DailyDirt: Judging The Quality of Science

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The Scientific Method is often taught as a linear process that proceeds from hypothesis to theory. In practice, science -- like any other human endeavor -- can be much more haphazard. Science isn't perfect, but it has some built in processes for error correction to help weed out mistakes and outright fraud. There are some well-known issues with the traditional peer review mechanism, but science is adapting and coming up with new ways to improve its results and conclusions. Here are just a few links on judging the quality of science. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.

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  • identicon
    The Old Man in The Sea, 8 Apr 2014 @ 8:52pm

    Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

    The problem Jimmy Wales has here is that it can be quite difficult to tell the difference between science and pseudo-science. There are enough discussions taking place right now about the subject.

    The biggest problem we have on both sides of the argument is, of course, people. Now that I have more time to look into various subjects, it is interesting to see the number of main stream areas (in science) that are actually problematic. Particularly, when a small group sees one of the problems and starts to discuss this and are then labelled as "kooks" because they do not agree with the mainstream ideas. Yet they are raising legitimate concerns about the prevailing models.

    Of course there are many different models out there which fail even the first experimental tests. But there are still others which oppose the standard models and have suitable match up with experimental results and still are considered pseudo-science because they go against the mainstream.

    I know of various experiments that have been proposed which have been given no support at all. These experiments would categorically dispose of the alternative model if they failed. Yet as far as I can tell, no such experiments are being worked on because it would be career suicide to partake of these experiments. It quite often appears that those controlling the purse strings are the ones who would lose most with their reputations if they allow the experiments to go through.

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    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 8 Apr 2014 @ 10:04pm

      Re: Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

      One obvious way is: do the proponents of the field practise basic tenets of critical thinking? Do they conduct rigorous controlled studies? In the medical field, for example, it is very important to account for the placebo effect. Are their results reproducible? Just asking these basic questions is enough to rule out 90% of the bullshit.

      Yes, science is fallible, because it was created by fallible humans, after all. But, rather than relying on some imaginary Higher Authority to fix the problem, science, builds on an interesting characteristic of that fallibility: that we are better at spotting other people’s mistakes than our own.

      This is the essence of critical thinking. Not only is it useful to help filter out mistakes, it also works against deliberate fraudsters as well.

      Perhaps that’s why the “alternative medicine” crowd—and all the other religionists—hate it so.

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      • identicon
        The Old Man in The Sea, 8 Apr 2014 @ 11:52pm

        Re: Re: Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

        One obvious way is: do the proponents of the field practise basic tenets of critical thinking? Do they conduct rigorous controlled studies? In the medical field, for example, it is very important to account for the placebo effect. Are their results reproducible? Just asking these basic questions is enough to rule out 90% of the bullshit.


        Let's apply this to astrophysics. Black holes, neutron stars, dark matter and dark energy. None of these entities have actually been observed - they have been proposed based on the mathematical models developed and are believed to exist. But they have not actually been observed as testable entities.

        Yes I know there will be those of you who will say that they have been observed. But I would suggest you check out the actual language used and it boils down to "most probable object/entity". If you pin these scientists to the wall they will say that they believe the entity in question is one of the kinds of objects. Dark energy and dark matter have most definitely NOT been observed. Every experiment that has been devised to find them has had a negative result.

        But, rather than relying on some imaginary Higher Authority to fix the problem, science, builds on an interesting characteristic of that fallibility


        True, they rely on their Higher Authority to determine the "truth".

        There are interesting discussions going on at the moment about the difference between "science" and "scientism". Whatever your view, there are some very critical thinkers who are raising their voices about the rise of "scientism" and the harm it is causing to the scientific method and investigation of the world around us.

        I have had my discussions with various "subject matter" experts over many years about different models. There have been various attitudes expressed when asking questions that oppose the "models" believed in by these experts. Everything from "good questions and here is my take on the answers" to "trust me, it's too complicated for you" to "you're an idiot to be asking any question against the model - it's proven fact".

        and all the other religionists—hate it so.


        Which religionists? - atheists, buddhists, moslems, hindi, communists, fascists, humanists, naturists, christians, capitalists, new agers, alienists, nihilists, pantheists, animists, secularists, etc.

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        • identicon
          Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 9 Apr 2014 @ 2:19am

          Re: None of these entities have actually been observed

          Do you believe in bacteria and viruses? Atoms and molecules? Have they actually been observed?

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          • icon
            James Jensen (profile), 9 Apr 2014 @ 5:46am

            Re: Re: None of these entities have actually been observed

            Bacteria most definitely have been. Any science classroom microscope is powerful enough to see them.

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            • identicon
              Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 9 Apr 2014 @ 4:15pm

              Re: Any science classroom microscope is powerful enough to see them.

              What is your understanding of how a microscope works? Have you seen the principles of one with your own eyes?

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        • icon
          Beta (profile), 9 Apr 2014 @ 4:33am

          Re: Re: Re: Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

          "Black holes, neutron stars, dark matter and dark energy... have been proposed based on the mathematical models developed and are believed to exist. But they have not actually been observed as testable entities."

          I don't know what you mean by "observed as testable entities". Our theories of these entities make predictions, which we can and do test. If you don't want to believe in them, fine, don't. But I have a sneaking suspicion that the "models which go against the mainstream" -- which you mention but don't specify -- don't stack up so well.

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          • identicon
            The Old Man in The Sea, 9 Apr 2014 @ 4:07pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

            The biggest problem with such entities as Black Holes and Neutron Stars is that when you include all model phenomenon for these entities, they can't exist in our universe.

            Black holes - include time dilation effects and they will never form
            Neutron Stars - include strong force interactions, a neutron star would have to be considered as a single nuclear entity and by the rest of nuclear physics cannot exist. Gravity is not sufficiently strong enough to override strong, weak and electromagnetic forces at the atomic and sub-atomic level. Remember that neutrons themselves are unstable particles unless found in very specific environments (which require protons and electrons).

            They only exist if you ignore the full range of effects and forces as predicated by the various models in use.

            I don't deny that there are strange entities out there but I do seriously doubt that they are what the current ideas are saying.

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            • identicon
              Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 9 Apr 2014 @ 4:17pm

              Re: when you include all model phenomenon for these entities, they can't exist in our universe.

              But the physical models--you know, the ones that describe our actual universe--say they do. Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity famously predicted the existence of black holes long before anything resembling them was observed.

              How do you reconcile that? Perhaps your (mis)understanding of physics is the problem.

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              • identicon
                The Old Man in The Sea, 9 Apr 2014 @ 8:57pm

                Re: Re: when you include all model phenomenon for these entities, they can't exist in our universe.

                Do you understand what a model is?

                It is a simplification (an approximation) of the actual entity or physical environment. Many things are ignored to obtain the model. The model is used for specific investigations. So when you change what parts of the actual entity or environment you are investigating, then a different model will generally be needed (so you can ignore areas you are not investigating).

                Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity famously predicted the existence of black holes long before anything resembling them was observed.


                I have also seen a review of said work that says the model being by him used was based on a single body within the universe, not multi-bodies that exist in our universe.

                Again, I'll reiterate - models are simplifications and approximations of the real world. Go outside the boundaries of the model and the models will give you incorrect results (incorrect approximations to the actual answer).

                Example: Newton's Laws of Motion (including gravity) are very good approximations (a good model) at low speeds and low gravity but at high speeds and/or high gravity corrections have to be made to the model to give the answers which approximate the actual observed results.

                Example: Electronic circuit analysis at DC or low frequency AC uses simplifications and approximations of the different types of circuit elements. Change the conditions to high frequency, the model must change to give you the results.

                Example: Static and Dynamic analysis of structures. Assumes in many cases that we are dealing with rigid bodies and for the level of forces and the frequencies in question, we can do this. But change things and we need to change the models to non-rigid bodies.

                Example: Mathematics uses infinites and infinitesimals to provide a way of solving calculus problems. There are different techniques to remove infinites from the results including the old L'Hopital's Rule. The mathematics is then used in the various models for the discreet world.

                How do you reconcile that? Perhaps your (mis)understanding of physics is the problem.


                I understand what models are and how they are used and I don't assume that the model in question is relevant outside its original domain.

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            • icon
              Beta (profile), 9 Apr 2014 @ 6:32pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

              You're wrong about neutron stars; show your calculations if you like. I'll hold off on black holes until I'm satisfied you know what your words mean.

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              • identicon
                The Old Man in The Sea, 9 Apr 2014 @ 8:30pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

                Show me any experimental evidence that a multi-neutron entity (where the number of protons is very much less than the number of neutrons) exists and is stable and I'll give credence to an object like a neutron star existing. To do their calculations they use quantum mechanics to ensure that the energy states are unique. This occurs within very specific conditions such as nuclei and near absolute zero.

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                • identicon
                  Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 10 Apr 2014 @ 5:23pm

                  Re:Show me any experimental evidence that a multi-neutron entity (where the number of protons is very much less than the number of neutrons) exists and is stable

                  Would everything above about calcium on the periodic table do? All the larger atomic nuclei have significantly more neutrons than protons.

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                  • identicon
                    The Old Man in The Sea, 10 Apr 2014 @ 9:37pm

                    Re: Re:Show me any experimental evidence that a multi-neutron entity (where the number of protons is very much less than the number of neutrons) exists and is stable

                    No.

                    I want to see a stable entity that has a ratio of at least 100 neutrons to one proton.

                    The last stable element is Pb (Lead), though this is still considered very slightly radioactive. The neutron to proton ratio is less than 2:1.

                    Neutron stars are considered to considered to consist of neutrons with a very small level of impurity by protons, hence I want to see a stable entity that has at least 100 neutrons for every proton.

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                    • identicon
                      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 11 Apr 2014 @ 6:50pm

                      Re: Neutron stars are considered to considered to consist of neutrons

                      You do realize neutron stars are held together entirely by gravity, don’t you?

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                      • identicon
                        The Old Man in The Sea, 11 Apr 2014 @ 10:54pm

                        Re: Re: Neutron stars are considered to considered to consist of neutrons

                        The point I am making is that gravity is completely insignificant at the level of neutrons beside neutrons and that the strong and weak and electromagnetic force interactions should be the most significant forces. Hence, my question is why are these forces being ignored for a force that is so weak. The stability of neutrons is low, take them out of stable nuclei and that neutron will decay in just under 15 minutes. Inside unstable nuclei, we then have beta decay processes.

                        Since combinations of neutrons in a neutron stars would not be in stable nuclei, we should expect to see significant decay, hence proton/electron formation. What is the effect of the strong/weak/electromagnetic force on the stability of the entity in question? What happens to any electric currents that may form in any magnetic fields that may be created?

                        The model posits that the strong, weak and electromagnetic forces are non-existent and that the only consideration is gravity. This is not demonstrated as a factual reality. We see all sorts of interesting phenomena in ordinary radioactive materials, so why would we not see such in the posited neutron star?

                        My whole point is that treating an entity that is effectively only neutrons (as per the model) and as such is not "ordinary" and is only affected by gravity (as per the model) is so simplistic as to be effectively nonsensical. Those who support this model would have to demonstrate a number of things:-

                        1). Entities consisting of either only neutrons or having "impurity" protons of less than 1% exist.

                        2). That such entities are only affected by gravity alone and that the strong, weak and electromagnetic forces are irrelevant to such entities.

                        Now it may be that someone somewhere has done both things as well as any other necessary provisos for neutron stars to exist as the model states. If this has been done, I would have expected it to have been heralded from the rooftops. Have you heard of such news?

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                        • identicon
                          Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 13 Apr 2014 @ 3:41pm

                          Re: The point I am making is that gravity is completely insignificant at the level of neutrons beside neutrons

                          So what else do you think has crushed all those atoms down into neutronium?

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                          • identicon
                            The Old Man in The Sea, 14 Apr 2014 @ 2:37am

                            Re: Re: The point I am making is that gravity is completely insignificant at the level of neutrons beside neutrons

                            I am not saying neutronium exists, you are. I have simply pointed out that gravity is not sufficient against the other forces at the subatomic level to allow neutrons (only) to exist as a stable entity (as demonstrated by the inability of anyone today to produce any stable entity that consists solely of neutrons). Hence there is no actual basis for neutron stars to exist. It is based on the outcomes of a theoretical model which may in fact be the result of not examining the basic assumptions of that model to see if in fact those assumptions are even reasonable.

                            You appear to have an inability to follow a discussion in any logical form but appear only capable of approaching the discussion from a point of view that is based in total belief that you are right and anyone that has an alternative view is wrong. This is demonstrated by
                            So what else do you think has crushed all those atoms down into neutronium?

                            You do not even question if neutronium is even possible.

                            This is usually the argument that is made against religionists of any kind. So, the question is - are you a "true believer"?

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                            • identicon
                              Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 14 Apr 2014 @ 5:51pm

                              Re: I am not saying neutronium exists

                              You were already talking about “neutrons”—that’s what “neutronium” is. So now you’re saying there aren’t these neutrons?

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          • icon
            BernardoVerda (profile), 9 Apr 2014 @ 7:11pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

            I suspect the real issue behind that comment was the Climate Change/Anthropogenic Global Warming "debate". (At least, in my experience, climate change debates are when this meme is most likely to pop up.)

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            • icon
              BernardoVerda (profile), 9 Apr 2014 @ 7:17pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

              Oh yeah, I forgot to mention -- the "sophisticated" section of the anti-evolution crowd kind of likes this argument, too.

              Both the climate-change denialists and the anti-evolutionists despise scientific modelling.

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        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 9 Apr 2014 @ 6:09am

          Re: Re: Re: Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

          If by "observed" you mean directly detected and measured, then black holes have been observed: http://news.discovery.com/space/galaxies/spinning-black-hole-nustar-x-rays-130227.htm

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          • identicon
            The Old Man in The Sea, 9 Apr 2014 @ 3:55pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

            Read the article carefully, they have observed something. But they have not observed the black hole, they are using the observations as an indirect support of their model.

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            • identicon
              Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 9 Apr 2014 @ 4:18pm

              Re: Read the article carefully,

              Sounds like you have not actually observed them admitting their evidence for black holes is only indirect, you are merely using your observations as indirect support for your model of their thinking.

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              • identicon
                The Old Man in The Sea, 9 Apr 2014 @ 9:11pm

                Re: Re: Read the article carefully,

                When the scientists proposing these entities are pinned to the wall, they will use words such as "I believe", "We think", "We have not observed but we understand", etc.

                Now if such terms are used in other fields, then it becomes acceptable to have a dissenting view.

                After 20 to 30 years of reading and trying to follow the mathematics involved in various models that deal with both sub-atomic and galactic/universe, I want to know what are the basic assumptions that they start their models with.

                An interesting phenomenon that occurs in any model development is that certain things are ignored when first developing the model, which may be included later.

                If these elements are included at the beginning, the end model can be quite different and the outcomes expected from the model quite at odds with the original development.

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      • icon
        James Jensen (profile), 9 Apr 2014 @ 5:57am

        Re: Re: Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

        Perhaps that’s why the “alternative medicine” crowd—and all the other religionists—hate it so.


        Nobody else brought up religion, so why did you?

        I mean, can we not discuss science without the "at least it's better than religion" argument popping up? Seems like it happens every single time. And most of the time it's in the form of exactly this sort of sneering, throwaway remark.

        It's just tiring.

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        • identicon
          Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 9 Apr 2014 @ 4:19pm

          Re: Nobody else brought up religion

          Any kind of belief that ignores fact is religion. I include “alternative medicine” as a form of religion, for this reason.

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    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 8 Apr 2014 @ 10:07pm

      Re: because it would be career suicide to partake of these experiments

      I don’t think that’s a big problem. For a start, it’s an argument that would mean nothing to some budding young researcher, just starting out, who has no career reputation to speak of.

      We saw this with the slow (decades-long) mainstream adoption of quantum physics, for example. I forget which physicist it was who said “science progresses, one funeral at a time”...

      As for funding, look at all the money being freely bestowed on out-and-out crackpot ideas. Surely something with even the remotest sliver of a chance of success would be just as likely to get some rich backer.

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      • identicon
        The Old Man in The Sea, 8 Apr 2014 @ 11:16pm

        Re: Re: because it would be career suicide to partake of these experiments

        I don’t think that’s a big problem. For a start, it’s an argument that would mean nothing to some budding young researcher, just starting out, who has no career reputation to speak of.


        I have seen enough discussions that would strongly suggest otherwise. The generally espoused comment is that you have to toe the line of what is acceptable or you won't get funding/tenure/etc. Cross the line of looking at something the bossman doesn't like and you are in for it. This happens in all areas wether it is business, research, design and development or any other area.

        As for funding, look at all the money being freely bestowed on out-and-out crackpot ideas. Surely something with even the remotest sliver of a chance of success would be just as likely to get some rich backer.


        Look into the political affiliations and you will see the reasoning for the backing. What I am talking about is funding from within the halls of science (universities/research centres/etc). Areas that will cause a problem for the purse strings or go against its belief system will not get backing. Again I have seen this is various areas in business, universities, etc.

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        • identicon
          Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 9 Apr 2014 @ 2:17am

          Re: What I am talking about is funding from within the halls of science

          There are no “halls of science”. It doesn’t matter where the funding comes from, or who discovers the truth. If they can prove it’s the truth, it’s still the truth.

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          • identicon
            The Old Man in The Sea, 9 Apr 2014 @ 4:20pm

            Re: Re: What I am talking about is funding from within the halls of science

            Religion and Philosophy deal with the Truth. Science deals with understanding the universe about us by building simple (as in simpler than the reality about us) testable models that allow us to work with the universe around us. One of the fundamental aspects of science and the scientific method is falsification.

            One of the more devastating attacks against any theory is to say it is not even wrong. So tell me how science deals with the truth? The problem here is that testability requires finding ways to prove it wrong not prove it right (not prove it true).

            Unfortunately today, there is a mindset that makes the assumption that science can prove things true. This mindset turns science and the scientific method into a religion instead of it remaining a tool for investigation of the universe around us.

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            • identicon
              Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 10 Apr 2014 @ 1:18am

              Re: Religion and Philosophy deal with the Truth.

              If that were true, why are there so many different religions and philosophies? After all, there is only one reality, one truth.

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              • identicon
                The Old Man in The Sea, 10 Apr 2014 @ 4:17am

                Re: Re: Religion and Philosophy deal with the Truth.

                You are trying to have your cake and eat it too.

                Yes there is only one reality. However, as you are very finite and very small (like everyone else on the planet), you are unable to comprehend reality in any very meaningful way, let alone in its fullest extent. That is why we have unanswerable questions. That is why there are different views about the universe and the meaning of life.

                The amount of knowledge and understanding we now have is insignificant to the amount of knowledge and understanding that is available.

                My own perspective of what I see of the universe leads me to the conclusion that it was created. That perspective also leads me to want to understand (as far as I am able to) the various aspects of the universe. That perspective also leads me to the understanding that I will never be capable of understanding it, but that there is a great deal of enjoyment in trying. That perspective also leads me to want to know who created it and why.

                Science and the scientific method are just one of the tools available to me to gain understanding.

                YMMV.

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                • identicon
                  Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 10 Apr 2014 @ 5:25pm

                  Re: you are unable to comprehend reality in any very meaningful way

                  Is that your meaningful comprehension of reality?

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                  • identicon
                    The Old Man in The Sea, 10 Apr 2014 @ 9:48pm

                    Re: Re: you are unable to comprehend reality in any very meaningful way

                    Let me ask you a question in turn - what is your comprehension of the reality that is around you?

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                    • identicon
                      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 11 Apr 2014 @ 6:50pm

                      Re: Let me ask you a question in turn

                      Answer mine first.

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                      • identicon
                        The Old Man in The Sea, 11 Apr 2014 @ 11:13pm

                        Re: Re: Let me ask you a question in turn

                        The onus is now on you to present an alternative. I have presented an argument for discussion, I have answered your questions in my discussion. If there is a particular problem with my viewpoint, then point it out.

                        Show you perspective, otherwise, as has been demonstrated by your various responses, you are unable to critically answer or present an opposing view. You have only thrown "potshots" so to speak. I have taken time to answer you questions, but up to this point, you have not been able to show where my reasoning in incorrect. Nor have you presented anything that says you have considered the problems inherent in the models and have solutions that make the models still valid.

                        If you have such, present it, otherwise I will take it that you know that you have nothing and are simply using your conversational method to hide that fact.

                        The ball is in your court. Enjoy your day, and I look forward to reading your discourse on the subject.

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                        • identicon
                          Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 13 Apr 2014 @ 3:45pm

                          Re: The onus is now on you to present an alternative

                          No, you were the one trying to present an alternative, only to have it shot full of holes. You tried to claim I was “ unable to comprehend reality in any very meaningful way”, yet all your arguments are based on your presumed ability to “comprehend reality in any very meaningful way”. What makes you so special, that you can do something I can’t?

                          The answer is, you’re not. Your arguments fall at the first hurdle of critical thinking.

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    • icon
      Beta (profile), 9 Apr 2014 @ 4:42am

      Re: Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

      "I know of various experiments that have been proposed which have been given no support at all. These experiments would categorically dispose of the alternative model if they failed. Yet as far as I can tell, no such experiments are being worked on because it would be career suicide to partake of these experiments. It quite often appears that those controlling the purse strings are the ones who would lose most with their reputations if they allow the experiments to go through."


      Umm... All of that would apply to an experiment like "let's launch an elephant into orbit to test the theory that elephants can survive unprotected in outer space".

      Please, tell us about one of these proposed experiments. Be specific.

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      • identicon
        The Old Man in The Sea, 9 Apr 2014 @ 4:23pm

        Re: Re: Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

        One experiment that comes immediately comes to mind is to test if gravity is an effect of electromagnetic interaction between vibrating dipoles: You can chase up the details yourself.

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        • icon
          Beta (profile), 9 Apr 2014 @ 6:56pm

          Re: Re: Re: Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

          Considering the fact that gravity goes as one over distance squared, and dipole-dipole interaction goes as one over distance to the fourth power, I'd say that's considerably less plausible than an elephant surviving in vacuum.

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          • identicon
            The Old Man in The Sea, 9 Apr 2014 @ 9:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

            Your forget the magnitudes of the respective forces and my question to you is - Have you seen the proposed mathematical model, which interestingly enough gives a distance squared and on the same order of magnitude, only attractive force between the two vibrating dipoles?

            An additional part of the initial model is that there is also terms which may relate to momentum effects. But further investigation is required and experiments need to be fully devised and done to see if the model has any opportunity of merit.

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            • icon
              Beta (profile), 10 Apr 2014 @ 2:37am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

              You seem to know just enough about physics to compose this word salad. That may be good enough to impress the people who buy Deepak Chopra's books, but I'm glad that Jimmy Wales won't tolerate such garbage. Maybe you can't tell the difference between science and pseudoscience, but we can.

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              • identicon
                The Old Man in The Sea, 10 Apr 2014 @ 4:32am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

                You seem to know just enough about physics to compose this word salad.


                Have you looked into the model in question? Have you attempted to use Mathematica or Maxima (or other products of their ilk) to do an analysis of the model? Have you thought about what experiments could be undertaken that might shed light on the validity of the model?

                If not, why not? If so, what are you results?

                If you haven't actually looked at the model in question, then you have not been able to address its short comings or assumptions. If you have looked at the model, what are the shot comings and assumptions that you have found?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 10 Apr 2014 @ 6:49pm

              Re: Have you seen the proposed mathematical model

              Yes. Working out the field from a dipole is a basic exercise in undergraduate physics. You can find it on Wikipedia, if you’re interested.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                The Old Man in The Sea, 10 Apr 2014 @ 10:11pm

                Re: Re: Have you seen the proposed mathematical model

                It is also a basic exercise in undergraduate electrical engineering. The proviso for the exercises is that it is a static environment with no dynamic component in the position of the charges. I had to do a number of such exercises way back then and in quite varied configurations.

                The model I have referred to looks at the dynamic consideration of opposite charges oscillating in their relative positions, which gives rise to different results. It is the residual effects that are being considered and they are inverse distance squared and very, very tiny on the order of the ratio of gravity to electric field strength and always attractive.

                Again, to get back to the point being made. This is an alternative model for the effects of gravity for which various experiments can be formulated that would either show the model is defective and hence not worth looking at or produces results in accordance with the model that would allow further study to be undertaken and hence further experiments to be developed.

                This is the application of the scientific method. To simply throw the idea and model out without at least doing some initial experiments that are proposed by the model because it disagrees with the currently accepted theories shows a fairly rigid and closed mindset.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2014 @ 5:09am

      Re: Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

      "starts to discuss this and are then labelled as "kooks" because they do not agree with the mainstream ideas"


      This is not a new development, it is possibly human nature.

      For example, in the past mainstream thinking put the earth at the center and everything revolved around it. This has been proven to be incorrect and yet there remains a few who espouse its veracity.

      Do you have any examples of these kooks and their pseudo-science? Generalizations and vague declarations do little to support a contention.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        The Old Man in The Sea, 9 Apr 2014 @ 4:26pm

        Re: Re: Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

        Halton Arp and his challenges to the Big Bang Theory.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2014 @ 5:06pm

          Re: Re: Re: Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

          Who called him a kook and when?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            The Old Man in The Sea, 9 Apr 2014 @ 9:45pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

            Good grief, try reading some of the things that have happened to him and what has been said to ensure that his results are ignored.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2014 @ 5:29am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Science or Pseudo-Science - How can we tell

              Good grief ... so no one actually called him a kook?

              What, exactly, are you attempting to accomplish in your many comments to this thread? It appears you have some grievance with the treatment of one particular theory and then claim all science is therefore suspect as a result. How very unscientific of you. Do you have other examples where your pet theory has been trashed by scientific gang members?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    mdpopescu (profile), 8 Apr 2014 @ 9:20pm

    That should be easy...

    If you can get your work published in respectable scientific journals -- that is to say, if you can produce evidence through replicable scientific experiments, then Wikipedia will cover it appropriately.


    You mean like this?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    M. Alan Thomas II (profile), 9 Apr 2014 @ 1:52pm

    I would assume that geographically diverse authors have a lower degree of overlap in their professional contacts/circles than less diverse authors would, resulting in more people who hear about and cite the work in their own research. That is, the citation index might simply be recording the greater reach of the authors rather than the higher quality of the research in such a case.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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