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Regarding the denialist camp: I am aware that most people on that side of the aisle is politically, morally, emotionally and rationally on the exact opposite of my personal position. That is why I write here and not on their fora. Look, some of the company that I might have in being skeptical about predicative science might not be the best, I am aware of it. But do you mind taking my arguments for the sake of my arguments (and not the bad company that I might have on this issue)?

Regarding your the first argument. There is a plethora of reasons. I work in predicative science (I don't believe in it), but I still do. Why? Things are not that easy.

But let me engage some possible arguments:

First, Exxon-Mobil could not hire all the scientists in the world. And why would they? Would you believe results sponsored by Exxon-Mobil?

Second, most people involved in this might really have the best interest of the world in their hearts. And they believe what they do. But you do a little concession here and there...

But really I think it goes like this in most cases: bright kid out of undergrad/master is invited to do PhD. Comes from middle/upper-middle class, most of the time. Never really had much contact with the "world" at large. Life as been mostly inside the University, where ego-mania and small, closed groups are the norm. These sets of cultural background, where an "holistic" (broad) view of the world rarely exists. Publishing papers, conferences, fighting for grant/tenure is ALL YOU KNOW.

Just a anecdotal piece of evidence which I think reflects the broad reality: Portugal has lots of wind-power installed everywhere. Wind power kills bats. I have a colleague that defends the removal of all wind mills. Why? because it kills bats and from is point of view if it kills bats it is a bad thing, no more arguments need be made. His PhD topic: bats. This is anecdotal, but there is an underlying honesty to this description: many PhD students (kids in their early twenties, many of them with little awareness of the world around them) think that their topic is the most important thing in the world.

by t-------------- on Sat Nov 21st, 2009 at 04:24:12 PM EST
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