The story of three kinds of curiosity — two genuine, one “induced”
Several wise men foresaw the decline of organized science. Here, a man called Gordon Tulloch was inspired by Popper to look at the social organisation of scientists to try to figure out what made it work. He noticed there were three kinds of researchers, one driven by curiosity for the truth, another on a mission to solve a problem, and a third with an “induced” curiosity created by demand from elsewhere — boss or government. He predicted that the system would fail if those who were induced outnumbered the truly curious, as the “induced” curiosity was not well connected to reality, whereas the other two types were. The primary aim of the induced researcher was not to solve a problem or uncover an answer but just to keep their jobs, and there were many ways to “keep their jobs” that did not involve actual discovery. Indeed for some jobs, thinks Jo, actual discovery could be a catastrophic event.
He foresaw a degenerative spiral which appears to have come to pass. Once induced researchers are managed by people without enough skill to read and assess [...]
Matt Ridley has produced the shortest whole, killer summary of the sordid state of climate science, science journalism, and science associations for Quadrant magazine. This is the ideal single-chapter-length-work to bring in anyone who missed the last twenty years of clima-farce, scandal, hubris and hypocrisy.
Matt is not just summing up the way his career as a science writer has transformed, but also writing the best review of the IPA book “Climate Change: The Facts” that I have yet seen. He talks about the way science writers used to ignore the papers that didn’t impress them, and leave it up to the scientists to take them apart, but now the supposedly most esteemed scientists stay silent while abject failures not only get published in the scientific world, but get absurdly lauded in the media, and tweeted by “the President”. Formerly great scientific institutions have turned themselves inside out:
“The Royal Society once used to promise “never to give their opinion, as a body, upon any subject”. Its very motto is “nullius in verba”: take nobody’s word for it. Now it puts out catechisms of what you must believe in. “
Matt’s career, like mine, started with faith that [...]
You may not have heard of the World Federation of Scientists – it certainly isn’t run with a budget of millions or a professional PR team, instead it’s exactly the kind of organization that outstanding scientists would set up. No flash graphics, no spiffy logo, and no inundation of press releases. It’s only got two colours, but the people who meet and talk there range from world leaders in politics to people who changed the modern world with their science.
It’s the opposite of UN “science”, what it lacks in marketing skills, it more than makes up for in sheer heavyweight scientific brainpower and kudos. The Federation has 10,000 scientist members apparently, including T. D. Lee (parity violation, the Lee Model, particle physics, Nobel Prize) and Prof Antonino Zichichi (1000 papers in particle physics, first example of antimatter). Former members (until their deaths) were Laura Fermi, Eugene Wigner (Nobel in Physics fundamental symmetry principles), Paul Dirac (Nobel Prize, Dirac Equation, Fermions, theoretical physics, “genius”), and Piotr Kapitza (Soviet scientist, Nobel Prize and superfluidity, “Kapitsa resistance“).
Prof Antonino Zichichi founded the World Federation of Scientists and he’s angry at the state of Climate Science.
Christopher Monckton writes from the World Federation of [...]
File this under “Monopolistic Science”
Australian Taxpayer funds in 2012 are supporting around 50 projects about “climate change” or “greenhouse gases”.
One David McKnight has got $95k to study how Australian governments “spin” the news. So which cancer research project was knocked back so he could study a “hyper-adversarial” news system? And what is so bad about a competitive news system in any case? What are we aiming for — real news or better propaganda? (See my response to David McKnight in The Australian to see how confused this journalism lecturer is.)
The dollar values here are usually for three year projects. Some of these projects potentially produce press releases which are nothing more than disguised forms of government advertising for big-spending climate policies.
Guest Post: Dr Roberto Soria, Perth
The ARC Major Grant results for 2012 were announced in Nov 2011. Here is what Australian scientists are up to this year.
The ARC (Australian Research Council) is the main source of funding for all researchers in all fields of natural, political and social sciences. Getting a grant will make a difference between carrying on doing research and finding another job, for many researchers. Take a [...]
The scientific process has become distorted. One side of a theory receives billions, but the other side is so poorly funded that auditing of that research is left as a community service project for people with expert skills, a thick skin and a passionate interest. A kind of “Adopt an Error” approach.
Can science survive the vice-like grip of politics and finance?
Despite the billions of dollars in funding, outrageous mistakes have been made. One howler in particular, rewrote history and then persisted for years before one dedicated fact checker, working for free, exposed the fraud about the Hockey Stick Graph. Meanwhile agencies like the Goddard Institute of Space Studies, can’t afford to install temperature sensors to meet its own guidelines, because the workers are poorly trained and equipped to dig trenches only with garden trowels and shovels. NOAA “adjust” the data after the fact—apparently to compensate for sensors which are too close to air conditioners or car parks, yet it begs the question: If the climate is the biggest problem we face; if billions of dollars are needed, why can’t we install thermometers properly?
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