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The fact that opponents of scientific inquiry will point to problems with science is not, IMO, justification for the scientific community to deny the existence of those problems.

WTF? It is the exact opposite! I strongly believe in scientific inquiry (definition of which remains to be done)! What I am suggesting is that what is done in some "places of science" as very little to do with openness, enlightenment, sound reasoning and decent morality.

The problem is that in many research centres "scientific inquiry" become just a side.

To make it very clear: I am a strong believer in science. The current scientific environment (high competition, need to maximize one's impact at any cost) is anathema for good science. The cultural harm to the scientific community is done and it will take some time to reverse, if at all.

If you want to do good science, go to your garage. Avoid most universities and such. That is the drama. That is what stands to be corrected.

And blindly believing in whatever is done at universities (the basis of religious mentality is also blind faith), is not helping to starting cleaning up the mess.

by t-------------- on Sun Nov 22nd, 2009 at 06:42:18 AM EST
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It depends on where you go. I've seen a couple of European physics departments from the inside, and while you have a lot of mutual back-scratching, office politics, sharp knives and mafias, it does not strike me as crippling.

Politics is an inescapable fact of life in any organisation with more than a couple of handfuls of people and a lifetime of more than a few days. I see no serious evidence that it's any worse in physics than in other communities of similar size.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Nov 22nd, 2009 at 10:34:50 AM EST
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I see no serious evidence that it's any worse in physics than in other communities of similar size.

From what I hear Astrophysics is pretty bad.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 22nd, 2009 at 10:40:59 AM EST
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I'll have to ask a friend of mine who does an astro ph.d.

My impression is that in Copenhagen the experimental high-energy particle people hold the dubious distinction of being the most nepotistic department. And have held that trophy for at least a generation and a half by now.

Fortunately, it's not like particle physics is very important in the greater scheme of things.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Nov 22nd, 2009 at 10:55:18 AM EST
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tiagoantao
WTF? It is the exact opposite! I strongly believe in scientific inquiry (definition of which remains to be done)!

That was certainly my perception but I was concerned that this might be getting lost in the discussion. (That might have been a misperception.)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Nov 22nd, 2009 at 11:42:21 AM EST
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