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Thread: How to tell a good source from a bad one?

  1. #31
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    There have been bad scientists but keep some perspective. They do get found out. Even photoshopped images and plagiarised text get found and not just by peer review. The peer review process can not be perfect but it is a whole lot better than rumour and plain false propaganda. The internet has made the science process so much more important, there is so much rubbish and so many falsely opinionated actors on the net. When scandals occur it is the body of scientists that reveal it usually. The exceptions prove that rule. Not all companies that Employ scientists allow their employees free speech, that’s a shame but do not get dragged into the anti science lobby. That is a backwards step .
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  2. #32
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    And just to be clear, "peer review" does not mean dodgy internet surveys either. Peers in this case refers to actual working scientists who have experience and deep knowledge of the topics in question and the methodology of rigorous research. As I said, their expertise is not to be dismissed lightly, nor is the scientific method.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    That's not just a strawman, it's a straw elephant.

    Grant Hutchison
    You need to trademark that—‘prolly on a t-shirt already

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality View Post
    I just had a draining argument with my dad, who is an anti-vaxxer, who believes that COVID19 was created in a lab, that AIDS was created as part of the polio vaccine, and as many people died from the MMR vaccine as died from measles. And yes, if you go onto the internet you will find a boatload of sites backing up those claims (somewhat, they all change the details) and a very few sites saying they're **. So who do you trust? What constitutes a reliable source? Is it simply those sources we assume to be reliable because they're "official"?
    I can't find the site now, but I once saw someone say it was outrageous to make jokes about the 11/9 attacks, because billions of people died in them.

    Those are the sort of people you are up against.

    I find it's really not that hard. Look at the source, if it frequently contradicts itself, that's not a good sign. If it includes quotations followed by highly creative interpretations of what that quotation means, that's not a good sign.

    Even when I have no particular expertise in a subject, I usually don't find it too difficult to identify the blowhards. They often feel that being loud and aggressive makes up for not having too many facts.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    One of my favorite ways to deal with claims like that is to ask "what would change your mind? ". If the answer is "nothing", than arguing is a waste of time.
    I guess an offshoot of that is, when every piece of absence points to the same conclusion.

    If there is a lot of crime, that is evidence that strict policing is necessary. If there isn't much crime, that is evidence that strict policing is working. Regardless of the evidence, strict policing is good.

    If the economy is stagnant, that is evidence that stimulative policy is needed. If the economy is growing, that is evidence that stimulative policy is working. Stimulative policy is good, regardless of the evidence.

    If people are ignorant of basic knowledge, that is evidence that more advanced education is needed. If they are quite knowledgeable, then more advanced education is working.

    Similarly, if people are ignorant of basic knowledge, that is evidence that more advanced education is not working and is a waste. If people are already quite knowledgeable, then that is evidence that more advanced education is a waste and not necessary.

    When the conclusion holds no matter what the evidence is, then it's rubbish.

  6. #36
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    As far as scientists' being high priests of some arcane religion, one of the treats I can give my seven-year-old is "let's do an experiment." Sure, the experiments we do are basic ones that have been reproduced probably millions of times by bored kids over the decades, but so what? The scientific method still applies, and it's new to him!
    _____________________________________________
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    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

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  7. #37
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    Peer review: a flawed process at the heart of science and journals

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1420798/

    So peer review is a flawed process, full of easily identified defects with little evidence that it works. Nevertheless, it is likely to remain central to science and journals because there is no obvious alternative, and scientists and editors have a continuing belief in peer review. How odd that science should be rooted in belief.

    The Mess That Is Peer Review, and What Should Be Done About It

    https://www.biospace.com/article/the...one-about-it-/

    Interestingly enough, peer review itself hasn’t received much testing as to its efficacy, and so those that adhere to it do so out of the belief that it works as it should rather than any sort of empirical evidence thereof.

    One pretty significant problem with peer review is that it may be prone to bias from the reviewers.

  8. #38
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    The elephant in the room standing right in front of you.

  9. #39
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    Scientists are human like everyone. Science itself progresses.
    If there is a sacred cow like Gradualism (right for the most part)—that’s a bug.
    Sacred cows being unquestioned in religion? That’s a feature.

    Back on topic.

    You can’t always count on media size to matter. The New York Times bit hard with the UFO bug again, but it is the small websites like this and metabunk that rightfully question things.

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