's embrace of lunacy (Bruce Jenner, exhibit A) was ample reason to suspect GI-GO code at work, and anyone paying attention could see mountainous Pyramids of Error throughout the land, but this is another small signal that the irrationality pendulum is reversing.

Anonymous Farnswords August 28, 2015 12:40 PM  

I could attend any social science class at my university and follow along easily.

I would pay money to watch any social science student sit in on my chemical engineering classes and try to keep up.

There is a reason "social science" and "political science" had to explicitly associate themselves with that title. You don't major in "engineering science" or "physics science." One of my favorite quotations from David Berlinski could apply here:

"Although Darwin’s theory is very often compared favorably to the great theories of mathematical physics on the grounds that evolution is as well established as gravity, very few physicists have been heard observing that gravity is as well established as evolution. They know better and they are not stupid."

Blogger Durandel Almiras August 28, 2015 12:40 PM  

The Evo Psych crowd would do well to differentiate themselves by doing their own rigorous peer review and confirm results through additional studies. Their results generally counter the social narrative and they could easily be tossed under the bus with the rest of the social science field by the left once the left deems it necessary to ditch science.

Blogger dc.sunsets August 28, 2015 12:42 PM  

Scientists have become the new corrupt clergy.

Progressivism married "scientific management" of society with the iron fist of the state in order to yield Heaven on Earth (the obverse of the coin showing Marx's "new man.") This made scientists into clergy a long time ago. Corruption followed on the heels of power.

Anonymous Tom August 28, 2015 12:48 PM  

I wanted to be a scientist until I saw how science was actually done.

When I teach the scientific method, I add a step labelled, "Get Funding." That is how I start the discussion of the profession vs the process.

My wife was going for a Ph.D. in Bio. A TA of a class she was taking told them about their research. They were researching cave beetles. They had a IR beam across a cave mouth. When the IR beam was broken at night, they counted that as one cave beetle leaving the cave. When the IR beam was broken in the morning, that was one returning.

She pointed out the obvious flaws. Other students laughed. Her next test was suddenly an F despite have essentially identical answers to her friend who got an A.

I made such a good career decision not becoming a scientist. Now, if we could just sell the house, buy a farm, and get Vox to publish my fantasy novel...

Blogger El Borak August 28, 2015 12:52 PM  

"Social" is to "Science" exactly as it is to "Justice": a euphemism that means not.

Anonymous Donn #0114 August 28, 2015 12:57 PM  

Most of these stupid studies are unreproducible. Why anyone is surprised is what mystifies me. The DSM declared homosexuality to not be a paraphilia despite it having every single element that qualifies it as such.

When that happened it was clear psychiatry even in the west was purely political. I flat don't believe 90% of it can help anyone. Regular sleep, exercise, walking out of doors will certainly do people more good than 99% of what psychiatry does. Find a healthy hobby (no surfing Ashley Madison doesn't count as a hobby), write, sculpt, draw something. Make friends, go to church regularly.

Blogger kurt9 August 28, 2015 1:01 PM  

Its been known for at least two decades that 30-40% of the hard science papers could not be replicated. It is no surprise to me that 60% of the psychology stuff (soft sciences) cannot be replicated at all. The peer review system is corrupt and the entire government-funded R&D milieu is similarly corrupt.

None of this is news for us who have actually worked in the milieu. Academic researchers make stuff up all the time.

Blogger Rabbi B August 28, 2015 1:05 PM  

Try this amusing experiment at work . . . any variation on the following should work nicely:

Tell as many people as you can about a new study that discovered a direct correlation between the size of your big toe and the rate of testicular cancer in males over 40.

It's amazing how many people will take it at face value . . . . and pass the info on to others. Somebody conducted a "scientific study" so it must be true.

Blogger RobertT August 28, 2015 1:05 PM  

From my perspective, you're much more forgiving of scientists than I am. I would never make this statement, "It's nothing more than science-flavored fiction concocted by people who look and talk like scientists, but are merely mimics." Consider East Anglia, the Fat Hypotheses and tons of other incidents that had and have the backing of the scientific community, not just mimics. I would in fact throw 99% of them in the dreaded SJW camp. My unofficial survey of twitter paints them as overwhelmingly ban gun bleeding hearts.

Anonymous aeou August 28, 2015 1:11 PM  

@kurt9
60% vs 30-40% isn't so bad. From Haidt's studies we know all of social science is SJW. I would expect much worse from a bunch of history-retardant socialists. Maybe where they really get off is in what isn't studied rather than falsifying existing research.

Anonymous Ben Cohen August 28, 2015 1:26 PM  

Does this mean that any psychology books that have been read should be thrown away since they probably contain false studies? An example is Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. It's the textbook most MBAs read in business school.

Anonymous Ben Cohen August 28, 2015 1:28 PM  

A prime example of this is the "studies" proving that eating saturated fat causes heart disease that Ancel Keys pushed. They've all been found to be false but most of the medical establishment still pushes it as gospel. Think of that when you're eating a nice helping of lasagna.

Anonymous Quartermain August 28, 2015 1:35 PM  

Social Science isn't science anymore than abstract art is real art.

Anonymous JI August 28, 2015 1:42 PM  

This dates me, but I recall when I majored in Astronomy and Physics back in the mid-1980's, my adviser had explained to us that there was no "science" in the "social sciences" when he was trying to get through our thick skulls exactly what science is and is not. So this concept isn't new except in the sense that there is now "scientific" proof that social sciences studies are not scientific. :-)

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 August 28, 2015 1:43 PM  

A remarkable essay just published in Huffington Post of all places.

I just spent several hours down a rabbit hole. The topic was the "electric universe," an unconventional cosmological theory that emphasizes electromagnetism rather than gravity as the primary structuring force of the universe. It offers alternative explanations of redshift, cosmic background radiation, cosmogenesis, star formation, galaxy formation, solar physics, and more.

...I proceeded to read a number of its critics (most of whom used the term "debunking"). What a fool I'd been for giving such a theory, "popular on the Internet," any credence! The critics pointed out elementary errors that proponents of the Electric Universe (EU) commit, revealing them as little more than cranks and crackpots. Case settled, right?

Not quite. Next, I read some responses to the debunkers, which refuted the criticisms point by point in considerable depth. Whom am I to believe?...


Me! Me! Believe me!

...Can we trust scientific consensus? Can we trust the integrity of our scientific institutions?

Perhaps not. Over the last few years, a growing chorus of insider critics have been exposing serious flaws in the ways that scientific research is funded and published, leading some to go so far as to say,"Science is broken."

The dysfunctions they describe include:
- Deliberate, unconscious, and systemic fraud
- Irreproducibility of results and lack of incentive to attempt replication
- Misuse of statistics, such as "P-hacking" - the mining of research data to extract a post-hoc "hypothesis" for publication
- Severe flaws in the system of peer review (see here and here), for example, its propensity to enforce existing paradigms, to be hostile to anything that challenges the views of the reviewers whose careers are invested in those views.
- Difficulty in obtaining funding for creative and unorthodox research hypotheses
- Publication bias that also favors positive results over negative results, and suppresses research that won't benefit a researcher's career

The system encourages the endless elaboration of existing theories about which there is consensus, but if one of these is wrong, there are nearly insuperable barriers to it ever being overturned.

Blogger IM2L844 August 28, 2015 1:55 PM  

Regardless of whether they publically identify as Democrats, Republicans, teachers, philosophers, advocates, parents, pundits, preachers or scientists, SJWs always lie.

Anonymous Stephen J. August 28, 2015 1:55 PM  

@6: "If the map is not the territory, then what do we make of our present position when the gate-keeper cartographers drew maps that describe the Utopia of Progressive statist dreams and not the territory as it exists?"

I think a better metaphor is to think of them as architects trying to draw blueprints for a perfect arcology-society building; the problem is not that the blueprints themselves have obvious visible errors of length or size, but that they make unwritten and false assumptions about the practical tensile strength of the materials they have to work with.

As a result, every time they get halfway into construction and the building collapses, their assumption is always to blame the on-site labourers for getting it wrong, and never to check whether the particular materials they're working with can actually endure the particular stresses they are intended to.

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 August 28, 2015 1:59 PM  

@20. RobertT

From my perspective, you're much more forgiving of scientists than I am... I would in fact throw 99% of them in the dreaded SJW camp. My unofficial survey of twitter paints them as overwhelmingly ban gun bleeding hearts.

Seconded. They were programmed in the same rabbit factories, after all. And the revealed SJW social dynamics of the Hugo* Awards* carry right on over to the alleged scientific community with a change of jargon. Substitute "crackpot" for "misogynist", etc.

Blogger James Bryant August 28, 2015 2:16 PM  

The problem with most "science" is that it skips observation goes right to making a theory and then only accepts evidence that supports that theory.

Anonymous RedJack #22 August 28, 2015 2:25 PM  

@26 A good friend of mine was a physicist. The stories of the things he had to do to get funding were funny, till you realized this was going to be treated as "fact".

That theory actually has some thing going for it though. I had professors who toyed with it. But at some point physics become what we used to call philosophy. An exercise in ones head with little actual proof.

My friend now teaches high school, and is a bit of a red pill at it. I often wonder what happens when one of his former students gets to college and starts calling BS

Anonymous rubberducky August 28, 2015 2:44 PM  

I quit paying much attention to the average papers in my field a long time ago. I work in a computational field, so papers generally present an algorithm in equations then report what happened when they ran it over a dataset.

Sometimes you might have access to the same dataset, but that's rare. You'll never get their implementation of their algorithm, though. Never, just the equations they started with. So you'll at best come up with something that approximates their results, but it will never quite match. But usually you're way off on the first stab, then you've got to spend a lot of time refining and correcting your implementation in order to get the same results. So it's rarely worth going through all this.

Upshot: rarely does a paper actually go the ringer and get verified by anybody. And, it looks good when you publish, so people just publish.

Furthermore, in my lab we often find things which are negatives, meaning we find things that don't work, or find things that might challenge a widely held assumption. You'll never get a paper on this type of thing published, or accepted for presentation at a conference. Only positive things generate any interest. That's not good, because a negative result is still a result, and as such it's a useful datapoint for others trodding down these paths. But, they're verboten. Only positive results allowed.

Anonymous szook August 28, 2015 2:46 PM  

But....but....Vox, c'mon, man, can't you see that it is self correcting before your very hateful eyes?

Blogger SirHamster (#201) August 28, 2015 2:47 PM  

The problem with most "science" is that it skips observation goes right to making a theory and then only accepts evidence that supports that theory.

High school "science" taught me that the Theory is Right, and when the experiment does not match expectations, then clearly the experiment is wrong.

And to be fair, the experiment was probably wrong ... but the wrong lesson was taught. No matter what is observed, the teacher is the final authority - "You drew the wrong conclusion. -10 points"

I wonder how it could be taught better? Maybe make X groups of students round-robin a set of X different experiments. After the first round, the students have to use someone else's lab notes to run the experiment. Show them the value of proper documentation, and the concept of reproducibility.

At the end, peer review everyone's experimental data and draw conclusions. Advanced setup would be to have first group for each experiment create the procedure, and allow following groups to improve on the procedure/methods.

Anonymous Mr.A is Mr.A August 28, 2015 3:00 PM  

The peer review system is overloaded, not just likely corrupted. The push by universities and colleges for 2 to 3 or more punished papers per year to meet the demands of tenure review/approval cannot help but overload a system in which roughly 80% of the scientists who ever existed are alive today. Researchers have pigeon-holed themselves into ever narrowing fields where as few as a handful of scientists are even familiar with the topic. Who do you send a paper from such a sub-category for "peer review"? Even if all members of this small subset are honest in their review, their is still the pressure that comes from completely dismissing the work in a study -- it can have far-reaching consequences for that author and his position. The pressure to "let that bit slide" is always there, even if not acted upon by a reviewer. If this is how honest peer reviewers behave, how easy is it for a corrupted system to fall, and fall quickly.

Side note: the Electric Universe article in HuffPo reminded me that speculative science can live near accepted theory quite easily and is often criticized dismissively by those who are unaware of the existence of either. While not the same, Plasma Cosmology shares many similarities to Electric Universe claims. Plasma Cosmology is a field recognized by IEEE and has roots in the studies of recognized plasma physics researchers and engineers. Sample links to IEEE and Plasma Cosmology Doubtful that many EU critics even know of Plasma Cosmology's near 100 year history, even though they might be aware of the IEEE.

Anonymous WaterBoy August 28, 2015 3:04 PM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Blogger dc.sunsets August 28, 2015 3:04 PM  

Seconded. They were programmed in the same rabbit factories, after all. And the revealed SJW social dynamics of the Hugo* Awards* carry right on over to the alleged scientific community with a change of jargon. Substitute "crackpot" for "misogynist", etc.

Ditto. Most of these people think about their work and the larger world in mechanistic terms. That mindset sees the world's problems as simply levers and switches that are out of place, and so they are predisposed to viewing any Wizard of Oz statement as true.

The concept of unintended consequences seems unusually unfamiliar to such people, which in my book makes most so-called scientists actually technicians (and lousy ones at that.) Those capable of lateral thought and the embrace of high level abstractions are relatively rare, especially in medical "science."

Blogger James Dixon August 28, 2015 3:07 PM  

Vox, "SJWs Alway Lie" is probably a more valid psychological study then most of the ones that have been preformed.

Blogger dc.sunsets August 28, 2015 3:08 PM  

As a result, every time they get halfway into construction and the building collapses, their assumption is always to blame the on-site labourers for getting it wrong, and never to check whether the particular materials they're working with can actually endure the particular stresses they are intended to.

This is exactly the approach of the true believer communists who wrote, "The God That Failed." Stalin just didn't implement it right. Now, the next time we try it, all we need to do is.....

It's also why I find Hoppe's use of that title as a subtitle rather witty.

Anonymous Mr.A is Mr.A August 28, 2015 3:09 PM  

@35. SirHamster (#201)
Scientists have allowed mathematicians to "guide" research for several decades, leading to assumptions that "theory trumps the evidence of your lying eyes" by some in the field and many outside it. I firmly believe that it will the return to exacting experimental verification of theory to snap us out of this malaise. Engineers may have to lead us out of this self-imposed darkness, but it will not be an easy path. BTW: I'm a physicist who manages multiple physicists and engineers.

Blogger Jack Ward August 28, 2015 3:11 PM  

Farnswords @12 Well done the quote. Love it.

Blogger dc.sunsets August 28, 2015 3:11 PM  

The same principle applies to news citations.

Recall that H.L. Mencken, angered that his superiors prevented him from criticizing Wilson's effort to drag the US into yet another of Europe's incessant wars, wrote an article about how the first bathtub in the USA was placed in the White House.

Years later he revealed (of course) that the entire article was a farce. Yet it is STILL (last I looked) possible to find an occasional article that references his "First Bathtub in America" fable as authoritative.

Here in the information age, where so much of what passes for information isn't.

Anonymous Andrew Spooner Jr. August 28, 2015 3:15 PM  

Um, Social Science experiments would naturally be subject to the changing moods and prevailing cultural winds of whatever city, town, or whatever area they are done in. People are fluid; a child could tell you that. There are a million variables about human behavior that would have to be pinned down before sociology could be considered a real science; by which I mean that if a particularly and innately intuitive person were to put them self in competition with someone using sociological methods under controlled circumstances to achieve the optimum outcome, if the person using both the sociological "data" and the latest technology could manipulate the situation to their advantage faster than the person using advanced human intuition, then we would have some kind of "science" that could be applied to manipulating herd behavior. Unfortunately, even aspie sociology savants like me can't work out that Harry Seldon level bullshit, though we can sometimes see around the curve a bit. A trick of the light I guess..

Blogger automatthew August 28, 2015 3:16 PM  

For those who didn't catch it yesterday, Travis Whatsisface is banned.

Blogger Calvin August 28, 2015 3:23 PM  

Hey Vox, in light of the recent Evil Legion of Evil confrontations with SJWs, may I suggest a theme song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jhj25HnpSRU

Blogger Cail Corishev August 28, 2015 4:14 PM  

Psychiatrists are notorious for being crazy (I know too, I married into a family with one), and they at least have to be functional enough to get through Med School.

I figure the diagnosis of "high-functioning BPD" was invented so shrinks and therapists would have something to call themselves. It fits all the ones I've known perfectly: able to function fine, even impressively, at school, work, and in their public personas; but complete basket-cases personally. And it sounds better than "fuck-up."

Blogger Skylark Thibedeau August 28, 2015 4:24 PM  

My experience with the people who have undergone therapy in my family is that they could have worshipped Cthulu or had their Thetans audited by Tom Cruise with the same results.

Anonymous Sun Xhu August 28, 2015 4:47 PM  

OT: Just read a blog post that Larry C. linked on his twitter, by Rob Kroese, on the Hugo issue. It was well written.

I have never heard of this author before, have any of you read his work, and do you recommend him?

Blogger Quadko August 28, 2015 4:55 PM  

Computer models also go by the name "Video Game"

Blogger Kirk Parker August 28, 2015 5:05 PM  

The mention of High School "Science" and getting to college reminded me of this treasure.

Blogger Chiva August 28, 2015 5:08 PM  

@19

Rabbi B. Tried your suggestion on a couple of guys here at work.
Interesting enough, a little later in the day I did see someone taking his shoes off in his cube.
A coincidence?

Anonymous BigGaySteve August 28, 2015 5:13 PM  

Forget social sciences http://retractionwatch.com/ puts out a lot of real science as well

Blogger Joshua Sinistar August 28, 2015 5:19 PM  

Oh all you wreckers! Don't you see the fault is not in the fools but the stars? If you visualize something and really believe it then reality will bend to accommodate your wishes. Of course you have to be a Godlike being with supernatural cosmic powers, but mental illness has a way of avoiding the details.
Many of these people want to believe. That fairy tale where if something happens that you can't explain there must be higher beings that have more knowledge than crackpots wearing outdated clothes and labcoats is just so depressing. The New Science based on feelings and respect for fruits and nuts that might be dangerous may not be based on reality, but reality is so dull, right?
Those magical unicorns and special healing rainbows are so uplifting. They take you away from your drab dull life to a crazyworld where the only thing you know is stay away from the police. Believe. Don't you want to believe? Trust no one. The Computer is Your Friend.

Blogger justaguy August 28, 2015 5:22 PM  

The problem is the base assumption that any science is being done by universities. Look to the incentives and motives... Research is a means of tenure, status, and higher employment. A study that 'makes an impact' in most fields and is not easily refuted used to be the path to "stardom".." In the 60's many a PhD student became a professor on the basis of a great (or filling a political need/cause) theory. Now ground-breaking research is necessary just to keep a university job. Do research to make a wave and get more research funding to keep doing research, wash, rinse repeat. Why does anyone think that a process whose purpose/ direction isn't advancement of knowledge would actually advance knowledge?

Anonymous BGS August 28, 2015 5:47 PM  

PSST hey you want $100 to let you vote for a Hugo.
http://retractionwatch.com/2015/08/14/researchers-need-100-just-mention-cyagen-in-your-paper/

Blogger Seneca August 28, 2015 5:54 PM  

Social science research has been, for at least 3 decades - maybe 4, all about the progressive Narrative. They lie of course.

Anonymous Jim Milo August 28, 2015 6:12 PM  

Programming note: CBC Radio is running a SP/RP 'defeat' narrative piece on As it Happens. Turned it off when I heard it billboarded because I got the weather forecast.

Anonymous WaterBoy August 28, 2015 6:33 PM  

automatthew @44

Sorry, I missed that. Time to update the Troll Ban list?

Blogger SciVo August 28, 2015 6:35 PM  

tihald @3: "Just out of curiosity.... maybe we should pick a particularly good example and nominate that 'scientific' paper for a Hugo? It is 'science-flavored fiction' after all."

I'd be down for that. The gay marriage one with fabricated data would be perfect.

Anonymous vevets August 28, 2015 6:53 PM  

Could not believe the convolutions I heard on NPR this morning re this. The upshot? Science is not supposed to "prove" facts, it is meant to come up with, at best, guesses as to the nature of things.
It was futile, I know, but I was howling with incredulity and shouting at the radio.

Anonymous Shnookums August 28, 2015 6:53 PM  

Vox,

If science is unreliable when it comes to vaccines or global warming, is it also unreliable on the topic of race and intelligence?

Not trying to "gotcha", just curious

Anonymous clk August 28, 2015 7:12 PM  

"High school "science" taught me that the Theory is Right, and when the experiment does not match expectations, then clearly the experiment is wrong. "

Thats because anything you are taught at ahigh school level is settled science... trivial and probabky 100 years proven corrt.

I thought we were all in agreement that medicin, biology, social etc is not science.... science is physics, chemistry, even engineering.... the rest is fluff.

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 August 28, 2015 7:26 PM  

@61. clk August 28, 2015 7:12 PM

"High school "science" taught me that the Theory is Right, and when the experiment does not match expectations, then clearly the experiment is wrong. "

Thats because anything you are taught at ahigh school level is settled science... trivial and probabky 100 years proven corrt.

Not true. Plate tectonics is unproven, the big bang never happened, relativity is based in false math and logic, there is no such thing as electric current, giant dinosaurs cannot exist on a one-gee planet, quantum mechanics is built on false math, there is no gravitational constant, speciation by gradual modification has never been observed, thermonuclear stellar evolution has no basis, newtonian gravity doesn't work at interstellar distances, and the calculus is built on faulty math. I'm leaving out some things.

Blogger SirHamster (#201) August 28, 2015 7:30 PM  

Thats because anything you are taught at ahigh school level is settled science... trivial and probabky 100 years proven corrt.

Settled science? Heh.

The problem is that when you train students to accept the Final Scientific Authority from the beginning, your final product will do exactly as trained ... even when that results in unscientific processes and results.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2015 August 28, 2015 7:46 PM  

settled like frogs to princes evolution. Just add time and voila, all things impossible happen when no-one is watching, because its slow and science silly.
Vox, I think there might be a valid grammatical theory, yes theory, that adjectives don't modify nouns but create compound objects or subjects David-Wynn: Miller might be among strangest people in alternative press but I think he has got some very good core material.
Brown-cars sell for less on second-hand-markets.
No-one punctuates this way, but it is worth having it in mind as a linguistics rhetoric logic tool.
Good to see you online Sir Hamster. Settled science changed Descartes " I think therefore I am" into "We communicate therefore we are". Language is everything.

Anonymous Shnookums August 28, 2015 7:53 PM  

@62:

Plate tectonics is unproven, the big bang never happened, relativity is based in false math and logic, there is no such thing as electric current, giant dinosaurs cannot exist on a one-gee planet, quantum mechanics is built on false math, there is no gravitational constant, speciation by gradual modification has never been observed, thermonuclear stellar evolution has no basis, newtonian gravity doesn't work at interstellar distances, and the calculus is built on faulty math. I'm leaving out some things.

Bloody hellfire. Where'd you find all that out?

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 August 28, 2015 7:59 PM  

65. Shnookums August 28, 2015 7:53 PM

@62:

Bloody hellfire. Where'd you find all that out?


Years and years of self-directed research. I'm primarily an inventor and therefore cannot tolerate crank theory.

Anonymous Soga August 28, 2015 8:07 PM  

@62 Forrest Bishop: Electric currents don't exist? Can you explain that one? I'm curious. I know that it's not as simple as an electron just flying from point A to point B. From my understanding, it's more like the potential difference between point A and B causes a "pull" on electrons, causing a chain reaction of molecules becoming positively charged and attracting electrons to them, resulting in a series of hops of electrons from molecule to molecule. Is this wrong?

Anonymous Donn #0114 August 28, 2015 8:09 PM  

Forest Bishop @66 I've got to ask, where did the dinosaur fossils come from?

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 August 28, 2015 8:21 PM  

67. Soga August 28, 2015 8:07 PM

@62 Forrest Bishop: Electric currents don't exist? Can you explain that one? I'm curious. I know that it's not as simple as an electron just flying from point A to point B. From my understanding, it's more like the potential difference between point A and B causes a "pull" on electrons, causing a chain reaction of molecules becoming positively charged and attracting electrons to them, resulting in a series of hops of electrons from molecule to molecule. Is this wrong?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Cf The Catt Question, also http://www.worldsci.org/pdf//abstracts/abstracts_6554.pdf and references therein. Notice my new expressions for the electrical parameters of the photon are not an endorsement of the photon-concept. I expect a call from the Nobel Prize committee any minute now.


@68. Donn #0114 August 28, 2015 8:09 PM

Forest Bishop @66 I've got to ask, where did the dinosaur fossils come from?

I believe they were all dug up out of the ground. Before that, they were probably parts of living animals.

Blogger Groot August 28, 2015 8:26 PM  

People are naturally credulous.

When someone spouts a statistic, I'm apt to say: "84% of all statistics are made up out of whole cloth." They'll leap to challenge you, asking where you obtained that number, just before realizing the joke.

But here's the funny part. If you later challenge another statistic with "77% (or 91% or whatever) of all statistics are made up out of thin air," they will correct you, "No, it's 84%." They undeniably understood you made it up, and it's central to the joke, but still, they'll correct your humorous baloney with your own self-confessed previous baloney.

For a good and interesting social science read, I recommend Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow. (He won a Nobel Prize. In Economics. I know! But it's good.)

Blogger bob k. mando August 28, 2015 8:43 PM  

7. swiftfoxmark2 August 28, 2015 12:34 PM
Most "social" science is nothing more than prideful men and women seeking to make sense of an evil and fallen world.



wrong.


most "social" science is nothing more than prideful men and women seeking to get others to cooperate with their evil and fallen acts OR to be more susceptible to them.


consider Hollywood's flagrant and overt Marxism.

yet ... Hollywood is run by the most stereotypically and flagrantly venal opportunistic privateers that you can find.

do you think it an accident that they run around telling the 'talent' how immoral it is to be 'commercial', while at the same time raping them for everything they can scrape off of their hides?

yes, the talent tend to be fools. it doesn't help that they've been socially conditioned to be Marxists since before kindergarten.

but the execs and apparatchiks in Hollywood damn well know what they're doing.


or consider Alfred Kinsey. a bi-sexual man living in a non-exclusive marriage conducts studies that ... gosh a mighty, just somehow seem to indicate that his own little exceptional kinks are, in fact, shared by everybody.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Kinsey#Personal_habits
"As a young man, Kinsey began inserting objects into his urethra – initially drinking straws before moving on to pipe cleaners, pencils and finally a toothbrush – to punish himself for having homoerotic feelings, and inserting toothbrushes continued throughout his adult life.[18][19][20] After becoming accustomed to the pain of urethral insertions, Kinsey circumcised himself without anaesthesia.[20]"

this is the kind of man who has had a major affect on American "understanding" of human sexuality.

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 August 28, 2015 8:44 PM  

70. Groot August 28, 2015 8:26 PM


"84% of all statistics are made up out of whole cloth." They'll leap to challenge you, asking where you obtained that number, just before realizing the joke.

But here's the funny part. If you later challenge another statistic with "77% (or 91% or whatever) of all statistics are made up out of thin air," they will correct you, "No, it's 84%."


But the whole cloth is 77/84ths thin air, as everyone knows.

Blogger overcaffeinated August 28, 2015 8:44 PM  

Alongside such cargo cult scientistry, you also have scientism. Scientism is not totally unreasonable, given the huge advances in living standards that science has brought about. But one thing people often miss is that scientism is not scientific. That is, it is a philosophical belief rather than a scientific finding. You can't use the method which you are attempting to validate to perform that validation. You can't look through the microscope and look at the microscope at the same time. In order to avoid circularity, you have to rely on a non-scientific criterion of science in order to establish scientism. (Otherwise, you're simply asserting something rather than proving it.) Which kind of undermines its premise.

@21

"Maybe where they really get off is in what isn't studied rather than falsifying existing research."

I'm sure. Take a look at the reaction to something as relatively moderate as "Broken Windows" policing theory: http://www.city-journal.org/2015/eon0825ws.html

Now consider how far you'll get in academia with a strictly empirical approach to HBD.

@24

"Social Science isn't science anymore than abstract art is real art."

Close, but I think what you really want is Modernist art, particularly conceptual art. There is some abstract art that is interesting. Something like this is not bad: http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/kandinsky/kandinsky.comp-8.jpg At least taking it as ornamentation rather than a deep statement, it's not something I would mind looking at in my home or office. This also has a nice clean mathematical quality to it: https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ggioehWHBtk/TWf0RwQ8LqI/AAAAAAAAb70/Rbc1lU6sv0k/s1600/LI-sculp-8044b.jpg So, yes, 90% of modern art is shit, MPAI, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Of course, you are correct that the art world in general is deeply corrupt and, indeed, evil. It is really a homeland fortress of SJWism. Stuff like Kadinsky and geometrically harmonious abstraction is considered conservative to them; "art" has become a psychotic game of topping the latest emetic bit of épater le bourgeois bowel movement.

@26

"- Deliberate, unconscious, and systemic fraud"

Deliberate AND unconscious, eh? What's Vox's book called again?

I'm warning my kids that unless they want to study the hard-as-nails sciences like physics, astronomy and cosmology, or math, stay far, far away from academia. Otherwise you're just a pawn in some political power game. Even computer science is largely shit in the academic world. Everything interesting is being done in industry or in open source projects funded by industry. The only interesting things I can think of coming from academia in the past 30 years are Xen (from Cambridge) and Scala (from EPFL), and Scala's not even that popular.

@49

"Computer models also go by the name 'Video Game'"

Superb, I am tempted to steal that.

@53

"If you visualize something and really believe it then reality will bend to accommodate your wishes."

This is the philosophy of Freidrich Nietzsche in a nutshell. Widely assigned on campus. Except for one important part. If you really believe in something, AND have the will to realize it, it can happen. No restrictions whatsoever on what it is. FN was influenced by another jaded German, Arthur Schopenhauer, who wrote something called "The World as Will and Representation." (As an aside, /pol/, neither of these were Jews; FN's father was a Protestant minister.) N. and S. did not bother specifying what the particular will or representation should be. But it's a short walk from there to "The World as Will and Representation of SJW Goodthink."

Blogger chris August 28, 2015 8:49 PM  

I figure the diagnosis of "high-functioning BPD" was invented so shrinks and therapists would have something to call themselves. It fits all the ones I've known perfectly: able to function fine, even impressively, at school, work, and in their public personas; but complete basket-cases personally. And it sounds better than "fuck-up."

Thank you for the compliment. In the antipodes we just ensure that you do two intern years, and then a five year course with exit exams half the candidates fail to get your psychiatry fellowship. Now what is your Hirsch Factor?

Happy to give a tutorial on how to screw the scrum to get a good result from a paper. And why I'm one of those peer reviewers who say "nice idea, but severe methodological flaws".



Blogger SirHamster (#201) August 28, 2015 8:50 PM  

"- Deliberate, unconscious, and systemic fraud"
----------
Deliberate AND unconscious, eh? What's Vox's book called again?


Slow down. It's a list. Like red, white, and blue.

Blogger chris August 28, 2015 8:52 PM  

Everything interesting is being done in industry or in open source projects funded by industry. The only interesting things I can think of coming from academia in the past 30 years are Xen (from Cambridge) and Scala (from EPFL), and Scala's not even that popular.

R -- the statistics language: University of Auckland.
The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Development Survey -- University of Otago.
Internet based psychotherapies -- University of Sydney, University of Auckland.

Without thinking... projects I've known about & NOT worked on. There is good work done: but Sturgeons' rule does apply here.

Blogger SciVo August 28, 2015 9:00 PM  

James Dixon @38: "Vox, "SJWs Alway Lie" is probably a more valid psychological study then most of the ones that have been preformed."

I generally ignore typos, but I love the fortuitous ones. Let's rearrange that a little...

"SJWs Always Lie is probably a more valid psychological study than most that have been performed, since so many were preformed."

Anonymous Jim Milo August 28, 2015 9:03 PM  

Hey ilk, the CHORF Bullshit Corporation thinks demonstrating cronyism is angry and reactionary and that they think we 'lost.'

Hugo Awards flap

A group of angry reactionaries tries to hijack the biggest awards in science fiction and fantasy -- but it turns out there's no space for their opinions.

Anonymous Jim Milo August 28, 2015 9:13 PM  

@38 @77

Policy-based evidence-making.

I couldn't hold my tongue long enough for grad school.

Blogger overcaffeinated August 28, 2015 9:15 PM  

@76

Sure, fine. You can add Tim Berners-Lee's WWW implementation to the list of academic accomplishments. But my point was that they pale in comparison to what's been done by people in industry and open source: Linux, C++, Java, Git, Ruby, Docker, JavaScript (debatable on whether that's an accomplishment or an atrocity, but it is popular).

The role of academia in computer science should be to show the best way to do something in a less-pressurized environment where you don't need to worry about short-term quarterly earnings or whatever. But the problem is CS profs have their own "quarterly earnings" in the form of "publish or perish." So the long-term perspective that academia is supposed to provide is subverted by the requirement to publish, publish, publish. So, most of the good high-level software engineering books get written by industry veterans rather than academics.

Blogger bob k. mando August 28, 2015 9:40 PM  

speaking of goofball science ... it just snowed in Calgary ... in the summer.

thank God for Global warming, just think how cold Calgary would have gotten without it.

and Calgary is only ~200 miles north of Montana.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3207582/Only-Alberta-eh-Snow-falls-Calgary-despite-middle-summer-bats-eyelid.html

OpenID tmdfos August 28, 2015 10:11 PM  

I like Jerry Pournlle's catch phrase for them: the Voodoo Sciences.

Blogger Harsh August 28, 2015 10:31 PM  

A group of angry reactionaries tries to hijack the biggest awards in science fiction and fantasy -- but it turns out there's no space for their opinions.

I'm more of a devious Machiavellian but okay. As they've declared that there is no space for our opinions they can't really complain when we drive them from the SF completely, right?

Blogger Remo - Vile Faceless Minion #99 August 28, 2015 10:40 PM  

Well you flood the sciences with women who by nature lie more than men and then you further select for politically correct views making sure you saturate the field with social justice warriors who by definition, always lie. Then you have studies called into question because the results, the ACTUAL results, don't confirm politically correct biases meaning the SJW "scientists" fabricated the findings to fit their non-real, contradictory, world views.

Then you base public policy on all of the above and back it up with force and violence. What could go wrong?

Anonymous George of the Jungle August 28, 2015 10:46 PM  

The narrative must be maintained at all costs!
Therefore confirmation bias runs rampant in all these leftist social sciences studies.

Here's my contribution to solution...
Once the illegal immigrant invaders have self-deported via President Trump's enforcement polices, then make it a rule for students with non-STEM college loans to have to donate at least six months of their time to working as labor on truck farms. Slice off a small portion of what they owe when they complete the six months, as long as they get an associated favorable review of their work from the employer. The review would squash any attempt to stage demonstrations on the job. And if they don't work, then add a point to the interest rate for their loan.

Anonymous Jack Amok August 28, 2015 10:48 PM  

Next, I read some responses to the debunkers, which refuted the criticisms point by point in considerable depth. Whom am I to believe?...

Well, in theory, you believe the ones who have the most reproducible experimental results. Of course, in science, theories can be wrong...

I'm one of those peer reviewers who say "nice idea, but severe methodological flaws".

Yeah, well, I think peer review would be a whole lot more effective if the reviewers stopped trying to police the methodology (though at least that's better than policing the conclusions) and instead focused on whether the methodology was explained clearly enough for an unrelated group of scientists to credibly attempt to reproduce the experiments supporting the paper.

Because the real way you demonstrate "severe methodological flaws" is a good faith but unsuccesful attempt to reproduce the experimental results.

Anonymous Jack Amok August 28, 2015 10:52 PM  

Well you flood the sciences with women who by nature lie more than men and then you further select for politically correct views making sure you saturate the field with social justice warriors who by definition, always lie

Heh heh. A little Facebook tempest played out across my account overnight when one group of SJWs presented Monsanto as a great company for having higher than aveage numers of women executives, R&D employees, and Board members, and a second group replied with all the evil and corrupt things Monsanto is doing.

Naturally, none of them drew the logical conclusion.

Anonymous George of the Jungle August 28, 2015 10:56 PM  

The narrative must be maintained at all costs!
Therefore confirmation bias runs rampant in all these leftist social sciences studies.

Here's my contribution to a solution...
Once the illegal immigrant invaders have self-deported via President Trump's enforcement polices, then make it a rule that students with non-STEM college loans must donate at least six months of their time to working as labor on truck farms. Slice off a small portion of what they owe when they complete the six months, as long as they get an associated favorable review of their work from the employer. The review would squash any attempt to stage demonstrations on the job. And if they don't work, then add a point to the interest rate for their loan.

After a few years of this, I wonder if the budding campus leftists will still just fucking looooove science.

Anonymous dc red dogs August 28, 2015 11:37 PM  

overcaffeinated - there are no "hard as nails" science careers anymore. Physics is overwhelmed by the "if it is beautiful it is true" connection between non-falsifiable equations and poetic approximations of those equations to established microscopic facts. In other words, unprovable poetry for ordinary number aficionados, and you really don't want your children to grow up to be ordinary number aficionados. Astronomy is worse, there are people who understand what is going on outside the solar system but their knowledge does them no good, advancement in astronomy requires access to research funds, a skill that comes easier to MBAs than to real scientists. Academic Mathematics is merely unpopular poetry in the form of descriptions of numbers and groups of numbers; sure there are a few really adept mathematicians, but mostly it is a tedious slog of scraping after new results that are marginally more untrivial than previous results. Surprisingly, poetry itself, or at least the study and explanation of poetry, remains "hard as nails" in the sense that those who do not know what they are talking about are easy to detect for a greater number of people. Of course that great number of people have zero access to employment power, so nobody cares what they think, except in the limited circumstances of person to person conversation. Institutional poetry is just as sad as it ever was. Let's just say that all but fifty out of 300 hundred million people understand that a Pulitzer Prize in poetry is meaningless. Check the Amazon sale numbers if you don't get what I am trying to say.

Anonymous Mr. Rational August 29, 2015 12:29 AM  

I wonder if all those people who were going on and on about how I hated and didn't understand science are going to come back and apologize now that my skepticism about scientistry is being supported

You will find many confirmations in the social "sciences".  You will find none in chemistry, physics and cosmology.  You will find a few that you can interpret as such in topics like evolutionary biology, but they are too esoteric to be politically useful and do not attract the SJW operators; in short, the science stands.

You've tried to paint the true scientists with the Marxist brush because they do not confirm the fundamentalist Christian narrative.  You will eventually have to admit you were wrong.  ALL dogmas are wrong, including fundie Christian and Marxist (and Objectivist, Scientologist...).

Now, my dear critic, are you still entirely comfortable with your decision to dismiss out of hand my various other controversial statements about science?

Is "humans are falliable and corruptible" supposed to be controversial?

@9: I recall one post on a Greek medical doctor and his team retesting important medical studies and they could only get the same results for about 60% of them.

What's the expected error rate for studies, anyway?  If you could clean up the error rate from 40% down to 20% I'd say things weren't all that bad, so long as you didn't take any one result as iron-clad proof.  Of course, you have to ensure that the retests used methodology better than the original.  If the retests were ideologically biased they'd mean nothing.

High school "science" taught me that the Theory is Right, and when the experiment does not match expectations, then clearly the experiment is wrong.

There are a lot more ways to do an experiment wrong than right.  If you study the history of experiments testing e.g. the speed of light, you'll understand that.  If you don't understand that an experiment done wrong proves nothing, you understand nothing.

There was the recent experiment between CERN and a station in Italy which appeared to show that neutinos travelled faster than light.  It took a heap of peer-review to find the error.  Take that to heart.

Plate tectonics is unproven

Except via direct measurements of inter-station distances via long-baseline radiointerferometry, but what relevance can THAT possibly have?

Idiot.

So, yes, 90% of modern art is shit

Sturgeon's Law:  "90% of everything is crap."  I see @77 notes this too.

Anonymous Dikaios Rik August 29, 2015 12:43 AM  

This is OT, but apparently the MSM has decided that Vester Lee Flanagan, a.k.a. Bryce Williams, shot Alison Parker and Adam Ward due to his involvement with an online gaming group called "gamergate". Not even #GamerGate or any online movement, but a group so called. I shit you not:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hva4EccGWV8

Direct observation of SJW Law 1 in action.

Blogger IM2L844 August 29, 2015 1:16 AM  

ALL dogmas are wrong

Prove it or admit that's just your preferred dogma.


Anonymous Jack Amok August 29, 2015 1:38 AM  

You've tried to paint the true scientists with the Marxist brush because they do not confirm the fundamentalist Christian narrative.

Oh blow it out your ass.

Vox has always made a distinction between people who make a legitmate and honest effort to employ the Scientific Method and people who just call themselves Scientists without actually using the method.

I believe he calls it Scientody (the actual practice of using the Scientific Method) vs Scientistry (the cargo-cult pretent-science discussed in the lnked article). I'm not a big fan of those terms, but it's clear enough he knows the difference between honset scientsts and charlatans with credentials.

You however, either don't know the difference or don't care about it, because your main goal is a rhetorical disqualification of Vox. Ohhhhh, he's a Christian and we all know Christians can't be good scientists because they believe in Magic Jesus...

There are a lot more ways to do an experiment wrong than right

Of course there are. It's a lot easier to screw up than to get it right. But that wasn't the point. The point is - pay attention here - that school students are being taught that experiments are no good if they don't support the "already proven correct" theory.

That's 100% backwards from what real science is supposed to be. The theory - no matter how much consensus it has behind it - falls if the experiment proves it wrong. Sure, there has to be consideration for botched experiments, and inexperienced kids are going to botch a lot of experiments, but you appear to have missed the critical point - that creating the expectation in kid's minds that theories are always right and trump experimental results - is raising a generation of kids utterly ignorant of true science. Talk about dogma.

Anonymous Donn #0114 August 29, 2015 1:52 AM  

So dinosaur bones inflate when exposed to air. Or the giant bones didn't support giant animals? Did the bones get bigger or were dinosaurs smaller? If you make a blanket statement like earth never could support giant animals like dinosaurs you could at least bother to explain why we have giant fossilized bones laying around waiting to be dug up. Were they all aquatic creatures like whales? What.

Blogger bob k. mando August 29, 2015 1:59 AM  

91. Mr. Rational August 29, 2015 12:29 AM
ALL dogmas are wrong, including fundie Christian and Marxist (and Objectivist, Scientologist...).



dear Mr. Illiterate Anti-rational,
it may interest you to peruse a dictionary so as to elucidate for yourself the meaning of the word 'dogma'. for, you see, the word itself has NO intrinsically religious component.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dogma
"a settled or established opinion, belief, or principle:
the classic dogma of objectivity in scientific observation."

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dogma
": a belief or set of beliefs that is accepted by the members of a group without being questioned or doubted"

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/dogma
"2. A principle or statement of ideas, or a group of such principles or statements, especially when considered to be authoritative or accepted uncritically: "Much education consists in the instilling of unfounded dogmas in place of a spirit of inquiry" (Bertrand Russell)."

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/dogma
"A principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true: the dogmas of faith [mass noun]: the rejection of political dogma"



now that you have so handily disposed of such disparate fields as Keynesian economics, Freudian psychology, Anthropogenic Global Warming, Darwinian Evolution, Pedagogy, Politics, the Big Bang Theory, Geometric Axioms, Mao's Great Leap Forward and various and sundry other ... dogmas ( for, you see, none of the preceding have ever been 'scientifically' proven, much less arisen to the level of "the classic dogma of objectivity in scientific observation" ) ... i was wondering if perhaps i could borrow your mind?

i have a herd of syphilitic camels and i need to wipe the smegma off of their cocks, and it's clear you're not putting your brain to any more useful purpose.

shucks, the syphilis will probably improve your ratiocination.

Anonymous IsMise August 29, 2015 2:21 AM  

Since I can prove that 2*2=4 I am a Mathematician.

Blogger Kevin Meyer August 29, 2015 2:52 AM  

Vox, you are awesome sauce!

Anonymous Snoogins August 29, 2015 3:13 AM  

Years and years of self-directed research. I'm primarily an inventor and therefore cannot tolerate crank theory.

I can witness to this as Forest Bishop invented the Self-Sodomizer after a lifetime of being constantly told to go fuck himself.

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 August 29, 2015 4:06 AM  

@63. Forrest Bishop VFM #0167

giant dinosaurs cannot exist on a one-gee planet


@69. Donn #0114

Forest Bishop @66 I've got to ask, where did the dinosaur fossils come from?


@70. Forrest Bishop VFM #0167

I believe they were all dug up out of the ground. Before that, they were probably parts of living animals.


@95. Donn #0114

So dinosaur bones inflate when exposed to air. Or the giant bones didn't support giant animals? Did the bones get bigger or were dinosaurs smaller? If you make a blanket statement like earth never could support giant animals like dinosaurs you could at least bother to explain why we have giant fossilized bones laying around waiting to be dug up. Were they all aquatic creatures like whales? What.

Yes, I'll at least bother to explain, that's ~part of the blog rules.

1. No one has proven that dinosaur bones inflate when exposed to air. I've never heard of this theory. Perhaps it's original to Donn #0114. A for originality.

2. Giant bones most likely supported giant animals. We have no evidence to the contrary, although quite a few researchers have attempted to put the dinos on a "weight reduction" program in order to explain their otherwise impossible existence.

3. The bones are probably about the same size as they were when the animal was alive. Again, that's two more novel hypotheses of Donn #0114. I'll give you two more A's for effort. I don't buy either one for numerous reasons but I like that you're thinking out of the box.

4. I made no such blanket statement.

5. We have giant fossilized bones laying around waiting to be dug up because giant animals died and their bones got fossilized. I don't think that's controversial outside of the woo-woo drum circles.

6. The aquatic hypothesis dates back to the 19th Century. They could not believe what they were finding- it is physically impossible for numerous reasons. The aquatic idea has been pretty conclusively dis-proven by Bakker and the others. All of the sauropods, and most of the lesser which appear to be land animals, were indeed land-dwelling creatures.

7. What. There are other possibilities; can you see any?

Anonymous Eric the Red August 29, 2015 4:24 AM  

In addition to the uber-politicized leftist environment we all swim in, somewhere near the heart of this situation lies the present absurdity called “higher education”. Over the last 100 years, most of the universities in the country have devolved into a perpetual race to out-grant each other as "research centers". As we know by now, professors leave actual teaching to their underpaid, English-challenged assistants, and spend most of their time getting grants to do research to publish, the results of which are mostly useless unreproducible trash. However, somewhere in the deep, dark, unreconstructed past, there used to be so-called teachers' colleges and the like. This was something of a misnomer, because their intent was not simply to create the next generation of teachers, but instead to devote their energies to the most effective means of teaching their own students in all the various curricula including the hard sciences.

I propose that this type of situation should be instituted now in an optimal manner...

1) Split a state's universities into two kinds: research-oriented and teaching-oriented (there are probably better labels for the two, although I won't try to think of them at the moment), with no intermixing of the two purposes at any one institution.

2) Only research grants will be provided to universities that have chosen to be research-oriented; no other form of state funding is allowed. These universities will be expensive for students, since a huge portion of funding will need to be made up by student fees. If there is some cachet or advantage for attending this kind of institution, then money will flow; if not, then these universities will have to adjust accordingly.

3) Tenure will be disallowed at research universities. Publish that research or perish, baby, and if you don't, then buh-bye. The writing/publishing of textbooks will be disallowed. (see next items)

4) Teaching-oriented universities will be solely responsible for writing textbooks. A textbook will be considered good if it is written clearly and understandably to the level at which it purports to be used. If it is simply a data-dump of unhierarchical jargon that attempts to mystify its audience and therefore boost the author's ego, then it will be summarily rejected. Running after grant money is strictly disallowed, although some research that enhances teaching and/or lessons being taught and includes both lower and upper level students can be done on a limited basis. Writing textbooks will necessarily include a review process for inclusion of research coming out of research institutions (private, public, universities, think-tanks, industry, etc.). However, if the research isn't good, isn't finalized, isn't repeatable, doesn't advance the field in any discernible manner, then it will be delayed for insertion into textbooks until such time as it can meet such criteria.

5) The primary responsibility of a teaching-oriented university is to teach, and to teach effectively the vast majority of its students. Huge weed-em-out classes are forbidden. Every professor must teach, and cannot defer that responsibility to any so-called assistant.

6) Only teaching-oriented colleges will receive big block state grants. The intent is to keep tuition very low (under $2000 per semester), and state regulations will exist to keep administrative overhead to a certain small percentage with respect to the direct teaching expenditures. Tenure will be granted only at teaching-oriented colleges. If there were some way to reduce the bloated, culturally marxist non-STEM programs, that would be a fine idea too.

(see also following post)

Anonymous Eric the Red August 29, 2015 4:26 AM  

(...continued from prior post...)

7) Upper level degrees will be available at teaching-oriented colleges. However, the intent of such degrees will be to learn and be able to thoroughly elucidate and effectively communicate to others your chosen field of expertise, and NOT to "advance" it in some inexplicable way known only to the cognoscenti whomever they may be.

8) 8) Federal grant money of any kind, either direct or indirect, is absolutely disallowed at teacher-oriented universities. This includes Federal grants to states which then somehow surreptitiously make their way into the educational system.

9) There will be many who argue that such a system already exists in the form of community colleges. However, such colleges are not normally set up to provide 4-year bachelor's degrees. In addition, their situation has generally devolved to the point where a percentage of their curriculum is essentially remedial high-school, and a certain percentage of all community colleges is nothing but remedial high-school. Thus the current status, condition, and intent of community colleges resembles in only a limited fashion what I am proposing for teaching-oriented universities. Also note, a college is not a university. Can anyone define the original difference? Well, let's get back to it.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2015 August 29, 2015 4:33 AM  

even a casual reader in this subject would be aware that the atmosphere was denser, contained more oxygen when mega fauna flora 'ruled o.k.'
1 metre dragon fly wings in spiracle breathers, pterodactyls that could pick up the Barney Ruble's car etc. But I don't see there is a mechanical issue with a brontosaurus holding up it's neck in 1 G. Could be wrong. All ears, except when I'm not listening cheers.

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 August 29, 2015 5:08 AM  

@104. PhillipGeorge©2015

even a casual reader in this subject would be aware that the atmosphere was denser, contained more oxygen when mega fauna flora 'ruled o.k.'
1 metre dragon fly wings in spiracle breathers, pterodactyls that could pick up the Barney Ruble's car etc. But I don't see there is a mechanical issue with a brontosaurus holding up it's neck in 1 G.


1. It has neither been proven nor ruled out that the atmosphere was denser then. A denser atmosphere might allow the larger flying creatures but it doesn't help the giant dinos until that gas density becomes comparable to water.

2. Brontosaurus was renamed apatosaurus or something after the Flintstones went off the air.

3. There is a massive problem with a sauropod holding its neck up or out in 1G. It exceeds the material limits of bone and ligament in tension, in bending, and in shear at the base. Try holding your arm out straight all day, or even for a few minutes. Now imagine it's 40 feet long and weighs as much as a bus.




Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2015 August 29, 2015 7:10 AM  

Not everything scales up but a giraffe keeps it's neck nearly vertical for most of every day except when it's drinking.
I look at Morten Bay Figs, Ficus macrophylla, and the lower branches can grow nearly horizontally 10 metres out from the trunk, the moment of load is fantastic. They are an amazing sight to see. Try holding 20 kg of foliage with a horizontal beam anchored by something only a meter wide at 10 meters length from the anchor points in all weather conditions for a hundred years. And yet they are there now in living reality.
Given these animals are dug up with nearly no soft tissue I'm not at all certain much can be know about the symmetry of forces. Even what the bones exactly weighed without mineralization. In my back of an envelope thinking at least.
thanks for bringing it up though.

and my apologies to the Rubble family, the Ruble hadn't yet been invented when man tamed bronties.

Anonymous Big Bill August 29, 2015 8:17 AM  

Goofy research must serve a deep political need if it is to get grant money.

Google "holocaust epigenetics". It solves the political problem of holocaust victims dying off, AND the problem of continued Affirmative Action and Reparations for blacks.

The initial research was done on Jews, but once the political ramifications are clear, we can expect similar tests to be conducted on black folks, too.

I expect the research is going to be rolled out to schoolchildren in the state-mandated holocaust reeducation classes in the next year or two.

Remember, you heard it here first. "Holocaust epigenetics".

Blogger Cail Corishev August 29, 2015 8:29 AM  

I was teaching junior-high science to a couple of homeschoolers who haven't been taught that the teacher and the textbook are always right. (I keep telling them I'm always right, but they won't believe me.) I got to the part in the textbook on "fossil fuels," which was straight "dead dinosaur" orthodoxy. I said, "Here's what most people believe," and went through it with a straight face. They looked at me like I was nuts, and started asking the obvious questions. We discussed that for a while, then I said, "Okay, there is another theory that's not in the book, but the Russians have been working on it for a long time. We can read about that online."

Anonymous Jonathan August 29, 2015 9:11 AM  

"Could not believe the convolutions I heard on NPR this morning re this. The upshot? Science is not supposed to "prove" facts, it is meant to come up with, at best, guesses as to the nature of things."

This is, more of less, my definition of science, which used to be called natural philosophy. The notion of "proving facts" is a category error since a proof is related to things that are logically, not empirically, related.

Blogger Zaklog the Great August 29, 2015 9:13 AM  

@17 I heard the story of how homosexuality was removed from the DSM, from an LGBTSTFU-friendly source, no less. Surprisingly, they were honest enough that I learned a lesson they almost certainly did not intend me to learn: You can argue over whether that decision was right or wrong. What cannot be argued is that the decision was not science. It was politics all the way, and a particularly nasty form of politics. From that point on, I consider anything from academia about topics of sexual behavior highly suspect.

Blogger justaguy August 29, 2015 10:20 AM  

Hey, Eric the Red, look at my post at 5:22. Any system that is directed to produce 'research' will produce it, but it might not be worth anything. There are few fields where there is actual new research going on and not resume padding garbage. When the new ideas of today were initially ignored and downplayed for a decade or so (chemistry, molecular biology), it leaves few fields for discovery that can get through the system. Does anyone who understands physics (at least six semester of calculus just too understand the language) really think that anything has happened in the last 40 years? Can there really be thousands of scientist working on chemistry and not achieving anything?

Basically I said that in our current system there cannot be research. The system allows the bad to drive out the good. The real issue is how to get some actual advancement from the tens of billions we spend every year and not a library full of worthless papers hiding one or two that actually advance ?

So if the hard sciences (use scientific method--which physics not does not) can't advance how can the pseudo-sciences.

Blogger SirHamster (#201) August 29, 2015 10:41 AM  

SirHamster, @34
High school "science" taught me that the Theory is Right, and when the experiment does not match expectations, then clearly the experiment is wrong.

[context]And to be fair, the experiment was probably wrong ... but the wrong lesson was taught. No matter what is observed, the teacher is the final authority - "You drew the wrong conclusion. -10 points" [/context]
-------------------------------------
@Mr. Rational, 91
There are a lot more ways to do an experiment wrong than right. If you study the history of experiments testing e.g. the speed of light, you'll understand that. If you don't understand that an experiment done wrong proves nothing, you understand nothing.


Skim until offended much?

The difference between a self-effacing handle, and a self-promoting handle.

Anonymous Jack Amok August 29, 2015 12:40 PM  

Eric the Red, California implmented some parts of your plan decades ago. The state created two independant university systems. The University of California system focused on research and graduate programs, while the Californai State University system focused on educating students for Bachelor's degrees. Through a bureaucratic snafu, I spent a year at a Cal State school before finishing up at a UC. I had in general better instructors at the UC school, though they did make more extensive use of egrish-speaking TAs.

The best instructors were industry folks - outsiders who weren't part of the university system but taught a class each year (I think they were technically Associate Professors, but they werent' trying to get promoted, this was a side-light for them). The UC system was apparently happy to use them as it freed up time for their tenure-track faculty to do research. The State system didn't do the same thing, as such outsiders were breaking the rice bowls of their own faculty.

Blogger Doc Rampage August 29, 2015 1:00 PM  

It's ironic: in many ways science has become a faith, so people with a genuinely empiricist, scientific attitude have become opponents of science.

These trends can be reversed though; Marxism and Freudianism were both considered sciences once, but almost no one would consider them so today except for the true believers. Interesting historical tidbit: the criterion of falsifiability was invented specifically to explain why Marxism and Freudianism are not sciences. The only remaining member of the post-Christian trinity who is still considered a part of science is Darwinism and I think that one is getting shaky.

Blogger Doc Rampage August 29, 2015 1:41 PM  

@81 you are confusing products with research. It isn't surprising that most products come out of programs that are focused on creating products rather than out of programs that are focused on pure research. But pure research often influences products:

Linux: based on Unix which was based in part on academic research.
C++: inspired by Simula, an academic project, and various other research into object oriented languages, exception mechanisms, generic programming, etc.
Java: influenced by Lisp and other programming-language research.
Git: probably influenced by versioning file systems.

I was in programming languages, and practically every new feature I see come out in any popular programming language, I recall as a research project: futures, introspection, generators, closures, co-routines, modules, concurrency primitives, garbage collection, comprehensions, ... the list goes on. Most optimizing compilers are based almost entirely on academic research. Google's search engine came out of academic research. Much database technology came out of academic research. Map/Reduce was inspired by academic research.

The list is endless. All I can conclude from your comments is that you have not kept up with academic research and so you have no idea where these ideas come from.

Blogger Shimshon August 29, 2015 3:09 PM  

SJWology is THE emerging and HOT field now. You can formulate falsifiable hypotheses and subject them to repeated testing. How else do you describe Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies?

Blogger Groot August 29, 2015 3:16 PM  

@114. Doc Rampage:

Doubtlessly, many smart people are attracted to and hang out at universities, but I think the point holds that advances are made only despite the system, rather than being enabled by the academic system (other than simply gathering smart people together). Ponder how loose the connections are even in your own descriptions: inspired by, probably influenced, etc.

A typical path involves an individual with years or decades of implementation experience distilling that into an industry-influencing book, which is then further implemented by that industry. I'm thinking of Gamma, et al., with their Design Patterns, now implemented in most IDEs; Google's publishing (about) its MapReduce, now implemented in Hadoop and many others; or Eric Evans and Domain-Driven Design and the Domain Specific Language implementations it is spawning.

Yeah, many of these people have PhDs, but it was not in the academic setting where the advances were really made.

Blogger Torial (#170) August 30, 2015 1:54 AM  

P values are not as reliable as many scientists assume (2014)
http://www.nature.com/news/scientific-method-statistical-errors-1.14700

Blogger Mindstorm September 04, 2015 1:14 PM  

I'm surprised that nobody posted this yet:
https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/1021861-justice-is-to-social-justice-like-a-chair-to-an

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