Gary Varga (9/23/2013)
I would like to see this an open era of collaboration and discussion. My biggest fear is that there are a good number of people who are not after a truth or an inherent value that can be applied for the sake of progress but who just want to push an opinion and will manipulate data for their own, possibly nefarious, purposes.
If, as suggested, these agendas are scrutinised and validated by an open community then all remains well i.e. if someone deliberately chooses to use a set of data to prove their point and they happen to be correct then all is well. There is too much manipulation of statistics and other data as it stands. There is a possibility, albeit slim in my opinion, that this opening up of data sources could improve matters.
Gary, thank you for the thoughtful response! I was ready to jump in and criticize the abuse of the scientific process today, and still probably will to some degree, but you suggested an outstanding solution to the issue. :-D
Now for the negative view. While I appreciate the points Steve made, one jumped out that I won't agree with. Steve said to:
look to verify, or dispute, the conclusions of the project owners,
Maybe Steve wasn't thinking of some of the issues we have with that today. Quite possibly he has a different view than I do. I think a good number of us would agree that it doesn't matter where you stand, or even if you have a stand, on abortion, homosexuality, obama's health plan, global warming, supporting terrorists to undermine one of the most evil people on the planet, or any other hot button today. Stating an opinion on any of these is likely to incite numerous people out there who attack anyone who disagrees with them, on both sides of each argument! I believe most Americans are pretty much somewhere in the middle of these topics, but from what we see in the (extremely biased) media outlets, "90% of people agree with my theory and the rest are evil, hateful, prejudiced, corporate fat-cat baby killers!"
So, I don't think I will be joining in and disputing the facts, which I recognize is exactly what some of these people want. Until most of America is willing to wake up and stop eating the lies we are fed every day, it just ain't worth it.
If what Gary suggests actually comes to life, I think there would be hope for reality to drive the agenda of our species for once. I have never seen a good suggestion to resolve these issues before, but his suggestion just might work.