Monday Mirthiness – Eureka! I’m biased!

Page 1_resized

Eureka page 2 Dec 13

Eureka page 3 Dec 13-1

Page 4

Comic book to print (b&w): Comic book
Comic book to print (blue): Comic book

Poster-size comic: Poster 18×24

Want to learn more? Read Regina Nuzzo’s Nature News feature: How scientists fool themselves — and how they can stop

h/t to Dr. Richard Betts on Twitter

26 thoughts on “Monday Mirthiness – Eureka! I’m biased!

  1. When the solution is so readily available, it is hard not to conclude that there is at least some premeditation.

      • The government does not think opponents are scientists. We’re going to need to find another term for the opponents to be funded via. Call them rabble-rousers and have them funded as part of a sociology grant. The rabble-rousers can use the money to show what they find and why it’s important.

  2. The whole Eureka cartoon / comic book is beside the point wrt to science, because something isn’t science unless redundant, independent and objective reality observations confirm the science. Bias doesn’t matter because redundant, independent and objective reality observations don’t care about bias.

    Bias does not withstand redundant, independent and objective reality observations.

    Bias isn’t a central problem in science; rather it’s a post mortem diagnosis tool after some work focused on science has already failed the reality observation test.


    • John that was really well said. A huge number of breakthroughs in science have come from persistent bias by the experimenter, often against perceived wisdom, that there is something new to be found in X or Y. Against the considered advice of their peers, they persist in the investigation of some phenomenon and presto, the phlogiston of former years evaporates like dew in the morning sun.

      Bias is quite helpful, but is not ‘science’. The discovery may come about because of the biased opinions of the researchers. What survives to be validated ‘science’ is what accumulates in the corpus of human knowledge, until it is eventually overthrown by the novel discoveries of other investigators.

      There is nothing inherently wrong with this. ‘Truth’ is relative to our understanding of ‘how things work’. Something is usually taken to be true until there is reproducible evidence it is not. We never live in a vacuum. We invent place-holders where ignorance wanders free.

      As for CAGW, it appears to be groundless alarmism, a cartoon of a real search for truth, a comical shadow of the independent investigation of truth that is our natural born duty to conduct. An ECS of 0.1 is not exciting and not worth $1.5 trillion a year to anyone. People are hungry and cold. They deserve it more.

    • Crispin in Waterloo but really in Muminabad on February 22, 2016 at 6:43 pm,

      – – – – – – –

      Crispin in Waterloo but really in Muminabad,

      Concur with your process description of the evolution of science.

      As to the supporters of the CAGW hypothesis, well to say the least, they are a paradox to consider. I think reality is independent of our thinking. But, in the CAGW hypothesis case its supporters invert that; they apply the approach that their thinking creates reality.

      Personal Note: If you ever call you self “Crispin in Waterloo but really in Silicon Valley CA” let me know and I will buy you a brew at my local pub.


    • John while what you are saying is undoubtedly true I suspect you missed the point of the comic. It seems to be intended as guidance for those carrying out research so they can avoid the more obvious pitfalls. I was for many years involved in the development of computer models for the process industry. One of the major things we did to avoid confirmation bias was to completely separate the QA and testing process from the development team. The QA group were based in a different office in another country and would be delivered the software along with the design brief and test data. Their job was to try and prove it was wrong.

      This kept us honest and also encouraged proper documentation of the system including its limitations and yes we sometimes had to fix the models as a result.

    • You can be mistaken completely about what you think is going to happen or should happen in your experiment, as they were when the vacuum tube was invented, and can be completely biased, as Crispin said below, and still get good, correct results (or not). The problem today is that politics has gotten involved (in medicine, climate, social science, psychology etc etc) so that a result or theory becomes a hot potato that one best not question or contradict. Stupid ideas like recovered memories, assisted writing for severe autistic persons, multiple personality disorder, and the idea that all adult mental illness is due to childhood sexual abuse (to take non-climate examples) remain undisputed for years because people don’t want to poke a hornet’s nest. Journals rarely will publish a critique of a paper. “Audits” like Steve M does simply have no place in spite of their huge value. Sad really.

      • What we have now is science reinterpreted by people with a political agenda, after which the science itself has become politicized- now to serve the political side directly ( I don’t see how anyone could deny that). They have created what they hope is an infinite loop of the loopy. Science will eventually break through but they are causing a tremendous amount of damage in the mean time. In the electronic age- misinformation travels much faster than deep understanding. I believe that all of science is under threat from this. No different than science versus the church 500 years ago. Now it’s science versus popular opinion created by special interest groups.

  3. Brilliant. I can think of quite a few research scientists who could benefit from a reading. Here’s something on point – lovely to listen to a classically educated gentleman. If liked, there is a Part 2

    • Excellent, thank you, Morphic Resonance perhaps explains the sensations one experiences in a great cathedral or even the ‘Bloody Tower’.

  4. Dr Betts is a major contributor to this connerie. H and slymy are the most outspoken supporters of adjusted temperatures and extreme climate impacts. His job depends on them being right

  5. I say”Separation of Science and State” would be a step in the right direction toward not fooling the public.

  6. Regarding climate science in particular, I (sort of) accepted the idea that there was always going to be an element of ‘confirmation bias’ in ‘findings’. What we saw in climategate was that there were certain ‘scientists’ actively colluding to promote ‘confirmation bias’ for ‘the cause’. With the events pre and post Paris though we are looking at something else entirely.

    Not only did the ‘usual suspects’ find all that ‘global warming’ that had been missing for two decades down the back of a filing cabinet just in time for the Paris jamboree but much the same crew, post Paris, attempt now to discredit any ‘rival’ monitoring systems. This is no longer even active promotion of ‘the cause’, it’s an all out political attack by ‘activists’.

    So while the above ‘comic’ may apply to science generally … It certainly doesn’t apply to ‘climate science’.

  7. I think it boils down to your drive. Do you place what you think is right above what is right?
    Learning you were wrong can sting. If your drive is the latter, the sting will heal. If not, pride will drive you to what it takes to not “lose face”.

  8. It seems to me that it is the Evolution idea that is actually causing science to self destruct. I see the “just so story” in this cartoon, but apparently the authors are blinded to it by their assumptions along that line.

    Once otherwise rational scientists etc. accepted the (to me) ridiculously childish idea that science only studies “natural” phenomenon, by shear assumption, the whole edifice of impartiality began to crumble it seems to me.

Comments are closed.