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Comment Re:Dear SJW morons (Score 1) 781

And whilst you would dismiss the content of the 80% of comments you observe here as trolling the only thing that differentiates them from persons who self-identify as social justice warrior (or bard, wizard, etc. (I'm not kidding)) is that the latter claim to be acting in a meritorious way which allows them to validate their bad behaviour.

Comment Re:Disappointed (Score 2) 173

Time to burn some karma.

SJW is not a term that is adopted by people who tend to do actual social good through campaigning and proactive behaviour. SJW (particularly on social networks) is a self-applied term that armchair experts use to make themselves appear to be "good" people, i.e., those who sign an ill-devised online petition once in a while or fervently use a hashtag to "raise awareness". Thankfully, for the most part, their reach is limited to a relatively small group of people who already agree with them and mirror their behaviour.

Well identified SJW behaviours:
Spewing vitriol onto the internet with little consideration for persuasive argument.
Adoption of any claims that reinforce their ideology no matter how poorly founded and conversely...
Rejection of any evidence, regardless of quality, that undermines their ideology.
Rejection of persons from their group who do not absolutely conform to the ideology.
Labelling persons - regardless of the quality of their arguments - who do not follow the ideology as problematic or racist/sexist/misogynist etc.
Adoption of any and all tactics regardless of how repugnant to further enforce their chosen ideology on others and destroy persons who do not conform.

Thus, SJW has become a pejorative because it does not describe people who do good, it is a self-applied label used by people who claim to do good while behaving in a destructive manner.

Comment Re:why that is (Score 1) 257

Incorrect. That study (I'd need to see citations for the "others like it") shows that only the studies it investigated are probably incorrect as the results were not reproducible. It cannot make any predictive claims on the future of any given field and thus stating that "science" continues to be incorrect is a generalisation that you cannot possibly support by evidence. The fact that we know how and why the sun "rises" despite many erroneous theories is enough to discard your claim. A hypothesis was made and tested, conclusions were reached, eventually the conclusions were reached independently by a range of persons through the same process.

The scientific process is not limited to one or a few studies. At any time conclusions can be refuted and they often are because scientists are a competitive bunch. Finding a better explanatory model of any phenomena results in prestige. At no point does magic come in to it.

The scientific process is not the only method we use. We've listened to holy people who made authoritative statements based on revealed truth, people have simply decided intuitively why things are the way they are. Said truths don't tend to stand up to any scrutiny.

I'm sure everyone would benefit from your suggestions of better alternatives to the scientific method.

Comment Re:why that is (Score 1) 257

It should never be assumed that any single source of information is authoratative, moreover it should probably be assumed that information coming from a limited number of people may include the biases of that person or group.

The current peer review process is an attempt to remove as much of the subjectivity from the findings as possible by introducing independent reviewers. Does it work? Somewhat.

Peer review has its own problems; I once turned down a request to review a study because it contained material I simply did not have expertise in. I voiced my concerns to the editor of the journal who assured me that this was not a problem.

I know of one example of a reviewer trying to inject their own research into a study where it was tenuously relevent. The amount of work required to add this material was not trivial.

Ultimately, people are still involved in science. However, science is self-correcting: Can't reproduce a result? Results and conclusions are then considered poorly founded. Researcher found to have ulterior motives? Their entire past work and any future work will be subjected to greater scrutiny. Don't ever underestimate how invested people get in their own pet theories either.

The scientific process is not perfect but it's the best solution we currently have to removing the people problem.

Comment Re:Comparison? (Score 1) 257

A good reason to support the work of http://www.alltrials.net/ if you can.

"AllTrials calls for all past and present clinical trials to be registered and their full methods and summary results reported."

They've been making significant progress in attaining their goal, however, some big pharma is highly resistant.

Comment Re:For safe integration with existing air traffic (Score 1) 129

If this were true surely the US legal system would not impose ludicrous fines and prison sentences for computer-related and other non-violent crimes.

Aaron Swartz, Jammie Thomas-Rasset and Joel Tenenbaum suggest that justice is not the primary consideration in many cases. The courts seem willing to impose penalties so egregiously severe as to create a climate of fear.

Comment Re:USB DACs (Score 1) 502

Would you mind advising on a suitable (preferably inexpensive) USB DAC? I have a gaming card in my PC so I'm covered in that regard.
I have a Starving Student headphone amplifier that I built but my laptop audio output is fairly poor and it's the device that I listen to most of my music on.

I'm handy enough with a soldering iron but there are a dizzying array of kits on ebay and from enthusiasts so I feel lost in all of the choice and opinion. Much of the opinion I am wary of as it has an element of snake-oil salesperson to it.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Comment Real world implications (Score 1) 124

Any researcher worth their salt states a p-value with enough additional information to understand if the p-value is actually meaningful. Anyone who looks at a paper and makes a conclusion besed solely (or largely) off a p-value without thinking about how meaningful the results are from a clinical or real-world perspective is being lazy or reckless.

I guess there are quite a few insightful XKCD strips but this one seems most apt, here: http://xkcd.com/552/

Comment Re:I am reminded of pigs and engineers here (Score 1) 593

Ok, ok. You got me!

I am in fact part of the massive global worldwide conspiracy of scientists and old earth religious believers who have agreed to manipulate data to destroy the truth. You sir put forward such a magnificent case that I could no longer maintain the paper-thin cover that millions of us have constructed.

It is a sad sad day.

BRB. Calling the Vatican, most protestant denominations, muslims and all other persons whos ancestors have helped us keep the lie alive through the centuries. The cat is well and truely out of the bag.

Comment Re:I am reminded of pigs and engineers here (Score 4, Insightful) 593

While I agree with the general concept that everything should be examined and not taken at face value I would stress that this is not equivalent to "my non-fact based theory deserves as much time and attention as your evidence-based theory."

Ken Ham cannot provide a reasonable point-counterpoint because all he can do is make assertions that sound like science but are in fact not. It doesn't matter how polite and well spoken he is.

As Issac Asimov stated:
“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

The only value that this 'debate' will have is it will further reinforce exactly how delusional creationism is.

Comment Re:Wait, 3-year ban? (Score 2) 141

Given that you consider all scientists and the peer review process to be entirely corrupt who would you trust to be knowledgable and honest enough to sit on this 'Truth Panel'?

I'm not sure if you're a troll or you are just deeply cynical. I just hope that at some point you recognise that we all have an inbuilt bias to inflate the effect of negative aspects of reality and miss the positives https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negativity_bias. Then again, I can see the benefits of being a pessimist: You're going to swing between being either correct or pleasantly surprised.

Comment Re:Wait, 3-year ban? (Score 4, Interesting) 141

I would agree to an extent that quantity of research is being pushed as the be all and end all (as Prof. Higgs lamented). In the UK people are attending university to get a sheet of paper that proves their marketability. There are an increasing number of 'fluff' degrees requiring an increasing number of lecturers who can teach 'fluff' who are being pushed to prove that their fluff not only is valuable fluff but is the best fluff by the accountants and marketers running the universities. As a result you get researchers pushing out reams of crap in journals with low impacts simply to give the illusion of productivity and allow marketers to print a long list of studies beside their photos in university profile pages.

The knock on result is that all researchers are being pressured to publish an equivalent number of papers as anything less just proves they're lazy and unproductive in comparison to the fluff producers by bureaucrats who equate all studies as equal.

You're nodding along with me now as I'm painting a pretty bleak picture that agrees with your assessment. However, your blanket statement that nobody cares about research quality is profoundly incorrect. I know many many scientists who get their work done despite the aforementioned pressures and who 'care'. I know it's easy to tar everyone with the same brush but many of us are still doing science because we want to learn and report new things.

Taking a cynical view is easy but as TFA points out, there are more than enough people that care ensuring that fabrications are discovered.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito