Wednesday, February 12, 2020

How scientists lie about the goals and utility of their research


This is currently only a prototype post and is part of an ongoing series of blog posts exposing the mistruths that academia uses to fool the public, so they can continue to garner funding to continue their low-effort, low-productivity academic lifestyle and frivolous dream-chasing.  I will be adding more examples to it as time goes on.  Come back later for further updates.
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Have you ever been watching some scientific news or reading an article about some sort of scientific research, and at the end of the article the goals and purpose of the research is given? I've seen this many hundreds of times in my life. After a 17 year career in academia and 14 years working in commerical R&D, it's completely transparent to me how this works.  

Take for example this article recently sent to me by a friend.  The important part here is to read the last two sentences.

https://www.zerohedge.com/health/fungi-absorbs-radiation-has-been-growing-all-over-chernobyl-power-plant

Those last two sentences again:
If this study is successful, experts hope that the knowledge gained can be used to produce drugs that could protect astronauts from radiation on long-term missions.
It has also been suggested that the results of this study could lead to the development of fungi-based cancer treatments.

Of course in the final sentences of the article the scientists always have to dream up some grand reason for why they're doing their completely useless and obscure research, "Um ah, it might help develop drugs for astronauts to survive long space missions? Um ah, it could lead to fungal cures for cancer?". 


What a crock of shit. They embark on the research first because they work in some obscure field and have a personal fascination with it, but they also have a need to "publish or perish".  Scientists need at least two publications a year to maintain their careers. So they conduct some research, and then they dream up some possible use for it.

Are the researchers above actually doing research on fungal cancer cures or radiation in long term space missions? Nope, they never were, that was never the goal of their research. The purpose of the research is dreamed up after the research is started. You'll see this all the time in scientific articles and news pieces, the final sentences are some sort of concocted possibility of what the research might be useful for.  In reality however, most scientists have absolutely no idea what utility their research might have. Often they don't even know what the long term goal of their research is.

Currently we have about 2.5 million scholarly scientific articles published each year in over 28,000 scholarly peer-reviewed journals. Many of those journals are very obscure, you're not going to find them on the magazine stands at your local newspaper shop. They also have extremely low readership, and many of them require a paid subscription to read the articles in them.  So more than likely, the research of these scientists will be lost and forgotten in the pages of some obscure scientific journal, to be read by only a handful of people.  However the scientists that publish their research article will appear to have met their minimal level of productivity based on the "two publications per year" rule.  This will allow them to continue to get funding and be able to continue their academic lifestyle of frivolous dream chasing and non-contribution to society. 

Meanwhile, in the world of industry and commerce, there are numerous research projects being done for specific purposes, to solve specific problems, so that specific goals can be achieved. There's an obvious contrast between goal-directed research versus research done to discover things simply because there are things out there to be discovered. The contrast between practical problem solving and frivolous knowledge collecting.



That's all for now. I'll be adding more examples here as I come across them, which would be a daily thing if I was chasing citations like a scientist.  

If you want to read another one of my articles that criticizes the goals and utility of academic research, check out this link.


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