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Topic: "Scientists Say" blather (Read 41299 times)

"Scientists Say" blather
Are you, too, bothered by internet news reports that "scientists say" this or that. I find it utterly annoying. Who are these scientists? Are cosmologists qualified to say anything meaningful about high energy physics, biologists about the orbit of Enceladus?

What think you?

  • jseaton2311
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Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #100

Would you agree, James, that a physical model whose predictions fail is -essentially- wrong?


I would say that any model whose predictions always fail is essentially useless, regardless of anything else.  However, models are normally tested to see if they work before they are presented as models.  So a climate model say, would have to look at data from perhaps 50 years ago to see if it correctly predicts the climate we have knowledge of for 50 years later. 

Climate models are normally built to estimate trends and adding new and (somewhat) unprecedented chemistry into the picture makes estimating trends all the more difficult for climatologists and their models.  I believe most people agree that the added CO2 into the atmosphere has had an impact on climate, but it is the degree of that impact that is in question, of course.  It certainly behooves us to start reversing the CO2 content to its more natural level as quickly as is feasible, regardless of who is right or wrong.   :knight:  :cheers:
  • Last Edit: 2014-08-30, 17:55:27 by jseaton2311
James J

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #101
That's an almost reasonable political view... But it is terrible, as an understanding of science: If a well-tuned model then makes predictions that consistently fail, it's not a model of reality.
But you (like most people) can't seem to separate the science from the policy issues.
It certainly behooves us to start reversing the CO2 content to its more natural level as quickly as is feasible, regardless of who is right or wrong.

With the proviso: All else being equal? Of course, they aren't... (No: That can't be what you meant by "feasible," since you followed it with "regardless"...)
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
No one listens to me as much as I do and even I have my limits...
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman

  • jseaton2311
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Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #102
If a well-tuned model then makes predictions that consistently fail, it's not a model of reality.


I would say that there is no model of reality today that science will say is 100% true, so we could say they are all wrong, to some degree of uncertainty.  Science makes lots of room to amend any theories (models), or laws because of this concept.  However, I do believe that if a model (say the prevailing cosmological model of the big bang), has a high reliability factor, especially across several fields of study (astrophysics, cosmology, astronomy, physics, chemistry for BB), it can be quite useful in most, if not all, situations it was designed for.   :knight:  :cheers:
James J

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #103
Your view of science, James, is hopeless -- and helpless! Not to mention, inconsistent... It truly is your religion, and you are but a communicant, dependent upon a priesthood you dare not question...
If a model is false, it is false... Another may be true; but you'd hide the falsity of the model you know behind the canard of "100% surety isn't given by Science" -- thence acquiescing in failed models? How, then, does science advance?
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
No one listens to me as much as I do and even I have my limits...
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman

  • jseaton2311
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Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #104
 Competing theories (models), advance science as much as anything.  Researchers striving to 'prove' their ideas correct, leads to improved methods and better science.  Incontrovertible or unambiguous empirical data often is sufficient to settle debates regarding conflicting and competing models.  The best models produce the most accurate data and lead to the best predictions, so science moves on under the assumptions of the "best" models and assumes no perfection in them.   :knight:  :cheers:
James J

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #105
That's a good description, for high schoolers (but not AP...). I'd quibble about models (or theories) "producing" data. But the point remains: If the theory (or model) produces predictions that are wrong, the theory (or model) is false.
Of course you know, I specifically refer to GCMs; these being the most contentious examples nowadays... The idea of "best" contrasted with "perfect" is a red herring: If a model lacks (predictive) skill, it is inadequate.
In such a case the model needs to be changed. (Denying reality is not really an option...)
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
No one listens to me as much as I do and even I have my limits...
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman

  • jseaton2311
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Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #106
But the point remains: If the theory (or model) produces predictions that are wrong, the theory (or model) is false.


In such a case the model needs to be changed. (Denying reality is not really an option...)


I agree--if for no other reason than to bring your blood pressure down.  I essentially, already agreed in my last post, perhaps you didn't catch it.  Consistently wrong models don't remain viable models anyway, at least not for very long.   :knight:  :cheers:
James J

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #107
Consistently wrong models don't remain viable models anyway, at least not for very long.

They do, in the media and academia and in policy circles... Isn't that an important part of this thread?

We don't "need" to educate everyone in order to secure scientific progress. (It's not something that can be stopped.) But we should keep the "rabble-roused farmers with pitchforks and torches" from burning down the Castle, and eviscerating its inhabitants.
Likewise, we should keep the "priesthood" of Climatology from subverting science. That off-stage players (Cook, Lewandosky, etc.) want their day in the sun is quite understandable; and deplorable. But actual scientists accepted them into the fold and promoted their work...
I think this reflects badly upon those scientists.
Respected news organizations did, too.
Governments -- well, what will governments do? :) You know what ours has by decree recently decided: Sign a Name and Shame Treaty! Non-binding, of course... So, it's not really a treaty.
(The Senate doesn't have to accede; and the national government doesn't have to -- hm... What does the national government -and this administration- have to do, as a result?)
Just like GCMs are not really models: They don't make predictions; they generate "scenarios"... As an old friend from the South used to say: "That dog don't hunt..."
(If their various parametizations of our understanding of the physical systems are wrong, shouldn't they want to correct them? Don't you wonder why they don't...?)
He wasn't saying we should "put it down" -- just that we would be fools to expect from it what we wanted and needed: Accurate predictions and adequate understanding. We -obviously- need better models of Earth's climate...
First, because it's really interesting, and hard!
Second, because there are political forces that need to checked by rational means. (I'd like to think that is possible...). Better models are not likely to be created by ideologues.

The fields of psychology and sociology, nutrition and epidemiology, "health" and "wealth" -- how can we correctly tell the wheat from the chaff there, if a field like climatology -which is physics and chemistry!- is so difficult, and so contentious?
The "blogosphere" should actually help:
I think most people with some interest in such subjects will quickly tire of the "echo chamber" sites, and seek better understanding, wider, more diverse viewpoints, and more stringent criteria of proof.
(But I could be wrong...)
  • Last Edit: 2014-09-01, 00:50:23 by OakdaleFTL
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
No one listens to me as much as I do and even I have my limits...
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman

  • ersi
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Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #108

Consistently wrong models don't remain viable models anyway, at least not for very long.

They do, in the media and academia and in policy circles... Isn't that an important part of this thread?

The best example here are the models used in economy. The classical models never worked and the neoclassical school is easily debunked, but the models are understandable and convenient for policy-makers, so never given up.

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #109
I'm afraid I have to agree with ersi on that: Economics is best thought of as moral philosophy...
  • Last Edit: 2014-09-01, 09:06:08 by OakdaleFTL
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
No one listens to me as much as I do and even I have my limits...
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman

Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #110
It's a little more than that. Most schools of economics do work, until our dear leaders carry them too far and/or don't really understand them. At that point, both Supply Side and Keynesian stop working and do more harm than good. Our fabulous Republican leaders didn't read where Laffer himself said that infinite tax cuts will only increase the deficit and Democrats similarly missed that Keynes said to cut spending when times are good. All the while, they criticize each other based on misconceptions of the economic philosophy. Also, all the while, pundits preach from their own economic illiteracy; having willfully brainwashed themselves into the thinking of the Left or the Right.

  • ersi
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Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #111

Global Energy Balance Network promotes the argument that weight-conscious Americans are overly fixated on how much they eat and drink while not paying enough attention to exercise, the New York Times reported Monday.

Some health experts say the message is misleading and part of an effort by Coca-Cola to deflect criticism about the role sugary drinks play in obesity and Type 2 diabetes, the NYT said.

CTO Dr. Ed Hays writes on Coca-Cola's blog: Yes, we fund scientific research through GEBN and we are proud to support the work that scientists such as Dr. Jim Hill and Dr. Steve Blair do - because their type of research is critical to finding solutions to the global obesity crisis.


  • mjmsprt40
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  • Global Moderator
  • undocumented space alien
Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #112


Global Energy Balance Network promotes the argument that weight-conscious Americans are overly fixated on how much they eat and drink while not paying enough attention to exercise, the New York Times reported Monday.

Some health experts say the message is misleading and part of an effort by Coca-Cola to deflect criticism about the role sugary drinks play in obesity and Type 2 diabetes, the NYT said.

CTO Dr. Ed Hays writes on Coca-Cola's blog: Yes, we fund scientific research through GEBN and we are proud to support the work that scientists such as Dr. Jim Hill and Dr. Steve Blair do - because their type of research is critical to finding solutions to the global obesity crisis.



How about both diet and exercise? If you sit around/lay around all day, it would take a near-starvation diet to make you lose weight. It just doesn't take that many calories to sit there and breathe.

On the other hand, don't expect miracles from an exercise program if you insist on stuffing yourself with too much of the worst things you can put in your mouth (I'm looking at you, Coca Cola).

It takes both diet and exercise to make one reasonably healthy.
What would happen if a large asteroid slammed into the Earth?
According to several tests involving a watermelon and a large hammer, it would be really bad!

  • Belfrager
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Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #113
It takes both diet and exercise to make one reasonably healthy.

It takes sex, drugs and rock'n roll for that.
A matter of attitude.

  • rjhowie
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Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #114
Because we live in a more techy styled world these days too many people just jump and accept any schientific new item. However when you look more closely at what the scientist says you see the word theory included but which is neatly ignored by the robot minds.  In turn when the item is found not to be as announced the theory gets neatly adapted to a new direction. Clever but pointless.
"Quit you like men:be strong"

Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #115
However when you look more closely at what the scientist says you see the word theory included but which is neatly ignored by the robot minds.

"Theory" doesn't mean what you think it does. Here's a brief explanation.
Quote
The University of California, Berkley defines a theory as "a broad, natural explanation for a wide range of phenomena. Theories are concise, coherent, systematic, predictive, and broadly applicable, often integrating and generalizing many hypotheses."

Any scientific theory must be based on a careful and rational examination of the facts. Facts and theories are two different things. In the scientific method, there is a clear distinction between facts, which can be observed and/or measured, and theories, which are scientists' explanations and interpretations of the facts.

From.....
http://www.livescience.com/21491-what-is-a-scientific-theory-definition-of-theory.html

  • ensbb3
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Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #116
It takes sex, drugs and rock'n roll for that.

And just like the lazy American I am I do way too much of the first one and meh the rest.


From.....
http://www.livescience.com/21491-what-is-a-scientific-theory-definition-of-theory.html

Giggles @Jimbro3738 for thinking facts matter to rj. :lol:

  • Belfrager
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Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #117
Here's a brief explanation.

There's more here explained better.
For a more in depth focus, try here.

It's an interesting theme and very much opportune as we can state relating the climate change denialism that's going on in the forum by some posters.
People needs to understand why scientific explanations explains (or not) reality.
A matter of attitude.

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #118
I, of course, went first to the Stanford site! I was glad to see the article's first citation was to Michael Scriven, whose Reason was a guiding text for a course in practical reasoning I took decades ago! Nevermind that I was also engaged with and by elementary logic; it's a good book and it should be more widely used.
You could profit just from attempting to read it, Belfrager! ( :) I jest!)

I'll attempt to profit from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's article, to which you kindly pointed me to...for what purpose, I don't know. So, I've reading to do!
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
No one listens to me as much as I do and even I have my limits...
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman

  • Belfrager
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Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #119
I'll attempt to profit from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's article, to which you kindly pointed me to...for what purpose, I don't know.

Don't step jumps. In the first place, read the first link, you keep on doing a lot of confusion about the basics.

The Stanford's it's very good but just to those who enjoys more to reflect about this kind of things. I'm certain I'll be in total opposition regarding what you'll say about it. Maybe not, who knows...

My purpose it's always the same, to offer good content, quality content for the forum. I've been testing my theory that internet forums follows the same in structure of video/internet games. I defend the sandbox like kind of forums. :)
A matter of attitude.

  • Frenzie
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Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #120
By the way, did you notice its age?


The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy is twenty years old.
http://www.consciousentities.com/?p=2025

  • Belfrager
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Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #121
By the way, did you notice its age?

Yes I did, First published Fri May 9, 2003; substantive revision Wed Sep 24, 2014

Funny you mention that.
I also have some critics about it while at the same time agreeing that's a very good resource. But it's American and it shows it all over the place... :)

I just have another important article that I think most of us should have a look at, regarding these discussions about science and scientists - The Social Dimensions of Scientific Knowledge.
That's fundamental and maybe what really matters. :)
A matter of attitude.

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #122
That's fundamental and maybe what really matters.  :)
Spoken like a true Marxist! :) Excuse me: Neo-Marxist...
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
No one listens to me as much as I do and even I have my limits...
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman

  • rjhowie
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Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #123
Show how much you know as he has a leaning towards monarchism but then you being housebound kind of limits things. He is also the most progressive Portuguese person here.
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • Barulheira
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Re: "Scientists Say" blather
Reply #124
And the sexiest.