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End of science prediction from 2014: Are we there yet?

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Picking Carl Sagan (1934–1996) as a pop sci celeb who represents the “mythologization” of science, he writes:

Science has been thoroughly Saganized. The vast majority of research papers are wrong, their results cannot be replicated. The researchers writing them often don’t even understand what they’re doing wrong and don’t care. Research is increasingly indistinguishable from politics. Studies are framed in ways that prove a political premise, whether it’s that the world will end without a carbon tax or that racism causes obesity. If they prove the premise, the research is useful to the progressive non-profits and politicians who always claim to have science in their corner. If it doesn’t, then it isn’t funded.

“Science” has been reduced to an absolute form of authority that is always correct. The Saganists envision science as a battle between superstition and truth, but what distinguished science from superstition was the ability to throw out wrong conclusions based on testing. Without the scientific method, science is just another philosophy where anything can be proven if you manipulate the terminology so that the target is drawn around the arrow. Add statistical games and nothing means anything.

This form of science measures itself not against the universe, but against the intellectual bubble inhabited by those who share the same worldview or those who live under their control. It’s not a bold exploration of the cosmos, but a timid repetition of cliches.

Daniel Greenfield, “End of Science” at Sultan Knish

There are laudable efforts like Retraction Watch, to be sure.

But, sensing the weakness, hordes of political operatives are now laying siege to science—see, for example, “Journalist DouglasMurray reflects on the progressive war on science.”

The hordes sometimes have the tacit, flaccid (and soon perhaps strident) support of science’s gatekeepers. Then the question will become, why should taxpayers support guerilla wars between aggrieved status groups over the corpse of science?

They can’t all lose, unfortunately. But they could all be defunded…

The only good news: From the chaos, ruins, scandals, and foregone flops will grow a new respect for the disciplines again. At least some people still really want to do science.

See also: Which side will atheists choose in the war on science? They need to re-evaluate their alliance with progressivism, which is doing science no favours.

6 Replies to “End of science prediction from 2014: Are we there yet?

  1. 1
    martin_r says:

    let me add one more prediction by Nobel Prize laureate and famous Origin-of-life researcher Jack Szostak, in 2014 Harvard professor Jack Szostak said:

    “Life in lab” in 3-5 years, more likely in 3 years

    it is 2020 and they have got NOTHING… ZERO PROGRESS…

    THEY DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START …

    https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1406/S00007/jack-szostak-life-in-lab-in-3-5-years.htm

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    Martin_r @ 1

    it is 2020 and they have got NOTHING… ZERO PROGRESS…

    You missed out ‘PERIOD!”

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    There are laudable efforts like Retraction Watch, to be sure.

    I agree. Retraction Watch does a laudable job. They catch both innocent mistakes and deliberate fraud. Scientists are as human as the rest of us. They can get things wrong and, in some cases, they can give way to the increasing pressure to publish by making false claims supported by fraudulent data. However to put things in perspective

    Nearly a decade ago, headlines highlighted a disturbing trend in science: The number of articles retracted by journals had increased 10-fold during the previous 10 years. Fraud accounted for some 60% of those retractions; one offender, anesthesiologist Joachim Boldt, had racked up almost 90 retractions after investigators concluded he had fabricated data and committed other ethical violations.

    The attention also helped catalyze an effort by two longtime health journalists—Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus, who founded the blog Retraction Watch, based in New York City—to get more insight into just how many scientific papers were being withdrawn, and why. They began to assemble a list of retractions.

    That list, formally released to the public this week as a searchable database, is now the largest and most comprehensive of its kind. It includes more than 18,000 retracted papers and conference abstracts dating back to the 1970s (and even one paper from 1756 involving Benjamin Franklin)

    However:

    Although the absolute number of annual retractions has grown, the rate of increase has slowed.

    The data confirm that the absolute number of retractions has risen over the past few decades, from fewer than 100 annually before 2000 to nearly 1000 in 2014. But retractions remain relatively rare: Only about four of every 10,000 papers are now retracted. And although the rate roughly doubled from 2003 to 2009, it has remained level since 2012. In part, that trend reflects a rising denominator: The total number of scientific papers published annually more than doubled from 2003 to 2016.

    Of interest, given the number of engineers who comment here or are critical of science in general:

    Some 40% of the retractions in the Retraction Watch database have a single curious origin. Over the past decade, one publisher—the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in New York City—has quietly retracted thousands of conference abstracts.

    Most of the abstracts are from IEEE conferences that took place between 2009 and 2011. The 2011 International Conference on E-Business and E-Government alone resulted in retractions of more than 1200 abstracts. In all, IEEE has retracted more than 7300 such abstracts. Most of the authors are based in China, and their papers covered topics as diverse as physical sciences, business, technology, and social sciences.

    The increasing incidence of retractions is concerning but it can also be interpreted as as the scientific enterprise becoming more rigorous and successful in policing itself

    Ferric Fang, a clinical microbiologist at the University of Washington in Seattle who has studied retractions, says he hopes people will use the new database “to look more closely at how science works, when it doesn’t work right, and how it can work better.” And he believes transparent reporting of retractions can only help make science stronger. “We learn,” he says, “from our mistakes.”

  4. 4
    martin_r says:

    Seversky @2

    i can understand your frustration …

    150 years of OoL research gone, and you have got NOTHING… not a single thing… ZERO PROGRESS… only what you have got are some BUBBLES made of fat and some useless MOLECULAR MESS …

    THAT IS IT….

    150 years….

    So, Seversky, what do you think, why is that ?

    Why after 150 years of OoL research you guys got NOTHING and there is a ZERO PROGRESS ?

    Any idea why is that ? :))))

  5. 5
    martin_r says:

    Seversky,

    i see you love engineers, so let me add another post

    2017 BBC article:

    “Most scientists can’t replicate studies by their peers’

    “Science is facing a “reproducibility crisis” where more than two-thirds of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments, research suggests.”

    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39054778

    p.s.

    you still have not answered my question, i have asked you that 2-3 times already – WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATION ? IT IS A SIMPLE QUESTION…

  6. 6
    pw says:

    Martin_r,

    Your comments are very appreciated.

    Well done, my friend. Thanks!

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