> developments for 20 years or so is that so many of
> the contributors are really lacking in appropriate
> training in basic science and philosophy.
Lee: This is not a prerequisite and when needed they can/should easily defer to others.
Ray: The big advantage of the university environment is the opportunity for both direct contact and nearly instantaneous feedback from others with similar interests--from all over the world. There are opportunities for visits to laboratories or field sites--small group presentations--face to face encounters in seminars and/or over dinner. One learns to be a part of a collaborating team rather than a "lone wolf," and gets access to financial and technical support. Through personal contacts established this way, one learns how and where to get published: even gets invited.
The outsider remains the outsider--never meets knowledgeable collaborators--never obtains adequate support (or even a knowledgeable audience. The lone wolf doesn't even know what he doesn't know. Doesn't take long to develop a chip on his shoulder.
> So they
> do it wrong--but don't understand why their
> contribution has not been widely accepted.
Lee: Can you give specific examples?
Ray: Here's one.
A common topic of interest at GHMB is whether or not Global Warming is leading to climate change (a scientific question)--and whether or not countermeasures related to the burning of fossil fuels could reduce potential harm to the global environment (social-economic question). The knowledge base to explore the scientific question requires learning how to gather and organize temperature data from the terrestrial and aquatic land--gathered onsite or by satellite--locally, nationally, and globally. The academic skills include knowledge of research design, statistical analysis, and computer information processing. If one is to perfect such skills, one must practice on real or simulated data, which may involve some sort of traineeship with NASA or the NOAA, and some volunteer work with the IPCC.
Once one develops real academic skills associated with field work, further paying opportunities may emerge to work on the science question, and one may get drawn into the social-economic questions out of personal interests.
The lone wolf, without the academic and field skills, might rely on published studies and popular articles to draw strong inferences about the social economic questions--without any real knowledge of research methods, statistical analyses, or computer information processing involved in the studies or reports. The Wolf may feel that those with such skills are biased since those with advanced skills are getting paid to collect and analyze the data--leading to climate change debates with the university trained professional.