Social Change: The Emerging Role of The Activist Scientist

By: Naga5000 , 6:25 PM GMT on February 26, 2014

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In the late 1800's and early 1900's, Emile Durkheim sought to lay out the ground work of Sociology as its own field of scientific exploration. His major work, "The Rules of Sociological Method", defined the social scientist as the objective observer. This definition was one borrowed from the prevailing ideas of what it means to be a researcher and a scientist. Objective observation, empirical research, and a simple conclusion of what the data said was the duty of the scientist.

In today's world social scientists are faced with new hurdles. The constant defining and redefining of social variables, coupled with a revived anti-science/anti-intellectualism movement has led the social scientist to consider a new role, referred here as "The Scientist/Activist". This role is very controversial, as Durkheim rightfully pointed out, this retreat from pure objectivism in research opens the door to critiques of bias. Fortunately, those critiques are irrelevant as the objective observer scientist is still a part of the Scientist/Activist. The data, observations, methodology, and conclusion still must follow the structure of pure science. Any deviation from this would be a deviation from the very essence that allowed the social sciences to flourish and become a relevant field in academics.

In Sociology in particular, the debate of whether this step of becoming the Scientist/Activist has been forced on us. Leaders in the disciplines of Gender (Michael Kimmel - Masculinity and Patricia Hill Collins - Black Feminist Theory) have embraced this new role. Researchers in our sister field of rhetoric have also taken the steps in this field in the work of defining "new racism" (e.g. color blind racism). In my own specialized fields of educational sociology, medical sociology, and social change, we have begun the steps of role change as the issues have become popular and politicized.

This politicization is currently being experienced by our fellow scientists in the field of climate science. The fight those publishing scientists face, most notably Michal Mann, have most definitely have exerted pressure in other disciplines to fight back and advocate for what is correct and for solutions to the issues discovered by our research.

This new role, a form of group social change, is not a politicized liberal movement. It is a response to the politicization of the anti-science and anti-intellectualism movements. The only response we have is to be advocates for our ideas, our research, and what we think, as experts in our fields, the proper solutions and courses of action are.

As scientists, it is our duty to be objective observers and publish the results of our qualitative and quantitative analyses. As advocates we must fight back against the misinformation and disinformation campaigns being waged outside of our realm of influence.

Thanks to those who took the time to read this. It is only a brief thought and glimpse into my personal opinion and reaction to the social change that is forthcoming in the academic world. Whatever your education level or knowledge on the subject, I wish for the most ideal solution that you support what we as scientists have shown empirical evidence for and more importantly understand what research and publication is, and that is an ongoing discussion, debate, and addition within a theoretical context.





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16. Naga5000
12:31 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
Quoting 14. JohnLonergan:


Who says nobody's questioning the validity of algebra?


"There is no test for competence before any old yahoo can get elected to congress. Take Al Melvin, a Reagan Republican from Tucson, who recently joined in the vote against implementing the Common Core standards in Arizona. He has a fabulous reason for voting down the standards.

Pressed by Bradley for specifics, Melvin said he understands some of the reading material is borderline pornographic. And he said the program uses fuzzy math, substituting letters for numbers in some examples.


Holy crap! Math that uses letters? Abomination! I expect to see this become an important issue in the Republican Party platform.
Don’t tell him that the math also uses Arabic numbers, and that algebra comes from an Iranian (well, it was called Persia then) Muslim named Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī — he’ll die of apoplexy.
These are the people running the country. Fills you with confidence, doesn’t it?"


Thesis busted. Back to the drawing board.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3625
15. KoritheMan
12:19 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
Quoting 8. Naga5000:


I would agree. Like I mentioned, the issue comes up, like is easily seen in climate science, that somehow your results are ideologically biased. To combat this, I would be willing to undergo tougher, independent scrutiny for publication.

Thanks for the kind words, Astro. I have to be honest, the situation seems a little dire. People in general are not interested in science and truth and what better way to educate them than to let the researchers speak to their research.
You'd be surprised (or perhaps not, most likely) how often I witness this unfortunate truth; with work/family, and the internet.

I do my best to educate people (I'm not a scientist -- yet -- but I am aware of the rigor of the scientific method, as well as its importance to our lives) in this area, but I can only do so much.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 597 Comments: 21099
14. JohnLonergan
12:06 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
Quoting 13. Naga5000:


Thanks Daddyjames. I agree completely with your opinion on standardized testing and accountability which is why I began to head down that direction in my personal research focus. I feel like I am drawn to issues I see as unjust and politically charged.

I don't see people questioning the validity of algebra.


Who says nobody's questioning the validity of algebra?


"There is no test for competence before any old yahoo can get elected to congress. Take Al Melvin, a Reagan Republican from Tucson, who recently joined in the vote against implementing the Common Core standards in Arizona. He has a fabulous reason for voting down the standards.

Pressed by Bradley for specifics, Melvin said he understands some of the reading material is borderline pornographic. And he said the program uses fuzzy math, substituting letters for numbers in some examples.


Holy crap! Math that uses letters? Abomination! I expect to see this become an important issue in the Republican Party platform.
Don’t tell him that the math also uses Arabic numbers, and that algebra comes from an Iranian (well, it was called Persia then) Muslim named Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī — he’ll die of apoplexy.
These are the people running the country. Fills you with confidence, doesn’t it?"
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3454
13. Naga5000
11:45 AM GMT on February 28, 2014
Quoting 10. daddyjames:


In some ways Naga, "advocacy" has been forced upon scientists by the "anti-intellectual/anti-science" movement.

Publicly presenting ones research, both to those in your field, those outside your field, and to the general public has been a long-standing tradition in the sciences. It's the ad hominem attacks from "anti-science" groups and their defining of the scientist as an "advocate" when simply presenting evidence contrary to their beliefs, that often forces this role upon the scientist. The "advocacy role" has been forced upon, rather than embraced, by most scientists. Ironic considering the current impetus to focus more upon STEM "courses" in better educating our children.

In regards to standardized tests measuring any level of competency (student or teacher). This is a fallacy that reduces educational opportunities for all of our children. Study after study has repeatedly demonstrated that the experience, knowledge-base, and enthusiasm of the teacher combined with community and family involvement are the best indicators for how well children "achieve" in the classroom. Not teaching towards the test. Unfortunately, the emphasis towards doing well on the tests has supplanted any real teaching of our children.

I understand there has to be a measure of achievement, but do not agree with the punitive emphasis (so-called "accountability") placed upon students and teachers alike. Comparisons with other countries and cultures are not necessarily consistent, in regards to the population sampled, and do not take into account the emotional or psychological well-being of the students in those countries.

Much of the criticism of our public schools comes from individuals and organizations that wish to increasingly privatize the educational system - using public tax dollars to create "for(non)-profit" businesses that, if they should happen to flounder financially, cannot be held accountable for not providing the education promised in the past.


Thanks Daddyjames. I agree completely with your opinion on standardized testing and accountability which is why I began to head down that direction in my personal research focus. I feel like I am drawn to issues I see as unjust and politically charged.

Like I mentioned in my post, the key for me, and I believe it is an easy one, is to let the research prove the point, then use my research as a basis to change minds. We are dealing with a dire situation in terms of education, and I think it is time for someone to tell the truth about the problems.

It just occurred to me while writing this that maybe part of the new anti-intellectualism movement has to do with the complexity of ideas in our current world. We have built on previously existing science and research and now a simple explanation (climate change for example) requires at least some knowledge for many different fields of expertise. I don't see people questioning the validity of algebra.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3625
12. Naga5000
11:33 AM GMT on February 28, 2014
Quoting 11. Daisyworld:
Great post Naga.

The sad thing is that there should not be a need for scientist/activists. While it's true that scientists were ridiculed before the modern age, the adopted use of the scientific method, inductive logic, and peer reviewed publication was intended as a means to provide legitimacy to one or more sides of a social issue. The fact that a social movement now exists that is going in the opposite direction -- questioning the actual legitimacy of mainstream scientific consensus -- is a sobering and troubling phenomena. Has society become so arrogant that we now feel free to invalidate and overturn the very foundation on which our modern society was established? After transporting us to the apex of our evolution as a species, are the tenants of scientific literacy no longer considered vital, fundamental pillars to our civilization?


I agree, there should be no need for the Scientist/Activist. However, you can see a valid reason in every discipline. The biologist arguing in favor of evolution, the chemist arguing the validity of vaccines, and we could go on and on.

I don't really see another option until society gets through this hiccup of stagnation. It's like we always say skepticism is good, this isn't skepticism.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3625
11. Daisyworld
8:11 AM GMT on February 28, 2014
Great post Naga.

The sad thing is that there should not be a need for scientist/activists. While it's true that scientists were ridiculed before the modern age, the adopted use of the scientific method, inductive logic, and peer reviewed publication was intended as a means to provide legitimacy to one or more sides of a social issue. The fact that a social movement now exists that is going in the opposite direction -- questioning the actual legitimacy of mainstream scientific consensus -- is a sobering and troubling phenomena. Has society become so arrogant that we now feel free to invalidate and overturn the very foundation on which our modern society was established? After transporting us to the apex of our evolution as a species, are the tenants of scientific literacy no longer considered vital, fundamental pillars to our civilization?
Member Since: January 11, 2012 Posts: 6 Comments: 859
10. daddyjames
1:45 PM GMT on February 27, 2014
Quoting 8. Naga5000:


As scientists, it is our duty to be objective observers and publish the results of our qualitative and quantitative analyses. As advocates we must fight back against the misinformation and disinformation campaigns being waged outside of our realm of influence.


In some ways Naga, "advocacy" has been forced upon scientists by the "anti-intellectual/anti-science" movement.

Publicly presenting ones research, both to those in your field, those outside your field, and to the general public has been a long-standing tradition in the sciences. It's the ad hominem attacks from "anti-science" groups and their defining of the scientist as an "advocate" when simply presenting evidence contrary to their beliefs, that often forces this role upon the scientist. The "advocacy role" has been forced upon, rather than embraced, by most scientists. Ironic considering the current impetus to focus more upon STEM "courses" in better educating our children.

In regards to standardized tests measuring any level of competency (student or teacher). This is a fallacy that reduces educational opportunities for all of our children. Study after study has repeatedly demonstrated that the experience, knowledge-base, and enthusiasm of the teacher combined with community and family involvement are the best indicators for how well children "achieve" in the classroom. Not teaching towards the test. Unfortunately, the emphasis towards doing well on the tests has supplanted any real teaching of our children.

I understand there has to be a measure of achievement, but do not agree with the punitive emphasis (so-called "accountability") placed upon students and teachers alike. Comparisons with other countries and cultures are not necessarily consistent, in regards to the population sampled, and do not take into account the emotional or psychological well-being of the students in those countries.

Much of the criticism of our public schools comes from individuals and organizations that wish to increasingly privatize the educational system - using public tax dollars to create "for(non)-profit" businesses that, if they should happen to flounder financially, cannot be held accountable for not providing the education promised in the past.
Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3733
9. JohnLonergan
1:01 PM GMT on February 27, 2014
Quoting 7. Naga5000:


Thank you for this. Scientist Communicators has a nice ring to it. I will bring this in to continue the discussion in my department.

I'm hoping that the more it is seen that we can be both scientists and activist and maintain integrity, the more others will jump on board.


I think you might find this interesting.

And Then There's Physics

Pause for thought?

"There’s a cleverly worded commentary in Nature Climate Change by Ed Hawkins, Tamsin Edwards, and Doug McNeall called Pause for thought.

The article starts with

The recent slowdown (or ‘pause’) in global surface temperature rise is a hot topic for climate scientists and the wider public. We discuss how climate scientists have tried to communicate the pause and suggest that ‘many-to-many’ communication offers a key opportunity to directly engage with the public.


The article is a combination of an attempt to discuss the slowdown in surface warming (which they seem comfortable calling a pause) and the role scientists could play in communicating such things to the public. In general, the article is quite good and includes an interesting figure that illustrates how climate models do indeed predict such slowdowns, but don’t all predict them as the same time. Hence, ensemble averages tend to remove such variability. ...


...So, overall, I think it’s an interesting article that makes some good points. I do find it a little odd that they seem comfortable defining what they themselves see as a slowdown as a “pause”. What has paused? I know that there are some time intervals for which some of the surface temperature datasets have zero (or close to zero) trends, but these tend to be quite short and have large uncertainties. So how does calling something that isn’t really a pause, a “pause”, help with communicating this somewhat contentious and complex issue?

As far as the general idea goes, I think it would be great if more climate scientists engaged publicly and did so as honestly and openly as possible. I do think, however, that having some sense of the goals would be useful. If it’s to simply communicate with the public and then leave them to make up their mind, it might be fine to simply present information clearly and honestly and not worry too much about anything else. If it’s to try and convince “skeptics” that they’re mistaken, then I think it will fail. Admittedly, I thought that simply communicating clearly and honestly might achieve that when I started this blog, so maybe my cynicism is due to my very obvious failure. Others may well have much more success than I’ve had, and I certainly hope so. The comments on Tamsin’s recent blog post would, however, seem to suggest otherwise.

There is one aspect of communicating honestly and openly that I do think sometimes does get overlooked and that is that one should also be willing to point out when someone else is wrong. It’s no good opening lines of communication if it simply allows others to express erroneous views without being challenged. Admittedly, it’s easier said than done and can be difficult if you’re trying to maintain some air of civility. I do think, however, that public engagement about climate science is likely to be largely ineffective if it doesn’t also include an attempt to address the erroneous views of the most vocal “skeptics”. I, however, am no expert at this myself, so could indeed be wrong. What I do know, though, is that I plan to go out for a couple of pints tonight, so keeping the comments light-hearted and sensible would be appreciated."


The Hawkins, Edwards, and McNeall commentary is behind a paywall, however Dr Edwards discussed on her blog here, she and her co authors come from the "Oh why can't we all be nice?" school of thought. As ATTP points out above the, the comments on Dr. Edwards' own blog demonstrate it doesn't work.

If you have never visited ATTP, I'd recommend this particular thread and the comments. Actually our mods should take a good look at it, might learn how to maintain a civil discussion and keep the noise down.
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3454
8. Naga5000
11:32 AM GMT on February 27, 2014
Quoting 6. Astrometeor:
Totally agree. I would think scientists can be activists for their science, especially if the science is upheld or confirmed by their colleagues. So, I see no reason why Michael Mann can't go around promoting/explaining AGW...after all, it IS supported by 95-7% of all scientists in that area of expertise, and there are no conflicts of interest or even ethics.

Also, being an activist for your science should only strengthen you as a person and as a scientist. A quote from Einstein comes to my mind:

If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.

I would think being an activist to the public would allow you to better understand and refine your position. Where's the major drawback? I don't see any.

Thanks to those who took the time to read this.

No problem Naga. WAY better than reading some other posters' stuff over in Rood's blog.


I would agree. Like I mentioned, the issue comes up, like is easily seen in climate science, that somehow your results are ideologically biased. To combat this, I would be willing to undergo tougher, independent scrutiny for publication.

Thanks for the kind words, Astro. I have to be honest, the situation seems a little dire. People in general are not interested in science and truth and what better way to educate them than to let the researchers speak to their research.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3625
7. Naga5000
11:29 AM GMT on February 27, 2014
Quoting 5. JohnLonergan:
EDITORIAL in NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE

I emboldened the last two paragraphs which are the most important things to take from the editorial.

Scientist communicators

The slowdown in Earth's surface temperature increase has made headlines worldwide — but mainly to dismiss climate science.

Man-made climate change has been in the news for many years. Previously the message presented to the public was clear: climate change is global warming and that means the temperatures are going to rise unless we do something. This claim seemed to be supported by measurements of continuous increases of atmospheric CO2 — at a rate not seen before in the historical record — and associated temperature increases. Additionally, projections from climate models seemed to confirm that this was the new normal.

But does the public understand how climate models work? The projections from models are presented without much additional information on how they were obtained. A model is a simplified representation of the Earth's climate system based on knowledge of its various components — physical, biological and chemical processes — and their interactions and feedbacks. A projection of future climate can be made by applying a selected scenario of anthropogenic emissions (and therefore concentrations) or radiative forcing, which is a possible representation of what will happen. The outcome will depend on the scenario and model used as well as the initial conditions. Projections are reported from a number of runs, an ensemble, to capture the most likely future climate. Models for climate change projection using emissions scenarios work best by forecasting over the longer term. But most of us think in the here and now, so the message on climate change might have been heard on a different timescale from what the scientists intended. To complicate things even more, in the past decade the climate hasn't warmed at the rate projected, and evidence of the slowdown in temperature rise has sparked a lively scientific and public debate, as highlighted this month by a collection of articles in our Focus 'Recent slowdown in global warming'.

The media reporting of a 'hiatus' came as a surprise to the public. Prior to this, the message had been of continuous warming — to be suddenly told that this was not true led to confusion. Questions started to arise as to whether the previous message had been incorrect — was global warming not happening? This, at least, was the take of sceptics who almost immediately organized their campaign to weaken the case for governments' action on climate change, as Bob Ward explains in his interview on page 170. Their campaign, thanks also to some media representations, was unfortunately successful as the seeds of doubt were quickly sown in the minds of the public. In a Commentary on page 156, Maxwell Boykoff specifically examines the media reporting and highlights how easy it was to confuse the public discourse around the complexity of climate change. The scientists did not help either, as they were quite slow at responding and, according to Ward, showed a lack of understanding of the rules of public engagement.

The response from the scientific community was to emphasise that climate change is a long-term concern, while the hiatus is a temporary phenomenon, and to highlight that natural variability has a role to play in the shorter term. The climate system consists of many natural cycles operating on differing timescales, and in combination they result in short-term natural variability. These can work to lower, or raise, the global mean surface temperature through heat uptake or release from the oceans, among other processes. There is a lot of uncertainty associated with these cycles that carries through to model representations and projections. As Ward explains, whilst reducing uncertainty is a key research question, it should not be the starting point in communication. The surprise of the slowdown in warming and the subsequent media engagement by scientists, with a focus on uncertainties, leaves the public questioning what is actually known.

Researchers should have reiterated that the science on long-term climate change is solid and widely agreed on — 97% of scientists working in the subject support the principle of anthropogenic climate change (W. R. L. Anderegg, J. W. Prall, J. Harold and S. H. Schneider, Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 107, 12107–12109; 2010). Then, the questions about why the timing of the hiatus had not been predicted should have been addressed.

In the recent IPCC 5th Assessment Report, Working Group I — who assess the physical science basis of climate change — made it clear that the climate system has been warming unequivocally and that many of the observed changes since the 1950s are unprecedented over decades to millennia. Over the same period of time, greenhouse gas concentrations have increased and the atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished and sea levels have risen (IPCC Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis (eds Stocker, T. et al.) Cambridge Univ. Press; 2013). This is what is known and is what communication efforts should focus on. But communication does not work if it is not tailored to the targeted audience — in this case the general public. And addressing the public is an ongoing job scientists should proactively take on.


My bold

I intend to cross post it at Dr Rood's and Dr. Masters, also.


Thank you for this. Scientist Communicators has a nice ring to it. I will bring this in to continue the discussion in my department.

I'm hoping that the more it is seen that we can be both scientists and activist and maintain integrity, the more others will jump on board.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3625
6. Astrometeor
4:23 AM GMT on February 27, 2014
Totally agree. I would think scientists can be activists for their science, especially if the science is upheld or confirmed by their colleagues. So, I see no reason why Michael Mann can't go around promoting/explaining AGW...after all, it IS supported by 95-7% of all scientists in that area of expertise, and there are no conflicts of interest or even ethics.

Also, being an activist for your science should only strengthen you as a person and as a scientist. A quote from Einstein comes to my mind:

If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.

I would think being an activist to the public would allow you to better understand and refine your position. Where's the major drawback? I don't see any.

Thanks to those who took the time to read this.

No problem Naga. WAY better than reading some other posters' stuff over in Rood's blog.
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 101 Comments: 10425
5. JohnLonergan
1:27 AM GMT on February 27, 2014
EDITORIAL in NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE

I emboldened the last two paragraphs which are the most important things to take from the editorial.

Scientist communicators

The slowdown in Earth's surface temperature increase has made headlines worldwide — but mainly to dismiss climate science.

Man-made climate change has been in the news for many years. Previously the message presented to the public was clear: climate change is global warming and that means the temperatures are going to rise unless we do something. This claim seemed to be supported by measurements of continuous increases of atmospheric CO2 — at a rate not seen before in the historical record — and associated temperature increases. Additionally, projections from climate models seemed to confirm that this was the new normal.

But does the public understand how climate models work? The projections from models are presented without much additional information on how they were obtained. A model is a simplified representation of the Earth's climate system based on knowledge of its various components — physical, biological and chemical processes — and their interactions and feedbacks. A projection of future climate can be made by applying a selected scenario of anthropogenic emissions (and therefore concentrations) or radiative forcing, which is a possible representation of what will happen. The outcome will depend on the scenario and model used as well as the initial conditions. Projections are reported from a number of runs, an ensemble, to capture the most likely future climate. Models for climate change projection using emissions scenarios work best by forecasting over the longer term. But most of us think in the here and now, so the message on climate change might have been heard on a different timescale from what the scientists intended. To complicate things even more, in the past decade the climate hasn't warmed at the rate projected, and evidence of the slowdown in temperature rise has sparked a lively scientific and public debate, as highlighted this month by a collection of articles in our Focus 'Recent slowdown in global warming'.

The media reporting of a 'hiatus' came as a surprise to the public. Prior to this, the message had been of continuous warming — to be suddenly told that this was not true led to confusion. Questions started to arise as to whether the previous message had been incorrect — was global warming not happening? This, at least, was the take of sceptics who almost immediately organized their campaign to weaken the case for governments' action on climate change, as Bob Ward explains in his interview on page 170. Their campaign, thanks also to some media representations, was unfortunately successful as the seeds of doubt were quickly sown in the minds of the public. In a Commentary on page 156, Maxwell Boykoff specifically examines the media reporting and highlights how easy it was to confuse the public discourse around the complexity of climate change. The scientists did not help either, as they were quite slow at responding and, according to Ward, showed a lack of understanding of the rules of public engagement.

The response from the scientific community was to emphasise that climate change is a long-term concern, while the hiatus is a temporary phenomenon, and to highlight that natural variability has a role to play in the shorter term. The climate system consists of many natural cycles operating on differing timescales, and in combination they result in short-term natural variability. These can work to lower, or raise, the global mean surface temperature through heat uptake or release from the oceans, among other processes. There is a lot of uncertainty associated with these cycles that carries through to model representations and projections. As Ward explains, whilst reducing uncertainty is a key research question, it should not be the starting point in communication. The surprise of the slowdown in warming and the subsequent media engagement by scientists, with a focus on uncertainties, leaves the public questioning what is actually known.

Researchers should have reiterated that the science on long-term climate change is solid and widely agreed on — 97% of scientists working in the subject support the principle of anthropogenic climate change (W. R. L. Anderegg, J. W. Prall, J. Harold and S. H. Schneider, Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 107, 12107–12109; 2010). Then, the questions about why the timing of the hiatus had not been predicted should have been addressed.

In the recent IPCC 5th Assessment Report, Working Group I — who assess the physical science basis of climate change — made it clear that the climate system has been warming unequivocally and that many of the observed changes since the 1950s are unprecedented over decades to millennia. Over the same period of time, greenhouse gas concentrations have increased and the atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished and sea levels have risen (IPCC Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis (eds Stocker, T. et al.) Cambridge Univ. Press; 2013). This is what is known and is what communication efforts should focus on. But communication does not work if it is not tailored to the targeted audience — in this case the general public. And addressing the public is an ongoing job scientists should proactively take on.


My bold

I intend to cross post it at Dr Rood's and Dr. Masters, also.
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3454
4. Naga5000
7:17 PM GMT on February 26, 2014
Quoting 3. ricderr:
That's where the main discussion is in Sociology at the moment and I think we can.

For example, my current research project is looking at standardized testing in Florida (The FCAT) and attempting to determine if the standardization has lessened the value of a two year college degree by way of forcing Community Colleges to teach remedial concepts in history, science, social science, and humanities as part of the curriculum thereby reducing the quantity of knowledge gained compared to those who came through community college's pre standardization. If my research pans out, then I will be advocating for a change in the way we view standardization in addition to the research showing our current model is problematic.

I am personally taking this concept to task, and it may be at future personal risk, we will see. SO far those in Gender equality have fared extremely well being scientist/activists.



thanx naga and without study only experience of having children in elementary through high school in florida...fcat stinks....

i'm still not sold on the idea...would seem better if there was another group involved doing the advocacy and the scientists there to back them up.....but that's just my opinion


It would be nice if that was the case. Unfortunately the politicians are no longer listening to what the science says. We have politicians making education policy based on think tank studies instead of educators making policies on educational studies.

Somewhere recently the normal processes were broken, this is our response. Don't get me wrong, there are many who disagree with what I wrote, even in my own department and classes. There is also a lot of support. I hope that we can fix things so I don't have to be a mouthpiece, but maybe I'm just feeling rebellious at the moment. :)
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3625
3. ricderr
7:11 PM GMT on February 26, 2014
That's where the main discussion is in Sociology at the moment and I think we can.

For example, my current research project is looking at standardized testing in Florida (The FCAT) and attempting to determine if the standardization has lessened the value of a two year college degree by way of forcing Community Colleges to teach remedial concepts in history, science, social science, and humanities as part of the curriculum thereby reducing the quantity of knowledge gained compared to those who came through community college's pre standardization. If my research pans out, then I will be advocating for a change in the way we view standardization in addition to the research showing our current model is problematic.

I am personally taking this concept to task, and it may be at future personal risk, we will see. SO far those in Gender equality have fared extremely well being scientist/activists.



thanx naga and without study only experience of having children in elementary through high school in florida...fcat stinks....

i'm still not sold on the idea...would seem better if there was another group involved doing the advocacy and the scientists there to back them up.....but that's just my opinion
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 675 Comments: 22034
2. Naga5000
7:03 PM GMT on February 26, 2014
Quoting 1. ricderr:
As scientists, it is our duty to be objective observers and publish the results of our qualitative and quantitative analyses. As advocates we must fight back against the misinformation and disinformation campaigns being waged outside of our realm of influence.


naga...i understand where this stems and i would agree...the slanting of truth and outright lies is in my mind criminal.....


here's my problem though....can a scientist be true to their craft and remain objective when they become a dual entity as an activist?


That's where the main discussion is in Sociology at the moment and I think we can.

For example, my current research project is looking at standardized testing in Florida (The FCAT) and attempting to determine if the standardization has lessened the value of a two year college degree by way of forcing Community Colleges to teach remedial concepts in history, science, social science, and humanities as part of the curriculum thereby reducing the quantity of knowledge gained compared to those who came through community colleges pre standardization. If my research pans out, then I will be advocating for a change in the way we view standardization in addition to the research showing our current model is problematic.

I am personally taking this concept to task, and it may be at future personal risk, we will see. SO far those in Gender equality have fared extremely well being scientist/activists.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3625
1. ricderr
6:56 PM GMT on February 26, 2014
As scientists, it is our duty to be objective observers and publish the results of our qualitative and quantitative analyses. As advocates we must fight back against the misinformation and disinformation campaigns being waged outside of our realm of influence.


naga...i understand where this stems and i would agree...the slanting of truth and outright lies is in my mind criminal.....


here's my problem though....can a scientist be true to their craft and remain objective when they become a dual entity as an activist?
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 675 Comments: 22034

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Sociologist and Statistician from Downtown Orlando.

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