Snoopy wrote:Sigh... if only that were actually the case. The sad truth is that there is no such thing as a true "scientist," according to your definition. “The more controversial and revolutionary, the better"... that's a laugh. Tenured professors have gotten fired for publishing their own PEER REVIEWED research, because the research didn't agree with what the university wanted to publish.
Like who? I believe you, I'm just curious.
Snoopy wrote:Academics are constantly referred to by themselves and others as "intellectual prostitutes," and they are to a great degree. Academics (and everyone else in science, for that matter) have the ultimate goal of maintaining their funding source, and if that means covering up a bit of controversial results in order to do so, most of them are willing to do it. This isn't a new thing, by the way... read up on the history of the agreed upon value for the charge of a single electron.
I did. I don't think I found whatever it was you were referring to. I read about the controversy between Millikan and Ehrenhaft, but I didn't see anything about someone covering up controversial results. Care to elaborate?
But there are plenty of other scientific scandals that I am familiar with. Like Piltdown Man. For anyone who doesn't know, Piltdown Man was supposedly the fossilized remains of early hominid that provided the missing evolutionary link between apes and humans. Turns out the whole think was a fake. But guess who proved
it was a fake? Other scientists. That is the beauty of the scientific community. Scientists are some of the biggest skeptics in the world. We question each other's results. We call bs when we see it. We demand you tell us exactly how you did your experiment, so we can reproduce it and see if we get the same results. And at the end of the day, the person with the most convincing evidence wins, politics be damned.
I'm not that naive. I know science isn't perfect, people do have their pet theories that they want to protect, and there are always going to be some politics involved. Scientists are just human beings, after all. But at the end of the day, I have more faith in the scientific method and the scientific community than just about anything else, because there is so much skepticism and so much emphasis on backing up your claims with good, solid evidence.
Snoopy wrote:That's not to say that science is completely without merit; obviously there's a lot of good that comes out of the scientific community. But you also can't swallow whatever someone tells you just because they have the letters "PhD" after their name.
Of course not. That's why I'd be extremely skeptical if it was just one lone scientist warning us about climate change. But that's not the case at all with global warming. It's the opposite. The majority of scientists agree that this is a serious issue, whereas the ones arguing that it's not are a tiny minority.
The fact that those "global-warming-is-a-hoax" scientists exist proves nothing. There will always be a few people arguing against mainstream opinion. To this day, there are people trying to argue that AIDS and the Holocaust are nothing but hoaxes. Again, it all comes down to the question, how good is your evidence?
I'm a biologist, not a climatologist. This isn't my area of expertise, but I do know something about it, because I studied it for a year. Based on what I read, I concluded that some of the claims and warnings about climate change have been exaggerated. I don't have a lot of faith in the IPCC, for example, because they always seem to take the worst possible outcome, from a range of predicted outcomes, and then present that as absolute fact. They're an alarmist group, in my opinion. I also think a lot of our understandings about climatology are still kind of shaky; we're talking about processes that take place over centuries and millennia, but we've only been studying this stuff for a few decades. There's a lot we still don't know.
That being said, I also think we have cause to be uneasy. Global climates are changing. How much of that is due to human activity? Hard to tell for certain, but it seems very likely we are having some impact. I think we need to be cautious. This is not something we want to screw up. Climate systems are very complicated things, and if we screw them up, we might never be able to repair them.
Snoopy wrote:You always have to be aware of where the funding comes from. And in the case of man-made global warming, the big money wants it to be true, so there is cause for significant skepticism.
Okay, now this is an argument I've never understood. There's a ton of big money in fossil fuels and cars and steaks and other things that, according to global warming theorists, are bad for our planet. There is no big money is bicycles and vegetarianism and clean energy and recycling and supporting local farmers. So why on earth would big money want to promote the idea of global warming? Seems to me the financial incentives mostly work in the other direction.
P.S. If you reply, it's probably going to take me a while to respond. School starting again means I have no free time. But I'll get back to you eventually.
Anifan on Reddit: "Do you realize you're one of the reasons why I write fiction in my free time?"
KA: "So sorry to get you into writing. What a horrible thing to inflict on you. Should have just sold you crack."