Anonymous asked in EnvironmentGlobal Warming · 5 months ago

Isn't much of what scientists do "data manipulation"?

First you need data, which requires a choice of what data to take, when to take it, what instruments to use, etc.  Then you need to do quality checks on it, because in the real world there are almost spurious data points and if you don't eliminate those you may get nonsensical results.  Then you analyze the data, which means you need to determine averages, standard deviations, correlations--all of those things are "data manipulation". I think data manipulation is a large part of what scientists do. In my dissertation I had one plot with more than 132,000 points on it--each of which was the result of a fairly laborious calculation, in other words, lots of manipulation. These days, I may download 50 GB worth of data to run a numerical weather prediction model that may take several days to run.  Lots more manipulation, that's what scientists do.

5 Answers

  • 5 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    The problem with this particular claim of theirs is that there really is no such thing as "raw data" or "direct measurement." Literally every scientific measurement is a result of indirectly converting some piece of information into something else that can be seen and counted.

    Even looking directly at something is done by bouncing photons off of it, then examining the photons, not the thing itself.


    @Elizabeth - I remember those days.  When that piezoelectric transducer stopped producing those tiny signals for your fingers to feel, my department was who you sent it to in order to repair it.


  • Anonymous
    5 months ago

    There's a garbage peer reviewed study backing up virtually every opinion in existence, and about a dozen that disagree with it. I'm really tired of people pulling out a single peer reviewed story on a subject and pretending as if it is now absolute Truth, come on. Like at best a single peer reviewed study is the beginning of a conversation, you have to examine follow up studies over the next few years or decades and see how things play out.

    And nefarious actors very well know how to game the system. The Koch brothers practically fund an entire pipeline of researchers with conservative biases, identifying them early on and giving massive support to them until they get tenure, and then they provide a blank check for these people to produce garbage studies where they fudge the numbers enough to just barely get it passed peer review in a bad paper. Then of course this paid for study becomes the Truth, and the Koch brothers plaster it all over their bought media industries and think tanks, oh look it's PEER REVIEWED, that must mean it's good right.

    The racist and white supremacist Pioneer fund does the same thing, massive amounts of funding to a team of racist kook researchers. People have caught on now, but look how much they were able to damage racial relations with just the one PEER REVIEWED study they were able to pass, a garbage study which poorly estimated the IQ of nations around the world. This is the only study that exists on the subject basically, it was done by an admitted white supremacist, it had numerous methodological errors, and its never been confirmed. But that stupid map is now pasted everywhere, it's now the Truth, and it provided significant headwinds to our modern move towards an immigration policy based on white supremacy.



  • 5 months ago

    There is data manipulation that is unbiased and there is fudging. Unfortunately, I've seen both. One doctoral student made up most of the meristic data used in her dissertation. Another, whose research was funded by a notorious polluter, ignored the key characters that separated the affected turtle from another subspecies and never bothered to cite a paper that came to the opposite conclusion from his and was published only a couple of years earlier in the same journal. It is shocking that the editors and reviewers missed that. I wonder if the writer "suggested" reviewers for his paper, ones also paid by the polluter.

  • 5 months ago

    I remember the days when Doppler fetal monitors just gave us tiny voltages from the piezoelectric material in the transducer that we had to sense with our super sensitive nurse fingers. It was pretty difficult trying to mentally do hetrodyning measurements at a 3 MHz rate. 

    Now the new fangled machines do data manipulation and amplify, digitise, and output acoustic heart beats we can actually hear.

    FFS ... how can I possibly trust them darned things ... it's witchcraft I tells ya! What was wrong with the 'raw' data??!!

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  • Anonymous
    5 months ago

    Did you know that most thermometers use volume as a proxy for temperature? Volume! That's not even close to being a direct measure of temperature! And to think that so many people rely on that kind of nonsensical guesswork! And then they go and try to back it up by saying that they've got this new method that uses light - ANOTHER proxy, mind you - to say that the old one worked! It's all a giant stack of cards waiting to fall over, mark my words.

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