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Cognisant
29th-October-2013, 06:27 PM
http://www.schlockmercenary.com/uploads/magnetize_kittens.jpg
Supposedly this was to study the disorientating effects of microgravity but even in the 1950s it would have been obvious that strapping small mammals to an electromagnet wouldn't achieve anything, it's a spectacle for the sake of a spectacle, a show dressed up as science, it was Popular Science.

Publishers of Popular Science magazine please don't- oh wait the internet's anonymous, HA HAA Suck It Motherfuckers! :D

So anyway I notice this a lot with university robotics projects, for example building substandard animatronics and touting them as "advanced lifelike androids" or building an android which can walk (barely) but the top half is fake. The reason I created this thread is to discuss the potential threat of pop science, y'see there's money to be made doing this and I fear it will give rise to a new breed of charlatan, a class of engineers who build things like Jacques de Vaucanson's "Digesting Duck" which did nothing of the sort.

These charlatans will (and I suppose already do) steal the limelight from legitimate scientists and the money of investors, potentially harming science as a whole by discouraging people from investing in unproven technologies.

Coolydudey
29th-October-2013, 06:53 PM
Good point. Unfortunately, in the name of free will and speech, freedom of press, and others, there is nothing we can do to stop it. Still, pop science isn't just this sort of thing. It's also just popularising serious science.

TheHabitatDoctor
29th-October-2013, 07:04 PM
I find that 95% of the time the goal of pop science is profit. Just ask Dr. Oz:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCOkdUbf7JE

The other 5% is to share cool ideas. Though that's honestly probably more like 2%...

So... anyway... how can this quackery be countered within our current socio-economic paradigm? Hypermodernism?

Rook
29th-October-2013, 07:10 PM
Reminds me of the Turk, playing chess. Science may be filled with many brilliant minds pushing hard to enhance our understanding of the universe, but it is also filled with individuals with no scientific drive, who are only in it for material gain. They misinterpret science, and thus they misuse it. It is easy to fool the masses, thus they do so under the monicker of science. Fools are foolish, so too are those who are oblivious of the foolishness of fools.

TimeAsylums
29th-October-2013, 07:12 PM
PopSci (http://www.popsci.com/)

PopPsy (http://www.psychologytoday.com/)

Popular Television

Pop Music


Yes, generally it sucks.

Intended for mass, general consumption, non-specific. Generally entertainment.

Not that there is anything inherently wrong with any of these ideas, but when intended primarily for entertainment or a large group of people, you already know.

paradoxparadigm7
29th-October-2013, 07:29 PM
If there's money to be made, they'll do it. The tyranny of the lowest common denominator rules in popular consumption. Of course we all have the choice to consume or not. And we can voice our opinion but I find whenever I say something to my friends that debunks the shit they are into, I'm not appreciated for it. Most don't want their eyes open to the "man behind the curtain" aka Wizard of Oz.

Pyropyro
29th-October-2013, 08:33 PM
Legitimate scientists and engineers aren't threatened by charlatans, their biggest enemy are themselves. There's always a Angel or Vulture Capitalist willing to eat your equity support innovations provided you give them a decent business plan.

There's a lot of great inventions hidden in the dusty shelves of various Universities that don't see the light of day because researchers find entrepreneurship and marketing beneath them probably due to arrogance and/or fear. They might also be simply overspecialized and don't like collaboration with outsiders.

There's also some concerns with funding agencies. Researchers would ask for grants for "How X works" but it might be put their funding or reputation at risk if they ask for "How we can practically/commercially use X"

Minuend
29th-October-2013, 09:31 PM
Is it that bad, though?

I've read some Norwegian magazines and there are always people sending in letters if they are factually wrong. So there might always be someone in that field that knows what's true and corrects it if it's faulty. I think the Scientific American has the same thing.

There are errors in science that can't be blamed on pop science, as the forces behind it are the ones at fault.

Science is already heavily driven by money interests and is not as concerned with truths or "the greater good for mankind" as one might think.

http://youtu.be/lOYCkHFMnVc

I think rather when science becomes more of a trend, the focus on it will slowly increase and thus the drives behind it might be forced to change. More people will demand more societal money to be contributed to medicine when they realize money is the only reason some cures are not being prioritized at all.

Latte
29th-October-2013, 10:24 PM
Thread should be renamed poop science.


But yeah... this culture, this pool of people to be molded by and continue to mold this culture + this type of capitalism (no, libertarianism wouldn't be better in this respect). The state of the culture having a lot to do with capitalism with these parameters.

Hadoblado
30th-October-2013, 04:58 AM
I love pop-science, it's fun. I can see how it's detrimental to the pursuit of knowledge, but I don't think there are really that many people who care about that more than they care about their financial situation, so everybody wins!