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The Engineer
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How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/04/2009 10:16 AM

"Politeness is the most acceptable hypocrisy" -Ambrose Bierce

For years Scientists have complained about a diminished interest in Science among today's youth. Is it any wonder? Scientists have been marginalized, seen their funding cut year after year, and seen their work tarnished with accusations of impropriety and bias.

Even the prestigious organizations are not above this ridicule, NASA, National Laboratories, and Science Organizations as well as UN backed research all have come under fire as having "an agenda".

How do we as Scientists combat what is essentially a smear campaign to undermine confidence in science? Facts are created out of thin air and confidently presented as counterarguments to peer reviewed papers. Do we discredit every fact as they are created? Is such an approach practical?

For years that has been the approach used and every year things get worse for Science.

Everyone one knows the saying that to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results is insane. So why are we doing it.

I think Scientists need to start confronting the individuals who perpetuate these misconceptions and falsehoods, rather than the falsehoods themselves.

What do you think, I know there are many who feel that is not an appropriate response. Let's debate it.

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#1

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/04/2009 10:17 AM

Personally I like to think outside of the box, so I hit them with the carrot. It's very disconcerting.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/04/2009 11:04 AM

PMSL..
I was about to write a funny reply...but there is no way I can beat yours (except maybe with a stick of celery)
Del

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#3
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/04/2009 11:18 AM

I've never been one to forswear the blindingly obvious, but have you tried feeding them the stick? Or would it worry you if they choked?

As regards the serious aspect, I'm not sure that as a community we keep on at the rational attack consistently and long enough. If that is the problem, the reason is quite straightforward - after a while we feel the need to get back and do some real work, and that is both absorbing and extremely time-consuming.

In that respect, politicians and campaigners have every advantage over us - their whole lives are dedicated to pushing their viewpoint using every weapon available - legitimate or otherwise. Which brings me to the other problem - the only weapon scientists have is credibility; therefore many of the tools used by professional persuaders are unsuitable for our purpose.

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#5
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/04/2009 11:41 AM

That's true. So should we just give up? It's tempting, but if I use history as a guide, that never ends well.

I think part of our jobs as Scientists are to educate the public. We do have organizations that represent us, but they make no real effort to engage the public (when was the last time you've seen an advertisement on tv by the American Physical Society?).

Lets think on this a second. APS collects millions and millions in dues and fees. How much do they spend on raising public awareness? I'm not talking about investing in education, I mean going after the General Public's hearts and minds. Shouldn't this be part of every scientific organizations budget? Wouldn't this be helpful?

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#7
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/04/2009 12:17 PM

It's a big problem. Is the big problem just lack of funding, is it that we really don't know how to go about this, or is it that it is not possible to engage properly unless you first have a better-equipped public?
[Clearly, scientists are not as a group good at communicating with non-practitioners, though there are individuals who engage very well*, and some are practising scientists in other respects. One possible issue is that many of these communicators tend to be personally quite individualistic, which gives yet another distortion to the overall view of scientists ("do I want to be like that?").]

On the ther hand, we engage public relations people at our peril.

In my unhumble opinion, the place to start is primary school (ages 5-to-11), it has to be fun, and it has to be scientifically structured. This will take a great deal of time, training and money - totally beyond the resources of the scientific institutions (even if physics, chemistry, and engineering all got together). It needs political will - so (aargh) engagement in the political arena may be essential.

*Two who spring to mind in the UK are Adam Hart-Davis and David Attenborough. Both do an excellent job with the material. (And, yes, I for one wouldn't mind being a bit more like David Attanborough was at my age). You may notice that how these people communicate is not really scientific, though these particular two have it as a sub-text. Maybe that is necessary limitation for open fora? On the other hand, there are others who spout that I feel don't contribute all that positively - either because their prejudices apparently exceed their explanations, or because they can be so aggressive in discussion.

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#8
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/04/2009 1:23 PM

I disagree that the place to start is in the Primary Schools.

The problem is you can say anything you want to kids, but eventually they go home to their parents, who are by far the biggest influence on them. If their parents have a negative view of science, how can we possibly hope that somehow their children will not?

There have been initiatives towards children for years with little changes (at least in my opinion). How many times are we going to do the same things over and over again and get the same results?

There is a large segment of society that doesn't trust scientists. Think about that for a second. That's a serious issue. It worries me.

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#13
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/04/2009 5:39 PM

No, I don;t think it's really been tried - at least not as I would recognise it. And you certainly don't have to tell them it's science. The purpose is that they have the opportunity to examine the world and to think for themselves.

At which point I don't care whether they initially trust scientists*, as they will be able to look at the relevant data for themselves and draw their own conclusions - not on each case, perhaps, but at least as to what is reliable
*Having seen a lot of shoddy and even downright dishonest work, until I have a measure of their work, I don't. So why should anyone else.

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#15
In reply to #13

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/04/2009 7:26 PM

To be clear, I'm not suggesting they believe individual Scientists. All I want is if NASA, APS and ACS all say the same thing about something, officially, then they should believe it.

Can we discuss the parents for a moment? Because I feel this is important. How can we expect to teach children the scientific method if it isn't valued in their homes?

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#51
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/05/2009 5:55 AM

Re: Parents' influence and developing a scientific method
I believe that many (perhaps even most) people will automatically develop significant parts of the scientific method for themselves if they are exposed to a suitable environment at the right time (this in spite of the fact that I'm not in other respects a close follower of Piaget). And there is plenty of time in a school day if you don't feel the need to waste time in other ways.
I also believe that reinforcement from the home is not necessary. But two other things are: first, a sufficiently consistent structure that the children can feel safe with the behaviour patterns that they develop; and second that the ideas they acquire in school are not systematically undermined.
So what am I saying? Children from dysfunctional families have little chance of developing, so the onus there is not especially on scientists; and that where parents have a fear of scientists, the policy of not-calling-it-science will allow the children to develop naturally.

On the aspect of adults trusting scientists when they declare a proper concensus - I fear that I have no idea whatsoever. I think part of the problem is that if we are to use the media we are stuck with a kind of incompatibility - if you want to inspire people using short time-slots, the type of presentation you need will make you look "different" - and people seldom trust those who look too different to themselves*. This is possibly why some biologists make good scientific spokespeople - they can readily hide in the background and use the animals and the words themselves to provide the inspiration. [In other areas of science, I think that the best inspiration comes from doing it yourself]

*(Hence perhaps the chameleon-like aspects of many politicians?)

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#24
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/04/2009 11:29 PM

Quoting Roger Pink: "That's true" (Am I out of context here. Perhaps.)

What is science but the truth and the process whereby we verify it?

There are those that would have us believe their truth in spite of their inability to verify it beyond their exhortation to "have faith" or "study our writings". Repeated often enough it seems to gain substance. But all too often their truth, which may well comfort us, is little more than an element of an overarching business model that provides a source for their groceries or a personal ego boost.

Seek the real truth and defend it as best you can when you find it; lest you join the sheep who lack the courage of their convictions.

Preservation of the truth may well be the greatest legacy you can leave for future generations. Remember that what you do for yourself is simply body maintenance and self improvement. What you do for others is what counts.

Ed Weldon

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#4

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/04/2009 11:37 AM

Science does have an agenda - to get to the truth.

If that truth is inconvenient for those with ulterior motives then so be it. Delusions and superstitions do not stand the test of time, only the truth does.

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#6
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/04/2009 11:44 AM

I agree, but when rumor is left unchecked it can be mistaken for fact. And though I agree with you that eventually these superstitions and delusions fall away, they can hinder progress considerably.

I think as Scientists we need to actively combat these tactics with a public relations initiative.

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#9
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/04/2009 2:17 PM

Agreed. This reminds me of the 'Evolution is just a theory' meme that has been going around. People who say this obviously know little of science and nothing of the scientific method. They conflate the colloquial meaning of theory with the scientific one in order to confuse the public into believing that creationism should be taught in science class. Yet it was rare to hear anyone retort "Evolution is a theory but creationism is just a superstition."

So, yes, scientists do need to fight back and I think the internet in general and blogs like this one in particular make a great forum for 'em.

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#10
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/04/2009 3:26 PM

Great example about the whole "Evolution is just a theory" point. That's exactly right.

I think at the end of the day, Scientists can just throw up their hands and be victimized, or they can fight back. I'm just afraid that they don't have the stomach for fighting back against a culture of misinformation.

It reminds me of the whole, "everyone believes in civil rights" but "nobody wants to fight for civil rights" thing. In other words, I think every scientist believes in science, but most don't want to fight for it.

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#180
In reply to #9

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/10/2009 1:12 AM

Note how one of the superstitious mob put in a vote against this one. It is exactly how they work and is the root of the problem. Yet they happily accept the longer healthier lives brought about by science, scientists, engineers and inventers.

My new tack is to ask if natural selection didn't cause the antibiotic resistant bugs, then what gives them and their god the right to create them.

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#21
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/04/2009 11:17 PM

I do agree with you but science has become institutionalized like the church.

There are these accepted notions of the "truth" that anyone who has a different view is marginalized. It has become dogmatic.

And lots of science projects are sponsored by companies and these companies do not want the truth but marketable items.

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#34
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/05/2009 1:47 AM

Epke, how has science become institutionalized like a church?

Surely the best way for a young scientist to make their name is to point out where the existing paradigm is wrong, even better if they can mount a compelling argument.

For example, recently a couple of Australian doctors won over the entire (conservative) medical establishment when they proved stomach ulcers were caused by a bacteria.

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#35
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/05/2009 1:55 AM

But you do admit that the medical establishment is conservative, IMO the Scientific community is the same, resistant to change.

How easy was it for the australlian doctors to won over the de doctors? (Alka Seltzer is not amused)

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#37
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/05/2009 2:04 AM

Yes, it's resistant to change, but it does change. Churches don't change, they already KNOW the TRUTH.

So, where are some example of science acting like a church?

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#41
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/05/2009 2:27 AM

this maybe of interest

http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=xJstX7L8FCsC&printsec=frontcover&dq=science+conspiracies&hl=en#PPA11,M1

http://www.springerlink.com/content/g33p25085x06k222

to a lesser degree

http://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0701/0701308.pdf

i do not have a specific example, but maybe those of stephen hawkings where the scientific community at first were sceptic to his ideas

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#78
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/05/2009 8:21 PM

For example, recently a couple of Australian doctors won over the entire (conservative) medical establishment when they proved stomach ulcers were caused by a bacteria.

And the treatment of bismuth and tetracycline dates to the 1920 when the vets of pig farmers used it to treat American pigs for ulcers. It took until the 1990's for the medical establishment to be proven it worked on humans. I suspect why is that it is more lucrative to treat the symptom than it is to cure the problem.

I remember thinking when it happened, it is about time someone managed to do it.

I have always wondered how many cures the big drug companies found that were commercially not viable due to cheap fixes that would not create the profits of treating the symptoms.

Vet's profits from large ranches are based on a percentage of the profits for the herd. A positive feed back loop. The Medical establishment is based on treating sick people not curing them. In legal terms a perverse incentive.

Brad

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#79
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/05/2009 8:41 PM

Are you kidding?

cures for cancer have been known for years. and one in four north americans will have some form of cancer in their lifetimes... thats billions right there.. and that is just the tip of the iceberg. What you don't know is that the food additive industry is in bed with the pharmaceutical industry, and often the cause and the cure are developed from the same research. The poisons are added to the food..and you pay more for that addictive crap... then when you get sick... you pay again...

Why are we fat; why are we sick.. same questions, same answers... faster food, additives and pharmaceuticals.

and in the evil empire.. this stuff is just one part of the game.. the economic warfare, and actual warfare are ongoing all over the world... Better to ask.. "Why are 'they' trying to kill us?"

Answer: They get control, and our wealth, and it keeps the population down below the explosive limit. Expect it to get worse before it gets better.

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#137
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/08/2009 6:01 AM

Perhaps we could consider the ancient Chinese method, where each patient paid the Doctor while he was well.

Payment stopped when the patient got sick.

If you were physician to the emperor or a high ranking noble, the doctors life ended when his patients did.

Definitely a strong incentive for preventative medicine.

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#139
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/08/2009 3:08 PM

"Perhaps we could consider the ancient Chinese method, where each patient paid the Doctor while he was well."

Sound like an HMO. Another thing the USA Right Wingnuts can blame on the Chinese.

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#151
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/08/2009 9:57 PM

With (last time I checked 10years ago) 300,000 medical malpractice cases a year, the Doctors should be corporal punished. Say public flogging. Unless the patent dies then off to prison to await the injection.

I bet in six months it would drop to 30.

The insurance and drug companies work the bigger cash flow loop. We would somehow need to get them in the incentive program.

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#39
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/05/2009 2:14 AM

"...lots of science projects are sponsored by companies and these companies do not want the truth but marketable items..." - This is how easy it is to confuse between Science and Technology.

1. Science it a mere attempt to understand how nature works.

2. Technology is about utilising this knowledge, to build something useful.

No industrialised or commercial company can gain anything based on false knowledge. On the other hand, they have a lot to gain by the technological abuse of a real, true knowledge, acquired by rational, empirical science.

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#42
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/05/2009 2:36 AM

I agree, but what i mean is, that there other reasons than the "truth" a company would see some tangible results from a science project, I guess the building of the fusion reactor is one, while the scientist probably just thinks of finding out how fusion exactly works those who sponsor it like to commercialize it (or militarize it)

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#11

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/04/2009 3:29 PM

Kudos for your choice.

Very, very important topic. Especially these days.

"...I think Scientists need to start confronting the individuals who perpetuate these misconceptions and falsehoods, rather than the falsehoods themselves..."

Richard Dawkins made it his own crusade, to do just that, and more.

IMHO, one should do their best on both fronts: refute the credibility of the "falsifier", and make a rational point on a theoretical level, if only to seal the argument tight-shut.

We don't have the luxury of idle gestures, in a world going gaga after all kinds of New-Age voodoo and other pseudo-science crap - which becomes a global fad on a daily basis.

Case in point - That infuriating TV show called "Brainiac", which in my opinion is a glorified motivator to ignorance of young fresh and misguided minds - what a waste !

To understand my fury - just watch the show, and see how intellectual aim and intent is becoming a target for ridicule - encouraged by TV producers and silly TV glitz

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#12
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/04/2009 3:32 PM

I would like to see it done at the organizational level. APS, ACS, etc. should be more visible to the general public. More in their face about these issues.

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#14
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/04/2009 5:43 PM

I believe that Richard Dawkins has in many ways done his position a disservice. It's not the fact that he attacks religion that undermines his position on evolution (it's right to say what you believe) but the way he goes about it.

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#16
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/04/2009 7:50 PM

I really don't like when atheists try to tie science to their religon (I'm not speaking of Dawkins, but in general). Don't get me wrong, if someones religon is atheism, that's fine. But I have no interest in fundamentalist atheists who want to convert everyone.

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#17
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/04/2009 10:09 PM

The problems (as I have seen in todays society) is that the athiesm (for the atheists) is the only thing.

The science is not athiesm. You can believe in God/religion/even the cultural practices and still eb a scientist.

Here I feel the question of Stick/carrot doesn't come in. The clash happens when we miss the basics of science

a) Doubt - not only the truth of a fact but also falsehood.

b) Go for the root of the matter and then check the above.

A good scientist has to be a good historian too.

A practice is in vogue for centuries. Why did it come in , for the first place ? Please do not attach religion to it, since most of the religions as I see are philosophies and not religion per se. The embellishments are added to attract the gullibles/ fence sitters. (But that does not mean the religions are false, what I mean is that the religions are a way devised by the philosophers to mould the persons/ behaviour they thought to be the best. And for that reasons, they have to bribe (heaven) of punish (hell).

If I forget the religions, then along it a lot of other factors as we call cultures and traditions have come in. Each have to be studied and the history of origin disseminated and then truth/ false /relevance in today's context to be verified.

In fact I sometimes try to just find and you will get a lot of interesting insights into these. A lot of the rituals have crept into religion but had other deeper significance.

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#20
In reply to #17

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/04/2009 11:04 PM

You Wrote:"The problems (as I have seen in todays society) is that the athiesm (for the atheists) is the only thing."

What else is new. Every religon has a fundamentalist wing, why should atheists be any different?

I know a guy, nicest guy in the world. Very hard working,German, is a vegitarian and an atheist (and no he's not Hitler, he really is a nice guy). This guy simply has his set of beliefs and honors everyone elses right to have a belief. So there are good, tolerant atheists just like their are good memebers of all religons.

As for history, I know a ton. Would have been an archeologist if I didn't hear the call to Physics. One thing I know for sure is that when it comes to religon, that is each persons personal journey and there is no proof in this life as to what to expect in the next (if there is one).

Here's what I wish. I hope when I die there's a God, and he answers all my questions. Then gives me a whole bunch of new questions to work on.

A guy can dream.

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#36
In reply to #14

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/05/2009 1:59 AM

It would be hypocrisy to ignore the sad fact that both religion and science are an on-going attempt to describe the material, carnal nature of reality.

But tell me this:

1. Why is it that they cannot agree ? - The real reason, not the lip-service one

2. Which of the two has taken a step outside it's realm of foundation ?

3. Does science try to describe spiritual ?

4. Does religion try to describe the material ?

6. Which is better equipped, for which attempt ?

- - - -

Science does not need faith to describe the material, physical world - it has a clock and a ruler for that, and math to portray, and honesty to measure.

Religion does not need those to describe the unmeasurable, the sublime, the divine world - it has faith. It deals with morals, not particle interaction or gene evolution, definitely not on molecular level.

In my humble opinion, there is a basic dishonesty, in the attempt to put the two in equal judgement, as to their attempt to describe the measurable concrete reality, because one of the two is clearly out of it's realm - being ill-equipped in both methodology and intent.

Which of the two, do you think it is ? - Tell it to yourself, not to me.

I know where I stand on this.

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#97
In reply to #36

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/06/2009 11:39 AM

The reason is; that while the original drive towards religion may have been man's desire to "describe the material carnal nature of reality.", it has been thwarted by people's need to have something tangible to believe in; and this manifests itself in the behaviour of literal interpretation of the religious books (pick one) as the word of the almighty Gawd. At this point, those followers become technically insane, and there will be no resolution of anything with any one, ever.. probably not even with God, for how would they recognize God, or any divine being not in the book. It becomes a religious addiction.

They have missed the point. The fact that they have been given a thinking device is lost on them. They expect God to solve all their problems. Imagine if scientists began worshipping the words of [pick one] Bacon as Divinely inspired, and even if it had to be translated from olde englishe, into 36 languages, each interpretation would still be divine...

At least scientists still believe that our knowledge of nature can evolve, and that we may never have a perfect understanding of the All.

I agree that at this point, science and religion merge... It should be 'the evolution of ideas' as the basis of continuous progress toward the eternal pinnacle of understanding. Religions resist the idea of evolution, and yet accept the fact that they must work to recruit new members, and thereby improve the human condition.

Chris

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#99
In reply to #97

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/06/2009 12:19 PM

"...Imagine if scientists began worshipping the words of [pick one] Bacon as Divinely inspired, and even if it had to be translated from olde englishe, into 36 languages, each interpretation would still be divine..." - A latent reference to Wikipedia ?

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#129
In reply to #97

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/07/2009 11:36 PM

Hello chrisq288,

Please explain the beginning again...

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#131
In reply to #129

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/08/2009 1:43 AM

Any philosophical position or attitude which does not allow for any change of understanding is a dead end, because the universe, and presumably any divine being (aka God) is infinite, and can never be totally understood. It is inherent in the nature of infinity. A reasonable definition of God is: Infinite Love, Infinite Intelligence, and Infinite Life.

If the bible (or other religious source book) is taken as absolute, and every article of discussion is a quote from the bible, then no progress or change of understanding is possible. no infinity.. just a dead end. I know people like this.. it is sad and very limited.

Chris

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#140
In reply to #131

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/08/2009 3:23 PM

Unfortunate, I find no description of and end in the bible other than infinity and there are absolutes written in the bible, total understanding of God isn't expected though recognition is. Legalism is the bane of true expression.

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#332
In reply to #140

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/15/2009 7:30 PM

Here is an example of people addicted to literal interpretation of the bible.

Chris

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#344
In reply to #332

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/16/2009 1:39 PM

One wonders where the PhD came from. I cannot fathom how the Coriolis acceleration can be explained on a motionless earth.

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#347
In reply to #344

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/16/2009 2:17 PM

That is easy.. The underworld is causing it, and its an evil force.

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#18

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/04/2009 10:16 PM

Stevem says: science does have an agenda: to get to the truth.

Science also has failsafes against falsehoods: peer review, replicability. Science is about critical review.

Public relations, to deal with "smear campaigns" or propaganda, would do well to start with transparency about the agenda, methods, and failsafes of Science. We have to be honest and clear in drawing the line between scientific certainty, and personal certainty or generally held beliefs.

We also have to be willing to subject our methods and failsafes to critical assessment. Are they good enough? Is there room for improvement? What are the weaknesses - are there specific branches of science that need attention, and why? How long does it take to expose a fraud, or a corporate/political 'intervention', and how much damage is done in the meantime?

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#23
In reply to #18

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot?

03/04/2009 11:26 PM

The most important failsafe in science is 'falsifiabiality' , ie. You can disprove a scientific tenet, hypothesis, theory or even a law with a single experimental result. All it takes is one and the whole thing goes out the window. Copernicus/Galileo and the Church fought this battle, guess who won?

You cannot possibly disprove Creationism or any superstition that relies on the 'God did it' rationale as false. It's just not an option.

You can easily disprove a scientific 'theory'. That is the difference.

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#19

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/04/2009 10:21 PM

The problem is scientists do have an agenda, and it isn't always the truth. It is the same agenda everyone has, and that is making a living. When the source of that living is gov't funding, as it is for too much science, then politics drives the science and only the most naive trust politically-driven science - hello global climate change.

Further compounding the problem, you have industry-funded science, that when it clashes with gov't-funded science, is accused of being in it just for the money. Which is true enough, but it is the pot calling the kettle black.

We have separation of church and state; we must have separation of science and state as well, and for precisely the same reason: Power corrupts.

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#22
In reply to #19

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/04/2009 11:20 PM

See, this is what I''m talking about.

So what do we do about emc_c? Do we:

A) Try to explain the funding process, how everyone agreeing about something actually loses scientists money? How private industry can fund much more than the government giving them an advantage over government in imposing bias if they find a few confused or unscrupulous scientists.

B) Explain to him if he knew any history at all that he would know that the second a country turns it back on funding science (separate science and state) it loses it's power and becomes a 2nd rate power (Anyone from 20th century Turkey or China feel free to chime in now)

C) Tell him the truth of what we think of him? How most of you would never engage him in a debate because he is "a biased fool who has no interest nor the ability to engage in intelligent debate". That's what they think of you emc_c. Sure, they never tell you to your face and some don't even admit it to themselves, but thats what they think. You know what's ironic? I want to actually stop you from looking foolish. Funny isn't it? You know what the best part is? You don't believe a word of any of this, and I telling you the truth. See how hopeless it all is?

D) Ignore him. By engaging him we only encourage him.

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#27
In reply to #22

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/04/2009 11:51 PM

In turn:

A) If the gov't only funded DoD-related science, an unfortunate but entirely necessary function of gov't, that would free up a lot of money that would be available in the private sector to pursue research that actually has the potential to improve people's lives, as opposed to gov't-funded science that results in global climate change scares and cap & trade taxes that suck the life right out of an economy for no good reason except increasing the size and power of gov't.

B) What a total load of Pelosi! Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower: "Four things won the Second World War—the bazooka, the Jeep, the atom bomb, and the C–47 Gooney Bird." At least two of those - the jeep and the Gooney Bird, had a commercial pedigree, and were adopted for use by the US Army. The USA became the pre-eminent power in the world after WWII, but technologically it was well on its way before that, due to men like Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and legions of others of the same ilk; none of whom had gov't funding. In fact, one could make a good case that men like Edison and Ford wouldn't make it today - too many regulatory roadblocks in the way. A country needs to fund science alright; but it does so by leaving the private sector alone as much as possible, which includes minimal or no taxation of corporations so that they can reap the profits of the inherently risky research.

C) Re this: " Tell him the truth of what we think of him? How most of you would never engage him in a debate because he is "a biased fool who has no interest nor the ability to engage in intelligent debate". That's what they think of you emc_c. Sure, they never tell you to your face and some don't even admit it to themselves, but thats what they think..."

I don't know who the "we" and the "they" are, but I don't really care. And I don't care a whit what you think of me - I don't write for fools - I write for the readers to give them an alternative viewpoint to the statist poison you are spewing. Let the readers decide for themselves.

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#29
In reply to #27

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/05/2009 12:41 AM

Seriously, how in the world do you think you're rambling paranoid conspiracy theories constitute a debate? You have no real facts backing up what your saying. You disregard all the major scientific organizations, then bring up some nonsense about WWII.

Let me tell you a little secret you emc_c. We became the preminent power after WWII because we had Nukes. If if wasn't for the Manhatten project, you'd be speaking Russian right now, because I promise you if we had turned our backs on Science, the Russians would have scooped up all those nazi expatriots and developed the bomb first. Now how about a world with Joseph Stalin with the only nukes on the planet. Sound like fun?

As for our "Economic Might", despite what you might thing, Americans aren't special, we're lucky. After world war II, Europe, our chief economic rival at the time, was destroyed. Everything they needed, we built the first ten years. We had no competition. None. Our infrastructure, our resources and cities were untouched during the war. We had no rebuilding to do and a massive industry created for the war that could now supply the world while our competition went communist or rebuilt. We took all their gold and sold them steel and food and everything else they needed. By the time they recovered it was too late, they had become dependent on us for goods and needed our protection against the Russians.

You don't know what you're talking about. You go through life with this idea of how the world works that is completely wrong. The tragedy about people like yourself is you'll never know how wrong you've got things.

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#46
In reply to #29

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/05/2009 3:31 AM

We're back to the basic neo conservative vs progressive arguments

emc c is pro free & un-fettered markets, also supporting the notion that any sort of organized collective action is inefficent & wrong.

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#58
In reply to #29

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/05/2009 9:06 AM

I want to thank the CR4 contributors who responded positively to my posts and pointed out the shrill ad hominem nature of Mr. Pink's attacks. You all made my points for me, and my job here is done! Again, thanks!

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#59
In reply to #58

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/05/2009 10:44 AM

"Ad Hominem Attack" That's from your handbook, right?

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#62
In reply to #59

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/05/2009 11:25 AM

Gentlemen

Please do not pollute the atmosphere of the forum.

This forum is not meant for personalised attacks between members. If any body has a personal grudge there are better ways to do that rather than wasting times of others in seeing your post. Use the e-mail service.

I would have expected some civility from the members who call them educated. As i have pointed out long back in some other thread, todays youngsters have somehow lost the basics that make the human society: Civility, concern towards others and not hurting others.

Must be the net culture where people simply sit in front of the screen and are totally oblivious of the real life. Grow up, that is the advice from somebody who has seen much more of the life than you have. Do not personalise the arguments, even when you feel you are right. The other person also feels so and from his perspective he is equally right and you are wrong.

Let us learn to take criticism in our stride and assume the cricism is not of the person but of the argument.

Is it not possible that we go back to the thread ?

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#63
In reply to #62

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/05/2009 11:48 AM

Every frickin time that Science and Pseudo-Science or Religion are mentioned on the same thread, a little spark goes flaming.

Some threads are simply like that.

We're lucky we can still debate such issues.

In some countries, it's still a far-fetch dream.

I think we should all be thankful for that, and not at all take it for granted

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#66
In reply to #62

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/05/2009 11:56 AM

Rodger asked the question

Emc c took a shot

Rodger responded

all part of the give & take of CR4....

The roles of public & private entities, should be part of this discussion.

Just like everything else there needs to be balance

Pure science doesn't pay the bills in the short term.

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#65
In reply to #59

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/05/2009 11:52 AM

OK. What are we trying to do here? Spar? Fight? Find answers?

Yup....... Just what I expected.......All of the above.

Ed Weldon

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#33
In reply to #27

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/05/2009 1:14 AM

Best way to avoid an unnecessary argument is to

a) ignore.

b) Avoid with strangers (or are you not ?)

The way personalised attacks are on - was there any misunderstanding in other thread that i missed ?

I love fights (when I am not a party to it)

Are we missing something here ?

We have the following aspects

a) Gov or state

b) Scientists including educational system - research on theoritical sciences.

c) Religion (or absence of it)

d) Technologists

e) Industry

f) general public.

As per my opinion (stressed for emphasis)

First of all the (c) should be totally isolated from all as far as science is concerned.

(e) funds the (d) and more often than not fools (f) and that can not be avoided and hence we should not bother about it. However (a) should exercise some control over (e) to see that the fooling around is not too much

(e) also funds (b) but is not much significant.

Funding of (b) in our area are mstly by (a) and if it is not done the results of (s) dries up and you import the persons from other place - I think that is what is going on, with due regards, at your place. You are expecting (e) to fund (b) but (b) either does something that do not have a $ return or will be at a much later time for which (e) can not wait.

So it falls down for basically (a) to ensure (b). And (a) through (b) or without it may educate (f), The $ for (b) can always be grabbed from (e)

The dependence of the Industry to fund science is as I feel the bane of the current stage of society.

have we really understood the natural laws - No. Are we trying to ? a bit may be but not enough.

Why ? because the amount of understanding a few decades back is yet to be fully commersially exploited. How many of the products you see in life (as well as in latest gizmos) have a real latest science ? It is the science of at least 50 years back.

From the time semiconductor effect was discovered, within a few years the transistors were in market , after that it is only smaller and faster.

tell me a single product whose technology is from a 20 years old pure science. Am I asking for much ?

Reason ? obvious , all the pure science discovery has taken place when state has sponsored the sciences.

Now we expect industry to, but they have their own agenda. And that one is rightly so.

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#93
In reply to #33

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/06/2009 10:37 AM

"... all the pure science discovery has taken place when state has sponsored the sciences."

Bell Labs was sponsored by the state?

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#96
In reply to #93

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/06/2009 11:28 AM

a) Do you want me to count number of inventions done by state sponsor (or self sponsored)

b) I think I have heard something called exceptions prove the rule.

c) Check back the history of the inventions carried out at bell labs (including that of transistor, if you mean that)- and the conditions unde which it was invented or understood and modified.

Others are much simpler for me to argue upon.

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#102
In reply to #93

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/06/2009 12:52 PM

quoting esbuck: "Bell Labs was sponsored by the state?"

One could say so with a bit of a stretch. As a component of a regulated public utility, Bell Telephone Company, Bell Labs' financial support was from a money conduit with inline valves directly controlled, at least in its final years, by state governments.

This is not to say that there aren't other examples such as some of the larger private universities, major corporations, foundations, etc. to support your point.

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#104
In reply to #33

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/06/2009 2:12 PM

"tell me a single product whose technology is from a 20 years old pure science. Am I asking for much ?"

How about Plasma screen TV or color LCD monitors?

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#115
In reply to #104

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/06/2009 11:08 PM

When was LCD invented. One of teh 2nd Gen calcs if I am not wrong I had an old FX80 of casio (in 1980 or before) had it.

The pure science is the LCD, how are you using, changing the material, better material are all applied science.

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#118
In reply to #115

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/06/2009 11:20 PM

I think that it isn't 'applied science', unless you consider material science not a pure science. I think that the process of material formulation when it comes to color LCD's is an area where you would definitely use the scientific method to determine the exact characteristics and properties of materials to subsequently be able to be applied to the product.. This becomes especially true if the chemistry aspects are being modelled prior to actually being able to produce the material.

but maybe you shoudl define what you mean by pure science?

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#120
In reply to #118

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/07/2009 2:03 AM

The propert discovered say the LCD , piezo or even the penicilin is a pure science and in crude terms the generic drugs are applied.

Now how many (recently as far as i know nano-tech in physics is i consider the pure - somebody - got to google and then why? found that at nano scale a la homeopathy, particles behave entirely differently. Once you know it, then it is simple, then you grind every thing (or mince it) to nano size and see what has what changes.

Same with LCD, the person who saw the effect on liquid crystals due to applied voltage is the original, once one knows a thing like this exist, then it becomes a rat race, everybody experiments as finds a new compound with that effect.

Seeing that material behaves a non-zero temp as super conductor was almost a pure (o will call almost, since the pure was knowing that super conductors exist), then you start experimenting and try to get a new one at a higher temp.

The pure sciences are the quantum jumps as we call in the Quality as breakthrough. The other portion is the Kaizen

I am sorry the nano-tech also is more than 20 years and is by the surely you are joking man in 1959 and actually expanded by an epke's current countryman.

Again try to look (totally away from the OPs intent) - where are the real research going on , and the more important of these are the abstract theoritical researches and not the application oriented.

This I have been seeing is missing in most of the parts. We know that there are some sources of energy Coal, oil, solar, wind, ...

Is there a totally unknown one ? Who is doing a research on that aspect ?

We concentrate on how to use coal more efficiently, how to increase the solar panel efficiency - Amorphous Si, Vs GaAs, change the crystal of GaAs and see what happens, use some ceramics etc.

But turning point (or break through) cme when somebody saw the electron jump across bands under influence of light, and understood why.

rest is only modifier. No nouns anymore .

Too long talk

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#40
In reply to #22

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/05/2009 2:26 AM

Roger Pink,

I was enjoying this thread immensely until your somewhat vituperative attack on the person of emc_c. That you disagree with him is perfectly acceptable, but methinks the response a bit unnecessary. I must have missed something that you saw clearly in his post.

emc_c - please not to be discouraged, I enjoy your input immensely.

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#43
In reply to #22

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/05/2009 2:37 AM

Roger Pink,

You wrote in your initial post "Let's debate it". emc_c has a different point of view and you then launch into a rant about emc_c - If emc_c had the same point of view as yourself then you could hardly have a debate. Perhaps your idea of a debate is that everyone agrees with you.

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#48
In reply to #43

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/05/2009 4:44 AM

Shhhh! turn down the contrast, a little more almost just a bit Ahhhhhhh that's a nice medium gray ohhhh yeah can't we just get a long

I miss that little old lady saying, Where's the beef!

I agree they all locked elbows at the thought of debate because atmospheric CO2 content is about 41 hundredths of one percent and it is mere assumption CO2 increase is a man's responsibility.

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#52
In reply to #48

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/05/2009 6:16 AM

bwire,

perhaps, like roger pink, you are only interested in mass-debating .

Just imagine how boring it would be if we all got along.

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#68
In reply to #52

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/05/2009 2:23 PM

I wasn't able to pull it off eh? No I don't endure the Baboon style debate well.

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#70
In reply to #43

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/05/2009 3:31 PM

The debate that I sought to start was how to educate the general public that science isn't biased, or at least if tens of 1000s of scientists agree on something, it's probably right.

He tried to change it into a debate about whether or not science has a bias and thus it's results can't be trusted.

So yes, I responded harshly, because he completely ignored my post and tried to hijack my thread. And lets face it, he succeeded.

And now you're trying to lecture me on how I am rude and I only want everyone to agree with me.

I'm out of these discussions for now. This is going no where, and people have complained to the CR4 Editors about my posts and I have been warned. As I don't want to get banned or otherwise restricted on this site, I'm bowing out of all of these discussions.

I'll see you guys around CR4.

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#71
In reply to #70

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/05/2009 3:54 PM

Roger, don't cave in for personalised crap taking over, and go ahead and put your cards (arguments) openly, right here on the table, face-up.

This is an ancient debate going back to the days of Galileo, and the ones you argued harshly to are not the only ones here, there are others, like myself, taking this issue very seriously, thinking that we are very likely in a new millennium celebrating and glorifying ignorance, and encouraged by the mass media to ridicule the intellect.

This is no joke.

How long can we hope to maintain human civilisation with the challenge of feeding exponentially growing population, while the education system leans more and more towards the occult of "alternative"-this and "new-age"-that ?

The mass cadre of intellectual effort is depleted by nonsense: workplaces review position-candidates as reflected through graphology, hospitals open "Healing" departments, military and politicians being advised by astrologers...

And nearly seven billion people wonder for how long will civilisation hold

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#73
In reply to #71

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/05/2009 4:10 PM

Exactly my sentiments. But the CR4 editors have good judgement and I think there is some wisdom in cooling down and bringing this up a few weeks from now. Who knows, maybe some of what was said here will settle in and have an impact (I'm not holding my breath).

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#76
In reply to #70

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/05/2009 4:54 PM

Yes, he largely succeeded. But I don't think it was a deliberate diversion, just an aside that took over.

I think part of the reason for "his" success is that (being typical technological scientists) we don't actually have too much we can say on the trust side of the matter - and the topic he brought up is relevant and interesting. In fact it is definitely the first half of the story: if people don't understand or believe that science has a good basis that can over-ride bias, we can't expect them to place much weight on scientists agreeing about something - regardless of what they think of them as people.

Given what you are trying to do, my inclination would be to gently encourage the aspect of his topic that is relevant (people trusting scientific method) and ignore the more fundamental aspect - which you are right belongs in another discussion.

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#80
In reply to #70

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/05/2009 10:58 PM

Well, tempers have cooled, and everyone's being nice, so I guess it's time to jump in and stir the pot a little.

Not that that was my original intent - it just happened. A fringe benefit:-)

Consensus does not equal truth. Newton's theory of gravitation was accepted for hundreds of years until technology advanced to the point where measurements were in subtle disagreement with the predictions of Newtonian mechanics. Along came Einstein, and General Relativity.

At the turn of the 20th century, someone said that everything of importance had been discovered, and that the fate of science henceforth would be incremental improvements in measurements and theories. He forgot that classical physics predicted that the electron's orbit should decay, which was at odds with observed behavior. Along came Max Planck, and quantum mechanics. Planck's quantization of energy was furiously opposed by the establishment; one might say there was a consensus against it. Einstein disliked quantum mechanics; "God does not play dice with the universe." And remember, Einstein was pretty close to the Divine. Describing his theoretical explorations, he said that what he did was like "reading God's mind."

And further back there was a consensus for a Ptolemaic universe, and Copernicus published the Copernican model posthumously, to avoid the fate of a heretic in the sixteenth century. Now I can hear Mr. Pink (he screams quite loudly) saying that wasn't a scientific consensus, and of course that is true. But I would maintain the same is true today for the consensus on global climate change. It's based on bad data, and all the gov't paid scientists are along for the ride. I'm not aiming to start a debate on global warming; I'm just pointing out that a consensus is not the same as fundamental truth. Or to put it in schoolyard terms, "Your saying so doesn't make it so." And it doesn't matter how many are saying so, either.

And that brings up another consensus issue, which is evolution of the species. This is a question for the poster who stated that you can see evolution happening on an accelerated scale with single cell animals, because of the very fast reproduction rate. That makes perfect sense, up to a point. With asexual reproduction, some genetic change that promotes survival is reproduced automatically, and the offspring carry the change, and reproduce, and if the change is beneficial, they will be more successful than others, and in time the new genetic adaptation will dominate and supersede the less successful genetic structure.

We have seen this happen with the moths that were white before England's Industrial Revolution, then they turned black to blend in with the soot, and then when cleaner factories and power sources replaced the old dirty ones, the moths turned white again: birds ate all the moths that didn't match their surroundings, and the natural selection was brutally fast and efficient.

And of course we have unnatural selection by man. Check out the Westminster Dog Show. But these are not examples of evolution of the species. In fact, they are all intra-species changes. Black and white moths could mate and have offspring, and while a Great Dane and a Chihuahua might physically have a hard time trying to make offspring, there would be no problem doing an artificial insemination, although out of simple human kindness, you would want the Great Dane to be the mother...

The point being, that although these two members of the domesticated dog species look nothing alike, their DNA makes them the same species, able to mate and reproduce.

Is there any evidence, anywhere, that species have evolved from one to another? And if you postulate that this could happen, that some genetic mutation would occur that presto chango created a new species, how would that sole new species member reproduce his new genes if he reproduces sexually, one on one? If he is a member of a new species, he cannot mate fruitfully with the old species, right? The mating of even very close species, such as the horse and donkey, results in the barren mule. Now every once in a while a mule will foal, but it is rare enough that is remarkable - it was considered to be a sign of some great event about to happen in the ancient world.

And here's the real kicker; Mr. Pink, pay attention. Now there may well be a reasonable scientific response to my query; but I've never seen it. And I am willing to bet that a majority, a consensus if you will, of the people who profess evolution as scientific fact based on a consensus of the scientific community, have never addressed this question, and would be flummoxed by it. It wouldn't change their mind, because they have faith that someone else knows the answer. Oops, faith isn't supposed to be part of this at all...

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#82
In reply to #80

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/06/2009 1:30 AM

EMC all good points, but your wording is somewhat hostile.

What i read about evolution, and come to conclude is that evolution's speed depends om many factors from the environment, behaviour and changes in the food source.

And i want to go back to the consensus that the earth is flat, i don't want to fall of the earth.

"quote: power corrupts" AC or DC power?

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#90
In reply to #82

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/06/2009 6:10 AM

I STRONGLY DISAGREE with all these wrong informations being spread around. This is exactly what i was referring, and this is what causes loss of credibility of the scientists in general public.

I hope you will desist from spreading this type of misinformation (most possibly due to some hidden agenda or some sponsorship from industry/state).

You said "i want to go back to the consensus that the earth is flat"

This is a totally baseless and irrelevant statement and does not need a scientist/ engineer to disprove it. Even a class 2 student may say no Earth is not flat.

WIKI:

Flat or flats may refer to:

Which of the flats you mean ?

It can be only the Flats (womens shoes - sine as it is said the world lies there) or the Flats (apartment) since as per the religions, you come here, occupy for the lease time and then vacate it. None of them has any scientific significance and are the subject discipline of philosophy/ romanticism.

The only other misconceived idea is flat (geometry) definitely a small child can tell you that you are wrong.

Even in your japan, you have hills and mountains? Then how the earth can be flat ? are those not parts of earth ?

I AGAIN WARN NOT TO SPREAD ALL THESE TYPES OF WRONG INFORMATION else i will tell the admin

I yearn for you your response tragically

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#111
In reply to #90

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/06/2009 8:04 PM

But it is basically flat, just check it with spherical trig. r is fairly constant. thus it is relatively flat

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#117
In reply to #111

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/06/2009 11:19 PM

Where is Epke? I have argued with him and he is quiet ? .

BTW i never knew a sphere is a flat Is it a sphereical trig or thie is a trigonometry rigged ?

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#119
In reply to #117

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/07/2009 12:02 AM

No just mathematically, Spherical trig I found when researching orbital mechanics Think of it as 3d trig not 2d. The flat is but a perspective.

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#121
In reply to #119

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/07/2009 2:14 AM

So at least we have a scientist (orbital mechanics I am sure does not have any financial use for any industry - again I may be wrong).

But this type of reaserch is what makes the mankind to grow. Others are only modifications (or progress).

For the progress, the path needs to be laid out.

Now a scientist finds hey this type of a behaviour can happen ! nobody knew (say antigravity effect as in other thread ) or efficient power transmission withoul carrier (another one). After that I have to find another one that is better than yours.

But the first one , which says that at least one exist is the critical turning point. As the great AE said " God do not play dice" which as I interpret as there is nothing between 0 and infinity ie if 1 is possible then there will be infinite number of different things with the similar (not same) characteristics.

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#152
In reply to #121

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/08/2009 10:17 PM

Sorry sb, my interest in orbital mechanics was in mining the asteroids. A quarter mile diameter metallic has an estimated 20 metric tons of the gold and platinum group in it.

The tailings are worth $10,000 a pound for finished product. Beats the strip mining of Taconite.

The first captured asteroid becomes the first space ship yard.

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#156
In reply to #152

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/09/2009 4:20 AM

Get me some when you capture one .

I think gold will be perfect for me (Pt also may do) - Just think the chaos in a plane when I drop a 10Kg gold bar (preferably broken into small pieces) inside a plane. The plane along with the gold will be in in a parabolic motion (projectiles are )

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#158
In reply to #156

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/09/2009 4:34 AM

Children? looks like Zealot morning exercise to me

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#159
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/09/2009 4:55 AM

I thought it was a game of invisible conkers

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#161
In reply to #158

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/09/2009 6:33 AM

You have answered to #155 and not #156 And that means only one thing....

You have put the post in chronological order and not nested. .

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#162
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/09/2009 6:43 AM

chrono bad, Nestle good (even without èéêë,whatever it is)

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#178
In reply to #161

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/09/2009 8:37 PM

When does the hurting stop!

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#148
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Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/08/2009 9:25 PM

Your attack on me has shaken me to the core

EMC, well Evolution maybe not completely correct, but is the most plausible Theory until now (that is unless you believe in creationism).

Newton's law was also not perfect when Quantum physics came along, and quantum physics itself needs a lot of ironing out. all these different theories make my mind boggle. All these different unification theories, strings, M-theory to name a few.

Objectivity is a myth our personality shape our perception. (that sounded very esoteric)

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#83
In reply to #80

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/06/2009 1:55 AM

emc c --

Your comments relative to evolution of species are not helping your credibility here. I'll defer argument with you for the same reason I don't argue with those who believe in perpetual motion. It is simply that I have learned the futility of arguing with people who exist in their own universe of beliefs constructed from an alternative logic assembled to provide easy answers to difficult questions.

Or have I read you wrong? Is yours an attempt to play "devils advocate"?

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#91
In reply to #80

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/06/2009 9:51 AM

This is a really difficult posting - a mix ranging from insightful philosophical/social commentary via semi-informed specifics to totally unsupported statements.

So, to start with a sample of the insightful bits:
Consensus does not equal truth: here here! Emperor's new clothes, etc.
But complete consensus does not exist, and there will be gainsayers. Assuming the consensus is significant, one economical way to evaluate whether a consensus may be sound is to examine the output of the gainsayers. Assuming that the topic is comprehensible, it should be possible to discover whether the gainsayers have a proper case. In most cases this is readily apparent - though admittedly, scientifically you can never be absolutely certain of anything.

Now to some of the specifics:
Newtonian mechanics were not "wrong", merely incomplete, as is all physics (I have no idea whether the fundamentals will ever be completed, or nature will always provide another wrinkle). And we must expect resistance to new ideas - and that the resistance will not be overcome until someone can present the evidence. Einstein's perceptions on relativity were resisted until a prediction that was incompatible with other theories was demonstrated to be correct. Those who resisted up to that point have been unjustly pilloried, as to my mind a theory needs to be both elegant and predictive if it is to be deemed worthy of general acceptance. For more detail, follow up on Eddington's astronomical observations.
It would be rather surprising if everything the development of new theories was in any way straightforward. For the case of quantum mechanics, Einstein did indeed doubt the philosophical underpinnings; on the other hand, in spite of his reservations he saw the power of the algorithms and indeed he was a significant contributor to the methodology and models. So I find it somewhat surprising that subsequent work has shown that both the reservations and the algorithms were justified. For more detail I suggest you look up the work of "John Bell" the "Copenhagen interpretation".
Next to the evolutionary creation of different species: it would have been preferable if you could have brought this as an answer to the posting that you are criticising; that would have reduced the chances that it would be left in the air, and also allowed readers to assess that the reason was that the original posting did not address this topic. On this occasion I shall put it down to accident, but please try in future to be a little more considerate. Now to the actual question you pose - albeit I paraphrase it in a way that makes the relationship with the response clearer:
. "How can it be that a species survives the process of dividing to the point of the two groups becoming separate species that cannot interbreed". It is essentially a multi-stage process, and there can be several mechanisms; here, I shall just consider one of these paths. The first stage of this path is separation: this can either be a result of geographic separation, or because one subgroup group of a species develops a preference to mate with other members that display a specific characteristic ("differentiation"); there is evidence for both of these, but either way we end up with two genetically compatible groups that do not interbreed. The next stage is a minor modification to the genetic make-up of members of both groups, one that still allows them to mate with members of the original group, but not able to mate with the modified members of the original group. Finally, features associated with the modifications give their carriers a breeding or survival advantage, and the original gene that allowed interbreeding either died out or became rare. This can be demonstrated to be possible both by analysis and by synthesis. As we currently do not have the techniques available to demonstrate that it has actually happened in the past, I believe that this should on its own be sufficient to overcome any fundamental objection. (So, I'd say you've seen it now...)
Finally, to the warming issue: you state without any attempt at support that the theories on anthropomorphic warming are "based on bad data". If you care to examine the recent thread on that topic, you will find that there were several attacks on the data, and all were found to be poorly based; given that situation, it behoves you either to justify your statement or hold your peace.

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#92
In reply to #91

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/06/2009 9:58 AM

Physicist?

"a mix ranging from insightful philosophical/social commentary via semi-informed specifics to totally unsupported statements" - I assume that this also applies to your post?

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#100
In reply to #92

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/06/2009 12:46 PM

I hope not. I've taken the trouble to be specific. If you (or anyone else) identifies an unsupportable or incorrect statement in my posting, please reply in same specific vein, and I'll do my best to provide corrections or additional data.

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#112
In reply to #100

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/06/2009 8:07 PM

RE: the discussion of evolution and darwin's theory. The problem I see coming up in this discussion is that evolution has been identified with darwin's attempt to explain the mechanisms of evolution. Evolution can be demonstrated to be a fact, by our present knowledge of genetics. On the other hand, the evidence for "natural selection" (darwin's mechanism) as the primary or dominant mechanism of evolution is weak.

The 'speciation' produced by the mechanisms you describe involves rather minor changes. There is debate as to where the line should be drawn between species. Polar bear and grizzly have recently mated and produced offspring: these are classified as two distinct "species" because they don't interbreed ( because polar bears only breed on the ice or some such fetish). This sort of species demarcation falls apart and is reversible as environmental pressures dictate otherwise.

In contrast to this sort of gradual and relatively minor genetic change/evolution, consider the emergence of a genuine, unquestionably new species, with a different number of chromosomes and radical differences from its ancestors. This sort of change cannot be gradual. Our present knowledge of genetics shows that a species does not gradually get more (or fewer) chromosomes by "natural selection". The true mechanism is not, at the present date, known. Is there anything to prevent scientists from admitting that not everything is known? Well?

Another branch of evolutionary theory pays more attention to the fossil record, noting that massive speciation events regularly appear in the record following the cataclysmic mass extinctions which have occurred from (geological timescale) time-to-time. These waves of speciation occurred across kindoms (ie say, in plants as well as animals, in the same time frames). They clearly are related to specific environmental conditions which are -probably-or-apparently- very stressful to most of the living. These unknown conditions appear to be a prerequisite for the sudden emergence of new species, in which radical rearrangements of the genetic material are involved. Since we aren't (presently... or yet!) experiencing this set of conditions, we do not know what actually causes the emergence of species. So emc-c's basic critcism of darwinian theory is legitimate. Natural selection, chance, and coevolutionary pressures (mutualism) all act upon species once they have emerged. But are not the efficient cause of the emergence.

In a debate that is so polarized, misconceptions arise and are fostered by the necessity to defend against baby-with-the-bathwater attacks. Darwinism has become almost a form of fundamentalism in the struggle to defend the idea of evolution. This is not acceptable: we have to be more honest and rigorous, and separate 'evolution' from 'darwin's attempt to explain it which wasn't quite right'. (rating: stick [it to darwin and his apologists]: scientists, get on with it.)

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#114
In reply to #112

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/06/2009 9:58 PM

Physicist gave a very thoughtful and detailed response (#91) to my last post #80. His post is the kind that makes this forum worthwhile. He disagreed with some of what I said, and he even said part of it was unfounded; but he was making a reasoned and very intelligent argument and I appreciate it; just as I appreciate this forum for introducing me to people like him. I have to admit to being initially taken aback by Mr. Pink's violently emotional responses to my posts: the ad hominem attacks as opposed to a reasoned response. It's pretty obvious that Mr. Pink and I see the world quite differently, but his reaction is counterproductive to making his point convincingly.

Another reader said that my post #80 seemed hostile; I can assure you that was not the intent. I was somewhat bemused and amused by Mr. Pink's attacks, and I was trying, in a humorous way, to address any objections he might have in the body of post #80. The humor may not have come across as desired.

I have been on the road and unable to reply in a timely manner to Physicist's #91 post, and artsmith has stepped into the breach and answered relative to the evolution question much better than I could have - kudos and a GA to artsmith.

But in fact my raising of the evolution question was more to illustrate that consensus does not equal universal truth. Another contributor, responding to my post #80, stated that they do not argue evolution any more than they argue perpetual motion. There is an improper logical machination here equating the well-understood physics of the law of conservation of energy with a set of empirical observations and some deductive reasoning that aims to demonstrate something that has never been directly observed. I'm sorry, but that is why it is the Law of Conservation of Energy vs. the theory of evolution.

The agenda issue raised in the original post is applicable here. Richard Dawkins is an avowed atheist and his atheism informs his scientific outlook; he has so stated. That doesn't mean he is wrong, evolution theory may possibly be correct or partially correct. But he has an agenda. He is not pure as the wind-driven snow, as Mr. Pink seems to believe Scientists are, using his reverent capitalization style. The agenda tarnishes the science, even if the science happens to be correct.

And, saving the best for last, here's the really important point. Scientists hotly debate all kinds of subjects that are of little interest to the layman. Case in point - what really killed off the dinosaurs? Is the universe going to expand forever, or will it one day collapse upon itself? Is there life on other planets? Is there intelligent life out there?

No one other than the scientists involved in these discussions takes them for more than mild entertainment - it doesn't matter what the answer is. But when we talk about man-made global warming, or evolution, then there is an agenda involved and people sit up and take notice. Because the agenda has direct impact on their own lives.

If we never ever find out if evolution is correct or not, it won't make any difference in a material sense. We are here, regardless of how we got to this point. But how we view our place in Creation has a huge impact on how we live our lives as individuals, and as a society. Evolution is used a tool to reduce the importance of religion. Now you can say it doesn't have to be that way, and I would agree with that. But it is used that way, and that is a fact, and that is why people on both sides, atheists and believers, get so exercised about the subject. James Madison said that our form of government (the United States Constitution) will only work with a moral and religious people, and it is precisely traditional religion and morality which is under attack today, with aid from the scientific community. Not everyone in that community, but enough so that science becomes distrusted by those who feel attacked. When in turn those same people who feel attacked are called upon to fund their attackers through government grants, the distrust turns to active dislike. You may not like it, Mr. Pink, but that is the problem you are up against. Not the only problem mind you; the scientific illiteracy of the press is a major stumbling block, and has already been remarked upon in this thread, but science has muddied its own waters attacking the morality of the people who support it.

Then you have man-made global climate change. Again, if the argument were simply: is it happening or not, and why, then the debate would remain amongst the scientists and it wouldn't generate much public interest. But the debate is being used to attack the US economy. Now the result of the intellectual debate has the potential to ruinously affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people. If all you have is a consensus view and you expect people to roll over and accept a government-mandated reduction in personal freedom and income, well, you are going to be surprised and dismayed.

Which was exactly my effect on Mr. Pink...

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#125
In reply to #114

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/07/2009 11:43 AM

Then you have man-made global climate change. Again, if the argument were simply: is it happening or not, and why, then the debate would remain amongst the scientists and it wouldn't generate much public interest.

But the debate is being used to attack the US economy. Now the result of the intellectual debate has the potential to ruinously affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people. If all you have is a consensus view and you expect people to roll over and accept a government-mandated reduction in personal freedom and income, well, you are going to be surprised and dismayed.

The notion that formulating policies to mitigate climate change, will ruin the US or world economy, is more overblown nonsense... It may change the winners & losers...

Did personal computers eliminate clerks, accountants & managers? No, while there are alot less of them, the possibilities for analyzing the data have increased infinitely. Efficency is increased.

Change is going to happen with the use of energy, increasing efficency will reduce the emission of carbon & other compounds associated with possible climate change.

Government can promote or restrict nearly anything, using fiscal or tax policy alone.

The present policies promote all sorts of very short sighted behaviours, most notably the out-sourcing of R&D [practical science]...

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#128
In reply to #114

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/07/2009 1:58 PM

emc-c: You stated "Another contributor, responding to my post #80, stated that they do not argue evolution any more than they argue perpetual motion. ....... I'm sorry, but that is why it is the Law of Conservation of Energy vs. the theory of evolution."

I'm that other contributor and what I said was: "....... I have learned the futility of arguing with people who exist in their own universe of beliefs constructed from an alternative logic assembled to provide easy answers to difficult questions."

This is my connection between the "Law" and the "Theory" regardless of the semantic and logical differences, which I might add have been assigned to both of those subjects via a process of consensus rather than pure unimpeachable logic. (noting that their are still some unknowns in the world of subatomic physics and origin of the universe).

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#138
In reply to #114

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/08/2009 6:37 AM

emc_c

You wrote:

"Then you have man-made global climate change. Again, if the argument were simply: is it happening or not, and why, then the debate would remain amongst the scientists and it wouldn't generate much public interest. But the debate is being used to attack the US economy" - I just love the not so subtle link between global and the US. You need to understand that the US does not equal global. Your use of the word attack leads me to believe that you would prefer not to have this discussion. Lets not have a debate that may affect one of the largest polluters on this planet. Perhaps we should wait until the situation is so dire that we can't do anything about it (Personally I do not enough about global climate change control to make a decision either way but I would prefer to have the discussion now rather than later)

Global climate change would not just affect the US, hence the world Global in Global Climate change i.e. it is global.

I am not a big fan of allowing the personal freedoms of one person/group/nation to adversely affect the well being of another person/group/nation.

Is a democracy not a consensus view? Perhaps you may wish to reconsider your country of residence, I could suggest perhaps the PRC or North Korea as they certainly do not have a consensus view. However, they are not much into debating or the personal freedom that you seem to enjoy ! Indeed I would suggest that you would be very "surprised and dismayed"

I have taken the liberty of marking this off topic as it does not directly relate to the original post by roger pink.

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#141
In reply to #138

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/08/2009 3:26 PM

While I usually appreciate your posts, I don't get this one at all.

The cause of global climate change is used to attack the US economy. Third world countries whose use of energy is growing by leaps and bounds are not bound by the Kyoto treaty, which we were not a signatory to precisely because it was an attack on the US economy. No other western country would have had to rein in their economy anywhere near what we would have, and the French and Germans not at all. In fact, the Germans were the ones who picked 1990 as the baseline year for CO2 emissions, because they had just absorbed the ancient dirty factories of the former East Germany, and they knew once those were either shut down or renovated that they would never, ever approach the level of greenhouse gas emissions as they were in 1990.

And the caustic comments about moving to a third world dictatorship are not only not appreciated, but 180 degrees out of phase with reality. It is the global climate change movement that labels dissenters as "global climate change deniers"; an attempt to compare them to Holocaust deniers. It is the dissenters trying to debate the issue and the GW types attempting to stifle it. And the original post starting this thread is of the same ilk: if a consensus of scientists say something, that is it; end-of-story; time to move on and act in accordance with their dictates.

It is indeed I who am on the side of freedom and individualism here, and those who promote the Authority of Scientists through the State who are driving this country in the direction of the PRC and North Korea.

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#142
In reply to #141

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/08/2009 3:35 PM
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#143
In reply to #141

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/08/2009 4:41 PM

It is indeed I who am on the side of freedom and individualism here, and those who promote the Authority of Scientists through the State who are driving this country in the direction of the PRC and North Korea.

What is the relationship between corporate power & the freedom & indivualism you claim to prize? The party line as per Exxon is no more valid than the Greenpeace agenda.

Third world countries whose use of energy is growing by leaps and bounds are not bound by the Kyoto treaty, which we were not a signatory to precisely because it was an attack on the US economy.

Since the US are not signatories, why are you bring it up? What's Your point? Where's this attack you keep blathering on about? Debate is not attack!

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#144
In reply to #143

Re: How Should Scientists Address Misconceptions About Science: Stick or Carrot

03/08/2009 4:53 PM

The difference between corporate power and gov't power is the difference between the free market and the whip and the chain and the gun. I hope that's enough of a difference for you. If not enough people understand that difference, they will be doomed to finding it out for themselves, the hard way.

I bring up Kyoto because it was an attempt to throttle back the US economy while giving others free rein. Any future agreements will be of similar type - the Chinese will either not sign up or will not live up to GW CO2 restrictions.

I'm not sure if my command of the English language is failing or not, but it seems I have to repeatedly repeat myself. I do not consider debate attack. I have pointed out in previous posts that it is precisely the GW folks who are attempting to stifle debate, and the original post which started this thread was also after that same goal: scientists agree, therefore we all have our marching orders.

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