What Is A Scientist?

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Bullwinkle

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What Is A Scientist?
« on: June 07, 2021, 11:53:52 PM »
We are admonished to follow the science.
Scientists often disagree.
How do we choose the scientist to believe?


What qualifies anyone to be a scientist?

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JJA

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2021, 04:48:31 AM »
We are admonished to follow the science.
Scientists often disagree.
How do we choose the scientist to believe?


What qualifies anyone to be a scientist?

Well, it's probably one of two ways.

1. Getting a degree in a scientific field of study after years of work.

2. Putting "Flat Earth Scientist" in your forum profile.

One of these is true... but how to choose which to believe? I think, and this is just a guess mind you, that when confronted by two sources, you should look at their credentials and the data provided by each and decide.

Like, who to believe... the writings of ancient Greeks about miasma or demons causing disease, or a modern epidemiologist who has actual pictures of germs? If you can't figure that one out, you should probably call yourself a scientist on a web forum. :)

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Timeisup

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2021, 07:31:59 AM »
We are admonished to follow the science.
Scientists often disagree.
How do we choose the scientist to believe?


What qualifies anyone to be a scientist?

A scientist is someone who works professionally in the sciences. Of course scientists disagree about 'some things' just as people disagree about some things. There are other things scientists are in agreement about just as there are things people will be in general agreement about. However there will always be a lunatic fringe both in science and among the general public who will make a virtue of disagreeing.

Before progress can be made in areas of science there has to be , up to a point, an agreement about a number of basic fundemental principles.

Disagreement at the unknown or cutting edge of knowledge is important for things to progress. However there are always things that are accepted as gospel because of the overwhelming evidence in support. BUT there will always be that same lunatic fringe who will rail against convention.

Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2021, 03:22:23 AM »
Good questions, that are at the heart of this subject.

Scientists are people who rigorously adhere to the scientific method for validating and/or gaining provisional knowledge.

Anyone who doesn’t fit the definition above is not a scientist. Anyone who does, regardless of affiliation/accolade/credential, is.

As for who to believe/trust, the answer is none of them.  Science is hindered by trust/belief (it’s called bias), and nothing should be accepted as correct without thorough validation first.  The default position ought be one of doubt/skepticism. One of the things that makes science so wonderful is that it is independently verifiable/repeatable (or it is not science).  The best (and sole) way to evaluate a scientific claim (regardless of source) is to evaluate and repeat the demonstration/experiment yourself - however ubiquitous scientific illiteracy (ie the acute lack of support), among other things, makes this challenging.

Deciding things by consensus, or “democracy” (“all the experts agree”, “science says”, “9 out of 10 dentists...”), is anathema to science and an incredibly stupid, dangerous, and unscientific thing to do.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2021, 03:24:13 AM by jack44556677 »

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JJA

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2021, 05:05:18 AM »
Good questions, that are at the heart of this subject.

Scientists are people who rigorously adhere to the scientific method for validating and/or gaining provisional knowledge.

Anyone who doesn’t fit the definition above is not a scientist. Anyone who does, regardless of affiliation/accolade/credential, is.

As for who to believe/trust, the answer is none of them.  Science is hindered by trust/belief (it’s called bias), and nothing should be accepted as correct without thorough validation first.  The default position ought be one of doubt/skepticism. One of the things that makes science so wonderful is that it is independently verifiable/repeatable (or it is not science).  The best (and sole) way to evaluate a scientific claim (regardless of source) is to evaluate and repeat the demonstration/experiment yourself - however ubiquitous scientific illiteracy (ie the acute lack of support), among other things, makes this challenging.

Deciding things by consensus, or “democracy” (“all the experts agree”, “science says”, “9 out of 10 dentists...”), is anathema to science and an incredibly stupid, dangerous, and unscientific thing to do.

How do you navigate the everyday world with that mindset?

All the experts agree that eating a box of rat poison is going to harm you, but the guru down the street says it's mana from heaven and will make you immortal.

Do you eat it or not? Do you evaluate and demonstrate that rat poison is dangerous yourself with personal observation before you believe it, or do you simply not eat it because the experts say it's toxic? Do you truly not know who to trust in that case?

Do you simply not believe any experiment that you don't perform yourself? That has to leave the vast majority of the world and scientific knowledge a vast mystery to you, as I can't imagine you have performed many experiments.

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Bullwinkle

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2021, 01:25:10 AM »

Do you evaluate and demonstrate that rat poison is dangerous yourself with personal observation before you believe it, or do you simply not eat it because the experts say it's toxic?
Are you saying common knowledge is science?

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sceptimatic

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2021, 07:16:33 AM »
Good questions, that are at the heart of this subject.

Scientists are people who rigorously adhere to the scientific method for validating and/or gaining provisional knowledge.

Anyone who doesn’t fit the definition above is not a scientist. Anyone who does, regardless of affiliation/accolade/credential, is.

As for who to believe/trust, the answer is none of them.  Science is hindered by trust/belief (it’s called bias), and nothing should be accepted as correct without thorough validation first.  The default position ought be one of doubt/skepticism. One of the things that makes science so wonderful is that it is independently verifiable/repeatable (or it is not science).  The best (and sole) way to evaluate a scientific claim (regardless of source) is to evaluate and repeat the demonstration/experiment yourself - however ubiquitous scientific illiteracy (ie the acute lack of support), among other things, makes this challenging.

Deciding things by consensus, or “democracy” (“all the experts agree”, “science says”, “9 out of 10 dentists...”), is anathema to science and an incredibly stupid, dangerous, and unscientific thing to do.
Basically this pretty much nails it.

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markjo

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2021, 08:38:40 AM »
Good questions, that are at the heart of this subject.

Scientists are people who rigorously adhere to the scientific method for validating and/or gaining provisional knowledge.

Anyone who doesn’t fit the definition above is not a scientist. Anyone who does, regardless of affiliation/accolade/credential, is.
Like most things in life, it's not quite that simple.  There are many, many different fields within science that fall along a spectrum ranging from the hard sciences, like physics and chemistry where it's relatively easy to rigorously follow the scientific method, to the soft sciences, like medicine and psychology where strict adherence to the scientific method is not always so easy.
Science is what happens when preconception meets verification.
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Pezevenk

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2021, 02:05:31 AM »
When scientists disagree there is still usually some sort of consensus, and the group that disagrees is usually smaller or less qualified. Sometimes there is no consensus at all or the smaller group may be right, but typically you're better off listening to the consensus if it exists.
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Definitely Not Swedish

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2021, 06:16:03 AM »
What qualifies anyone to be a scientist?

Just look at me, i am a scientist.
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You have received a warning for breaking the laws of mathematics.

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Shifter

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2021, 07:12:56 AM »
A scientist is anyone who asks questions and goes about seeking answers and trying to understand it

As a kid, I held a magnifying glass over ants. Or poured salt over leeches that stuck to me after playing in a creek. Working out how, why and trying to understand the effects is doing science

You dont need a degree to be a scientist. You only need one if you want other people with degrees to listen to you


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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2021, 12:06:15 PM »
That would depend on how you define scientist.

If you mean it in a useful sense, in the sense of someone who arrives at truths about the world and not a fantasist, then there are criteria

  • Someone who dedicates themselves to studying aspects of reality
  • Someone who offers explanations for those aspects of reality that hold up to examination
  • Someone whose first duty is to the truth
  • Someone who will examine and re-examine their own statements and beliefs tirelessly

What qualifies someone to be a scientist? How do you know who to listen to? The world would be a much easier place if we had answers to questions like that. The above is what I believe defines a scientist. Academia and official qualifications should not enter into it - appealing to them simply renders this whole discussion circular, academia is trusted therefore the scientists it produces are trusted, and as we trust the scientists than we trust the academia they espouse. If something is true, then it is true regardless of who says it. if something is false, then it is false regardless of who says it.

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John Davis

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2021, 01:38:06 PM »
A degree in a scientific field just shows you can parrot off information.
Quantum Ab Hoc

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John Davis

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2021, 01:43:55 PM »
Scientists are people who rigorously adhere to the scientific method for validating and/or gaining provisional knowledge.
How do you deal with the fact that there are lots of historical examples of those who do not rigorously adhere to the scientific method that are undoubtedly scientists?
Quantum Ab Hoc

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Stash

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2021, 03:11:01 PM »
A degree in a scientific field just shows you can parrot off information.

If that were true in all instances, nothing new would ever be discovered, entertained, written, or spoken about from anyone with any sort of degree. 

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markjo

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2021, 03:36:31 PM »
A degree in a scientific field just shows you can parrot off information.
That depends on the degree.  Advanced science degrees usually require that you prove that you know how to properly conduct research.
Science is what happens when preconception meets verification.
Quote from: Robosteve
Besides, perhaps FET is a conspiracy too.
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It is just the way it is, you understanding it doesn't concern me.

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NotSoSkeptical

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2021, 03:46:37 PM »
A degree in a scientific field just shows you can parrot off information.

What about lesbian dance theory?
Rabinoz RIP

Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2021, 03:57:21 AM »
A degree in a scientific field just shows you can parrot off information.

What about lesbian dance theory?
I have ten times more respect for someone with a useless major than a supposed high-profile one, because it means they did it for the love of learning rather than for personal gain.

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NotSoSkeptical

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2021, 05:31:54 AM »
A degree in a scientific field just shows you can parrot off information.

What about lesbian dance theory?
I have ten times more respect for someone with a useless major than a supposed high-profile one, because it means they did it for the love of learning rather than for personal gain.

Love of learning would be a personal gain.
Rabinoz RIP

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markjo

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2021, 06:20:47 AM »
A degree in a scientific field just shows you can parrot off information.

What about lesbian dance theory?
I have ten times more respect for someone with a useless major than a supposed high-profile one, because it means they did it for the love of learning rather than for personal gain.
Personally, I respect experience and competence more than formal education.
Science is what happens when preconception meets verification.
Quote from: Robosteve
Besides, perhaps FET is a conspiracy too.
Quote from: bullhorn
It is just the way it is, you understanding it doesn't concern me.

Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2021, 06:49:11 AM »
A degree in a scientific field just shows you can parrot off information.

What about lesbian dance theory?
I have ten times more respect for someone with a useless major than a supposed high-profile one, because it means they did it for the love of learning rather than for personal gain.
Personally, I respect experience and competence more than formal education.
Absolutely. Too often, though, that does get conflated with academia.
Within the confines of higher education though, it is easy to see the people that actually care about what they research.

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JJA

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #21 on: June 17, 2021, 10:05:39 AM »

Do you evaluate and demonstrate that rat poison is dangerous yourself with personal observation before you believe it, or do you simply not eat it because the experts say it's toxic?
Are you saying common knowledge is science?

No, I'm saying you seem to lack the ability to evaluate information. I am just curious how you decide to believe something. Naming one thing "science" and another "common knowledge" is just escaping into semantics.

It doesn't explain why you believe rat poison will kill you if you never tried it. 

How do you really know it is bad for you? Why do you avoid eating it? What's your reasoning? Why is rat poison being bad common knowledge but the earth being round is (fake scary conspiracy lies) science?

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markjo

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #22 on: June 17, 2021, 02:36:08 PM »
It doesn't explain why you believe rat poison will kill you if you never tried it. 
Because other people have tried it and I'll take their word for it.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/woman-death-rat-poison-toothpaste-india-karnataka-a9218111.html

Also, there's a clue in the name "rat poison" that suggests that it might not be something that would be good for you.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2021, 02:40:49 PM by markjo »
Science is what happens when preconception meets verification.
Quote from: Robosteve
Besides, perhaps FET is a conspiracy too.
Quote from: bullhorn
It is just the way it is, you understanding it doesn't concern me.

Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #23 on: June 18, 2021, 12:45:19 AM »
We are admonished to follow the science.
Scientists often disagree.
How do we choose the scientist to believe?


What qualifies anyone to be a scientist?
Anyone who observes changes in the dimensions of the problem carefully and makes notes of it for its solution using his/her past experience. It doesn’t require any certification.

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Bullwinkle

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #24 on: June 18, 2021, 12:54:20 AM »
We are admonished to follow the science.
Scientists often disagree.
How do we choose the scientist to believe?


What qualifies anyone to be a scientist?

Anyone who observes changes in the dimensions of the problem carefully and makes notes of it for its solution using his/her past experience. It doesn’t require any certification.

So, anyone who pays attention and learns from personal experience?

Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #25 on: June 18, 2021, 02:10:05 AM »
We are admonished to follow the science.
Scientists often disagree.
How do we choose the scientist to believe?


What qualifies anyone to be a scientist?

Anyone who observes changes in the dimensions of the problem carefully and makes notes of it for its solution using his/her past experience. It doesn’t require any certification.

So, anyone who pays attention and learns from personal experience?
Scientific information is always tentative because it is based on the knowledge of the person or a team/group of people at the time of observations.


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JJA

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #26 on: June 24, 2021, 03:46:49 AM »
It doesn't explain why you believe rat poison will kill you if you never tried it. 
Because other people have tried it and I'll take their word for it.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/woman-death-rat-poison-toothpaste-india-karnataka-a9218111.html

Also, there's a clue in the name "rat poison" that suggests that it might not be something that would be good for you.

That explains why you believe things, but I wanted to know why Bullwinkle accepts that news story but not one about astronauts. :)

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markjo

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #27 on: June 24, 2021, 06:36:11 AM »
That explains why you believe things, but I wanted to know why Bullwinkle accepts that news story but not one about astronauts. :)
You're new here, aren't you?
Science is what happens when preconception meets verification.
Quote from: Robosteve
Besides, perhaps FET is a conspiracy too.
Quote from: bullhorn
It is just the way it is, you understanding it doesn't concern me.

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Bullwinkle

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #28 on: June 24, 2021, 10:00:12 PM »

 I wanted to know why Bullwinkle accepts that news story but not one about astronauts. :)
You should ask him.

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sceptimatic

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Re: What Is A Scientist?
« Reply #29 on: June 24, 2021, 11:13:01 PM »
Science is merely the study of all things we are part of that is physically explorable.

That means we are all scientists.

But, just like everything, some people are far better at studying specifics of science, than others.
However, there are theoretical/hypothetical thinkers who are classed as scientists and have certificates proclaiming they are specifics in their field.
The reality is they aren't scientists unless there's a potential truth in their thinking which can only be garnered by actual scientific exploration in real time, otherwise the best name that can be offered to a person who hypothesises is, pseudo-scientist or your basic philosopher.

Basically a story teller of personal best guessing.

Real scientists will always have something realistic to show for their endeavours.
The rest have stories that can (in many cases) fit a narrative or merely fit a personal mindset.


The rest are simply philosophers.