On Tue, Nov 12, 2013 at 3:30 AM, LizR <lizj...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 12 November 2013 14:04, Alberto G. Corona <agocor...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Every science whose conclusions have effects in politics has a high risk
>> of being manipulated. In the URSS and here. From Anthropology to long term
>> Meteorology to everything in the middle. The one that does not realize that
>> is poor fool who does not know how the world works and has replaced with all
>> his innocent stupidity the fairy tales of the past with the fairy tales of
>> supposed sciences.
> Yes of course.
>> If you read the mails of the East Anglia Climategate scandal, One of the
>> main concern of the Warmists were about to keep in control over the peer
>> reviewing mechanism of the main scientific magazines Long interchanges of
>> mails were devoted to talk about stablishing barriers in the peer reviewed
>> magazines by perverting the PR mechanisms.
>> The fact is that peer reviewing is not a guaranty, on the contraty. It
>> acts as an ideological filter rather than as a quality filter in every
>> discipline in which politics and scientists benefit from mutual cooperation
>> by interchanging money for ideological ammunition.
> So what would you suggest as a replacement? The scientific method is, to
> paraphrase Winston Churchill on democracy, the worst system we have apart
> from all the others we've tried.
I don't quite agree with the comparison. I agree with Churchill but I
assume that we will find something better than democracy eventually.
This has always been the case: in many moments in History people
thought that the perfect system was achieved, and then later we look
back and it doesn't look so great. In fact, it is possible that better
alternatives to our current system have already been found. I like the
idea of selecting a government randomly, like it was done in ancient
Athens. Interestingly enough, at that time they seemed to be already
aware of the pitfalls of populist manipulation of public opinion.
The scientific method seems more robust. Science may go through its
dark periods, but sanity can always be recovered later. I would say
that the imperfection of science stems from the fact that it is
carried by humans, and we are flawed. Some obvious things can be
fixed: publish or perish is the wrong incentive. It leads to spamming
of the literature. The fact that many important articles are behind
paywalls is another major problem. One of its most pernicious effects
is that it creates a kind of "priesthood" that has exclusive access to
knowledge and can develop its own bias and self-protection mechanisms.
This became obvious with the sad Aaron Schwartz incident, and the
violence with which the establishment went after a brilliant young guy
who just wanted to free knowledge, eventually driving him to suicide.
It is perhaps even more serious that we also don't have access to the
raw data used in many studies.
The Internet is already showing a glimpse of what can be achieved.
Many sacred cows have been falling the last few years. Nutrition and
sports is a great example: serious doubts are starting to arise
regarding ideas that were unquestionable not long ago: that
cholesterol is bad, that salt is bad and that stretching before
exercise is good. For example. Even that nicotine is bad in itself.
> You might like to consider that hurricanes and bush fires and rising seas
> and melting glaciers can't be influenced by political opinion, and it would
> take a huge effort to generate the evidence coming in from all over the
> world as part of some vast conspiracy. We're forever hearing about the
> wildest storms, the highest (and lowest) temperatures on record, the
> greatest floods and droughts and so on.
> Is it just possible that the overwhelming mountain of evidence indicates,
> maybe, something is really going on?
> (And by the way, supposing there is no global warming and we go ahead and
> develop sustainable power sources for no reason whatsoever before the oil
> runs out - won't that just be awful?)
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