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Comment: Re:Does not contradict (Score 1) 272

by Namarrgon (#48808775) Attached to: Silicon Valley's Quest To Extend Life 'Well Beyond 120'

Sorry, I didn't imagine responding with an informative link would be assumed to be a direct insult, even if you may have read it before (others may not have, and this is a public discussion). I also don't see how linking to valid information is considered an "appeal to authority", failed or otherwise. Should I have decorated the link more?

As far as I can tell, from the wikipedia article, Nature article, and Blackburn's Nobel presentation, telomerase actually rebuilds short or damaged telomeres, which would seem to make them not so much of a "hard" limit. Obviously there is far more to the ageing process than telomere shortening, and naturally errors in the process will accumulate and eventually defeat this (as with cellular replication in general), so nobody is claiming this is the key to immortality or anything - but it's certainly a significant piece of the puzzle.

If my understanding is incorrect, please do enlighten me (even with a simple, undecorated link). Your responses so far have left me none the wiser.

Comment: Re: The Pope's doubling-down on irrelevance, I se (Score 1) 341

by Namarrgon (#48742307) Attached to: Pope Francis To Issue Encyclical On Global Warming

Authentication of raw data might be useful, but hard to enforce when it requires a human agency to collect - and data fudging cases are pretty rare anyway. I don't see this as a significant problem.

Sounds more like your issue is with the trustworthiness of conclusions derived from those results, and I don't see how authentication could help there at all. The nearest electronic equivalent we have to that is a reputation score, and reputation has long been an important factor in scientific publishing. This is backed by anonymous review by a number of other reputable peers, and has been working pretty well for the last few centuries.

climate scientists in making decisions to change lifestyles

There's a lot of enormous leaps in that phrase. The vast majority of climate scientists simply present their conclusions about what has happened and is likely to happen, and peer-reviewed studies rarely even touch on solutions to the problems discovered (a few climatologists have been separately advocating for change, but not as part of the scientific body of work). No climatologist that I'm aware of actually has the political power to decide the lifestyle of anyone beyond their own family. And then there's the whole question of whether climate solutions require significant lifestyle changes in the first place, beyond simply phasing in a carbon-neutral energy infrastructure.

Comment: Re:"Unconventional research" is fine (Score 1) 139

by Namarrgon (#48742171) Attached to: Does Journal Peer Review Miss Best and Brightest?

your conclusion that non-proven stuff has no place in the scientific process is invalid imo

Actually, I don't think that at all. Ideas, hypotheses, speculation, tentative results etc are all a crucial part of the process, and need to be shared and discussed between scientists. All I'm saying is that these should not be confused with solid, proven, reliable results, and that peer-reviewed journals are the best way we have of separating the two. Unproven hypotheses should be discussed in separate channels - conferences, forums, water coolers etc, or even journals too so long as they're clearly marked as tentative.

another very good reason why creativity is not very high in science

IMHO creativity in science has never been higher, in large part because there is so much sharing and discussion of ideas as well as proven results. But it's easy to overlook the continuous incremental advances that are happening every day, and genuine, world-changing breakthroughs are still rare (and rarely recognised immediately for their full impact).

Comment: Re: The Pope's doubling-down on irrelevance, I see (Score 2) 341

by Namarrgon (#48708941) Attached to: Pope Francis To Issue Encyclical On Global Warming

The only "data" I see on that site is carefully cherry-picked to suit the domain name. There's no original data, no broad surveys, no methodology for his conclusions, certainly no peer review, and his claims are all easily falsified by looking for oneself at the rest of the data.

The only reason anyone would trust a site like that to think for them is to carefully avoid contact with genuine studies, in case they contradicted your belief system.

Comment: Re:"Unconventional research" is fine (Score 1) 139

by Namarrgon (#48664855) Attached to: Does Journal Peer Review Miss Best and Brightest?

Philosophy != Science, but both have their place.

There are plenty of avenues for creativity, discussion, unproved hypotheses etc, but peer-reviewed magazines are not one of them. That way, everyone can distinguish solid, confirmed results that can be relied upon, from unproved assertions or tentative conclusions that might be right - or might not.

Scientists are free to follow hunches or interesting leads; nobody is stopping that. But there has to be a clear indicator of the reliability of information, and solid peer review of methodology is the best method we've found of determining that.

Comment: "Unconventional research" is fine (Score 2) 139

by Namarrgon (#48657573) Attached to: Does Journal Peer Review Miss Best and Brightest?

"Unconventional methodology" is not.

Papers that don't use sufficiently rigorous methods should be rejected, regardless of their conclusions - even if those conclusions eventually turn out to be right. It's the only way to have any confidence about the research. If the authors are so sure of their results, they should do them more carefully, and submit again.

Far too often, rejections are taken as evidence of cronyism or groupthink (usually by those whose beliefs are contradicted by established science), when it's simply obvious flaws in methodology. When your methods are bulletproof, only then you can expect with confidence to pass review.

Comment: Re:Check your math. (Score 2) 880

by Namarrgon (#48598037) Attached to: Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

Quote from your Pew Research link:

Overall, 8% of Muslim Americans say suicide bombings against civilian targets tactics are often (1%) or sometimes (7%) justified in the defense of Islam.

Emphasis mine. This does not support the claim of jihads or fundamentalism, unless you interpret the "defense of Islam" to mean "spread Islam everywhere". Might be interesting to compare that against a similar poll for Christians; I suspect you'd have similar results.

We could maybe try just leaving their religion alone? Then not only the great majority of peace-loving Muslims would be happier, but most of the rest too. Save the aggressive response for the nutjob violent individuals, treat them for the mentally ill criminals that they are, and leave religion out of it.

Comment: I already have kids (Score 1) 574

by Namarrgon (#48510281) Attached to: Hawking Warns Strong AI Could Threaten Humanity

And who knows what they'll do. They might help me in my old age, they might dump me in an old folks home and steal my stuff, they might even conceivably kill me, but they'll probably just live their own lives and forget to call. If I've brought them up well, I'm hoping they'll be good to me.

Why should our AI children be so different?

They won't compete for the same resources as us, so they're unlikely to kill us or steal our stuff, even if they were lacking in all emotion or altruism or ability to see the advantages of mutual cooperation. But we're going to have to deal with not knowing for sure.

The herd instinct among economists makes sheep look like independent thinkers.