Science Is Getting Less Bang for Its Buck?

2 Replies, 870 Views

Science Is Getting Less Bang for Its Buck

by Patrick Collison & Michael Nielsen

Quote:The picture this survey paints is bleak: Over the past century, we’ve vastly increased the time and money invested in science, but in scientists’ own judgement, we’re producing the most important breakthroughs at a near-constant rate. On a per-dollar or per-person basis, this suggests that science is becoming far less efficient.

Now, a critic might respond that the quality of Nobel Prize discoveries isn’t the same as the overall rate of progress in science. There are certainly many limitations of this measure. Parts of science are not covered by the Nobel Prizes, especially newer areas like computer science. The Nobel Committee occasionally misses important work. Perhaps some bias means scientists are more likely to venerate older prizes. And perhaps what matters more is the bulk of scientific work, the ordinary discoveries that make up most of science.

We recognize these limitations: The survey results are striking, but provide only a partial picture. However, we’ll soon see supporting evidence suggesting that it’s getting much harder to make important discoveries across the board. It’s requiring larger teams and far more extensive scientific training, and the overall economic impact is getting smaller. Taken together, these results suggest strong diminishing returns to our scientific efforts.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell

(2018-11-17, 08:07 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Science Is Getting Less Bang for Its Buck

by Patrick Collison & Michael Nielsen

The key question is, why is the scientific enterprise slowly coming to a stop, or at least reaching a point of ruinously diminishing returns? More and more researchers, more and more funding, less and less productivity in new discoveries and understandings. We can rule out the notion that there are no new discoveries to be made. Scientists acknowledge the existence of very many gaps and unsolved mysteries in scientific understanding of nature.

There seem to be four most likely explanatory choices: either it is (1) a matter of the inherent limitations of the human intellect combined with the ever-increasing difficulties of the problems, (2) the self-imposed blinders and shackles imposed by scientism - strict reductionist materialist naturalism, (3) the metaphysical "powers that be" deliberately prohibit understanding of some things by humans (this would seem to mainly apply to theoretical physics), or (less likely) (4) the increasing reluctance of big Science to back up and correct fundamental mistakes.

The multiverse and panpsychism are examples of the desperate efforts by theorists to substitute naturalist philosophy for (failing) science in the fields of theoretical physics and consciousness. These things can't be experimentally confirmed and therefore are not really science.

The root of the problem could be some sort of a combination of these four hypotheses.
(This post was last modified: 2018-11-19, 06:52 PM by nbtruthman.)
[-] The following 2 users Like nbtruthman's post:
  • Typoz, Sciborg_S_Patel
I am not sure if this book has been mentioned before:

It explains all too graphically why a lot of biological science is wrong - because of a mixture of fraud, cost cutting, and rushing to get a potential discovery out first!
(This post was last modified: 2018-11-22, 06:23 PM by David001.)
[-] The following 1 user Likes David001's post:
  • Sciborg_S_Patel

  • View a Printable Version
Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)