Sunday, February 06, 2005
This is an extremely important story, a lesson for all; thank you for finding it.
I am posting this in this format because when Jerry Pournelle says something I have found is important I want to let you know.
The article in question is about how, because a theory had been widely accepted (in this case about electrical insulation, there is a proven very strong tendency for scientists to want their experimental results to fit the theory, to junk results that do not fit, & even to deny a PhD to somebody who insisted on producing results that don't fit the theory.
This was in a case where political correctness was not pushing (tho' to be fair the hope that cheaper electricity was on the horizon may have had some influence).
Nonetheless if scientists can innocently push each other around like this it must be obvious that, where grant providing bodies (ie governments ie politicians) are involved there there must be a strong presumption that the ability of people to persuade themselves of what it is advantageous to believe is indeed the case.
This means that in certain highly political subjects (eg global warming, the theory that AIDS is virally spread, passive smoking, IQ) where evidence is not clear & within the statistical variability of the investigated conditions a very large observer bias should be assumeably. Thus there is no probable evidence for global warming, viral AIDS or passive smoking being a health hazard.
This would also apply to the theory that low level radiation is harmful if there had ever been any evidence for it in the first place.