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When science goes gibberish; what does it indicate?

jojom

Active Member
I find it interesting that most people have claimed that when 'science talks gibberish' it is because the reader doesn't understand. The 'science' is right, it's just the reader that is wrong.
Not that the reader is wrong, but doesn't understand what's being said. No reason to to overstate the situation, Augustus.

Of course this is an issue, but in many areas termed 'science' much if not most of material published in academic journals is wrong.
Boy, if this isn't a pile of manufactured crap. Thing is, just by your juvenile renunciation here its evident you've never read an "academic journal" in your life, much less understood one enough to pass judgment.

. . . . . . .
When scientists talk gibberish it is frequently due to things such as poor methodology, poor mathematics (especially statistics and probability), deliberate misrepresentation for professional or financial advancement and wishful thinking.
At least you're keeping true to character. Assassination by contrived failings this time. It wouldn't be hard to concluded you actually believe this baloney, but in as much as you've strung so many distortions on one line it's clear you've given your imagination free rein to its bias. Thing is, Augustus, when you overstate your case it quickly looses all veracity. The mark of a truly rank amateur. Sad, but also amusing. :thumbsup:

In terms of language though, scientists aren't half as bad as other academics who tend to use the most complex way possible to explain a simple concept just to affect an image of sophistication.
Ah, a tempering qualification, but too late. Way too late. :thumbsdown:
 
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Not that the reader is wrong, but doesn't understand what's being said. No reason to to overstate the situation, Augustus.

Boy, if this isn't a pile of manufactured crap. Thing is, just by your juvenile renunciation here its evident you've never read an "academic journal" in your life, much less understood one enough to pass judgment.

I assume you are highly familiar with academic journals if you can see through my paper thin charade so easily. My 'juvenile renunciation' certainly deserves a rapid chastisement from a more learned individual, one so wise in the ways of science. Consider me humbled :pensive:

. . . . . . . At least you're keeping true to character. Assassination by contrived failings this time. It wouldn't be hard to concluded you actually believe this baloney, but in as much as you've strung so many distortions on one line it's clear you've given your imagination free rein to its bias. Thing is, Augustus, when you overstate your case it quickly looses all veracity. The mark of a truly rank amateur. Sad, but also amusing. :thumbsup:


What's wrong with many 'rationalists' (apart from the fact that they vastly overstate their own rationality), is that they feel the need to get caught up in wanky 'science' fanboyism. "Oh no! Somebody has tainted the honour of science by claiming it isn't the omnipotent and omniscient god that I believe it is, stand back whilst I give the scoundrel who defamed her a stern verbal rebuke!".

The problem is people like you can't actually differentiate between science (concept), science (practice), scientists, scientific publications, etc. and get themselves into a fankle when anything with some connection to 'science' is criticised in any way.

Automatically you jump to the conclusion that this person is either an imbecile or some science-hating Taliban fundamentalist type who wants to ban books and insist the world is flat. "Oh No! Augustus is trying to 'asassinate' science. He must be stopped!".

The biggest danger with playing the pompous, wanky fanboy card though is that you end up looking like a bit of a trumpet if you are wrong.

The points I made are frequently raised by more enlightened people involved with sciences and academia and have been mentioned in scientific journals and discussion for a long time. You can read up on it if you want to know more, it's an interesting, but worrying, topic.

Now, as a 'truly rank amateur', a 'truly rank amateur' that has 'evidently never read an academic journal in my life' 'let alone understood one', how long do you think it would take me to find support for what I said from within an actual scientific journal? [Hint: I already did it, took me about 6 seconds].

Now I wouldn't want to patronise someone as knowledgable as yourself by posting a link. I assume you will be able to find one far more easily than a truly rank juvenile amateur such as myself. Please let me know if you enjoyed the read though and if your views have changed as a result of it.

If you can't find anything though and would like a helping hand all you need to do is ask: "Hi Augustus. Sorry, it seems I was wrong in saying you were a 'sad but amusing truly rank juvenile amateur who speaks manufactured crap'. It has come to my attention that you have read at least 1 academic journal article. Would you be kind enough to share with me the article so I can understand why my pompous, wanky fanboyism was misguided? Thanks in advance. Jojom xx"

Just to remind you of my claims:

In many areas termed 'science' much if not most published material is wrong... frequently due to things such as poor methodology, poor maths, deliberate misrepresentation for professional or financial advancement and wishful thinking.

Happy hunting! :kissingheart:
 
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jojom

Active Member
Just to remind you of my claims:

In many areas termed 'science' much if not most of material published in academic journals is wrong... When scientists talk gibberish it is frequently due to things such as poor methodology, poor mathematics (especially statistics and probability), deliberate misrepresentation for professional or financial advancement and wishful thinking.

Happy hunting! :kissingheart:
No matter how many times you repeat it's still manufactured crap. You know it. I know it. And soon others will know it as well.


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No matter how many times you repeat it's still manufactured crap. You know it. I know it. And soon others will know it too.

Should I assume you didn't bother to even check or is it better to assume that you couldn't actually find anything. All you needed to do was to Google the first part of my statement though.

Which leads us to another problem with 'rationalists' who practice pompous, wanky 'science' fanboyism; they have a real aversion to scientific information that tells them that they are wrong.


There is increasing concern that most current published research findings are false. The probability that a research claim is true may depend on study power and bias, the number of other studies on the same question, and, importantly, the ratio of true to no relationships among the relationships probed in each scientific field. In this framework, a research finding is less likely to be true when the studies conducted in a field are smaller; when effect sizes are smaller; when there is a greater number and lesser preselection of tested relationships; where there is greater flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and analytical modes; when there is greater financial and other interest and prejudice; and when more teams are involved in a scientific field in chase of statistical significance. Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias. In this essay, I discuss the implications of these problems for the conduct and interpretation of research.

PLOS Medicine: Why Most Published Research Findings Are False

A few years ago scientists at Amgen, an American drug company, tried to replicate 53 studies that they considered landmarks in the basic science of cancer, often co-operating closely with the original researchers to ensure that their experimental technique matched the one used first time round. According to a piece they wrote last year in Nature, a leading scientific journal, they were able to reproduce the original results in just six.

John Bohannon, a biologist at Harvard, recently submitted a pseudonymous paper on the effects of a chemical derived from lichen on cancer cells to 304 journals describing themselves as using peer review. An unusual move; but it was an unusual paper, concocted wholesale and stuffed with clangers in study design, analysis and interpretation of results. Receiving this dog’s dinner from a fictitious researcher at a made up university, 157 of the journals accepted it for publication.


http://www.economist.com/news/brief...elf-correcting-alarming-degree-it-not-trouble

The current state of science is arguably very poor. For medical observational studies over 80% of initial claims failed to replicate, Ioannidis, JAMA, 2005, Young and Karr, Significance, 2011. Environmental epidemiology studies are likely no better. Recent evidence indicates that experimental studies also fail to replicate close to 90% of the time, Begley and Ellis, Nature, 2012. Scientific fraud is common in retracted science papers, Fang et al., PNAS, 2012. So the evidence is that science claims usually fail to replicate and that fraud is being committed. Again, the current state of science is arguably poor. Promoting transparency is a key solving problems of validity and integrity.

S. Stanley Young: Scientific Integrity and Transparency | Error Statistics Philosophy


This is why many 'rationalists' are as dangerous as religious fundamentalists, they overestimate the certainty of their knowledge and underestimate the chances that they could be wrong. This is something that rigorous scientists will themselves acknowledge.

On the other hand, wanky science fanboys and people who consider themselves 'rational' yet assume that 'science' is far more accurate than it actually is are dangerous individuals who do great harm to society. Far more harm than the religions that they are so quick to mock and ridicule.

Perhaps you should heed the advice of Daniel Kahneman (he's got a 'Nobel Prize' if you are interested, wanky science fanboys often get excited by such things)': I believe that you should collectively do something about this mess. To deal effectively with the doubts you should acknowledge their existence and confront them straight on, because a posture of defiant denial is self-defeating.

 
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LegionOnomaMoi

Veteran Member
Premium Member
No matter how many times you repeat it's still manufactured crap. You know it. I know it. And soon others will know it as well..
I'm a scientist and (for reasons that are less impressive than they are unfortunate) a private consult who advices scientists/labs on research methods. So when I say that this:
In many areas termed 'science' much if not most published material is wrong
is absolutely true, it is not because of religious bias (I'm agnostic) nor political (I don't really follow politics) and is something that I find fundamentally disturbing such that there isn't much I wouldn't do to change it. But it is true.
 

jojom

Active Member
I'm a scientist and (for reasons that are less impressive than they are unfortunate) a private consult who advices scientists/labs on research methods. So when I say that this:

is absolutely true, it is not because of religious bias (I'm agnostic) nor political (I don't really follow politics) and is something that I find fundamentally disturbing such that there isn't much I wouldn't do to change it. But it is true.
The correct phrasing of Augustus' remark is, "In many areas termed 'science' much if not most of material published in academic journals is wrong." (He misstated himself.) And although you may be "a private consult who advices (sic) scientists/labs on research methods," this hardly qualifies you to speak on the veracity of "much if not most of material published in academic journals."


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Shadow Wolf

Certified People sTabber & Business Owner
In many areas termed 'science' much if not most published material is wrong... frequently due to things such as poor methodology, poor maths, deliberate misrepresentation for professional or financial advancement and wishful thinking.
Do you even have access to peer-reviewed scientific journals?
 
The correct phrasing of August's remark is, "In many areas termed 'science' much if not most of material published in academic journals is wrong." (He misstated himself.) And although you may be "a private consult who advices (sic) scientists/labs on research methods," this hardly qualifies you to speak on the veracity of "much if not most of material published in academic journals."

The statement was in many areas termed 'science' much if not most material published in academic journals is wrong, not 'much if not most material published in academic journals is wrong', you understand the significant difference right?

Anyway, anything to add to what I posted? Am i still a 'sad but amusing truly rank juvenile amateur who speaks manufactured crap'.

Do you agree or disagree that in many areas termed 'science' much if not most published material is wrong?
Do you agree or disagree that in many areas termed 'science', at the very least, much material published in scientific journals is wrong?

Strange that you should start to look at minor wording differences between my paraphrase and the original statement, I mean if the statement "In many areas termed 'science' much if not most of material published in academic journals is wrong." is ridiculous to the extent of your need to describe me as a 'sad but amusing truly rank juvenile amateur who speaks manufactured crap', yet to say 'In many areas termed 'science' much if not most published material is wrong' is something you find reasonable, then why would you not just say 'Yes, Augustus, I agree with the general point, but I think you should say published material, not material published in scientific journals'.

Both statements are true. Given the choice, I would probably use the expression in my paraphrase, but I'm perfectly happy to stand by my original wording.

By all means, produce your critique in terms of that wording.



Do you even have access to peer-reviewed scientific journals?

Yes, why?

Would it affect my argument in anyway if I didn't?

Anything to add to the topic? Agree? Disagree?

I'm pretty sure Augustus just wants it to be true.


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Classic wanky 'science' fanboyism. Make assertion about 'science', have someone post scientific evidence against your assertion, completely ignore said scientific evidence and resort to pedantry and smugness.

Science requires a healthy dose of scepticism, not simple-minded wanky fanboyism. It is not 'anti-science' to suggest as such.

What is the problem that you have about people criticising scientific practices, scientific findings, certain scientists, parts of the 'science industry', etc? Sock horror! Many scientists also do this! :fearscream:

Is, for example, Daniel Kahneman a 'sad but amusing truly rank juvenile amateur who speaks manufactured crap'?
 

Shadow Wolf

Certified People sTabber & Business Owner
Yes, why?
It doesn't seem like you do. Yes, there are some things that are wrong. But that is why they are peer-reviewed, and plenty of articles in these journals that are scientists debating each other and addressing what they feel was done wrong in a certain study, ways to improve methodology, stating observations they made during their own research, or even agreeing that the findings agree with their own findings.
Would it affect my argument in anyway if I didn't?
Significantly, because if you lack access to them then you will not be able to understand them or know what sort of things go into them.
Anything to add to the topic? Agree? Disagree?
Anything to add? Yes. You are making very bold and brash accusations against those who have probably had far more extensive schooling in things such as statistics and research methodology than you have had.
 
It doesn't seem like you do. Yes, there are some things that are wrong. But that is why they are peer-reviewed, and plenty of articles in these journals that are scientists debating each other and addressing what they feel was done wrong in a certain study, ways to improve methodology, stating observations they made during their own research, or even agreeing that the findings agree with their own findings.

What would make it seem like I do? Posting links to articles that most other people can't access?

Actually, the points you raise were also discussed in the links I posted. The peer review process is nowhere near as effective as people seem to believe and is a major point of contention in 'academia'. The Sokal hoax is a famous example of how it failed to work in regards to postmodern philosophy, but the idea it doesn't also happen in areas deemed 'science' is wishful thinking.

Things that get published are things that sound interesting, things that produce positive results. This is going to have a disproportionate amount of false positives, results produced purely by chance.

When you do enough studies, tests, trials, and experiments you generate a certain number of false positives, these are the things that get published often as they sound interesting. When you add fraud, poor methodology, misunderstanding of data, academic politics, etc. to this then you get a significant number of unrepeatable studies. Look what gets you funding, it's a disincentive to actual scientific rigour in many cases.

Just like in politics, many people have to play the 'game' to survive.


Significantly, because if you lack access to them then you will not be able to understand them or know what sort of things go into them.

Even the most avid reader would see only a tiny proportion of the articles though, does this make a significant difference to their ability to comment on such topics verses someone who can only access lets say 5% of them via open access?

What percentage of scientific articles ever get read after the year they were published in? A couple of percent maybe give or take.

Actually, seeing as the articles on open access are probably more likely to be important/significant than those on restricted access, it might well be better not to have access if you want to avoid exposure to false results. Although seeing as exposure to false results is relevant in this case...


Anything to add? Yes. You are making very bold and brash accusations against those who have probably had far more extensive schooling in things such as statistics and research methodology than you have had.

Not quite as bold or brash as the links I posted, they used figures like 90% in some fields, I was pretty conservative.

If you mean my conversation with Jojom, it is healthy scepticism I'm in favour of, rather than the 'fanboy' approach of many people who simply overestimate the accuracy of anything deemed 'scientific'. Some people just lose their critical thinking abilities when they hear the word 'science' in regard to a claim. Some areas of science are very accurate and reliable, other areas are not, many scientists get this, 'fanboys' don't. Some people just hear a comment that criticises some area of the massive field that is often termed 'science' in the same way as others hear a comment that criticises some area of the massive field termed 'god'.

I use the expression 'science' rather than science, not because I disagree that science is useful, just that I think that there is a difference between science and 'science'.

Statistics and research methodology is one of the major reasons behind much of published material being incorrect. Most scientists specialise in a particular field, most don't specialise in statistics or probability. There is a big difference between having knowledge of statistics and being a statistician or a probabalist. People from these fields will often criticise findings of 'science'

Any comments about the points regarding this in the links I posted overall though?
 

jojom

Active Member
The statement was in many areas termed 'science' much if not most material published in academic journals is wrong, not 'much if not most material published in academic journals is wrong', you understand the significant difference right?
Correction:

And although you (LegionOnoMoi) may be "a private consult who advices (sic) scientists/labs on research methods," this hardly qualifies you to speak on the veracity of much if not most of material published in academic journals in many areas termed 'science'.

Anyway, anything to add to what I posted? Am i still a 'sad but amusing truly rank juvenile amateur who speaks manufactured crap'.
Nope, and I said your renunciation was juvenile, and that your case was the mark of a rank amateur. Want to take these as personal attributes, go right ahead. :shrug:

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paarsurrey

Veteran Member
When science goes gibberish; what does it indicate?

One must know its wings have got burnt; it cannot go further, it must wait till a solid clue/argument is discerned.
Yet the Universe goes on; what takes it ahead and for what?
Regards
 

McBell

mantra-chanting henotheistic snake handler
When science goes gibberish; what does it indicate?

One must know its wings have got burnt; it cannot go further, it must wait till a solid clue/argument is discerned.
Yet the Universe goes on; what takes it ahead and for what?
Regards
Is this an example of the "gibberish" you speak about?
 

Shadow Wolf

Certified People sTabber & Business Owner
When science goes gibberish; what does it indicate?

One must know its wings have got burnt; it cannot go further, it must wait till a solid clue/argument is discerned.
Yet the Universe goes on; what takes it ahead and for what?
Regards
You still haven't provided us with an example of what you perceive to be "scientific gibberish."
 

LegionOnomaMoi

Veteran Member
Premium Member
this hardly qualifies you to speak on the veracity of "much if not most of material published in academic journals.".
No, but knowing that the most common research design/method across the sciences is fundamentally flawed does, as does keeping up with academic journals in fields such as particle physics, quantum physics, theoretical physics, neuroscience, climate science, biology, machine learning, AI/computational intelligence, mathematics, NT studies, Biblical studies, linguistics (cognitive, functional, generative, and IE), statistics, psychiatry, clinical psychology, the history and philosophy of science, etc., via regularly reading the hundreds upon hundreds of journals I have access to through ScienceDirect, SpringerLink, WileyOnline, JSTOR, Academic Search Premier, Sage, Nature, AAAS, ProQuest, IEEE, etc., as well as being a commentator on and reviewer of the nature of the material published in "much if not most of material published in academic journals". But you don't actually need any expert here, thanks to blogs like Retraction Watch (which gives us a quite easily empirically investigated measure into how problematic research is given that it informs us as to how often peer-reviewed journals are forced to actually retract papers, which only happens when they are so fatally flawed that they shouldn't have been published in the first place, not that they are wrong).

Actually, any working scientist (and more generally any academic) is at least somewhat qualified to speak to the veracity of "much if not most of material published in academic journals", because quite apart from knowing the politics and other non-scientific (non-academic) factors that go into whether a paper is accepted, we know how peer-review itself works. The "real" peer-review comes after a paper is published, as then it is open to criticism to all other specialists (and even non-specialists in some cases) in the field. Thus ideally peer-review functions as a minimal filter. Also, many journals exist just to allow the publication of borderline science or pseudo-science.
 
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LegionOnomaMoi

Veteran Member
Premium Member
Some research on research- Peer-review efficacy:

Smith, R. (2006). Peer review: a flawed process at the heart of science and journals. Journal of the royal society of medicine, 99(4), 178-182.

“We surveyed several thousand early- and mid-career scientists, who are based in the United States and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and asked them to report their own behaviours. Our findings reveal a range of questionable practices that are striking in their breadth and prevalence (Table 1). This is the first time such behaviours have been analysed quantitatively, so we cannot know whether the current situation has always been the case or whether the challenges of doing science today create new stresses. Nevertheless, our evidence suggests that mundane 'regular' misbehaviours present greater threats to the scientific enterprise than those caused by high-profile misconduct cases such as fraud.”
Martinson, B. C., Anderson, M. S., & De Vries, R. (2005). Scientists behaving badly. Nature, 435(7043), 737-738.

“A pooled weighted average of 1.97% (N = 7, 95%CI: 0.86–4.45) of scientists admitted to have fabricated, falsified or modified data or results at least once –a serious form of misconduct by any standard– and up to 33.7% admitted other questionable research practices. In surveys asking about the behaviour of colleagues, admission rates were 14.12% (N = 12, 95% CI: 9.91–19.72) for falsification, and up to 72% for other questionable research practices. Meta-regression showed that self reports surveys, surveys using the words “falsification” or “fabrication”, and mailed surveys yielded lower percentages of misconduct. When these factors were controlled for, misconduct was reported more frequently by medical/pharmacological researchers than others.
Considering that these surveys ask sensitive questions and have other limitations, it appears likely that this is a conservative estimate of the true prevalence of scientific misconduct.”
Fanelli, D. (2009). How many scientists fabricate and falsify research? A systematic review and meta-analysis of survey data. PloS one, 4(5), e5738.

"peer review is not one but many different systems, and it is changing all the time as it reflects social norms and expectations. Nor is it the objective process people would like it to be. It is in fact, as contributors to this book explain, a process with so many flaws that it is only the lack of an obvious alternative that keeps the process going. At its best, it provides prompt, detailed, constructive and well-founded criticism, to the benefit of researchers and consumers of research. At its worst, it is expensive, slow, subjective and biased, open to abuse, patchy at detecting important methodological defects, and almost useless at detecting fraud or misconduct."
Godlee, F., & Jefferson, T. (Eds.). (2003). Peer Review in Health Sciences (2nd Ed.). BMJ Books.

“Editorial peer review, although widely used, is largely untested and its effects are uncertain”
Jefferson, T., Alderson, P., Wager, E., & Davidoff, F. (2002). Effects of editorial peer review: a systematic review. JAMA, 287(21), 2784-2786.

“In neither of the journals that we studied was agreement between independent reviewers on whether manuscripts should be published, or their priority for publication, convincingly greater than that which would have been expected by chance alone.”
Rothwell, P. M., & Martyn, C. N. (2000). Reproducibility of peer review in clinical neuroscience. Brain, 123(9), 1964-1969.
 
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