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Science for sale?

Well, so much for the idea that science is an objective exercise, carried out by people with a desire to find "the answer", no matter what the answer may be. This article in the Guardian shows that SOME people really "can't handle the truth". It is somewhat disturbing to me that the fellowship (of research scientists) I hope to join in the near future has members mercenary enough to participate in this type of exercise. It's not a surprise to me, just terribly disappointing when it is presented in the open. This is both ethically and morally wrong.

When it comes down to it, all working scientists, like the rest of us, are mercenaries. Besides, that some members of the scientific community are willing to accept the challenge to poke holes in the current understanding of the climate is in my mind a good thing. Disagreement and distrust makes science work every bit as much as scientific method.

The current means of awarding research grants as the primary source of funding, and the requirement that you have a good idea of the likely result of your work to put into your proposal, is certainly driving science to be more mercenary. I grieve for that too, although I must admit my own graduate funding has certainly fallen squarely into that category.
The idea of re-analysing the data to check its validity is a good one... all good science is supposed to be demonstrably repeatable. Also, showing that the data support alternate hypotheses and theories is good... submitting our work to the scrutiny of our peers is why we publish our findings in refereed journals.
I think you are being a bit simplistic in assigning such altruistic motives in this case... this is not funding to re-conduct the analyses... with some objectivity, to see if the findings stand up to scrutiny. These are cash prizes for deliberately finding "holes" or weak points that support an opposing, predetermined viewpoint. A viewpoint that has nothing to do with proofing the science, and everything to do with keeping the cash-trough full.

The current means of awarding research grants as the primary source of funding, and the requirement that you have a good idea of the likely result of your work to put into your proposal, is certainly driving science to be more mercenary. I grieve for that too, although I must admit my own graduate funding has certainly fallen squarely into that category.
The idea of re-analysing the data to check its validity is a good one... all good science is supposed to be demonstrably repeatable. Also, showing that the data support alternate hypotheses and theories is good... submitting our work to the scrutiny of our peers is why we publish our findings in refereed journals.
I think you are being a bit simplistic in assigning such altruistic motives in this case... this is not funding to re-conduct the analyses... with some objectivity, to see if the findings stand up to scrutiny. These are cash prizes for deliberately finding "holes" or weak points that support an opposing, predetermined viewpoint. A viewpoint that has nothing to do with proofing the science, and everything to do with keeping the cash-trough full.

My impression is that the outcome of the rewarded work is predetermined, or at least the 'preferred result' will be the one rewarded. Not exactly unbiased, and therefore worthless from a scientific standpoint.
We all have biases that help determine what kind of science we do, but intelligent scientists accept the result if the preponderance of evidence reaches a given conclusion, regardless of your personal beliefs.

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