Monday 13 October 2014

Are science Nobel prizes scraping the barrel of first rate achievers?

No - because they have already scraped the barrel, and are now scratching stained sawdust off the wood at the bottom.

How do I know?


1. The prizewinners are getting older - some are very old indeed.

For a while the prize committee have been sifting the second-raters who missed-out on prizes a few decades ago. Now they are sifting the third-raters - it seems than the younger generation are only fourth-rate, and the scraping hasn't got down that far - yet...


2. The actual prizewinners are now almost impossible to predict, because there are so many third rate scientists who are all more-or-less at the same level, that it has become a near-lottery which of such a vast pool will get the Nobel.

In the past the first rank scientists were real geniuses, and pretty much selected themselves. There were quite a lot of them - but sooner of later they got a Nobel unless they died young.

Nowadays there are very few real scientists alive, and vanishingly few at the upper echelons (the leading, ruling, most-powerful scientists are the most corrupt, the most dishonest, the worst motivated of all) - so the Nobel committees are no longer able to evaluate science.

A modern 'elite' 'scientist', of the type that gets himself onto major committees, could not recognize real science even if it jumped up and bit him on the nose.


3. Even with all the hype and spin that modern media can provide - the reported achievements of winners are distinctly underwhelming.

This is not for lack of important unsolved problems in science, but because modern scientists (or to be more accurate modern 'professional researchers and project managers', who refer to themselves scientists) can't solve the difficult problems.

Why not? - many, many reasons. The modern scientific career sieves out creativity and intelligence in favour of obedient, industrious mediocrity - but there aren't so many bright and creative scientists anyway; so-called science is a fake - it is not even trying to do science but is instead trying to get funding, publish papers, and for the big names to become powerful, rich and famous; research is now done by bureaucracies - science is not just bureaucrat-ic, but is now nothing-but-bureaucracy: truth is defined by peer review, not by what works.


Nobel prizes began as awards for scientific genius, then became prizes for being excellent at science, but are now prizes for - well, some-things altogether different than science,



Anonymous said...

I feel the same about OBE's. MBE's etc.

And "celebrity" - what is that nowadays?

Standards slipping!

Bruce Charlton said...

@tlf - The difference is that the British Honours system always has been mostly corrupt (and corrupt-ing), whereas the Nobels weren't.

JP said...

Fake science, obedience, mediocrity. Sounds a lot like science in the USSR - with the difference that Soviet science actually had some genuine achievements.

Maybe they should rename the Nobel Prize the Stalin Prize, heh heh.

pyrrhus said...

Nobel Physics prize for inventing LEDs?

Santoculto said...

''Education'' and bureaucracy ''kill'' creative genius in its roots.
Extreme mechanization of ''meritocratic'' education system selected technically smart people who will have ideas by five and five years, not so innovative ideas most part of time.
Very creative people mimic some schizophrenic and adhd traits as have novel ideas all the time.
Temple Grandin for example, only can publish their works because she have a tutor.
Greater majority of humanity mistakes appearance with essence.

AlexT said...

Bruce, what are your thoughts on Feynman, Dyson, and EO Wilson? I ask cause the media have been on a bit of a crusade the last few years trying to tear them down. Is this simply because of their non-PCness or because they are right and brilliant and therefore need to be taken down a notch?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Alex - I know a lot more about Feynman and Dyson than Wilson. F & D are real scientists for sure, and among the best of the past 60 years - they are also models of scientific integrity.

Wilson is at a much lower level both scientifically and ethically - better than most for sure, but I sense he has become gradually corrupted.