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Are you smarter than the average scientist?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Zelig, Jan 20, 2011.

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Are you smarter than the average scientist?

  1. I am smarter than the average scientist.

    40.3%
  2. I am not smarter than the average scientist.

    59.7%
  1. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    I meant actual scientists. Please don't make this thread about semantic arguments.
     
  2. Elta

    Elta 我不会把这种

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    In that case please state who is and isn't an actual scientist.
     
  3. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    People who research pure and natural sciences, as the term "scientist" is commonly understood.
     
  4. Bill3000

    Bill3000 OOOH NOOOOOOO! Supporter

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    It's quite clear that he is referring to natural scientists.
     
  5. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    I totally agree that the scientific literature is inaccessible to the lay public. I'll watch grad students spend hours reading individual articles. The paywall is becoming less true, because there's a concerted push (at least in biology) to publish in an open-access way (e.g., there're currently over 700 articles available on pubmed on ips cells that are open access).

    I'm not suggesting that we need the lay to be at the cutting edge, but merely that there's an effort (amongst a growing number of people) to keep up.

    Finally, it's not all about articles anymore. There're popular books (though those have trouble with credibility). There's also open-access seminars! These are becoming more and more available. And seminars, unlike papers, are usually graspable.

    My best example is http://www.uctv.tv/science/
    There're dozens of seminars on there, intended for the lay audience. And while a lot of lay seminars try to be 2-3 years out of date (to only talk about the things we're rather sure of), they're usually much further than most people are.

    And it's not just for interest sake. I think people could watch these when they're in an entrepreneurial mood. Or with an eye towards improving home life or their work.

    There's a lot of untapped potential available for a feedback cycle.
    The contract-nature of the pay is brutal. It's not very good money, firstly, but the constant transient nature is going to be psychologically draining. As well, we all know about the brutal amount of work that goes into justifying getting money instead of just doing science.
     
  6. Elta

    Elta 我不会把这种

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    No, no it is not clear.
     
  7. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    I don't think that Elta was making a statement regarding the intelligence of social scientists, other than he hoped to be one. He might not have fully discussed the OP, but there's no need (that I see) to argue whether or not a social scientist is a scientist. It just dilutes the discussion, no?
     
  8. Atticus

    Atticus Deity Retired Moderator

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    You forgot mathematicians. :)
     
  9. Eskel

    Eskel Warlord

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    I have quite good results in IQ tests, could work at least at 2 universities if I wanted to, work as an architect in my own company, earn more money than average scientist in my country, so - yes I am smarter than average scientist - at least comparing to those I know personally.
     
  10. Cashie

    Cashie King

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    I'm smarter than the average bear.

    I'm also smarter than the average watermelon.
     
  11. Eskel

    Eskel Warlord

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    And you can prove your statement, while I cannot :(
     
  12. Brighteye

    Brighteye intuitively Bayesian

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    Most scientists are not particularly clever. They just do their work like anyone else. On the other hand, scientists should have a lot of say in policy. It's not that they're more clever, but because they know better. If science can give us an answer about a subject, then it is unreasonable to trust uninformed opinion over our best scientific knowledge. I would even deliberately avoid having anyone in office who dares to think that prejudice trumps scientific fact, unlike the system we have today in which ignorance of science seems a prerequisite for office.

    Scientists do not earn enough money. Science is the major way in which cultures advance which can be attributed to a specific part of the workforce. Moral progress, which we all discussed recently in a different thread, isn't done by some dedicated workers.
    Something that we look to to solve all our problems, treat our diseases and indulge our laziness, on which our societies run, should not be a career choice for the dull-minded workaholics who can't network their way into a high-flying economy-crashing job as a City executive.

    As for how to make scientists more respected, it needs to be with reporting and journalism and in pay. Pay people enough and a large proportion of the population will respect that career choice, as well as aspiring to it. If journalists actually engaged in journalism, rather than formulaic, childish writing, then science would come off slightly better in popular stories.

    Every time I hear someone say "look at what science got wrong!" I cringe. Some journalist somewhere decided it would be easier to write a gloating column about how an authority that we respect (science) has made a mistake. It's low, easy pickings. Stories gloating about how it was wrong make for easy writing and draw readers.
    The simple question "Through what method do we know that it was wrong?" should clear up any doubt about the necessity of relying on science. Journalism shouldn't be about writing whatever is easiest, but using skill and talent to take on hard tasks but make the writing entertaining nonetheless.
     
  13. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    Don't remember, about 135 or 140 I think. I could ask my mom if you're really curious.

    I haven't looked into any data about that. I think strategic games in general tend to attract intelligent people.

    Me too, and unlike most watermelons these days, I'm not sterile.
     
  14. GhostWriter16

    GhostWriter16 Deity

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    I think I am, well, at least the ones who believe in Evolution:mischief:

    (Yes I am kidding, however flawed their beliefs they are smarter than me.)
     
  15. schlaufuchs

    schlaufuchs La Femme Moderne

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    What beliefs? If you are referring to religion, scientists are not inherently any one religion. And if you're referring to Evolution, there is no belief involved in the theory.

    And if it is about evolution, I would remind you that if you would just do the research, you would realize that rejecting evolution is one of the most moronic things you can do. It is akin to rejecting that the Holocaust occurred, just plain willful ignorance.
     
  16. GhostWriter16

    GhostWriter16 Deity

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    It was about Evolution, which most Scientists seem to like to accept, though not all.

    Also, how is it moronic? You can't prove it.
     
  17. Zack

    Zack 99% hot gas

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    I can't prove to you that I am human, although it would be moronic to think otherwise.
     
  18. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    Moderator Action: No, avoid the topic drift
     
  19. Ayatollah So

    Ayatollah So the spoof'll set you free

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    I think the pay of scientists should be raised, but not as a direct policy. Rather, as an indirect effect of increasing the amount of science that's done - especially publicly funded research. Since the benefits of scientific advances spread to a large degree globally, it would be wise to forge international agreements among nations with advanced scientific endeavors. The agreements should address the openness of scientific information as well as the quantity and quality of research.

    Edit: I'm an engineer. Although I do "research" as defined in the "research tax credit" code, the applied and highly private nature of this research suggests that the positive externalities I create are much smaller than are created by most science. Yet my company gets to take 60% of my salary straight off its tax bill (it's a credit, not a deduction). That's excessive - white welfare par excellence. Trimming it down to a more reasonable number could help, a little, to pay for more science.
     
  20. uppi

    uppi Deity

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    The drive for open access is indeed encouraging. However, in my experience the really exciting stuff, the breakthroughs end up in a non-open access journal. Few scientists would turn down a chance to publish in the tabloids (Nature, Science) and publish in an open access journal.

    There are two questions here:
    1) How do we motivate people to keep up?
    2) How do we ensure, that there is enough accessible material for them to be able to do that?

    I am afraid I do not have an answer for those.

    I agree, that there is some good stuff out there. But in most fields not enough to be able to keep up. There are some fields where there is enough material to get a rough overview what is going on for an interested layperson, but there are other fields, where even the name is unknown to even highly educated people.

    One problem is, that even if there was interest, there is no incentive for scientists to really communicate with the public. Properly describing what you are doing to a general audience requires a lot of effort, and scientist hardly have the time for such things, as it reduces the time they can do actual science (and all the paperwork that comes with it these days)

    Such agreements are hard to make and even harder to keep. It starts with the problem how to quantify quantity and quality of research. And it ends with the threat of budget cuts, everytime a state is in financial trouble (which seems to be constantly the case).
     

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