Oh the hilarity !!!! Nature journal, which got famous last year by hyping ENCODE author Ewan Birney’s claim of rewriting text-books, advises scientists not to hype their work !! Promoting your work ‘a little bit’ is ok however.
To be fair to the journal, the advise comes from a young graduate student Monika Maleszewska, who is yet to connect all dots of modern science.
In the competitive and expensive world of modern science, researchers cannot afford to toil away on their own. Lone-wolf scientists might have their own vision of innovative, cutting-edge research that will reap rewards. But they will probably struggle to procure enough funding to do that work. A hybrid approach might be to secure money through grant applications for ‘fashionable’ work (with a pinch of hype where necessary), and to hope that the resulting funding will, somewhere along the way, let the visionary scientist pursue his or her dream project the one that really has an impact.
I often wish that scientists had the luxury of being able to do basic research just because it is interesting. But reviewers sometimes gravitate towards the projects that provide direct solutions to burning problems, rather than to basic projects with no clear applications. We must give basic projects a chance, especially because breakthroughs are hard to anticipate. That basic science might be closer to a meaningful application than anyone expects.
In the competitive world of scientific funding, researchers often have no choice but to hone their political skills and manage public relations for their research. Ideally, they will be able to do this without taking too much time away from the science. What’s clear is that budding researchers must learn how to promote their work, and perhaps even become trendsetters without resorting to hype.
As we have shown in our column again and again, there is absolutely no competition for real science, as defined by searching for truth in nature. For the most recent example, please take a look at various articles by Ken Weiss written over the last 10 years. The man had been right about #GWAS for the entire time (hence a good scientist) but nobody paid attention, because following his prescription did not win government grants. Hyping scientific results is a pre-condition for getting large government money to run scientific projects. If you are seeking money from governments and especially democratic governments relying on public opinion, you must hype your work, or you will lose against John Stamatoyannopoulos and alike !!
On the topic of damage wrought by ENCODE hype in popular media, these kinds of articles have become commonplace in news these days (h/t: @DanGraur). Add that to the fact the 75% of Americans already believe in intelligent design, and you see where it is going.
Theories of evolution, Darwinian and otherwise, fail to explain the development of animal life, and intelligent design explains it better, argues former geophysicist Stephen C. Meyer in his recently released New York Times best-selling book, Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design
“The best scientific evidence undermines Darwinism, and the more current form of Darwinism known as neo-darwinism,” Meyer, a former oil industry geophysicist who holds a Ph.D. in the philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge and directs the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Wash., said in a Tuesday interview with The Christian Post.
“The burden of proof that I proudly bear in the book is to show that the best scientific evidence now challenges the theory” of evolution, the author explained.
Theories also make predictions as to what scientists should find in future discoveries. Meyer said he laid out ten such predictions that intelligent design makes, as opposed to those Darwinism would suggest.
One prediction of Darwinism, the “junk DNA,” he claims has already proven false. Proponents of evolution argued segments of DNA which do not code a specific protein are “leftovers of trial and error.” Intelligent design theorists, on the other hand, expected most DNA to have a function. “The Encode project that was published last Fall,” Meyer explained, “shows that the junk DNA isn’t junk at all.”
Both of the theories prove a bit more than scientific, the author added. Both Darwinism and intelligent design “are based on scientific evidence, they use the same type of method to cover their conclusions, and they both have larger metaphysical implications.”