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Go to: Take a stand for public access to taxpayer funded research

Valerie_'s Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Valerie_

Comment 3 by TickleFour :

I do wonder how much it actually costs to produce the scientific journals in which we publish our research. Graduate students and faculty prepare the manuscripts for publication, then faculty volunteer their time for the peer review process. ... It seems to me that the publishers are making a hefty profit.

Should faculty be the ones to pay for open access to their own research?

You forgot to mention the hefty charges we have to pay to the journals to publish our papers (for people who don't publish papers, the charges are usually well over $1,000 and sometimes over $2,000).

I can understand paying fees to open access journals that don't get subscription revenue, but I don't like the idea of paying Oxford or Elsevier a hefty fee for the privilege of handing over the copyright to my work, after which the journal hides it behind a paywall. Not to mention that they'll come back in a few months and ask me to review papers for free! I decided last year that it's better to publish in open-access journals.

I understand that the journals are businesses, but sometimes a business model gets outdated and no longer works. Hopefully, this is the case with for-profit journals --- especially the ones that charge $40,000 a year for university subscription fees. The article I linked says that two publishers bundle journals into one subscription. This approach reminds me of cable TV companies that force you to subscribe to 87 channels, even though you'll only ever watch four of them!

Here's some information from 2004 about journal costs. I expect that the situation is worse now.

Tue, 22 May 2012 16:21:09 UTC | #942859

Go to: Losing Your Religion: Analytic Thinking Can Undermine Belief

Valerie_'s Avatar Jump to comment 42 by Valerie_

Comment 35 by Jos Gibbons :

In other words, the data probably mean what we think they do, but multiple studies would be ... oh wait! My way of looking at it is, the burden of proof is on those who are unconvinced.

Seriously? Would you accept that argument if someone who believes in god used it in a debate with an atheist?

You can't make an honest claim to be a skeptic or a proponent of reason and science if you believe in unsupported ideas just because they appeal to you.

Sun, 29 Apr 2012 21:13:27 UTC | #938218

Go to: Losing Your Religion: Analytic Thinking Can Undermine Belief

Valerie_'s Avatar Jump to comment 37 by Valerie_

Comment 5 by Zeuglodon :

But the researchers went beyond this interesting link, running four experiments showing that analytic thinking actually causes disbelief. In one experiment, they randomly assigned participants to either the analytic or control condition. They then showed them photos of either Rodin's The Thinker or, in the control condition, of the ancient Greek sculpture Discobolus, which depicts an athlete poised to throw a discus. (The Thinker was used because it is such an iconic image of deep reflection that, in a separate test with different participants, seeing the statue improved how well subjects reasoned through logical syllogisms.) After seeing the images, participants took a test measuring their belief in God on a scale of 0 to 100. ....

But the problem is that this doesn't explain which way the causal arrow flies. Did the "analytic" participants already have a skepticism for "god", and did they all agree on what "god" actually was? There was no test before the experiment to gauge their belief, and the large standard deviation suggests wildly varied answers that have a weak correlational link. The averages certainly diverge, but with such large standard deviations this counts for little beyond a possible scattershot effect that's been misinterpreted.

Zeuglodon, thanks for ripping that study apart. It's another example of the kind of bogosity that I mentioned in this thread.

More bogosity not mentioned by Zeuglodon:

  • The sample size was almost certainly too small (31 control, 26 analytic), putting the study at high risk for false positives and false negatives.

  • How were the researchers sure that looking at a picture of a statue influenced the participants? What if they were in different rooms and stuff on the walls was different? What if the color of the shirt worn by the guy next to someone influenced him? What if they saw each other's pictures?? Etc. etc. etc. There's no answer to these questions in the paper. They just made an assumption.

  • Were they sure that everyone knew the same information about each of the statues?

  • The mean score on the "I believe" scale was 41 in the Thinker group. The standard deviation was 31 (76% of the mean). The mean in the Discobolus group was 62 with an SD of 36 (58% of the mean). There's a lot of overlap between the two groups. I could go on here about what's wrong with their "statistical analysis." Doesn't look like they proved anything to me.

  • * And last, but certainly not least, if religious beliefs can be influenced by something so trivial as a picture of a statue, shouldn't everyone's beliefs be in a constant state of flux??

    It seems to me that the authors of this study of "analytical thinking" made a lot of intuitive-type assumptions.

    Studies like this drive me nuts. The people in charge at Science must maintain a hermetically sealed section of edumacators and social scientists who review this stuff. I can't see this paper getting past a serious analysis.

    Sat, 28 Apr 2012 03:25:31 UTC | #937885

    Go to: School vouchers and the religious subversion of church-state separation

    Valerie_'s Avatar Jump to comment 33 by Valerie_

    Comment 32 by raghu_mani :

    Finally, as regards lack of school supplies, it would be good to see why so many schools are lacking in supplies. I have experienced it in my local schools...My first indication is to look at the size of the bureaucracy.

    Yes, that's true. It's also a question of how they choose to spend their money.

    Overall, more than half of all tax dollars in Calfornia go to education. Of this money, 39.2 cents out of every dollar goes to K-12. This is up from 35.3 cents 30 years ago when the schools in California were still pretty good.

    How much more money do the schools need to keep failing? And why do people keep falling for the bogus argument that our schools just need more money to make it all better?

    Thu, 26 Apr 2012 16:46:32 UTC | #937507

    Go to: School vouchers and the religious subversion of church-state separation

    Valerie_'s Avatar Jump to comment 31 by Valerie_

    Comment 28 by Sara :

    Valerie -- it sounds like you've been reading anti-teacher propaganda. Teachers must receive certification and continuing education in their field in order to continue teaching.

    Certainly there are problems in education that are caused by poor teaching, but the biggest problems in the US are caused by the effects of poverty, poor parenting and poor funding of the schools with kids that need the most remedial help.

    The best teacher in the world can't make up for poor parenting and lack of school supplies and equipment.

    Respectfully, you're wrong. The propaganda is the simplistic statements like more money will fix our schools. It won't. Our education system is based on a failed philosophy. Yet the philosophy is so ingrained, it's like a religion.

    When I try to point out major flaws in the way our education system is run, I feel like I'm debating a young earth creationist. As Raghu pointed out, the union system rewards time in and degrees received. I taught at a commnity college; I've experienced this. At a professional level, this type of system tends to retain mediocre people. In K-12, teacher GRE and SAT scores are among the lowest of all groups of students who take these tests, yet if you point that out, you're "bashing teachers." Kids (especially in primary school) have to go in lockstep in the classroom. Our system focuses almost exclusively on average to below-average learners. Bright kids are ignored because they can pass high stakes tests. Etc. etc.

    Explaining the problems in the US education system is like explaining science to a creationist. People stick to simplistic ideas, like We Need More Money! and Smaller Classrooms Now!, and when you try to advance a nuanced argument, they tune out.

    Thu, 26 Apr 2012 15:46:17 UTC | #937500

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