Scientists

in reality, all of this has been a total load of old bollocks
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Re: Scientists

Postby yomptepi » 27 Dec 2017, 18:17

Darryl Strawberry wrote:
yomptepi wrote:i thought the whole point of this debate was that scientists could not ever be wrong?

So which is it?


When did anyone say this? Other than you? (And probably Gash).


They cannot be wrong because they follow the evidence. Remember?
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Re: Scientists

Postby K » 27 Dec 2017, 18:23

yomptepi wrote:
Darryl Strawberry wrote:
yomptepi wrote:i thought the whole point of this debate was that scientists could not ever be wrong?

So which is it?


When did anyone say this? Other than you? (And probably Gash).


They cannot be wrong because they follow the evidence. Remember?

No. Who said that? Not me, Pete, Copehead or Deebank and we've been arguing from the "side" (for want of a better word) of the scientists. Maybe you did when building a straw man?
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Re: Scientists

Postby yomptepi » 27 Dec 2017, 18:24

It is possible. I can be argumentative.
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Re: Scientists

Postby K » 27 Dec 2017, 18:27

yomptepi wrote:It is possible. I can be argumentative.

:lol:

And I don't mind that... Just wished you were arguing about something you know about. ;)
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Re: Scientists

Postby yomptepi » 27 Dec 2017, 18:28

Pick a subject!!
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Re: Scientists

Postby Copehead » 27 Dec 2017, 20:20

yomptepi wrote:
Copehead wrote:
Mike clever people change their mind if the evidence changes, it is idiots and Tories who don't do that.

Sorry about the tautology


Of course. But how many times do we get apologies from scientists when they are wrong and it costs us our health and our cars , like with the diesel claims?

All we ever get is bollocks about evidence and facts being irrefutable. They ignore the fact that the facts were irrefutable before too.

Cunts.


I imagine about the same number of times you get an apology from a plumber who promises to come round and fix a toilet flush mechanism on a specific day and time and never shows up.

I think you have pin pointed a problem with human nature there rather than a problem with scientists, or engineers in your specific case.

Facts are by definition irrefutable, but sometimes things you are told are factual are not actually factual, as with the lying bullshit that comes out of most politicians mouths.
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Re: Scientists

Postby Your Friendly Neighbourhood Postman » 27 Dec 2017, 21:35

A bit of trivia fun, but true nonetheless:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_New ... lt_studies
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Re: Scientists

Postby Copehead » 27 Dec 2017, 22:25

Bride Of Sea Of Tunes wrote:A bit of trivia fun, but true nonetheless:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_New ... lt_studies


You should read the Baroque Cycle Trilogy by Neal Stephenson, there is a lot about Newton's occult studies, mainly alchemy, in there.
It is also a rollocking good read
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Re: Scientists

Postby K » 27 Dec 2017, 22:55

Copehead wrote:
Bride Of Sea Of Tunes wrote:A bit of trivia fun, but true nonetheless:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_New ... lt_studies


You should read the Baroque Cycle Trilogy by Neal Stephenson, there is a lot about Newton's occult studies, mainly alchemy, in there.
It is also a rollocking good read

I assumed anyone who is interested in science would know this.
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Re: Scientists

Postby Diamond Dog » 28 Dec 2017, 05:49

yomptepi wrote:
Diamond Dog wrote:
yomptepi wrote:
i thought the whole point of this debate was that scientists could not ever be wrong?

So which is it?



The ironic thing is that Einstein scientifically could not have been more correct. You appear to want to hang a scientist for changing his moral standpoint - which is even more bizarre.


In what respect. In that he had conceived a weapon which could destroy the world? and what of Oppenheimer? It seems odd that one could spend years developing a weapon of mass destruction and then think apologising would be adequate. How odd.


This is such a ridiculous viewpoint it hardly seems worthwhile responding.

But, hey ho, let's go through it one more time.

They built a weapon to spec because they believed the Germans were going to do so if they hadn't.

Would you rather they hadn't and let Hitler get his hands on the Atom bomb exclusively? I wonder what you would have said then (though the likelihood is that neither you nor I would be around to discuss it anyway)?
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Re: Scientists

Postby Geezee » 28 Dec 2017, 07:55

I am amazed, and eternally grateful, at the creativity, dedication, skill and enormous progress that scientists bring us. Not all scientists of course, and it doesn't all lead us to better places - but I'll science over the extreme darkness that religion provides any day of the year. I mean, even if we just take medical sciences, we have cured certain cancers, we have cured hepatitis C, we effectively turned HIV/AIDS, potentially one of the deadliest and most difficult epidemics in modern times, into a chronic, manageable disease within 15 years of its initial outbreak, and we have vaccines and antibiotics that have destroyed some of the deadliest illnesses for thousands of years. Who would even dream that the best way to cure an illness is to introduce it in a human to begin with!? These are incredible achievements of creativity, engineering, know-how, often bravery, and it is a privilege to have seen so much of it in my lifetime. And then we haven't even started with the ingenuity of science in transportation, communication, technology etc.
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Re: Scientists

Postby hippopotamus » 29 Dec 2017, 21:24

yomptepi wrote:i thought the whole point of this debate was that scientists could not ever be wrong?

So which is it?




I liked taking this whole thread as a joke... but it seems neither in the real world or BCB do people actually see the absurdity of all of this.

It's not that "Scientists" are wrong or right. It's like Bakers are wrong or right? I mean... are they???

If I once went into a bakery and had a bad croissant that ruined my day (it happens), would I shout about how Bakers are the Worst. No.
Teachers, Lawyers, Doctors ...( who else? ) get lumped into some sort of unifying GUILD of ne'erdowells or heros.
I guess they are distinguished from other professions because of their responsibility/power?

Whats the most absolutely absurd thing to ME, is that any individual Scientist has any power at all.

The idea that "Scientists say" is such an absurdity. Scientists hardly ever say. Scientists use the best tools they have to advance understanding of usualy a tiny, almost insignificant fact. Which is to say you use the Scientific method--- find something you believe to be true, and accept that you can never PROVE it to be true, you can only prove that the opposite is NOT true-- and spend a considerable amount of time and expense trying to publish your meagre unfact and tell anyone who will listen about it. Ultimately, you hope that all these half facts will be compiled together to be "compelling evidence" which will hopefully be useful to someone someday.

For instance: The Cochrane database is a collection of big, well conducted studies that are summarised and lumped together into bigger Meta-analyses, which have great statistical power--to try and guide best clinical practice. The Logo for it is the Forest-plot (a kind of diagram) for the meta-analyses of all the evidence for giving steroids to mothers of premature babies. The study where this came from was so groundbreaking, it completely changed everything about neonatal medicine and saved the lives of thousands of babies. http://www.cochrane.org/uk/about-us/our-logo
But it could only do this when each individual "scientist" had made their individual contribution, to a greater and bigger whole.

So can the meekest of geeks be wrong when they are only doing their job, applying the scientific method?

It strikes me they can be wrong in 2 ways
1) not having enough evidence/information
2) innappropriate interpretation of the results

For the first, you can lump in a lot of what has been deemed as grievous errors of the past. Yes leeches were used to cure a lot of ills in the 18th century. They didn't know better... we consistently need more and more work to try and put the evidence together. Plus, they weren't ALL wrong. We still use leeches sometimes. It's also where statistics comes in. Any result is only as good as the method you got in getting there. To be published you have to go through a rigorous "peer-review process". You might aim for good journals, and you might end up in a lousy journal... even after years of research. After this point, the results HAVE to be taken into context. Scientists have "journal clubs"-- we practice reading through papers and figuring out if it's a good/valid study or not. MOST of the time you end up ripping it's credibility up into shreds because it's really hard to conduct a perfect fool-proof study. But more knowledge is more knowledge... it's just hard to know what to do with any information that is not 100% black and white.

For the second, there are lots of reasons this can happen. Maybe you've used the wrong statistical test, maybe you are over selling your result, or maybe you are being funded by an unbiased source. I can mostly only speak as an academic scientist, rather than a scientist working in industry. As am example, pharmaceutical companies can and do produce completely essential medication based on research they do in-house... but that research can't be completely unbiased because they not only have to make up their losses, they have to make a profit... often in a very competitive market.
Academics live like church mice, but they have their livelihoods on the line... so I suppose they could be said to be unbiased. So the reputation of your lab, or the journal in which you publish is supposed to make up for that bias. It doesn't always. But this bias is usually out in the open.



THE REAL PROBLEM is distribution.
The wee little man in the lab coat is not the man who tells you what you should and should not eat to lose weight... because you do not do literature reviews. In fact, if you have ever TRIED to read primary source material (the original paper of any study). It's ABSOLUTELY prohibitively expensive.

THIS IS AN OUTRAGE. Almost all research, at least in the UK, is publically funded. You should OWN this information. We have to PAY to publish, and PAY to access... A lot of money.
So when you read Prof. Nutt says in the newspaper that Heroin is less harmful than alcohol... and Goatboy puts it on BCB, because he read it in a reputable newspaper, and this is a professor of a reputable university. He is going to believe this as fact.

If I look up the original paper, published 6 years before the "headline", and I read (because I have a university subscription) that this is an opinion given by 20 of his friends, and their arbitrary ratings on arbitrary scales-- and on ONE of the scales it says some of them deemed it more "socially harmful" (whatever that means.). I'm not sure it's fact anymore.

But its a very different story.

So no wonder the public feels misled by "Scientists", because they can only ACCESS this Science through pop-science books (how academics push thier own agendas and make a name for themselves) or the media (who have a headline to sell and honestly NEVER understands what the professor had 5 minutes to explain to them, because this is specialist knowledge and they never even took high school Science, because they were English majors.)

The problem is, Scientists work very hard and long hours (like doctors, teachers, lawyers) and they never defend themselves so SO much this nonsense gets propogated.

The concept of "Scientists" agreeing on something or leading the public or misleading the public is just nonsense... not least because they have no such power, and whatever they have to say has to go through the mouthpiece of the press.
So just cut them some slack.

Its a pretty crappy job, but someone has to do it.
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Re: Scientists

Postby Diamond Dog » 29 Dec 2017, 21:43

Yomp?
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Re: Scientists

Postby Copehead » 29 Dec 2017, 23:17

hippopotamus wrote:
yomptepi wrote:i thought the whole point of this debate was that scientists could not ever be wrong?

So which is it?




I liked taking this whole thread as a joke... but it seems neither in the real world or BCB do people actually see the absurdity of all of this.

It's not that "Scientists" are wrong or right. It's like Bakers are wrong or right? I mean... are they???

If I once went into a bakery and had a bad croissant that ruined my day (it happens), would I shout about how Bakers are the Worst. No.
Teachers, Lawyers, Doctors ...( who else? ) get lumped into some sort of unifying GUILD of ne'erdowells or heros.
I guess they are distinguished from other professions because of their responsibility/power?

Whats the most absolutely absurd thing to ME, is that any individual Scientist has any power at all.

The idea that "Scientists say" is such an absurdity. Scientists hardly ever say. Scientists use the best tools they have to advance understanding of usualy a tiny, almost insignificant fact. Which is to say you use the Scientific method--- find something you believe to be true, and accept that you can never PROVE it to be true, you can only prove that the opposite is NOT true-- and spend a considerable amount of time and expense trying to publish your meagre unfact and tell anyone who will listen about it. Ultimately, you hope that all these half facts will be compiled together to be "compelling evidence" which will hopefully be useful to someone someday.

For instance: The Cochrane database is a collection of big, well conducted studies that are summarised and lumped together into bigger Meta-analyses, which have great statistical power--to try and guide best clinical practice. The Logo for it is the Forest-plot (a kind of diagram) for the meta-analyses of all the evidence for giving steroids to mothers of premature babies. The study where this came from was so groundbreaking, it completely changed everything about neonatal medicine and saved the lives of thousands of babies. http://www.cochrane.org/uk/about-us/our-logo
But it could only do this when each individual "scientist" had made their individual contribution, to a greater and bigger whole.

So can the meekest of geeks be wrong when they are only doing their job, applying the scientific method?

It strikes me they can be wrong in 2 ways
1) not having enough evidence/information
2) innappropriate interpretation of the results

For the first, you can lump in a lot of what has been deemed as grievous errors of the past. Yes leeches were used to cure a lot of ills in the 18th century. They didn't know better... we consistently need more and more work to try and put the evidence together. Plus, they weren't ALL wrong. We still use leeches sometimes. It's also where statistics comes in. Any result is only as good as the method you got in getting there. To be published you have to go through a rigorous "peer-review process". You might aim for good journals, and you might end up in a lousy journal... even after years of research. After this point, the results HAVE to be taken into context. Scientists have "journal clubs"-- we practice reading through papers and figuring out if it's a good/valid study or not. MOST of the time you end up ripping it's credibility up into shreds because it's really hard to conduct a perfect fool-proof study. But more knowledge is more knowledge... it's just hard to know what to do with any information that is not 100% black and white.

For the second, there are lots of reasons this can happen. Maybe you've used the wrong statistical test, maybe you are over selling your result, or maybe you are being funded by an unbiased source. I can mostly only speak as an academic scientist, rather than a scientist working in industry. As am example, pharmaceutical companies can and do produce completely essential medication based on research they do in-house... but that research can't be completely unbiased because they not only have to make up their losses, they have to make a profit... often in a very competitive market.
Academics live like church mice, but they have their livelihoods on the line... so I suppose they could be said to be unbiased. So the reputation of your lab, or the journal in which you publish is supposed to make up for that bias. It doesn't always. But this bias is usually out in the open.



THE REAL PROBLEM is distribution.
The wee little man in the lab coat is not the man who tells you what you should and should not eat to lose weight... because you do not do literature reviews. In fact, if you have ever TRIED to read primary source material (the original paper of any study). It's ABSOLUTELY prohibitively expensive.

THIS IS AN OUTRAGE. Almost all research, at least in the UK, is publically funded. You should OWN this information. We have to PAY to publish, and PAY to access... A lot of money.
So when you read Prof. Nutt says in the newspaper that Heroin is less harmful than alcohol... and Goatboy puts it on BCB, because he read it in a reputable newspaper, and this is a professor of a reputable university. He is going to believe this as fact.

If I look up the original paper, published 6 years before the "headline", and I read (because I have a university subscription) that this is an opinion given by 20 of his friends, and their arbitrary ratings on arbitrary scales-- and on ONE of the scales it says some of them deemed it more "socially harmful" (whatever that means.). I'm not sure it's fact anymore.

But its a very different story.

So no wonder the public feels misled by "Scientists", because they can only ACCESS this Science through pop-science books (how academics push thier own agendas and make a name for themselves) or the media (who have a headline to sell and honestly NEVER understands what the professor had 5 minutes to explain to them, because this is specialist knowledge and they never even took high school Science, because they were English majors.)

The problem is, Scientists work very hard and long hours (like doctors, teachers, lawyers) and they never defend themselves so SO much this nonsense gets propogated.

The concept of "Scientists" agreeing on something or leading the public or misleading the public is just nonsense... not least because they have no such power, and whatever they have to say has to go through the mouthpiece of the press.
So just cut them some slack.

Its a pretty crappy job, but someone has to do it.


An excellent post that goes a long way to explaining the reality of working in science.

This is good, if long, article on how the science publishing industry/scam came to be and how 25% of published science ended up being controlled by one massive company - Elsevier.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jun/27/profitable-business-scientific-publishing-bad-for-science

It is a scandal that public funded science is not available free to the public, but it also has to be said that science has become so specialized and microscopically detailed these days that most scientists will not really understand papers that far outside their own specialism.

I literally cannot understand anything outside of the abstract and summary of scientific papers in the field I work in because it is too mathematically complex for me and I specialize in application of the science not its development.

The only science papers that I could read, critique and understand ( and enjoy ) would be in sedimentary geology and palaeontology and their allied fields.

I would hope I could get the jist of an abstract in wider scientific fields but I know some things are just beyond my understanding and in that case I trust the scientific consensus because it is almost always right and when it isn't it is usually in a detail rather than in the overarching theory - Piltdown Man ( which was a fraud that fooled some British scientists ) does not mean that human evolution is wrong.

In scientific academia the rewards are comparatively meager for people so highly educated and the punishments for wrong doing are harsh, most people do the job because it is intellectually fulfilling to be able to pursue interesting ideas.

A lot of the frustration with science comes because it is not a universal panacea that is always right and always timely, but it never will be, it is better to celebrate it for what is - the most important idea that mankind has ever had because it has discovered, improved or shown to be wrong or irrelevant - to human progress - every other idea that mankind has ever had.
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Re: Scientists

Postby yomptepi » 30 Dec 2017, 00:10

Diamond Dog wrote:Yomp?


Is this the five minute argument, or the full half hour?
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Re: Scientists

Postby The Modernist » 30 Dec 2017, 00:49

This was meant to be a fun thread.
The scientists have made it all serious! :evil:

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Re: Scientists

Postby Six String » 30 Dec 2017, 00:50

hippopotamus wrote:
yomptepi wrote:i thought the whole point of this debate was that scientists could not ever be wrong?

So which is it?




I liked taking this whole thread as a joke... but it seems neither in the real world or BCB do people actually see the absurdity of all of this.

It's not that "Scientists" are wrong or right. It's like Bakers are wrong or right? I mean... are they???

If I once went into a bakery and had a bad croissant that ruined my day (it happens), would I shout about how Bakers are the Worst. No.
Teachers, Lawyers, Doctors ...( who else? ) get lumped into some sort of unifying GUILD of ne'erdowells or heros.
I guess they are distinguished from other professions because of their responsibility/power?

Whats the most absolutely absurd thing to ME, is that any individual Scientist has any power at all.

The idea that "Scientists say" is such an absurdity. Scientists hardly ever say. Scientists use the best tools they have to advance understanding of usualy a tiny, almost insignificant fact. Which is to say you use the Scientific method--- find something you believe to be true, and accept that you can never PROVE it to be true, you can only prove that the opposite is NOT true-- and spend a considerable amount of time and expense trying to publish your meagre unfact and tell anyone who will listen about it. Ultimately, you hope that all these half facts will be compiled together to be "compelling evidence" which will hopefully be useful to someone someday.

For instance: The Cochrane database is a collection of big, well conducted studies that are summarised and lumped together into bigger Meta-analyses, which have great statistical power--to try and guide best clinical practice. The Logo for it is the Forest-plot (a kind of diagram) for the meta-analyses of all the evidence for giving steroids to mothers of premature babies. The study where this came from was so groundbreaking, it completely changed everything about neonatal medicine and saved the lives of thousands of babies. http://www.cochrane.org/uk/about-us/our-logo
But it could only do this when each individual "scientist" had made their individual contribution, to a greater and bigger whole.

So can the meekest of geeks be wrong when they are only doing their job, applying the scientific method?

It strikes me they can be wrong in 2 ways
1) not having enough evidence/information
2) innappropriate interpretation of the results

For the first, you can lump in a lot of what has been deemed as grievous errors of the past. Yes leeches were used to cure a lot of ills in the 18th century. They didn't know better... we consistently need more and more work to try and put the evidence together. Plus, they weren't ALL wrong. We still use leeches sometimes. It's also where statistics comes in. Any result is only as good as the method you got in getting there. To be published you have to go through a rigorous "peer-review process". You might aim for good journals, and you might end up in a lousy journal... even after years of research. After this point, the results HAVE to be taken into context. Scientists have "journal clubs"-- we practice reading through papers and figuring out if it's a good/valid study or not. MOST of the time you end up ripping it's credibility up into shreds because it's really hard to conduct a perfect fool-proof study. But more knowledge is more knowledge... it's just hard to know what to do with any information that is not 100% black and white.

For the second, there are lots of reasons this can happen. Maybe you've used the wrong statistical test, maybe you are over selling your result, or maybe you are being funded by an unbiased source. I can mostly only speak as an academic scientist, rather than a scientist working in industry. As am example, pharmaceutical companies can and do produce completely essential medication based on research they do in-house... but that research can't be completely unbiased because they not only have to make up their losses, they have to make a profit... often in a very competitive market.
Academics live like church mice, but they have their livelihoods on the line... so I suppose they could be said to be unbiased. So the reputation of your lab, or the journal in which you publish is supposed to make up for that bias. It doesn't always. But this bias is usually out in the open.



THE REAL PROBLEM is distribution.
The wee little man in the lab coat is not the man who tells you what you should and should not eat to lose weight... because you do not do literature reviews. In fact, if you have ever TRIED to read primary source material (the original paper of any study). It's ABSOLUTELY prohibitively expensive.

THIS IS AN OUTRAGE. Almost all research, at least in the UK, is publically funded. You should OWN this information. We have to PAY to publish, and PAY to access... A lot of money.
So when you read Prof. Nutt says in the newspaper that Heroin is less harmful than alcohol... and Goatboy puts it on BCB, because he read it in a reputable newspaper, and this is a professor of a reputable university. He is going to believe this as fact.

If I look up the original paper, published 6 years before the "headline", and I read (because I have a university subscription) that this is an opinion given by 20 of his friends, and their arbitrary ratings on arbitrary scales-- and on ONE of the scales it says some of them deemed it more "socially harmful" (whatever that means.). I'm not sure it's fact anymore.

But its a very different story.

So no wonder the public feels misled by "Scientists", because they can only ACCESS this Science through pop-science books (how academics push thier own agendas and make a name for themselves) or the media (who have a headline to sell and honestly NEVER understands what the professor had 5 minutes to explain to them, because this is specialist knowledge and they never even took high school Science, because they were English majors.)

The problem is, Scientists work very hard and long hours (like doctors, teachers, lawyers) and they never defend themselves so SO much this nonsense gets propogated.

The concept of "Scientists" agreeing on something or leading the public or misleading the public is just nonsense... not least because they have no such power, and whatever they have to say has to go through the mouthpiece of the press.
So just cut them some slack.

Its a pretty crappy job, but someone has to do it.



Excellent post. My feelings exactly.

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Re: Scientists

Postby hippopotamus » 30 Dec 2017, 08:55

The Modernist wrote:This was meant to be a fun thread.
The scientists have made it all serious! :evil:



SCIENTISTS ARE THE WORST
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nev gash wrote:What is point?


Indeed, what is point?

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Re: Scientists

Postby WG Kaspar » 30 Dec 2017, 09:29

I hate them but plumbers are even worse.
I run out of talent

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Re: Scientists

Postby fange » 30 Dec 2017, 09:32

Yep. Just ask this scientician...

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