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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A surrender of scientistry

Popular Science can't take the dialectical heat and flees from open scientific discourse due to the inability of its writers to present arguments capable of standing up to public criticism:
Comments can be bad for science. That's why, here at PopularScience.com, we're shutting them off. It wasn't a decision we made lightly. As the news arm of a 141-year-old science and technology magazine, we are as committed to fostering lively, intellectual debate as we are to spreading the word of science far and wide. The problem is when trolls and spambots overwhelm the former, diminishing our ability to do the latter....

If you carry out those results to their logical end--commenters shape public opinion; public opinion shapes public policy; public policy shapes how and whether and what research gets funded--you start to see why we feel compelled to hit the "off" switch. Even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader's perception of a story.

A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to "debate" on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.
I found it amusing that below this article trying to justify its attempt to claim the right to be "championing science" without protest or criticism from its readers, the very first article listed is: "Republicans Block Proposal For National Science Laureate, Fearing Science".  Whatever they are championing these days, it is not science.

It is wonderful news that some of the foremost defenders of scientistry are in full-blown retreat from the skeptics and scientodists. Their inability to defend their "bedrock scientific doctrine" and "popular consensus" is the direct result of their abandonment of scientody for ideological dogma and invented doctrine cloaked in an increasingly thin veil of faux science.

Comments aren't bad for science. Comments are bad for those who are stubbornly clinging to outdated scientific paradigms that are showing obvious cracks.

Science badly needs a cleansing baptism of intellectual fire to burn away all the professional and academic scientistic barnacles that have affixed themselves to the ship of science and are now threatening to sink its credibility entirely. Genuine scientists, as opposed to the posers championed by the likes of Popular Science, may not be able to defend themselves rhetorically, but they have no need to do so.  Science is neither democracy nor holy doctrine, and it is the right of every thinking individual to accept or reject the declarations of scientists as he sees fit.

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118 Comments:

Anonymous Rufus September 25, 2013 4:36 AM  

hear, hear.

Anonymous Rufus September 25, 2013 4:36 AM  

oh, and ... first!

Anonymous Smokey September 25, 2013 4:40 AM  

"Even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader's perception of a story."

To which I ask: why the fuck do you care? Your job is to provide the information in a clear, un-biased manner...which, I suppose, is already asking too much...and let the readers make up their minds about what they believe.

I also have to question the validity of the study they are citing. In my experience, very few people, with the exception of easily-swayed morons, are even remotely persuaded or moved to reconsider their opinions by a bunch of idiots spewing profanities on the internet. In fact, the result is often the opposite.

Anonymous Red September 25, 2013 4:41 AM  

They are really being ripped on global warming and "science" is really starting to stink like a dead body rotting in the sun. I'm not sure they've realized it yet, but there is no way to recover from the failure of global warming. The big lie failed.

Blogger Crude September 25, 2013 4:47 AM  

Science is self-correcting! That's exactly why dissent is not to be tolerated!

Blogger Francis W. Porretto September 25, 2013 5:00 AM  

I think it was the late Richard Feynman, himself no intellectual slouch, who said that science is essentially the conviction that the "experts" are as ignorant as anyone else. By that standard, if PopSci has decided to nominate itself as an "expert," that gives us excellent grounds for ignoring its emissions.

Anonymous Roundtine September 25, 2013 5:09 AM  

This really is political, but it also has to do with social mood. People on both sides don't want to debate anymore. Fightin' times a comin'.

Anonymous VryeDenker September 25, 2013 5:11 AM  

"...spreading the word of science far and wide..."

They talk about it as though it were a religion or something.

Anonymous Carlotta September 25, 2013 5:19 AM  

"A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to "debate" on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science."

So because they lack actual evidence and are called on it and do not have an echo chamber in their comments section they need to quick take it down before someone takes a hard look at grants and funding. Wow. Just shocked they came out and admitted it whikle simultaneously making the case that no one should read them ever again.

Blogger Doom September 25, 2013 5:24 AM  

Every man is a scientist. He lives it outside of labs, or in the laboratory of his environment, every day. So when someone with credentials tells him that the sky is actually a deep red, he has no recourse but to throw out the obviously wrong. It starts with the fool, but when all such men prove to be as false, he finds no baby in the bathwater and out it goes, along with the tasteless salt.

Their attempts at fostering a belief in what is told, ignoring our own eyes, has failed. Their circles get smaller, their magazines fold or hide, their worth shrinks, belief dies. Reminds me quite a lot of the fall of paganism. Oh, that is still around, it just fails every time it pops it's head up and attempts a bold assertion. So it will be with these.

Well, and the imminent collapse of the rotted ivory towers... As to a rebirth? I think the rebirth will come in a different form. Online courses aren't it, or not yet. But something akin to that, one way or another, will take the place of the old and rotted, leaving the ivory towers to those left among them who somehow maintain funding by which to shield their worm students from the truth... Much like the first splits from the Church, this one too will pass into... infamy, myth, stories of hubris and the price.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 25, 2013 5:27 AM  

Mathematics is the purest science and still has many flaws. Many people can say that 1+1=2 but they can't prove it, they have to also deal with "Gabriel's Horn" in higher mathematics. I see science as an answer to a question not a proposed question that needs an answer when the question baits the answer.. .

Anonymous Hong Hu Shi September 25, 2013 5:32 AM  

Another casualty in the war on expertise... tsk tsk.

Anonymous VryeDenker September 25, 2013 5:33 AM  

Just looked up Gabriel's Horn. I wish I had the requisite Mathematics knowledge to follow along. It seems like loads of fun.

Anonymous AdognamedOp September 25, 2013 5:39 AM  

"I found it amusing that below this article trying to justify its attempt to claim the right to be "championing science" without protest or criticism from its readers, the very first article listed is: "Republicans Block Proposal For National Science Laureate, Fearing Science". Whatever they are championing these days, it is not science."

Also on that list of popular articles was:

4. "Why do I poop more when I have my period".

Using a juvenile term to describe defecating reeks of sexississm.

9."Mars Is Probably Not Home To Life, According To Sad New Study"

No ideological agenda there.. Sad, yes.

10."Pretty Much The Entire Human Race Bought The New Grand Theft Auto "

Pretty much an ad that made the top stories list.
No wonder they shut comments off.
They're attracting the very idiots they are trying to reach.

Anonymous Catan September 25, 2013 5:53 AM  

I read the comments on one of their final global warming articles right before they shut off the comments.

It isn't "trolls" they are afraid of. It's the people posting two page long, properly structured refutations complete with links and data.

Their own site was being used to convert people to skepticism. A liberal who thinks well enough of theirselves to read a "science" site would never be persuaded by some troll calling scientists names. They feared that their site was no longer serving their ideological purposes, but that of the enemy.

They are afraid of the data getting out raw, without their cronies having the opportunity to give it an "expert interpretation". Defenders in their comments were saying that they actually didn't want to see the raw data because they felt like it must be interpreted for them.

On another note, did anyone else see where that big warmist activist, got caught not only not knowing that the raw data has shown no warming, but he didn't even know what the interviewer was talking about when he mentioned HadCRUT, etc. (The raw data sets collected by the best sources we have to measure temperature.)

Astoundingly idiotic. At least read the first question he is asked, but he displays amazing ignorance further on in the interview as well:

http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/david_suzuki_proves_hes_pig_ignorant_about_global_warming/

Anonymous Pontius Pilate September 25, 2013 5:54 AM  

What is truth?

Anonymous Catan September 25, 2013 5:59 AM  

Fixed link to idiot warmist

Anonymous Outlaw X September 25, 2013 6:04 AM  

Just looked up Gabriel's Horn. I wish I had the requisite Mathematics knowledge to follow along. It seems like loads of fun.

Science is a blast in tits purest form. For example take a sig set and a child. The period of the swing (Time from peak to peak is completely idependent on the Mass (weight) of the child and how high he goes. The period is only dependent upon the length of the chain and the accretion due to gravity proportional to l/g. So a fat boy and and a skinny boy swinging side by side with the same length of chain disregarding friction will have the same period in time no matter how high they swing or how much they way. Science is indeed fun. .

Anonymous Catan September 25, 2013 6:09 AM  

From the same interview where Suzuki outs himself as a know-nothing by the first question, this is the headline The Guardian managed to come up with:

"David Suzuki accuses Tony Abbott of ‘wilful blindness’ to climate change"

'It's a crazy, dangerous situation if we're going to marginalise science in favour of political priorities,' says environmentalist.

HadCRUT etc not mentioned at all in story or comments, but plenty of comments about how much wisdom Suzuki has and how scientists' job is to report facts.

Blogger Nate September 25, 2013 6:28 AM  

" Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to "debate" "

Since when has it been anything else?

Anonymous Homer the Rationalist September 25, 2013 6:40 AM  

No comments allowed.... because of Dark Ages evil church something something.

Anonymous Blech September 25, 2013 6:47 AM  

We are committed to fostering lively, intellectual debate -- so sit quietly and listen while we tell you what you ought to think!

"Popular Science" -- no longer popular, and no longer science. Just another tool for shoving elite politics cloaked in pseudo-science down everyone's throat. Oh the irony.

Anonymous zen0 September 25, 2013 6:51 AM  

Catan notes:

On another note, did anyone else see where that big warmist activist, got caught not only not knowing that the raw data has shown no warming, but he didn't even know what the interviewer was talking about when he mentioned HadCRUT, etc.

Nice to see Suzuki exposed. He is a big pain in the butt. His area of expertise in academia was the study of genetics using fruit flies.

Fruit flies are a big pain in the butt also.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 25, 2013 6:58 AM  

"Popular Science" -- no longer popular, and no longer science. Just another tool for shoving elite politics cloaked in pseudo-science down everyone's throat. Oh the irony.

I don't know a science magazine worth reading. If someone does please let me know. It is a shame how they have ran off their best customers. I don't read pop culture or home a garden stuff. Popular mechanics has become a joke and Scientific American has become a joke as well. From the old school you can see the gradual change and it sucks. I wish some real physicists, mathematicians, chemists and biologist would get together and write a real magazine. I miss print magazines. I am hoping for too much. me thinks.

Include little experiment's your children can try at home as well as delve into deep subjects and why not some crossword puzzles?

Anonymous Rosalys September 25, 2013 6:58 AM  

A quick look at "Elsewhere on popsci.com" at the bottom of the article you refer to reveal such intellectually important topics as "Why Dudes Who Can't Smell Never Get Laid", "What Our Eyes Say About Sexual Preference" and "NSFW: A Survey of Global Porn Searches". Certainly, such scientific discourse should not be interfered with by the rancorous rantings of the benighted class!

Anonymous Popular Science, OneState Edition September 25, 2013 7:16 AM  

Sometimes, things can seem unclear. And what may seem authoritarian and mean the one moment can actually be sage and beneficent the next. In lieu of our campaign to both curb unapproved public concern and to secure continued gov't funding, starting next Monday eastern standard time we'll be changing our name from Popular Science to Tea Time With Der Führer.

Anonymous Vic September 25, 2013 7:34 AM  

We at Popular Science are not actual "scientist", but we did stay at a Holiday Inn Express in DC last night, so we could lobby your so called representatives for more of your hard earned money...

Like lawyers and politicians (pardon the redundancy), our mission is to leach a good living off civilization without actually having to work for it.

Anonymous Salt September 25, 2013 7:46 AM  

And what shall become of their readership? I suspect many will flee. Why devote any time to what cannot be discussed? Better to go elsewhere.

To PopularScience, I hear the bells tolling, and they toll for thee.

Anonymous hardscrabble farmer September 25, 2013 7:49 AM  

"Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. "

That kind of says it all, doesn't it?

As an aside, I went to school with Jim Miegs (Editor in Chief) and contacted him several times in the post 9/11 era when his magazine was doing contortions to push the official 9/11 story (WTC 7 collapse explanations were verbotten). The magazine is a modern day Pravda that pushes whatever agenda is dictated by whoever it is that sets those things. I actually feel bad for the guy because I know how bright he was and I imagine he knows better than the passage above would indicate, but hey- everyone works for someone further up the food chain.

As an anecdotal contribution, we have weather records for the farm that go back over a century and the average start date for our sugaring operation (maple syrup production dependent entirely upon temperature) hasn't changed by a day.

Go figure.

Anonymous MendoScot September 25, 2013 7:56 AM  

Related:

Leave it to a “pro-science” liberal to advocate for the elimination of science education.

Eichenwald actually came very close to teaching his son a valuable lesson, exemplified in this very Twitter exchange. Namely, that individuals with a significant emotional or financial investment in the validation of their beliefs tend to reject findings that contradict those very beliefs, no matter the evidence. In some instances, these individuals may even use the levers of political power to shut down dissent. That Eichenwald thinks this is somehow limited to a particular religion or political party, rather than a stubbornly consistent failing of human nature in general, is telling. That Eichenwald failed to see that he personified the very behavior he and his son mocked is just sad.

Anonymous MendoScot September 25, 2013 7:58 AM  

Fruit flies are a big pain in the butt also.

Time flies like an arrow.

Fruit flies like a banana.

Blogger tz September 25, 2013 8:00 AM  

Even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader's perception of a story.

Comments are the most honest and true form of review. There can be no power over reason.

Unless the audence itself is unreasoning. So a clear, concise result with all the data can be dismissed by calling the author a RSHD.

A great deal here is opinion, but it is stronger and better defended than "Pulp Science". The commentsin many ways make the blog what it is.

Maybe we need a Sci popoli.

Anonymous Steveo September 25, 2013 8:05 AM  

Science -
Man was monkey ancestor, cousin, or obnoxious uncle.
Man adapted, evolving.
Man changed.
Because most every scientist says so - consensus.

The sun was center of mass for a ball of gas and other stuff.
It coalesced from ball of gas & other stuff & committed fusion, getting very hot & violent.
The sun changed.
The sun provides energy to the solar system.
The earth receives fluctuating amounts of energy from the sun.
The earth's climate changes because bad Mans like cars & hot water & lights at night; because most every scientist says so - consensus.

Popular Science -
The climate's changing.
Man should not adapt but rather Man should stop climate change; apparently, the sun doesn't care about millions of people on the coast of Bangledesh or Louisiana.
All human effort on planet must be controlled centrally, human population reduced, and all children not murdered in utero must be vaccinated many times immediately upon birth in order to avoid adapting.
Science phd's must employed in government managed science writing & TV programs for political support of government programs that do not change.
Buy an Infinity. Science likes expensive cars.
Women will feel safer if science is easy and consensus not challenged.
Science should not allow comments.
QED

Blogger tz September 25, 2013 8:10 AM  

"Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. "

That kind of says it all, doesn't it?


Yes, they list the two most important Dogmas, neither of which can be defended by actual science.

Note they have this in common. Evolution is an extrapolation of the past well beyond what any actual, measurable data can show - you get bits and pieces of fossils, different aspects of (paleo)geology (note not biology) al mixed to come up with a creation myth about our past. ACC is similarly a cherry-picked extrapolation, but about the future - frome the same admixture of experiments, models, even less data to create the apocalypse myth. They just need to put 7 seals (perhaps those cute white harp seals) on the IPCC report. They already argu who is worthy to read it.

Blogger tz September 25, 2013 8:17 AM  

Popular and Science are mutually exclusive. They have chosen the former.

There is the opinion of the masses which is rarely informed.

There is data, evidence, and reasoning which follows cold, hard, rules, and often says it is uncertain or just I don't know.

The popular scientists are rarely real scientists, but scien-toadies.

Blogger tz September 25, 2013 8:26 AM  

@Mendoscott - thanks for the link, but I would note he (author of article not the twitter exchange) also brings up "vaccines which have saved millions" - big pharma would have to pay out if they didn't have immunity from lawsuits, and "GMOs that have fed billions" - into Monsanto's bank account. Even the latter, we have such a surplus we are putting ethanol into our cars instead of feeding people. We could have better, more varied, healthier crops instead

Anonymous jack September 25, 2013 8:29 AM  

Been ages since I looked at Pop Science, Pop Mechanics, etc. I find useful, usually unbiased and timely information at such sites as Watts up with that, Real Science, Ice Age Now, etc. And, here.

Anonymous dh September 25, 2013 8:35 AM  

It's sort of bizarre to imagine Popular Science as championing science. Maybe a little bit.. but it's basically a big what-if magazine, and it's always been that way, more or less.

There are a lot of very good ways to weed out troublesome commenters, even when you have tens of thousands of them.

Anonymous Catan September 25, 2013 8:39 AM  

There are a lot of very good ways to weed out troublesome commenters, even when you have tens of thousands of them.

Care to name some that avoid the problems of corruption, abuse of power, and the other associated problems with top-down censorship?

Anonymous dh September 25, 2013 8:46 AM  

There are a lot of very good ways to weed out troublesome commenters, even when you have tens of thousands of them.

Sure. Real names, real-email addresses, and $1 a day to comment.

Anonymous Red Comet September 25, 2013 8:49 AM  

Just a law of the internet in action. The more left leaning the site, the greater the move toward censorship. Total blackout occurs when a Big Lie comes under real threat, in this case AGW.

Anonymous DT September 25, 2013 8:49 AM  

Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again.

Mistakenly? A true scientist knows that every theory and law of science is always up for grabs. You can spend a hundred years proving a theory, only to have a single observation blow the whole thing apart.

All theories, all laws, all evidence, always on the table and open to skepticism and criticism. Anything less is not science.

Anonymous Alexander September 25, 2013 8:55 AM  

I think the real names requirement is at odds with the abuse of power thing. You know, from the IRS, NSA down to tweeting Zimmerman's home address, you guys just can't be trusted with that sort of information when you view us as the other side.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 25, 2013 8:56 AM  

Sure. Real names, real-email addresses, and $1 a day to comment.

That's not necessary Vox has proved it. If someone take on TZ's name and starts spouting atheism or dumb comments I will know it is not him. And charging a dollar a day would keep a bunch of excellent commenters from commenting.

I think Vox has a way to check IP addresses, but don't know. The commenters here are pretty much regulars and if someone says they are Nate and suddenly says he wants to be woman I think everyone would know what just happened.

Anonymous Vidad September 25, 2013 8:59 AM  

Outlaw X: "Science is a blast in tits purest form."

What? Outlaw - are you secretly a member of The Bloodhound Gang?

Anonymous CLK September 25, 2013 8:59 AM  

The problem is its not possible to have a real honest debate on anything anymore... everything is spin, political, or written in the aggressive in your face blog style that most scientists simply do not want to deal with. Its hardly ever that the man that yells the loudest is the man that is right and the internet has become a screaming match between aggressive alphas. The time of a honorable man is long gone.

Having to argue 2+2 = 4 all the time is tiring. There are people out there that simply cannot be argued with ... people who would only believe what they can see, touch, feel .. etc .. that limits the ranges of subjects in which any agreement is ever possible.

Anonymous Catan September 25, 2013 9:01 AM  

Real names, real-email addresses, and $1 a day to comment.

I said not susceptible to abuse of power.

Considering the zeal with which gigantic data mining centers are being built to collate as much direct information about people as possible, I cannot possibly see how you can consider a lack of anonymity to not be susceptible to abuse.

Anonymous Catan September 25, 2013 9:03 AM  

How do real names help anyway, dh? Because then people have to fear retaliation, their lives being destroyed, etc. for saying something politically incorrect? That is an ideal, non-abusable way to censor?

Blogger MacLaren September 25, 2013 9:06 AM  

I devoured scientific material when I was a kid, back in the grand old days before GloboWarmThink ruined everything. As a young teenager I had a subscription to Science News and had endless discussions with my Grandpa (a former laboratory researcher for the Navy) about solar power, jet engines, submarines, etc. The current crop of "science" articles seem to be targeted more at the Cracked demographic than at those with genuinely inquisitive minds.

Blogger James Dixon September 25, 2013 9:08 AM  

> Many people can say that 1+1=2 but they can't prove it,

A mathematical proof that 1+1=2 is very difficult, yes. But it's also unnecessary. The average person can prove that 1+1=2 two with a box of matches.

Anonymous dh September 25, 2013 9:08 AM  

That's not necessary Vox has proved it. If someone take on TZ's name and starts spouting atheism or dumb comments I will know it is not him. And charging a dollar a day would keep a bunch of excellent commenters from commenting.

True, that real names are a problem when you have certain types of sites. I think for this type of site, the way VD does is just right: anonymous is fine, and it's good because there is a mix of politics, cultural stuff (i.e. race), personal stuff etc. I would not be able to post here under my real name. But, I would have no problem with VD having my real name (in fact he does), because a) I trust VD and b) it's not like I would be instantly fired if I was dox'd, it could complicate things though.

The distinction is on big sites, you can't have the same type of community. Professionally I am involved in a site that has about 25,000 comments a day, by about 3,000 people. The volume makes it more difficult to have a real community, but it is there.

As far as $1 day, yes, you lose a lot. But, for example, on the site I am involved with professionally it all but eliminates "first post", spam/trolls, and the like. And people make each post count. So that works.

There are lots of other very good models. Slashdot has a model that has worked well for years, and enables very lively community. My only complaint is it's threaded, which I don't prefer.

There are a lot of options to go to before you end up turning off comments completely.

Blogger MacLaren September 25, 2013 9:08 AM  

Come to think of it, my discussions with Grandpa were more "engineering" than "science." So... they were about REAL science, I suppose.

He built an amazing sailboat in his backyard, then later launched it into the sea. That's science applied.

I can't see him enjoying articles like "Why Do I Poop More..."

Anonymous dh September 25, 2013 9:12 AM  

How do real names help anyway, dh? Because then people have to fear retaliation, their lives being destroyed, etc. for saying something politically incorrect? That is an ideal, non-abusable way to censor?

It's not ideal, but in this case, it's other people NOT the publication doing the censoring. In America you've always been accountable if you say something other people don't like, you may get ridiculed, made fun of, pointed at, laughed at, boycotted, etc. Your boss may be made aware of what you say. And if you are a hypocrite, you may find it even more uncomfortable.

I enjoy posting anonymously in the right venue, but I make a decision to visit some sites that require real names, and that's fine.

Also, it's not necessary to post real names/addresses, just for the site to have them. This let's the user know that in the case of serious abuse there is a straightforward, verified path to obtaining their identity.

Anonymous dh September 25, 2013 9:15 AM  

Considering the zeal with which gigantic data mining centers are being built to collate as much direct information about people as possible, I cannot possibly see how you can consider a lack of anonymity to not be susceptible to abuse.

There isn't a way to post that is anonymous. Given the information that Google has collected about you by posting here, I could track down your identity in less than a week, and if I was law enforcement, in perhaps a few hours. It's not hard. IP address, to ISP, ISP gets a National Security Letter + Gag Order, I get their business records, track that to a subscriber, and go from there.

I assumed you meant abuse from other commenters.

Blogger vandelay September 25, 2013 9:16 AM  

Incredible how many people on Twitter are praising and even thanking PopSci for shutting down comments. Seems instructive. They're willing to give up their own free speech as long as the greater cumulative effect is to silence their opponents and eliminate threats to the consensus, even though they have no good reason to think that that is indeed what they'll achieve. These people are not to be trusted.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 25, 2013 9:21 AM  

A mathematical proof that 1+1=2 is very difficult, yes. But it's also unnecessary. The average person can prove that 1+1=2 two with a box of matches

Not difficult, impossible.

In this dimension matches and pennies will do...

Anonymous VD September 25, 2013 9:23 AM  

The problem is its not possible to have a real honest debate on anything anymore... everything is spin, political, or written in the aggressive in your face blog style that most scientists simply do not want to deal with.

That's not true. Do you really believe that the debate between Nate and me on inflation vs deflation was neither real nor honest?

The fact is that most scientists neither want to be questioned nor are they prepared for it. They want to speak of probabilities as if they were settled facts and have no interest in questioning their core assumptions.

Anonymous Bah September 25, 2013 9:31 AM  

Popular mechanics has become a joke and Scientific American has become a joke as well.

Scientific American became a joke in the 1970s when they started pushing the anti-nuclear, anti-missile defense line. They continued being a joke in the 1980s when they pushed the "nuclear winter" crap and then jumped on the global warming bandwagon.

The problem is its not possible to have a real honest debate on anything anymore...

And therefore the answer is to shut down all discussion? Yeah, that solves the problem!

Anonymous Catan September 25, 2013 9:40 AM  

but in this case, it's other people NOT the publication doing the censoring.

Who? How?

In America you've always been accountable if you say something other people don't like, you may get ridiculed, made fun of, pointed at, laughed at, boycotted, etc.

Writing anonymously to avoid that when the topic is politically incorrect is an American tradition, too. Patriots did that prior to the revolution, did they not?

As for tracking someone down in less than a week, i'll take that over the zealots at a site like Popular Science knowing who everyone commenting already is. Leftists tend to short time preferences, anyway. The problem is that the very people who want to censor their comments are often the type of moderator who cannot be trusted with the information.

Having real names on the left wing climate sites would mainly result in the public trashing of people who prove to be disruptive to the narrative in the comments.

A person like John Scalzi would love to have that info about commenters he hates.

Anonymous Jill September 25, 2013 9:42 AM  

You're a denialist and should just stfu. That's what's beneath it all: denialism. Stop spreading the disease.

Anonymous DrTorch September 25, 2013 9:44 AM  

The problem is its not possible to have a real honest debate on anything anymore... everything is spin, political, or written in the aggressive in your face blog style that most scientists simply do not want to deal with.

Take a look at WUWT, it's a great scientific site. I even had an alarmist tell me yesterday that he'd spent weeks trying to find something bad about it, but couldn't.

The fact is that most scientists neither want to be questioned nor are they prepared for it. They want to speak of probabilities as if they were settled facts and have no interest in questioning their core assumptions

Not completely true. It's primarily those scientists who want to dictate control over people by asserting their authority in controversial issues. You don't see too many heated debates about the term symbols for atomic ground states (or even excited states), the mating routine of lasius niger, or the location of Venus in the night sky over the next 3 years.

That's not to say there isn't any friction. I have seen heated exchanges of words regarding cold fusion, a classical vs quantum description of cavity ring down spectroscopy, and even some tension over mechanisms of Mg corrosion in natural vs accelerated environments. But, in those cases the scientists were prepared for questions and referred to data repeatedly.

I heard 2nd hand story (someone who was there) that Feynman attended a Smalley presentation on the discovery of C60, and Feynman was ruthless in challenging Smalley's conclusions, only to end up saying he started as his biggest critic but he was now Smalley's biggest fan b/c he was prepared and only asserted what the experimental evidence supported.

Anonymous righteous gobbler September 25, 2013 9:45 AM  

Scientism true believers (and climate change zealots in particular) ; heed this warning. Read the posted material, read the link and let it all sink in.

Ok, now feel your blood pressure rise, muscles tighten, vision become tunneled.

Now then; you had better start trolling like you've never trolled before. This science religion too which you've invested so much of your emotional self in is descending into complete irrelevancy.

Shout, scream, troll, harangue, brow-beat and call for the burning of science apostates; for time is of the essence!

Blogger James Dixon September 25, 2013 9:45 AM  

> Not difficult, impossible.

My understanding was that it had been done. I may have misunderstood, of course.

Blogger vandelay September 25, 2013 9:51 AM  

Man, I cannot wait to see what happens when some blog post or something speaking favourably of vaccine skeptics or IQ heritability or some such gets through the gatekeepers at PopSci. Do they demand comments back as a special dispensation or just that the post and its author be removed from their sight?

Blogger Joseph September 25, 2013 9:52 AM  

Environmentalists are taking notes on rhetoric. Expect imitations from the Other Side.

Anonymous Brother Thomas September 25, 2013 9:54 AM  

How so very hilarious.

Was it followed by an article on the dangers of man-made global warming?

Anonymous Catan September 25, 2013 9:56 AM  

Can't tell if Jill is being facetious or not.

If you are serious, what exactly are we denying? Look above, where I posted a climate change adherent who did not even know that the data for the last 15 years shows no warming, and didn't even know what the HadCRUT is!

The only thing we are "denying" is the infallibility and perfect moral character of anyone with a white lab coat on.

So tell us: what facts are we denying?

Anonymous CarpeOro September 25, 2013 9:56 AM  

"Comments can be bad for science."

Weakest comment of the year defending actions taken. They'd have been better off following Obama's lead and just invent something or lie about it.

Anonymous Daniel September 25, 2013 10:04 AM  

It seems that Jill is accusing Pop Science of choosing to dismiss all unwanted scientific inquiry as denialism, Catan. She's not getting on you for thinking Pop Science is a bunch of thumbsucking dummies.

Anonymous Jill September 25, 2013 10:08 AM  

Catan, you are denying that you are a denialist. You need a flapper to hit you with a stick because it wasn't your turn to speak.

Anonymous Daniel September 25, 2013 10:09 AM  

"Comments can be bad for science."

See also:

"Ranger Brad, I'm a scientist, I don't believe in anything. "

"Seriously, Betty, you know what this meteor could mean to science. If we find it, and it's real, it could mean a lot. It could mean actual advances in the field of science."

"Dinner was delicious, honey. Keep cooking like that and I won't even be able to move, let alone do science. "

"As a scientist I just wish I could appreciate more things like cabins."

"From now on, I'll stick to science, and leave the hunting alien mutants to the experts!"

Dr. Paul Armstrong, Editor of Popular Science
If it's not popular, it's not science!

Anonymous righteous gobbler September 25, 2013 10:19 AM  

Somewhat OT. I happened to be browsing my local Barns N' Noble bookstore a number of months ago and that months current issue of Sceptic Magazine caught my eye. It's cover story was indicating that all of this man made climate change was actually alarmingly true and that the enemies reason and enlightened thinking were those dastardly old ignoramuses, the climate change sceptics (or of course, "deniers).

Here I was holding a publication that proudly calls itself "Sceptic" but like the little bitches/rabbits that its writers really are, they only champion "scepticism" when it's of the politically statist approved kind.

Oh, the irony. I had always knew that these "free thinking" atheist/progressives at Sceptic Magazine were out and out frauds and bitches to leftist ideology.

That wretched publication isn't even fit to line the cats litter box, I tell ya!

Blogger vandelay September 25, 2013 10:22 AM  

I'd take it easy on Skeptic. Shermer has enough to worry about right now with the Freethought Blogs crowd all out for his blood because he has sex with women.

Blogger The Deuce September 25, 2013 10:23 AM  

What idiot decided to put the words "scientific doctrine" in there? Are they deliberately trying to make it clear what a bunch of Orwellians they are?

Anonymous VD September 25, 2013 10:26 AM  

Here I was holding a publication that proudly calls itself "Sceptic" but like the little bitches/rabbits that its writers really are, they only champion "scepticism" when it's of the politically statist approved kind.

It's rather like the way you know any blog that calls itself "thoughtful" is going to do nothing but mindlessly parrot the NYT-approved line on every given subject.

Anonymous 691 September 25, 2013 10:27 AM  

Pop Sci was never part of "open scientific discourse." It's mission is to (1) turn scientage into popularly consumable morsels, like refining crude oil into gasoline, and (2) propagandize on behalf of the political goals of scientists, which include securing patronage to fund research, moral crusades like global warming and increasing the social status of scientists. Pretending that it is part of the (dialectical) scientific debate is just a vicarious thrill for the readers and failed researchers on staff and a deliberate obfuscation in service of goal (2). And insofar as they allow debate, it's purely at the level of rhetoric.

In this case, it's a rhetorical conceit that the rhetoric is actually dialectic.

Anonymous VD September 25, 2013 10:45 AM  

In this case, it's a rhetorical conceit that the rhetoric is actually dialectic.

I couldn't agree more. I actually had written "rhetorical heat", but then decided that would be confusing due to the public pretense at dialectic there and changed it.

Anonymous Daniel September 25, 2013 10:49 AM  

Oh, the irony. I had always knew that these "free thinking" atheist/progressives at Sceptic Magazine were out and out frauds and bitches to leftist ideology.

As an actual skeptic, I remember, years ago, picking up that magazine, grateful to have a publication dedicated to carefully researching all the interesting anomalies and hoaxes left ignored because of the complexity of scientific and social issues.

Whoops.

Greetings, 12 year-olds still pissed off about Santa Claus. I had no idea so many of you had taken an interest in science.

The best thing to come from that little episode was that I finally learned to have a healthy skepticism for chronic skepticism. Good to know some things never change.

Anonymous patrick kelly September 25, 2013 10:51 AM  

Hmmm.... "consensus"....."doctrine"....."show the way"..... sounds more like politics or religion than science.

" if someone says they are Nate and suddenly says he wants to be woman I think everyone would know what just happened."

Either too much or not enough whiskey I think, not sure which....

Anonymous righteous gobbler September 25, 2013 11:06 AM  

So the title of the publication, "Sceptic" really means is that in some very predictable cases, this magazine is "sceptical" of the "scepticism" that is not officially approved of by the high priests of Scientism?

So in that regard why not name the fish wrap, "True Believer"? As in man made climate change? Leftist ideology? Womens right to abort? ect... ect...?

Blogger wrf3 September 25, 2013 11:12 AM  

Outlaw X wrote: Many people can say that 1+1=2 but they can't prove it,

We don't believe that 1+1=2 because of the axioms of set theory. We believe the axioms of set theory because we believe 1+1=2. As Scott Aaronson pointed out in his Quantum Computing Since Democritus": How can we state axioms that will put the integers on a more secure foundation, when the very symbols and so on that we're using to write down the axioms presuppose that we already know what the integers are?

Well, precisely because of this point, I don't think that axioms and formal logic can be used to place arithmetic on a more secure foundation. If you don't already agree that 1+1=2, then a lifetime of studying mathematical logic won't make it any clearer!


As proof: in the set of natural numbers there exists an element which has no successor (i.e. what we call zero). By convention, the successor of zero is one and, also by convention, the successor of one is two. Under natural numbers "the successor of" is equivalent to "+1", so 0 + 1 + 1 = 2.

Blogger RobertT September 25, 2013 11:17 AM  

Before i started frequenting this site, I thought I was the only person in the world with a dim view of "science". Now we're winning the fight.

Blogger Russell September 25, 2013 11:18 AM  

Are they saying that trolls and spambots set public policy? I say let them, it couldn't be worse than it is now.

Blogger vandelay September 25, 2013 11:27 AM  

Now we're winning the fight.

Don't confuse liberal oversensitivity to dissent as a sign of retreat. They still control the commanding heights.

Anonymous TJ September 25, 2013 11:29 AM  

Has anyone else noticed other online newspapers selectively turning off comments on articles about immigration reform, climate change, etc.?

It is my opinion that the turn off the comments for one purpose only: So readers do not realize that their contrary opinions are actually the popular opinion.

Anonymous onejohn September 25, 2013 11:30 AM  

I'm emailing Suzanne LaBarre is the online content director of Popular Science. Email suzanne.labarre at popsci dot com. them with my comments.

comments off = Subscription off

If your certain of the positions you take fearing the impact of comments is ridiculous. Make your case and let it stand the scrutiny of reasonable commenters..

This is why I'll not be renewing my subscription to your magazine.

Anonymous TJ September 25, 2013 11:35 AM  

They can't use "consensus" as an argument against you if there really isn't one.

This is why comments get turned off.

Anonymous Jay September 25, 2013 11:37 AM  

It seems, this is the first time that science is now actually (honestly) dealing with the human condition, and the problem of good and evil and morality (but not in the dishonest way that charlatans like EO Wilson do), and in a way that honors religion yet is not fundamentalist:

http://www.worldtransformation.com/what-is-science/

It's worth looking into everyone.

-Jay

Anonymous Outlaw X September 25, 2013 11:42 AM  

How can we state axioms that will put the integers on a more secure foundation, when the very symbols and so on that we're using to write down the axioms presuppose that we already know what the integers are?

Exactly, so when mathematics falls apart which fundamental axiom do we question?

Anonymous 691 September 25, 2013 11:52 AM  

I couldn't agree more. I actually had written "rhetorical heat", but then decided that would be confusing due to the public pretense at dialectic there and changed it.

There's a certain amount of dialectical pretense and rhetorical exaggeration here as well; For those watching closely, Vox repeatedly uses that same rhetorical tactic.

As was noted last week, the failure to provide evidence is not equivalent to the absence of evidence. The evidence provided for a rhetorical case does not have to accurately reflect the evidence available for a dialectical case. Most of the information provided to you about global warming has been filtered and massaged to win a political argument: to convince governments to enact large-scale measures to combat it. Just because scientists exaggerate their case to the public does not mean that it is completely wrong (or if it is wrong, it may be flawed in the sense that believing mass is constant at all velocities is wrong: both profoundly wrong at a philosophical level but also many orders of magnitude better than useless). You can overplay a strong hand by pretending you have the nuts, but that doesn't imply your hand is worthless.

None of your posts actually rise to the level of scientific dialectic, they are purely rhetorical moves designed to undermine the scientists' rhetoric, who either by stupidity or malice obfuscate the difference between rhetoric and dialectic.

Blogger Eric Wilson September 25, 2013 12:05 PM  

Outlaw

Science is a blast in tits

I don't know it it's THAT fun...

Anonymous teddles September 25, 2013 12:37 PM  

Outlaw - Science is a blast in tits

Freudian nip?

Anonymous Nate September 25, 2013 12:39 PM  

I want to be a woman.

Blogger MacLaren September 25, 2013 12:41 PM  

So this is what it all comes down to. All the whiskey, the guns, the motorcycle talk...

You start as a house husband...

Anonymous teddles September 25, 2013 12:41 PM  

"I want to be a woman."

You need bourbon, STAT!

Anonymous onejohn September 25, 2013 12:42 PM  

Nate is that really you?
rotflol

Anonymous Anonymous September 25, 2013 12:46 PM  

They claim the problem is "trolls and spambots." This is a blatant lie. Spambots are fairly easy to sideline with software; every blog has to do that. True trolls just aren't that numerous, and can be banned when they appear. There's no reason for those problems to derail legitimate discussion.

If what they really mean by "trolls" is "people who disagree with our party line and have a lot of time on their hands to post crazy nonsense," then there's a way to deal with that too: install a vote-up/down system for comments, and let the commenters themselves police the system. The regulars will push each other's comments to the top, creationists or whomever they're afraid of will get pushed to the bottom, and people who get voted down enough can be banned. Problem solved.

However, if the real problem is that the people posting heterodox theories are just as numerous as the party-line folks, and just as persuasive so that they'd get a lot of up-votes, now that's a sticky problem. But if that's the case -- if a voting majority of your commenters disagree with you -- then can you really call them crackpot trolls anymore? And if you claim that your mission is an open-minded search for the truth, yet you want to shut up half the searchers....well, it's quite possible that you're just full of crap.

Blogger MacLaren September 25, 2013 12:48 PM  

I'm not convinced. I remember a time here when a particularly irritating troll started grabbing our various names and using them to argue against Vox.

In my case, I assumed that the sudden deterioration in my normally superlative writing skills would have immediately revealed the interloper as a fraud.

It never revealed any supposed secret desires for gender changes, however.

Anonymous VD September 25, 2013 12:58 PM  

None of your posts actually rise to the level of scientific dialectic, they are purely rhetorical moves designed to undermine the scientists' rhetoric, who either by stupidity or malice obfuscate the difference between rhetoric and dialectic.

Totally false. Even if we limit the discussion to the AGW/CC issue, you're dishonestly attempting to set up a false dichotomy with "scientific dialectic" on one side and "pure rhetoric" on the other. I do sometimes use rhetoric to criticize the scientistic rhetoric, but I also use logical dialectic as well.

And I most certainly do engage in scientodic dialectic with regards to natural selection and other subjects. The fact that they also happen to be rhetorically effective does not alter the fact that they are purely dialectical.

Anonymous DrTorch September 25, 2013 1:04 PM  

How can we state axioms that will put the integers on a more secure foundation, when the very symbols and so on that we're using to write down the axioms presuppose that we already know what the integers are?

Well, precisely because of this point, I don't think that axioms and formal logic can be used to place arithmetic on a more secure foundation. If you don't already agree that 1+1=2, then a lifetime of studying mathematical logic won't make it any clearer!


Great point. One of the reasons I see no value in having PhD mathematicians developing Common Core standards.

Blogger Ciaran September 25, 2013 1:32 PM  

I am a scientist and engineer who generally agrees with the "scientific consensus" on evolution and global warming. Scientific hypotheses are never perfect, but they are almost always superior in predictive power to all other explanations. When you have to make a decision, you have to go with the best data and hypothesis available, even though they may have obvious deficiencies.

However, a "bedrock scientific doctrine" that must be defended by suppressing dissension isn't science, it's ideology. And an ideology that cannot withstand challenges to its appeal to authority (or "expertise") will not survive for long.

Science is a method of inquiry. All things must be open to question. The most useful concept I've learned in my career is the notion that "everything I think I know is probably wrong."

(As a side note, you might be disconcerted on the amount of guessing (a.k.a "engineering judgement") that goes into designing the products you rely on ever day.)

On the other hand, the statement "commenters shape public opinion; public opinion shapes public policy; public policy shapes how and whether and what research gets funded" is grounds for optimism. The commenters on many MSM outlets are overwhelmingly opposed to the progressive fantasies being promoted within. Perhaps it will follow that these fantasies will lose the funding that keeps them afloat.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 25, 2013 1:38 PM  

Nate is a gurl now. heh!

Some people can only see what they can touch, that has nothing to do about Nate and his new dress, by the way I like his new dress and those shoes go well and no it doesn't make you look fat.

Anonymous Ferd September 25, 2013 2:14 PM  

I wondered if you would pick this up on the blog. PS is so in the toilet for all the insane "theories" as fact. And they regularly have their fresh new vibrant scientists will save the world articles. Can't have any dissent now as it will spoil the science.

Too bad, it was a good magazine,,,once.

Anonymous Molon Rouge September 25, 2013 2:25 PM  

Popular Propaganda is a new magazine devoted to the wonderful "Science" that allows all scientists to achieve great breakthroughs in lucrative grant-writing.

and

"Time flies like an arrow."

I am not sure there is time. It is an illusion. And anyway an arrow flies on a parabolic course.

Anonymous ericcs September 25, 2013 5:05 PM  

PS reflects the inward-directed society that is now firmly in place. They long ago forgot about any true mission/application of the scientific paradigm, and have thus helped abdicate the future for all of us. Now "The Future" is a vast disappointment. No expansion, no new frontiers, everyone retreating into their own little mindless fantasy world aided and abetted by shiny boxes, and a miserable welfare society with the almighty State extending its reach over all. There is nothing even close to the bright worlds envisioned by creative, confident futurist writers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In addition to the leftists, do you know who helped cement this in place? Brilliant nobodies, infesting places like Silicon Valley, able to handle thousands of detailed trees and bushes all at once, but absolutely unable upon pain of death to ever describe what kind of forest they're in or where it's located (I know because I worked with these people for 30 years). Don't ever depend on any of them for a viable future. As to what we're leaving for later generations, it will take a revolution, probably extremely violent, to ever escape from the dystopic excuse for a civilization into which we have devolved.

Anonymous George of the Vibrant Jungle September 25, 2013 5:08 PM  

Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana.

So what?

Blogger hadley September 25, 2013 5:13 PM  

So why do we care?

Write a plugin for your browser that goes directly to a common bulletin board system that does nothing more than host comments.

When you go to their website your PC checks to see if there is a global comment thread for that webpage, and if so it adds a link taking you to the global comment thread.

Let PopSci get out of the comment management business and concentrate on content.

Anonymous hardscrabble farmer September 25, 2013 5:57 PM  

Do spambots employ magic to defeat the posting requirements of Popular Science? My guess is that they use some type of system based on SCIENCE to get by the gates, perhaps some of the uber scientists over there (who have proved both evolution and global waming as scientific fact) could develop a- oh, I don't know, spambot protection?

These guys aren't exactly inspiring confidence in their science.

Blogger tz September 25, 2013 6:04 PM  

A mathematical proof that 1+1=2 is very difficult, yes. But it's also unnecessary. The average person can prove that 1+1=2 two with a box of matches.

Must be safety matches, but people that play with fire... and we don't let some have matches.

But what if one is nonplussed?

That's not necessary Vox has proved it. If someone take on TZ's name and starts spouting atheism or dumb comments I will know it is not him.

Oh, I've had my share of dumb comments. And I can argue for Atheism. But I doubt a fake can do so with my style.

Side note - NIST had this stupid, slow, inefficient EC random number generator someone found a way to backdoor, but who would be stupid enough to use it? A: RSA in it's "B-Safe" library.

(RSA proved itself evil in the crypto wars in the1990's).

The problem is its not possible to have a real honest debate on anything anymore...

It is not merely possible but easy. But you need real and honest debaters. Here is one place it occurs daily.

@James Dixon September 25, 2013 9:45 AM

> Not difficult, impossible.

My understanding was that it had been done. I may have misunderstood, of course.


It was Bertrand Russel, and he was shocked and dismayed it required a fairly thick book to prove it, not a few pages.

Blogger tz September 25, 2013 6:16 PM  

How can we state axioms that will put the integers on a more secure foundation,

We cant until some RATIONAL person gets REAL about the COMPLEXity.

All it will take is one negative radical.

Nate September 25, 2013 12:39 PM

I want to be a woman.


A lobotomy is probably more indicated in any case than a bilateral orchiectomy.

None of your posts actually rise to the level of scientific dialectic, they are purely rhetorical moves designed to undermine the scientists' rhetoric, who either by stupidity or malice obfuscate the difference between rhetoric and dialectic.

Whether something is rhetoric or dialectic does not depend on the direction or the conclusion, or whether you agree with either.

Ciaran September 25, 2013 1:32 PM

I am a scientist and engineer who generally agrees with the "scientific consensus" on evolution and global warming. Scientific hypotheses are never perfect, but they are almost always superior in predictive power to all other explanations.


Then you are either ignorant or a bad scientist or engineer. Those two either have NO predictive power or negative - they predict what doesn't happen. I've you've recently designed any bridges, please give the GPS coordinates so I can avoid them.

Evolution did not predict or prevent the very serious antibiotic resistance. The climate models are beneath contempt.

"Time flies like an arrow."

I am not sure there is time. It is an illusion. And anyway an arrow flies on a parabolic course.


I don't think the TSA allows arrows on planes, even when you need to do vectors. The GRADuates will DIVide and CURL up at the suggestion.

Anonymous MendoScot September 25, 2013 7:51 PM  

Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana.

So what?


Sew that.

Anonymous Anonagain September 25, 2013 11:27 PM  

Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana.

So what?

Sew that.


Never mind them. It was cute. Brings back memories of biology lab. Invariably, someone would not use enough ether on the little buggers and they'd escape and we'd have to live with fruit flies flying around us for a while.

Anonymous Anonymous September 25, 2013 11:55 PM  

An actual scientist is someone interested in truth. As such, they actually welcome people questioning and attempting to disprove them, because it would be a win-win situation. Either the person won't be able to disprove them, in which case they would be proven right, or else the person would be able to disprove them, in which case they would have learned something new and interesting about the universe.

Those who demand what they say be accepted (generally without proof, or with a very poor quality of proof) and never questioned are not very scientific, and generally have ulterior motives.

Anonymous Anonymous September 25, 2013 11:55 PM  

An actual scientist is someone interested in truth. As such, they actually welcome people questioning and attempting to disprove them, because it would be a win-win situation. Either the person won't be able to disprove them, in which case they would be proven right, or else the person would be able to disprove them, in which case they would have learned something new and interesting about the universe.

Those who demand what they say be accepted (generally without proof, or with a very poor quality of proof) and never questioned are not very scientific, and generally have ulterior motives.

Blogger Ciaran September 26, 2013 7:34 AM  

@TZ,

Then you are either ignorant or a bad scientist or engineer. Those two either have NO predictive power or negative - they predict what doesn't happen.

Empty criticism is for fools. Show me hypothesis that consistently predict observations better than those two, or shut up. I've read lots of criticism of both evolution and global warming, but none had any intellectual content. It's not enough to point out holes - you have to provide an alternative explanation that works better.

And actually, I'm a fairly good scientist but an excellent engineer. All my designs work brilliantly and reliably. The scientific method works for me every time. It's not an object of faith nor a doctrine, but as a tool for getting things done and solving problems in the physical world it's unparalleled.

Anonymous BillB September 26, 2013 9:58 AM  

Interestingly, in this same vein, Molina found that no scientist believed his claims about R-12 and the ozone hole. So ... he enlisted Hollywood by convincing those brainiacs to help him to convince Congress and the people. It was only after he used public opinion to "prove his science" that the "scientists" and Congress began the move to rid us of that terrible R-12. It did not hurt that a certain producer and earlier patent holder pushed for the ban. I still retain a copy of an interview with Molina wherein he makes these statements.

The science never held up about R-12 destroying ozone. First ozone molecules last merely nanoseconds before they self-destruct.

The ozone hole is a natural effect of the rotation of the planet and the movement of the planet around the sun since ozone is not produced in Antarctica during their winter. No sunlight, no ozone. The ozone levels fluctuate in a sine wave pattern with highs in late Antarctic summer/fall and lows in Antarctic winter/spring with a wavelength roughly one year long.

Once more we see the science fetishists running from the great unwashed who might just understand what's going on better than the educated.

And here is the main point I taught in university Chem courses for more than 3 decades:

Why is the density of water 1? Because we said so.

So why is the sky blue and not deep red? Simply because we said so. It could be deep red if we simply defined what we call blue as deep red.

Why do 1+1 = 2? Because we defined the symbols 1 and 2 to represent specific observations. We said so.

Scientific research depends on grants and grants expect certain results and "scientists" for at least the past 40 years have been tweeking their data to meet those expectations. If you don't get the results the funders want, you don't get refunded. I watched these things happen with many of my colleagues. Data was thrown out because it didn't fit the hypothesis. Peer review is the most bogus of all. The reviewer usually knows the reviewee and seldom do science buds ever poop on each other's parades. I did convince one journal to have double blind reviews where the identity of the authors was kept from the reviewer in order to remove the bias of "he's my friend and ALWAYS does good research."

There was a time, maybe in the 60s but probably earlier, when scientists still believed science was the search for truth. For some of us, the search is still on. For most is is about publish or perish.

Anonymous Anonymous September 26, 2013 11:09 PM  

BillB wrote: **Why is the density of water 1? Because we said so.

So why is the sky blue and not deep red? Simply because we said so. It could be deep red if we simply defined what we call blue as deep red.**

Nevertheless, water does have a particular density, which does not change relative to the density of other liquids, such as alcohol or mercury. Whether we choose to call that density '1', '2' or '10' may be arbitrary, but the actual density of water, and how it compares to other liquids is not arbitrary. Ditto for the sky, the light coming from the sky has a particular frequency that falls on a particular place on the spectrum. Whether we choose to term the color of that frequency as 'blue', 'red', or 'super-saturn' may be arbitrary, but the frequency itself is not.

Anonymous Anonymous September 26, 2013 11:10 PM  

BillB wrote: **Why is the density of water 1? Because we said so.

So why is the sky blue and not deep red? Simply because we said so. It could be deep red if we simply defined what we call blue as deep red.**

Nevertheless, water does have a particular density, which does not change relative to the density of other liquids, such as alcohol or mercury. Whether we choose to call that density '1', '2' or '10' may be arbitrary, but the actual density of water, and how it compares to other liquids is not arbitrary. Ditto for the sky, the light coming from the sky has a particular frequency that falls on a particular place on the spectrum. Whether we choose to term the color of that frequency as 'blue', 'red', or 'super-saturn' may be arbitrary, but the frequency itself is not.

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