What makes a person a Scientist?
Topic: Academic journal writing
July 20, 2019 / By Odran Question:
There are all kinds of people that call themselves scientists but what really makes a person a scientist and others just researchers or specialists in their specific fields. For example I know a person who is known as a scientist when he is interviewed by news channels but as far as I know he is just a statistician and he only has an associate's degree in mathematics. So what makes this person a scientist and others not? It almost seems that if you can get enough people to call you a scientist then, well, you're a scientist.
Best Answers: What makes a person a Scientist?
Larry | 6 days ago
If you have doubts about that person you know, see what he has published recently and in which journals. You cannot be a "scientist" if you're not contributing to science, and for the last 150 years such contributions have been done in the form of publications in peer-reviewed academic journals.
Some go as far as use citation counts as a measure of the scientist's worth, but I think looking at what was actually written is a lot more important.
News channels are irrelevant.
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Originally Answered: So what makes a person completely disbelieve in god/a creator?
I am an atheist. During the Dark Ages, all of western europe believed in Christianity. Its power was greater than all the secular power of the times. People believed strongly in God and Jesus and to the best of their ability attempted to live by the teachings of the Bible. People would rather die than be excommunicated. It was everything Jesus and the Christian Church could have wished for. So what happened to the Christian paradise? The Black Death occurred and wiped out over one third of europe's population. God, if he existed, could have easily brought a disease to the rats and the plague would have stopped. God, if he existed, could have inspired a Christian leader to tell the people to fight the rats, to wash their clothes, and to clean their bodies which would have at least helped with the disease. The church was impotent during this crisis and it was clear that no matter how hard they prayed or how hard the church tried, the plague continued. When it was over, the church never again held the power it once had. Where was God? If you tell me I can't question God's plan or his motives: Yes, I can and I will. He simply wasn't there.
During WWII millions of Jewish women prayed to God to save the lives, not of themselves, but of their innocent children as they were being led to the gas chambers. Millions of those prayers were not answered. If God is not available during times such as these, when is he available?
If a Christian then loses her ear ring and Jesus DOES answer her prayer, and the ear ring is found, what does that say about Jesus?
This leads me to believe that all Gods are nonexistent. If God does exist, then he is irrelevant to the course of mankind. However touched by God you may feel, it appears obvious that he doesn't touch mankind when he allows the massacre of simply millions of innocent children. Now, if you wish to believe in Jesus because your car wouldn't start this morning and after you prayed, it did: well, be my guest. But if you want me to believe, you are going to have to provide some evidence that he provides some value to mankind as a whole. So far, that has failed to occur.
I agree with andymanec. A scientist is someone taking a degree and publishing but also someone working and using the scientific method. At one time it was assumed only the educated could make good field observers but with the training available today there is an ever greater acknowledgment of the citizen scientist making valuable contributions.
In bird watching we use the Christmas bird counts and other events to gather accurate measurements in the field. In phenology they are using citizen reports to track annual seasonal progressions. Since the degree of technical ability and input varies I would not call these the same as professional scientists but they are people involved in the process of gathering empirical evidence in support of publishable work.
There is a long tradition, even if not acknowledged, of the untrained natural philosopher making valuable contributions to the understanding of ecological relationships. Read 'The Natural History of Selbourne' written by the curate of Selbourne, Gilbert White. He believed in observation and study of specimens rather than accepting the opinions of the Greeks or previous naturalists unless backed with evidence. His book has been continuously in print since 1789 and is one of the most well read books in Britain but he holds no professional degree except in theology.
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I tend to take a more broad view of science. You need a degree to be a professional scientist, and publication is a measure of how successful you are.
I'd call a scientist anyone who bases their conclusions on evidence and the scientific method. I'm a professional scientist, but I'm also involved in the Skeptical movement - we hold up various claims (homeopathy, anti-vaccination, creationism, etc) to scrutiny, and try to determine whether or not they're evidence-based. Many of us are scientists - but there are many from other fields (law, business, teaching, writing, etc). I'd still say that we as a group are scientists, though.
Likewise, a person can be a professional scientist, yet not actually be considered a scientist. Drs Behe and Egnor of the Intelligent Design movement, are two examples. Though they have a PhD and an MD between them, they make wild conclusions that aren't based in any way on real evidence.
In my opinion, if you base your conclusions on evidence (and understand that evidence), you're a scientist, regardless of degree. If your ideology overrides evidence, or if you make up or twist "evidence" to fit your conclusion, you're not a scientist.
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In order to be a professional scientist you need a professional qualification in science, so you would need a degree.
An associate's degree is effectively "half a degree" - so its debatable whether this would be sufficient to allow you to call yourself a scientist with any amount of credibility. Mathematics is generally considered to be a science though.
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Originally Answered: Why would any serious scientist believe in God?
Because science can't explain everything, nor does everything lend itself to being proven by the scientific method. Also, most people who make a statement like you have have a view of God that they find hard to believe, and don't understand that others may have different views of God that don't conflict with science.
Richard Dawkins builds a strawman God, tells people that that's what God is like, then attacks that God. It's really easy to attack something when you tailor it to be attackable, while ignoring that people believe in a God that's different than the one you built.
I'm an electrical engineer by training, and I have a firm belief in the scientific method. But I also understand that that method can't be used for everything. I also believe in God, but the God in which I believe is probably not the one that you think I believe in.
My belief in God is big enough that it doesn't conflict with my belief in science. Is your belief in science so narrow that you believe that only things that science can prove are real? What about the scientific method itself? You can't prove the scientific method is valid by using the scientific method. Reason proves the scientific method, not hypothesis and experiment.
You need to read about epistemology, the theory of knowledge. You might get an understanding that there are more ways to establish knowledge than the scientific method. For example, you cannot use the scientific method itself to prove that the scientific method is a valid method of establishing knowledge. But understanding that the scientific method is not the only method of acquiring knowledge is not the same as assuming that everything else is supernatural. You're the one making that assumption.
Then lets look at the Newton's Law of Gravity. It doesn't "exist" either. You can measure the gravitational attraction between two masses, and you will see that the equation matches with the behavior you observe. But the law itself, the equation, the thought process behind it, really doesn't exist, because you can't isolate the law itself, you can't measure it, you can't do controlled experimentation on the law itself, only on the gravitation interaction that the law describes. If you then say that that proves that the law exists, then point to it - show me how you can measure the law, not the gravity.
So think twice or more about what you think truth, reality, actually mean.