reply to post by TheEthicalSkeptic
Awwwwwww, tantrum throwing when someone has an opinion which differs from yours is not what a skeptic does.
That's why I am not throwing a tantrum, but you are. Funny how your supposedly rigorous statistical analysis has now become just an "opinion." At
least you posted this in the correct forum. It is a lovely bit of disinformation. Let's deconstruct it in greater detail:
The title of the thread not only makes a bold, seemingly objective statement, it includes two phrases designed to evoke an emotional response. First,
the phrase "Real Scientists." This implies that not all scientists are actually scientists. Nowhere do you define what this actually means. Second,
you use the expression SSkeptics. The use of the SS is undoubtedly a derogatory reference to the elite Nazi army corps. Therefore, your title seeks to
establish a dichotomy between "real scientists" and people who you would later label "pseudo-skeptics." The problem is that skepticism is inherent in
the Scientific Method. All scientists are skeptical by training, if not by nature.
You begin your thread by making a bold statement of your conclusions, allegedly based on hard data. You claim that this data was collected in a survey
of top thinkers, then you cite a secondary source, rather than a primary source. This should always raise a red flag for a critical thinker; it
suggests that there may already be a level of interpretation imposed upon the material. As it turns out, it is to disguise the fact that you have
completely misrepresented the nature of the data!
Consulting the original piece in edge.com, it is clear that this was not a survey to determine the top concerns of leading thinkers, as you claim.
Rather, many individuals from a variety of fields volunteered concerns that they felt were not receiving enough attention. By definition, these would
not include the usual top concerns (climate change, superstition, etc.) because they were precluded by the very nature of the exercise!
Then you claim to do a statistical analysis. You do not provide actual data tables, nor do you provide proper definitions for the categories. You
place individuals into categories based on their self-identification in their submissions. This is not a reflection of their qualifications as
scientists, but how they want the sophisticated readers of edge.com to perceive them. One active particle physics researcher described himself as an
"author." One "artist and musician" could equally have called himself an "electronic engineer."
You reduce complicated ideas in a way that favors your anti-science bias. For example, you quote Stephen H. Alexander: “I am worried about who gets
to be players in the science game—and who is left out.” You do not explain what you think he meant by that, or how you categorized it while doing
your analysis. I suspect you only quoted it because it sounds vaguely sinister, and can be construed to mean that the cranks and fringe researchers
are being deliberately oppressed by the Scientific Establishment. In reality, it is probably about "social justice," reflecting the relatively poor
representation of women and minorities in the field.
As any elementary school teacher would point out: you do not show your work. Accepting your statistical analysis requires an act of Faith. Critical
thinkers are not long on Faith.
You conclude with meaningless graphics. I think you may have attended one too many Marketing Department Powerpoint presentations.
In short, you have taken a fluff piece designed to bring up concerns that are not agreed to be major, made arbitrary distinctions to create two
classes that are not, in reality, mutually exclusive, reduced their opinions into a small set of arbitrary categories which you do not define, you
wave your hands and claim to have done a statistical analysis without presenting any actual data, and then conclude that these two arbitrary classes
of people are not in agreement... which is not surprising, given that the whole point of the original project was to tease out concerns they were not
in agreement about!
edit on 4-4-2013 by DJW001 because: (no reason given)