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Those who know science are less likely to accept it if it’s controversial (2017) (arstechnica.com)
4 points by Tomte 65 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 2 comments



I would say that there is difference between understanding the scientific method and knowing about scientific results. People who do not understand the scientific method will value scientific results differently than those who do. Doing science is very hard, and there are very few people in the general population who are able to do it properly. Even in STEM there are many people having troubles with applied statistics.


I think it gets harder the more the data seems to support your claim. You get to a point where being wrong becomes personal, which it really shouldn't, or money and business interests gets involved. I've seen data get ignored because it would have implicated a golf course loved by the community in polluting fish habitat. I've personally worked on a project where data we collected was not allowed to be publicly released, as was actually the terms of our original proposal and part of the stipulation behind us getting our grant, was that we publicly release our data. Once we found an endangered species living in an active mine though things changed.

I've also worked with scientists who basically work their data and write their papers in such a way that it ensures continued funding.

My time in school was interesting. The first couple years we learned the scientific method and how to apply it properly and how it made science great. But in the last couple years we had to take a philosophy of science course. That was totally different than everything we'd been learning up until that point. We talked about real world examples and hoe the scientific method is followed far less vigorously how the meaning of science has changed over hundreds of years and no one really agrees what science is. Then we got to go take part in a few different studies. The above mentioned golf course one was one of them. The day that happened we all sat down to talk about what the fuck just happened when the biologist decided there would be no more water samples taken around the golf course when it started to show massive pH increases from every pond leading off the golf course. It was then decided a salt spill somewhere a few km away was the problem and no more work would be done around the golf course.

Then of course a bunch of money was spent building a few more ponds around the golf course and restoring it....as far as I know there's still problems with the fish there.




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