Real Scientists Disagree with SSkeptics About World's Top Concerns for the Future

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posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 01:44 AM
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Real scientists as it turns out, are not so much worried about the proliferation of pseudoscience as they are about the filtering of information and ideas; coupled with the totalitarian declaration of what is considered acceptable science and endeavors of study.

Vice.com (Vice.com What 150 of the Worlds Smartest Minds are Worried About) has released its summary of the chief concerns expressed by scientists and leading thinkers who influence the cultural zeitgeist in and around science’s social discourse. They surveyed 151 of the top minds inside and outside of science in order to determine which issues most concern them about the future (The 150 Things the World’s Smartest People Are Afraid Of – Brian Merchant). While I read through these excellent quotes, a dawning realization hit me. The actual scientists in the group, differed dramatically in their concerns about humanity’s future, from the group of those who opine and make commentary about science, but are not scientists themselves.

In other words, bio-genetic researchers, physicists, mathematicians, and neuroscientists disagreed with editors, authors, pundits, psychologists and social commentators as to what constituted the principal threats to humanity and our world in the coming age. “I am worried about who gets to be players in the science game—and who is left out.” –Stephon H. Alexander, physicist cited. “The illusion of knowledge and understanding” was the challenge cited by Tania Lombrozo, assistant professor of psychology. “There are known knowns and known unknowns, but what we should be worried about most is the unknown unknowns” declared Gary Marcus, cognitive scientist. Outstanding. The Penultimate Set Fallacy, and the authorized subject game. This is what concerns scientists. Not ghost hunters, people who are wary of GMO foods or worshipers of Ganesha.

I found this simultaneously an exhilarating, astounding and confirming rush. Having employed hundreds of scientists and engineers through the years at various research labs and firms, I have understood this dichotomy for a long while. Scientists are not so dogmatic and ready to jump on the SSkeptic bandwagon as Michael Shermer or Steven Novella would have you believe. They do tend to keep quiet about their thoughts no doubt. However, part of what makes them truly brilliant is that they are for the most part, smart enough to know that we do not know what we do not know. In fact, not knowing, what we do not know, showed up as one of the chief concerns on the part of real scientists (below). Not knowing what we do not know, did not even merit one bark in the kennel of correctness, Social Skepticism. Yet, that ethic is the cornerstone of professional skepticism. I found that very illuminating.

What Concerns Real Scientists (Top 5 Ranking)

1. Screening of Information/Control of What is Regarded as Acceptable Science
2. Loss of the Individual/Rights
3. Loss of Funding/Research
4. Virus/Pathogen/Genetic Engineering Threats
5. Unknown Unknowns

What Concerns Pretend Scientists (Top 5 Ranking)

1. Pseudoscience/Religion Promotion
2. Conspiracy Theory/Anti-Big Institution Activism
3. Disillusionment/Social Waning
4. Stagnation (Social or Technical)
5. Social Collapse/Political Ineptness

Number of Real Scientists who agreed with the Pretend Scientists (Top 5)

1. Pseudoscience/Religion Promotion = 0
2. Conspiracy Theory/Anti-Big Institution Activism = 0
3. Disillusionment/Social Waning = 0
4. Stagnation (Social or Technical) = 1
5. Social Collapse/Political Ineptness = 2

So 3, out of 151, or 2% of real scientists agree that the pretend pundits have our challenge priorities figured out. What a difference huh?
SSkeptics in the survey concerned themselves not so much with what is being said, as much as who is saying it, the politics involved, the social ramifications and the established powers that it will threaten. They protected this biased social position with the aura of representative authority of science; a lofty seat claim not supported by the scientists themselves.

Now, in the Cultivation of Ignorance, the role of the SSkeptic is to pre-filter the observations and ideas which are allowed to enter the realm of acceptable science consideration. Scientists, real skeptics, use skeptical thinking as a tool, but this in no way means that pathological SSkeptics represent science. This is like a drunk carpenter boastingly equivocating in a bar that he ‘builds houses;’ when indeed he is simply a part of the machinery which does construction. His claim appears true to the outsider, but is not functionally accurate. To a hammer, everything is a nail. To a Social Skeptic, everything is a lie, except what he has authorized. No actual scientific method is needed. This is wrong method; this is wrong ethics; this ends up in bad science.


Now, is it really as bad as I am making it out to be herein thus far? In a word, yes, actually. But let’s set that social malady aside and focus on some of the more surprising aspects of the study. Some of the good things about the pundit group (science commentators), were that they came up with a much greater variety of concerns about the future. Some with such creativity and insight; 27 total categories of major concern overall, compared to 15 on the part of the scientists. Two pundits cited "men" as the danger, while only 1 cited nuclear war. One scientist cited the 'need for a fundamental new Physics' as the greatest worry for the future. Of noteworthy merit was the fact that Michael Shermer did NOT regard pseudoscience as his number one concern about the future. J. Craig Venter, genomic scientist claimed that Nothing worried him, while playwright Richard Foreman said that Everything should worry us.

Finally, Seth Shostak, head of the SETI Institute declared that “Alien Invasion” was his number one concern. Hmmmh…, not sure how to take that one. Ockham’s Razor, and knowing Seth, would dictate that we take that one tongue-in-cheek.

Well done Brian Merchant and Vice.com


edit on 3-4-2013 by TheEthicalSkeptic because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 02:50 AM
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Just so I'm clear on this... you took the list of 150 "top minds" and separated the real scientists from the rest and calculated what their top concerns were? Because I don't see any of that quantized information on the page you linked. If you did take the time to do that I say well done, the result is quite intriguing.
edit on 3/4/2013 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 02:52 AM
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reply to post by TheEthicalSkeptic
 


so there is a perception filter being applied to actual scientific thinking,
that is "steering" public perception,
and the "lever" in this equation is funding and spin doctors.

lol

star and flag

xploder



posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 03:21 AM
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From the msm news lately you would think that GLOBAL WARMING!! would be at least in the top 5??


Excellent job s+f



posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 03:28 AM
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reply to post by TheEthicalSkeptic
 


So what you're saying is paid scientists do not fear what pseudo-scientists unpaid scientists worry about, therefor we should listen to the people who get paid? Sounds like exaggerated nonsense to me.

What of the possibility that paid scientists are only paid scientists because they do what they're told; and what they're told might be the fears of he unpaid scientists?



posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 04:57 AM
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reply to post by Bleeeeep
 


I wouldn't say a scientist is some one who is paid, they are some one with actual credentials.
edit on 3/4/2013 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 05:18 AM
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reply to post by ChaoticOrder
 


Credited by whom? The people who say, "do not step outside the box"?

Sorry, but I can see.



posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 06:31 AM
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reply to post by Bleeeeep
 


I can understand the point you are trying to make... but still the fact is that it takes many years of work and learning to become credited through our education system. It's not as if they are just credited by one person or something, they have many teachers and lecturers who must pass them. I agree that the mainstream education system can be a bit slanted and bias and often restricts ones creativity, but the OP still has a valid point here.



posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 08:00 AM
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reply to post by TheEthicalSkeptic
 


Thank you for applying your personal reality filter to the fluff piece from the Edge website. By arbitrarily deciding who is a "real scientist" and who is not, and by forcing creative, idiosyncratic replies into rigid categories, you have managed to chop the data to confirm your own bias. Well done.



posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 08:46 AM
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Nice link, but why have you included psychologists in the non-scientific section?



posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 08:50 AM
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Originally posted by ChaoticOrder
Just so I'm clear on this... you took the list of 150 "top minds" and separated the real scientists from the rest and calculated what their top concerns were? Because I don't see any of that quantized information on the page you linked. If you did take the time to do that I say well done, the result is quite intriguing.
edit on 3/4/2013 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)


Indeed Chaotic, that is what I attempted to say in the preamble, sorry if that did not come through. Thanks




posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 08:53 AM
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reply to post by twfau
 



Nice link, but why have you included psychologists in the non-scientific section?


Because psychologists say things like:


That Idiocracy is looming. –Douglas T. Kenrick, psychology professor


motherboard.vice.com...



posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 08:54 AM
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Originally posted by Samuelis
From the msm news lately you would think that GLOBAL WARMING!! would be at least in the top 5??


Excellent job s+f


Awesome Point! But by the survey not seeking the pop media concerns here, maybe we get a more honest reflective list, rather than simply recitation of the de rigueur.

Although 3 pundits still did mention 'Global Disaster' as a challenge; they did not to my recollection, spell out Climate Change - that must have been their way around the instructions
.

and thanks,


edit on 3-4-2013 by TheEthicalSkeptic because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 09:01 AM
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By the way, it helps to look at the wording of the inquiry:


Tell us something that worries you (for scientific reasons), but doesn't seem to be on the popular radar yet—and why it should be. Or tell us something that you have stopped worrying about, even if others do, and why it should be taken off the radar.
[Emphasis mine. --DJW001]

edge.org...

In other words, these responses already assume that global warming, deteriorating science education, growing religious fundamentalism, nuclear arms escalation, growing xenophobia, rampant pseudoscience and so forth are understood to be major problems that are "on the popular radar." Not one of them, both "real" and "pretend" scientists, suggests that these be taken "off the radar."



posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 09:01 AM
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Originally posted by Bleeeeep
reply to post by TheEthicalSkeptic
 


So what you're saying is paid scientists do not fear what pseudo-scientists unpaid scientists worry about, therefor we should listen to the people who get paid? Sounds like exaggerated nonsense to me.

What of the possibility that paid scientists are only paid scientists because they do what they're told; and what they're told might be the fears of he unpaid scientists?


No, what I am contending is embedded in the article data, and what Vice.com missed (or it might not have ever even come out were it stated as such) is that paid real scientists do not overlap at all with paid pretend scientists in their concerns about what is important for our future.

Perhaps the distinguishing separation you are seeking is that real scientists are paid to advance a subject, while pretend scientists earn their pay by attracting attention?

So for pretend scientists, sounding the alarm about what they consider to be 'evil pseudoscience' increases their paycheck. Hence their continual bashing of the same 121 topics in the public discourse.




posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 09:06 AM
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Originally posted by Bleeeeep
reply to post by ChaoticOrder
 


Credited by whom? The people who say, "do not step outside the box"?

Sorry, but I can see.


This is actually a very valid point. To your contention, the pundits did come up with a longer and more creative list of concerns than the scientists.

However, what I find is that research technicians, information technologists, and engineers tend to me more 'in the box' thinkers. Scientists are genuinely willing to consider out of box ideas.






posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 09:08 AM
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reply to post by TheEthicalSkeptic
 



No, what I am contending is embedded in the article data, and what Vice.com missed (or it might not have ever even come out were it stated as such) is that paid real scientists do not overlap at all with paid pretend scientists in their concerns about what is important for our future.


Why do you rely on the vice.com article instead of the original edge.com piece? Oh, yeah: It doesn't say what you want it to say.

edit on 3-4-2013 by DJW001 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 09:11 AM
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Originally posted by DJW001
reply to post by TheEthicalSkeptic
 


Thank you for applying your personal reality filter to the fluff piece from the Edge website. By arbitrarily deciding who is a "real scientist" and who is not, and by forcing creative, idiosyncratic replies into rigid categories, you have managed to chop the data to confirm your own bias. Well done.


Some of what you contend here is true, and some is false. Together they have crafted your version of the same.



posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 09:13 AM
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reply to post by TheEthicalSkeptic
 



Some of what you contend here is true, and some is false. Together they have crafted your version of the same.


In other words, you admit that you are neither ethical nor skeptical.



posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 09:15 AM
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Originally posted by DJW001
reply to post by TheEthicalSkeptic
 



No, what I am contending is embedded in the article data, and what Vice.com missed (or it might not have ever even come out were it stated as such) is that paid real scientists do not overlap at all with paid pretend scientists in their concerns about what is important for our future.


Why do you rely on the vice.com article instead of the original edge.com piece? Oh, yeah: It doesn't say what you want it to say.

edit on 3-4-2013 by DJW001 because: (no reason given)


I simply tallied the list of quotes themselves. Not trying to re-cite either articles' packaging spin. The list is the list, either way.

Perhaps I could attempt to flavor my observation with their observations, but then, that would not add value, just regurgitating what they wanted said. Now would it?





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