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The American Public vs. AAAS Scientists

 
 
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Mon 2 Feb, 2015 02:28 pm
@Kolyo,
Kolyo wrote:

Olivier5 wrote:

Beyond their personal area of competence, scientists are just as clueless as anybody else. I can listen to a climatologist on global warming but chances are his or her opinions on GMOs are just as uninformed as mine.


My view.


sometimes they're even more clueless in areas outside of their specialties than some slightly informed members of the general public since they can get so involved in their own areas that they're not interested in anything else

add this to the corporate influences in some particular areas of science and I'm pretty sceptical about the value of "the scientific community" as a source of information.

I'll go with specialists in each area - and do my own reading, trying to find cross-references from different countries.

Kolyo
 
  2  
Reply Mon 2 Feb, 2015 02:40 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

I think it is a big mistake to trust public emotion more than scientific consensus on scientific questions, particularly on important public policy issues.


I think it's important to give individuals choices on issues that could affect their health, which is why I support labeling GMO foods without banning them outright. Some cynics may say that will destroy the market for GMO foods, but that's nonsense. There was one GMO food I heard about on NPR that's supposed to be 100 times better than the alternative. In a world where people were free to choose between GMO and non-GMO products, I believe people would choose that particular innovation over the status quo. They would opt for GMO products in cases where such products were far superior, and they would probably reject GMO products that were only marginally better than the alternative. I think GMO innovations that create products 100 times as good should find their way to market, but I don't think radically genetically altered foods whose only strong point is that they are 5% cheaper to grow (in terms of land used) have any business replacing existing foods.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Mon 2 Feb, 2015 03:01 pm
@ehBeth,
Quote:
sometimes they're even more clueless in areas outside of their specialties than some slightly informed members of the general public since they can get so involved in their own areas that they're not interested in anything else


Really ehBeth? I don't think you don't know very many scientists.

If you socialized with a group of scientists, you will find that they are quite interested in other lines of work. And since scientists share a common knowledge of mathematics and scientific process, they can share quite freely. And they should share. A majority of the course work I took to get my degrees in Physics were taken by every scientist.

We all are trained in calculus and differential equations. We all study chemistry. We all take the same courses in data analysis, research methods and statistics. Most of the tools used by scientists are the same regardless of specialty.

Have you read Richard Feinman's books (i.e. "Surely you're joking..." rather than his lectures on physics)? I highly recommend them.

Scientists tend to be very curious by nature.

ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Mon 2 Feb, 2015 03:06 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Really ehBeth? I don't think you don't know very many scientists.


you know very little about my real-life community or background
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Mon 2 Feb, 2015 03:12 pm
@ehBeth,
That's true ehBeth, except that from your post your experience is very different than mine.

I am an engineer with a Physics degree and a good number of scientists from many disciplines in my social circle.

I am very interested in other fields, particularly biology (which is quite different than hard physics). Fortunately I have a couple of friends in the biomedical field that I can talk to. We have a shared mathematical language, and a shared understanding of scientific method. This makes for very interesting conversation.

I have been around science enough to know that this is common. Get science geeks from different fields together and you are going to get some very interesting conversations.
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Mon 2 Feb, 2015 03:14 pm
@maxdancona,
Our academic backgrounds and social situations are almost identical.

What I appear to have is a more critical eye.
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Mon 2 Feb, 2015 03:23 pm
@ehBeth,
That's too bad.
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Mon 2 Feb, 2015 03:37 pm
@maxdancona,
Since science requires strong critical thinking skills, it's a good thing.

Interesting conversations are one thing. Accepting what friends/colleagues say - simply because they are scientists - is another. That's not how I was raised or educated.

hamburgboy (my father) ended his career as a forensic auditor. My mother was well-educated in the sciences and worked in medical research. I learned, by way of education and example, to examine the top/side/bottom/guts of everything.
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Mon 2 Feb, 2015 03:44 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

Since science requires strong critical thinking skills, it's a good thing.

Interesting conversations are one thing. Accepting what friends/colleagues say - simply because they are scientists - is another.


That's not what I am saying.

I am saying that scientific literacy has value in understanding any scientific argument. If I have a question about something in the bio-medical field, I will ask my friend who does bio-medical research.

The great thing about scientists is that they don't just give you an answer to accept (or not). They can give you the research, the mathematics involved and the logical argument. This is a very good thing, but it takes a bit of experience for it to be useful (since the language of science is mathematics, and if you don't have a strong background in mathematics you are going to have trouble understanding on a deep level).

But, all I am really saying is that scientific literacy is very valuable in understanding science.

The practical message is that we, as a society, would be a lot better off if the American public understood science better.
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Mon 2 Feb, 2015 04:01 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
we, as a society, would be a lot better off if the American public understood science better.

Yes, which is perhaps the very reason why the American public DOESN'T understand science very well... If they did, they'd want to change all sorts of things, consume less fossil fuel for instance. Better leave then in ignorance.
0 Replies
 
Kolyo
 
  3  
Reply Mon 2 Feb, 2015 04:14 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

ehBeth wrote:

Since science requires strong critical thinking skills, it's a good thing.

Interesting conversations are one thing. Accepting what friends/colleagues say - simply because they are scientists - is another.


That's not what I am saying.


Well, that was sort of the entire point to this thread of yours.
You have been saying throughout that the American public
is wrong for not accepting what scientists say.

So, yes, it is what you're saying.
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Mon 2 Feb, 2015 04:15 pm
Don't trouble Max with what he has actually written, he'll just tell that's not the point.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Mon 2 Feb, 2015 09:21 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

maxdancona wrote:
What about the atheists who doubt science?


Which atheists would those be, Mr. Science? What variety of atheist are they?

Since we last met in real life, I have joined a Unitarian society. We have plenty of Buddhists, Wiccans, and other generally New-Agey types, none of whom believe in any gods. Nevertheless, all of them share a mildly paranoid aversion against genetically-modified organisms, nuclear power, non-homeopathic medicine, and my insistence that their horoscopes tell them absolutely nothing worth paying attention to. I assure you it's quite easy to be both atheistic and anti-science.
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Mon 2 Feb, 2015 09:31 pm
@Kolyo,
Quote:
Interesting conversations are one thing. Accepting what friends/colleagues say - simply because they are scientists - is another.


Quote:
You have been saying throughout that the American public
is wrong for not accepting what scientists say.


Do you really not see the difference between these two statements?

Actually neither of these two statements are things I have actually said, they are both examples of people putting words in my mouth. If you used actual words that I said (and if you are trying to make a point, I don't see why you wouldn't), it would be a little less of an obvious straw man.

0 Replies
 
RABEL222
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Feb, 2015 12:56 am
@Kolyo,
They still do. Only they call it electro shock therapy now.
0 Replies
 
RABEL222
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 Feb, 2015 01:06 am
@maxdancona,
I think you should follow the money that scientists get from business especially when said scientists agree with what big business wants to be pubilcized. Remember cigarettes and all the scientists who declared them harmless.
0 Replies
 
RABEL222
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 Feb, 2015 01:13 am
@maxdancona,
Isent it odd that so many new scientific discoveries proved in one lab cant be reproduced in another lab? Maybe scientists should have a better understanding of science.
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 Feb, 2015 06:52 am
@Thomas,
Quote:
Nevertheless, all of them share a mildly paranoid aversion against genetically-modified organisms, nuclear power, non-homeopathic medicine, and my insistence that their horoscopes tell them absolutely nothing worth paying attention to. I assure you it's quite easy to be both atheistic and anti-science.

I have an aversion to GMOs that is based on science: some of them lead to massive pollution.

I have an aversion to nuclear weapons for a scientific reason: they kill people.

Let's not confuse science and technology. GMOs have nothing yo do with science as an approach or pursuit. People who don't like nuclear weapons are not necessarily anti-science. They can also be pro-human beings.

I agree that doubting medicine is basically anti-science though.
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Tue 3 Feb, 2015 07:01 am
@RABEL222,
No, it is not odd at all Rabel. It is part of the scientific process. Results that are not reproducible are discarded by the scientific community.

This is one of the reasons that the scientific process works so well.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Tue 3 Feb, 2015 07:03 am
@Olivier5,
Quote:
I have an aversion to GMOs that is based on science: some of them lead to massive pollution.


I don't believe that this is true. Can you show me objective research that shows that GMOs lead to pollution? I did a quick google search after reading your post. There is a lot of propaganda making this claim. I couldn't find any objective source saying this is true nor could I find and scientific research to back it up.
 

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