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Posts: 1227/2860
(14-Dec-2006 at 03:31)


Scientific Fudging.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6178213.stm

A personal thorn in my side as I aspire to be a future scientist. There is no reason or excuse for misinterpreting data for a political reason. That's irresponsible and unforgivable.

These are scientific data, collected to be unbiased, being screwed for an agenda. How can anyone justify things like this?

Quote:
"In the last several years, we've seen an increase in both the misuse of science and I would say an increase of bad science in a number of very important issues; for example, in global climate change, international peace and security, and water resources."
Quote:
Last year, it triggered a major row when a discussion here resulted in the renowned US space agency climate scientist Dr James Hansen later claiming he had come under pressure not to talk to the media on global warming issues.

Mars II - American Scientist
PhD - Physical Chemistry
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(14-Dec-2006 at 03:38)


i can understand fudging data/information for examination purposes, i do it all the time, and even my lectures/advisors tells me that it is often good to use estimation because of the non-ideal nature of blah blah blah.

Anyway, look from this point of view, scientists are not rich, their funding mostly come from the government, and some lucky ones may get private funding. Thus, in order to continue to recieve funding, you really have no choice but to bow down to those that are feeding you. That being said, i do agree that scientific research and related areas should be politics-free. (same with many other areas)
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(14-Dec-2006 at 03:45)


Re: Scientific Fudging.

Originally Posted by NeoDeGenero: View Post
i can understand fudging data/information for examination purposes, i do it all the time, and even my lectures/advisors tells me that it is often good to use estimation because of the non-ideal nature of blah blah blah.
your a student, these are scientists, they should not be under pressure to produce results, or mis-interpret/calculate ect. ect. to get ideal answers for someone higher up to smile about, science is one of the few things in this world that is thought to be unable to lie. If we are making it lie, what is the point of science?

I'm 1970's pimp smooth...
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Posts: 1228/2860
(14-Dec-2006 at 03:49)


Re: Scientific Fudging.

Originally Posted by NeoDeGenero: View Post
i can understand fudging data/information for examination purposes, i do it all the time, and even my lectures/advisors tells me that it is often good to use estimation because of the non-ideal nature of blah blah blah.

Anyway, look from this point of view, scientists are not rich, their funding mostly come from the government, and some lucky ones may get private funding. Thus, in order to continue to recieve funding, you really have no choice but to bow down to those that are feeding you. That being said, i do agree that scientific research and related areas should be politics-free. (same with many other areas)
Gonna have to flat out dissagree with you there. You fund a project to find out the TRUTH not what you want to hear. If you fund a project to find a convenient truth then you are bribing a scientist to lie.

You're findings should reflect the truth of what is happening. Your approximations should account for errors that you know are affecting your results and you have to justify those approximations. And usually your approximations are give or take a few data

Otherwise, some other scientist with better data and more concrete results will write a paper making you look like an ass.

(Out of curiousity, what field are you reffering to?)

Mars II - American Scientist
PhD - Physical Chemistry
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(14-Dec-2006 at 03:59)


I guess the politicians never took an ethics course in college.

And NDG, are you familiar with an engineer's code of ethics? You should never fudge data, even if you are a student. Whatever happens from an experiment is what you must accept. You can conclude that there must've been a mistake in doing the experiment, but you cannot just outright change the data to match what you know should've happened or what other people tell you should've happened.

And this furthers my belief that the government should be run mostly by scientists, engineers, economists, and ethicists.

Last edited by dennis0, 14-Dec-2006 at 04:03.
Edit reason: rocket surgery
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(14-Dec-2006 at 12:13)


Quote:
And this furthers my belief that the government should be run mostly by scientists, engineers, economists, and ethicists.
The problem with that is its a waste to put those people into political positions. They have much better things to do than argue about nonsense all day.

The problem with fixing this problem though is that you will always have people who dont want to here it (whatever it may be) and will do anything to hear what they want.

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(14-Dec-2006 at 13:10)


Originally Posted by Money Mathews: View Post
your a student, these are scientists, they should not be under pressure to produce results, or mis-interpret/calculate ect. ect. to get ideal answers for someone higher up to smile about, science is one of the few things in this world that is thought to be unable to lie. If we are making it lie, what is the point of science?
but my mentors, lectuers, thesis advisors are not, yet at times, they would recommend us to guesstimate because somethings are almost impossible to do. Don't presume that we do it all the time, i said sometimes

Originally Posted by Mars II: View Post
Gonna have to flat out dissagree with you there. You fund a project to find out the TRUTH not what you want to hear. If you fund a project to find a convenient truth then you are bribing a scientist to lie.

You're findings should reflect the truth of what is happening. Your approximations should account for errors that you know are affecting your results and you have to justify those approximations. And usually your approximations are give or take a few data

Otherwise, some other scientist with better data and more concrete results will write a paper making you look like an ass.

(Out of curiousity, what field are you reffering to?)
But sometimes the truth is not what they want to hear. I understand you, but at times, people are forced to do such things to make their creditors happy. Alot of engineering mishaps happens when marketing or the people upstairs decides that they want something, if you dont deliver, you are fired. eg. ford pinto.

me, Elec/Biomed Eng.

Originally Posted by dennis0: View Post
And NDG, are you familiar with an engineer's code of ethics? You should never fudge data, even if you are a student. Whatever happens from an experiment is what you must accept. You can conclude that there must've been a mistake in doing the experiment, but you cannot just outright change the data to match what you know should've happened or what other people tell you should've happened.
Yes i am, three to be exact (IEEE, IEAUST, IET) since i'm member of all three. At circumstances, you are forced to fudge some data, i was reading through my friends' thesises, some of their results are fudged. In experiments, we tried to record live ECG signals, failed miserably, there was so much noise, no data could be aquired, so had to simulate data, other possibilities are time restrictions. But i would like to point out, it is only done sometimes. Alot of the results are real and have basis.
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(14-Dec-2006 at 14:25)


Well first of all, there is nothing impartial or unbiased about "scientific data". Any conclusion is affected by your hypotheses, your assumptions, what variables you are looking at, and how you interpret the data. All of which are affected by innate biases.

That's why some scientists can look at a one degree increase in average temperature over 200 years and conclude that humans are destroying the world, while other scientists can look at the same data and conclude that everything is normal.

Of course when that happens each side calls the others "bad scientists", as in your article, and tries to find excuses as to why their own research isn't hailed as the "right" result. In this case, they are trying to claim that there is some censorship in government preventing some "hidden knowledge" from being revealed that would prove them right on a host of issues.

Classic wishful thinking. All they are hoping for is more data so they can cherry pick out parts that support their view and use it to claim government backing of their positions. It is all a power play to gain an aura of authority.
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(15-Dec-2006 at 02:40)


Some science is indisputable, and cannot be used politically. But humans have only been using the scientific method for a few-odd hundred years now, and there is much that we do not understand. Hence, as RA3 pointed out, one scientist can see data one way, and another scientist can see it another.

The problem with the topic of global warming in particular is that the world's climate is SO ENORMOUS, with so many variables, it is virtually impossible to predict the effect of one single change. Do scientists have the knowledge and technology to be able to identify and account for all the variables? Perhaps - it depends on who you ask.

Have humans been adding CO2 to the atmosphere for the last, say, 200 years? Yes absolutely. But what else has happened? Now there are 6 billion people on the planet, land use is drastically different with the rise of cities and re-allocation of farmland. Deforestation is still a problem, but we are now cutting down less trees. What about ocean life? How has paving vast stretches of land affected sunlight absorption? What about changes in the sun itself? There are solar cycles that the sun goes through, totally independent of what happens on earth. What happens when the ozone layer re-establishes in full strength?

I agree that scientists need to seek the truth, but the fact is that we may or may not be able to do so with the knowledge and technology available. We must also be careful to not draw conclusions without knowing that we have accounted for everything.
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(15-Dec-2006 at 02:49)


Just because scientists can't find out EXACTLY what's happening doesn't mean that the government could shut them up from expressing their educated opinions based on facts and observations they gathered.
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(15-Dec-2006 at 20:02)


But the world's best scientists and most scientists agree. It's true that some scientists have an agenda but they need to be able to proove their point with hard facts. Administrations have been maliciously manipulating these facts for gain while having other scientists basically lie and mislead.

Where it a fair scientific debate, both sides would be represented with the their data and the most convincing data would win.

Mars II - American Scientist
PhD - Physical Chemistry
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(16-Dec-2006 at 03:06)


Originally Posted by dennis0: View Post
Just because scientists can't find out EXACTLY what's happening doesn't mean that the government could shut them up from expressing their educated opinions based on facts and observations they gathered.
True, but as far as I have seen they haven't. Scientist from both sides of the debate are still out in the public, presenting their points of view.

Originally Posted by Mars II: View Post
But the world's best scientists and most scientists agree. It's true that some scientists have an agenda but they need to be able to proove their point with hard facts.
All scientist should prove their hypothesis with hard facts, not just the unpopular scientists. If humanity had taken this approach eariler, maybe the astrolgists back in the time of Gallileo would have had to prove their Helio-centric universe theory and we could have hit a major scientific milestone earlier. As yet, I have seen no hard facts come from either side in the climate debate - just loose correlations of gasses and temperatures.

Quote:
Administrations have been maliciously manipulating these facts for gain while having other scientists basically lie and mislead.
Administrations always manipulate facts to their advantage. It's the way politicians operate, and it's not only done with scientific data, but financial data, news releases...etc. Sad but true. That is why it is so important to have an educated population and a free media to give people the opportunity to discover the facts for themselves.

Quote:
Where it a fair scientific debate, both sides would be represented with the their data and the most convincing data would win.
Yes that would be great, but it would require an informed, but completely neutral individual to evaluate both the scientific plausability and the "convincing-ness" of the evidence. These individuals are extremely rare, as your knowledge about a subject increases, naturally so does your defense of your own opinions. It may be necessary to have a climate scientist evaluate the work of another climate scientist, but the evaluator likely has formed their own opinions, which will bias their decisions on which is the better argument.
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(19-Dec-2006 at 03:31)


Re: Scientific Fudging.

Quote:
True, but as far as I have seen they haven't. Scientist from both sides of the debate are still out in the public, presenting their points of view.
Then why are their reports being altered by people who are not specialists and why are some scientists being told not to talk about their findings? Doesn't sound out in the public.


Quote:
All scientist should prove their hypothesis with hard facts, not just the unpopular scientists. If humanity had taken this approach eariler, maybe the astrolgists back in the time of Gallileo would have had to prove their Helio-centric universe theory and we could have hit a major scientific milestone earlier. As yet, I have seen no hard facts come from either side in the climate debate - just loose correlations of gasses and temperatures.
What was the point of this? Are you saying that the majority of climate scientists are guessing with no data?


Quote:
Administrations always manipulate facts to their advantage. It's the way politicians operate, and it's not only done with scientific data, but financial data, news releases...etc. Sad but true. That is why it is so important to have an educated population and a free media to give people the opportunity to discover the facts for themselves.
Sad and wrong and it should stop.


Quote:
Yes that would be great, but it would require an informed, but completely neutral individual to evaluate both the scientific plausability and the "convincing-ness" of the evidence. These individuals are extremely rare, as your knowledge about a subject increases, naturally so does your defense of your own opinions. It may be necessary to have a climate scientist evaluate the work of another climate scientist, but the evaluator likely has formed their own opinions, which will bias their decisions on which is the better argument.
Regarding the climate debate, you would would have to find a natural cycle that would cause the effects seen that shows better correlation than green house gasses.


The climate debate is the main area where fudging is done because cutting back on greenhouse gasses would cost people who are making a lot of money to lose profit. So who has motivation to lie here? But this extends beyond that. Obesity trends, health effects, all could and potentially are being manipulated to make someone else more money. To convince me that a majority of scientists are lying to sell a book and putting their livelyhood and credibility on the line just to be heard you will have to start by explaining why scientists working for oil and car companies are so few when they could be making money and reputation refuting others?

Mars II - American Scientist
PhD - Physical Chemistry
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