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Comment Re:Peer Review and Grant Awards (Score 1) 1747

Either you're an excellent troll or you really have no idea of how scientific journals work.
Every faction, in all the sciences, have their own journal. As a scientist, your goal is to get published - so you submit to the journal with the editors that are most likely to approve your article. You then become associated closely with that journal and then become invited to peer-review other articles for inclusion in that same journal.
Inevitably that means that the cycle continues and journals develop a reputation for a certain point of view on specific issues, similar to newspapers developing a certain political affiliation.
The peer-review process is not perfect, but like democracy, its the best system we've got.

"Climate debate aside, we need to invent news ways to do review of papers and grants that is not totally dependent on self-policing of scientists. Any suggestions?"

Aside from your gross generalization of "scientists" as a class of people, who else could you possibly suggest to understand and evaluate SCIENTIFIC proposals and SCIENTIFIC papers besides SCIENTISTS?

In any case, in the specific case of climate science, it is true that "skeptic" papers very rarely get published in respected scientific journals. This is not, however, due to some vast conspiracy where "some rejected should not have been" - it is because the science is truly bad in most of these papers.
Besides, being published in a journal does not make it the truth - if someone truly believes in their research they are free to disseminate it in other ways, especially in "the internet age".

As for the famous quote "even if I have to redefine what peer-review literature is" - just because he is a scientist doesn't mean everything he writes has to be taken literally. He is annoyed, privately I might add, at people pushing what he views as bad science and is simply voicing his opinion. There is no evidence that any papers were actually excluded, and there are a few decent "skeptic" papers cited in the IPCC report referenced in the emails. There is no censorship going on.

There is far more money available on the "denialist" side - than from publicly funded climate research, especially in today's economic climate when governments are trillions in debt and the public opinion of science in general is a confused mess.

Comment Re:Modern-Day Galileo (Score 2, Informative) 1747

True, but sometimes the current models are more complicated models that have been closely tuned to appear to match reality, but in fact are overcomplicated.

Overcomplicated, in regard to a scientific model, means that there exists an actual, existing alternative model which is equally predictive and simpler.

Take quantum mechanics. It really looks to me like somewhere along the line we ignored Occam's Razor and jumped to a more complicated model.

Really? Where is the more parsimonious model that handles everything QM does?

I believe this happened when we decided to take particle statistics and claim that these applied to individual particles. So instead of a particle having a position it has a position probability field, etc.

IIRC, there are some important predictive differences between particles-as-waveforms and particles-as-classical-objects-with-difficult-to-determine-properties, and the former not the latter predicts behavior in the real world better. I'm certainly aware that QM is complicated enough to make people's brains hurt thinking about it, but I'm not at all convinced that the complication is unnecessary.

Compair that to QM, where the basic premises are not well defined, and where one really can't say that it is the simplest possible model that supports a small number of well supported premises.

(1) Models don't support premises, they (if "premises" are relevant at all) flow from them. Models support predictions.
(2) Its not as important, scientifically speaking, that a model flow from a small set of premises as it is that it provide useful predictions. Complexity is only an issue in choosing between models that are equally predictive.

Now lets say I come up with a simpler model, that is a closer match to experimental data than early QM was. However it is not as good a match as the latest really complicated and heavily tunes QM models are. It would be largely ignored by most Theoretical physicists, since the current model is better.

Actually, that's not necessarily true. If it was, in all cases equal to or worse than current models, it would certainly be ignored. If it was not as good as current models over all, but it was simpler and better predicted behavior in some area than current models, it would have a chance to be taken at least somewhat seriously as something which might be the basis of a viable alternative approach.

But, yes, if your new model is nothing but a giant step backward from where we are now in all ways accept simplicity, then its not going to fly. And why should it?

The problem basically is that the modern models are so complicated and so highly tuned that it is not viable to devise a substantially different model that has results just as good as the current ones.

That's not a problem. What you are basically doing is complaining that our current models explain reality very well, so it is hard to come up with something radically different that explains reality better. But, you know, producing models that explain reality very well is the goal of science, not a problem with science.

there is no way to get more than a small team to work on such a model.

Sure there is, which is why people work on, say, superstring theories, which haven't yet shown any predictive advantages over the theories they hope to generalize and displace.

Comment It occurs to me that there was some odd truth told (Score 4, Insightful) 280

In all the years of whining and complaining about needing stricter laws and harsher punishment and longer copyright terms, they always cited that the artists and their families are not getting paid because of piracy!

Well, I guess they weren't exactly lying were they. It's just that the people they claimed to be responsible for the atrocities against artists were not the file sharing public, but themselves.

Comment Teach me something I can't with a Google search (Score 1, Redundant) 186

That's it, basically. For IT people, finding information is *easy*. Why would I go to your conference, when everything you have to say is available for free from some website (and I *guarantee* it is).

I have yet to attend a conference that told me anything I didn't already know. The whole idea of a "conference" is pretty flawed. I want a *class*, with highly-qualified instructors that can answer my questions. I also want the class to only be attended by people that know why they are attending. Too many of the classes I've taken are filled with people that simply aren't ready for the class, and all the instructor's time is wasted answering their very basic questions.

What I'm saying is, you're doing it wrong. Nobody cares about a conference except as an excuse to take a day off and drink and meet women. If you aren't even offering THAT, then why are you bothering with it?

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