TED Conversations

Michael Moore

Disruptive Physician, Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences


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When confronted with new ideas like the ones presented by Mina Bissell, how do we change our views in today's scientific establishment?

Today's scientific research is different than research of 100. 50, or even 20 years ago. The advances are generally more incremental, less understandable to non-scientists, and require an expensive research infrastructure. In addition, because of limited resources we often do not have the time or money to reconfirm results, resulting in less validated information being incorporated into our knowledge base. To me this is a similar situation that resulted in the scientific profession, the science journal, and the concept of peer review. Now, because of the explosion of science knowledge, and the idea that scientific knowledge can be proprietary, these structures/ideas are failing us...and revolutionary ideas like Mina Bissell's can pass us by because they are unrecognized.

Are we entering a new era where we need new models of how we validate knowledge? Do we just retain our trend to open information and hope the knowledge rises to the surface, or is there still a role for curation and peer review?

What are the kinds of skills that the "New Scientist" will need? Maybe just as important, what are the skills they will not need?


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  • Aug 10 2012: This is a great question and I do not want to divert the question, but I think this question is also related to the education gap. Someone asked about making Computer Science a required course. I think this is a good option; many students can relate to computers and would like to know how they work. Consequently, students would have more drive to work up the math and physics necessary to understand it.

    I do not think that science is any less technical than it ever was. It may be more specialized than before but that is a good thing. It is better to be specific and work with others than be a one man jack of all trades. The point being, we need to get people to a condition where the basics are understood to have the will power to understand more.

    For me, the first step would be to teach Computer Science to all students at different level, exposing children to a math and science they understand which can be later use to independently verify research.

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