[ExI] Do your own research

Dylan Distasio interzone at gmail.com
Fri Aug 7 00:58:59 UTC 2020

+100.  Very well said.   Apologies that I have nothing further to add.

On Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 8:46 PM Stuart LaForge via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> Quoting extropy-chat-request at lists.extropy.org:
> >
> > On Wed, Aug 5, 2020 at 7:58 PM Stuart LaForge via extropy-chat <
> > extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> >
> >>
> >> *Being an astrophysicist does not entitle Ethan Siegel to speak on
> behalf
> >> of all scientists. The notion that scientists should stay in their own
> >> research lanes and not pursue questions or develop opinions  in other
> >> fields is ludicrous.*
> >
> > I'll tell you what's ludicrous, the idea that you must do your own
> research
> > and every reader of the journal Nature or Science must personally
> reproduce
> > every experiment in them before he can conclude that what they say is
> > probably true. Can you imagine a microbiologist reproducing an
> astronomer's
> > 10 year research project using the world's largest telescopes to
> determine
> > the distribution of galaxies in the universe? Can you imagine an
> astronomer
> > reproducing a microbiologist's 10 year research program to determine the
> > expression of genes in a paramecium? I can't either.
> I agree that it is silly to expect microbiologists to reproduce
> results from astronomers or vice versa. But that's not what I am
> talking about. What I am talking about is if a microbiologist wants to
> buy a telescope, look at the sky with it, form opinions, ask
> questions, and use the scientific method to answer them, then she is
> within her rights to do so. Same if an astronomer wants to buy a
> microscope and study paramecium. Doing so does not suddenly make them
> an expert in the other's field, but it can still legitimately be
> called science. So is a layperson buying scientific instruments and
> tinkering around in his garage.
> That being said, there is a reproducibility crisis going on in
> science. According to 2/3 of the researchers surveyed by Nature,
> irreproducibility of published results are a huge problem in science,
> these days:
> https://www.nature.com/collections/prbfkwmwvz/
> > The history of scientists telling other scientists in very different
> fields
> > how they should do their job is full of humiliating failures. I'm
> thinking
> > of the eminent physicist lord Kelvin who told geologists that they got it
> > all wrong and that the Earth was not billions of years old but only about
> > 20 million;
> And the history of so-called laypeople simply following their
> curiosity and exploring natural phenomena that interested them is full
> of resounding successes. Successes like Einstein who became a great
> physicist, but not until after he discovered special relativity as a
> patent clerk. Or Gregor Mendel who was a monk when he discovered
> genes. Or Erasto Mpemba who was a 13 year old school boy in Tanzania
> when he discovered the Mpemba effect. Lay people are capable of making
> important contributions to science. To say otherwise is elitist
> gate-keeping.
> > and the eminent astronomer Fred Hoyle who told biologists they
> > got it all wrong and Darwinian evolution can't work and said those who
> are
> > mathematical geniuses got that way because they received mathematical
> > genius genes from viruses which came from outer space; and the eminent
> > physical chemist Linus Pauling who told doctors they got it all wrong and
> > that vitamin C could cure just about everything.
> Hoyle and Kelvin were wrong, but so what? And to his credit, Linus
> Pauling lived to be 98 years old so, if it did not help him, then his
> mega-dosing of vitamin-C certainly did not harm him. Come to think of
> it, with all the supplements and nootropic stacks being taken around
> these parts, he probably would have fit right in on this here list.
> > If you're an expert in one field of science you must realize that it took
> > you many years to obtain the necessary knowledge and skills to reach that
> > level, and if you're not only smart but also wise you'll know that there
> > are fields of science other than your own and conclude that experts in
> > those fields may know more about them than you do. This is even more true
> > if you're a civilian and not an expert in ANY field of science.
> The advantage that professional scientists has over amateurs by virtue
> of "years of experience" is countered by the high-stakes
> publish-or-perish environment that the scientist lives under which
> incentivises the manipulation and misinterpretation of results which
> in turn leads to irreproducibility.
> > And I must conclude that today's science deniers tend to be ideological
> > stooges of the right.
> Unless the science is genetics as it pertains to things like
> sex-determination, IQ, and genetically modified organisms. Other
> sciences routinely denied by the left are nuclear physics (nuclear
> power) and immunology (vaccinations).
> Stuart LaForge
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