Saturday, December 16, 2006

open-mindedness.

I have found a new pet peeve.

I hate scientists who hear about work second- or third-hand, and dismiss it without having seen it.

The ones I particularly hate are good at coming up with realistic-sounding technical arguments for why it must be wrong.

Without considering that, not having seen the work, they don't know which controls have been done and which haven't. It somehow never occurs to them that those issues might have already been addressed.

I also hate the ones who, when asking questions of any kind, always manage to make them sound like royalty addressing the lowest, slave. It's like they wear a neon sign that says, My IQ is bigger than yours!

When, from the content of their questions, it clearly isn't.

Oddly, I don't know any women who do this. This isn't to say they don't exist. But even the women I know who ask withering, incisive questions don't do it in this type of condescending tone.

In fact, I never met anyone who did this until relatively recently, and the two I'm thinking of right now are a grad student and an unrelated young PI.

I wish I knew a fitting way to get back at them for things they've said to my friends or about my friends' work. It just infuriates me that they would be so arrogant, and that they don't realize that unless you've done similar experiments yourself, you probably don't know what you're talking about.

Fuckers.

Labels: , ,

10 Comments:

At 5:28 PM, Blogger Bill Hooker said...

I find this to be quite common in research. Scientists are a snotty bunch.

My half-assed pop-psych theory is that they are suffering from chronic insecurity as a result of, well, chronic (job) insecurity. This results in a tendency to overcompensate with arrogance and an overemphasis on things over which they do have control.

 
At 7:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I wish I knew a fitting way to get back at them for things they've said to my friends or about my friends' work"...

Didn't you answer your own question? i.e., you say, "unless you've done similar experiments yourself, you probably don't know what you're talking about. fuckers."

That will pretty much put the kibosh on that one.

A little female self-sensoring again?
They obviously think you and your friends suck, but I tell you, if I might paraphrase Machiavelli, fear tastes pretty good as a substitute for getting along.

 
At 7:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A GRAD STUDNET? Daring to be condescending? Makes me want so say something along the lines of 'respecting one's olders and betters'.....

 
At 9:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is not unique to scientists, and is basic human nature. I'm unsure of myself. How do I make myself feel better? Shit on someone else. It goes back to our days in the schoolyard getting picked on by the bully (or being the bully). It is the rare person who is secure enough to avoid making nasty, smarmy comments about others. Also, as scientists we are trained to be critical of everything (which is a good thing). But it would be nice if we could be more pleasant with our criticism.

 
At 10:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it amusing that you are angered about the comments of others about you or your friends work, yet a few posts back you say things like "irrelevant animal models (not a mammal)".

What exactly is the difference here?

 
At 11:26 AM, Blogger irony miner said...

Not only is the Internet a source of irony, but synchronicity, too, it seems. Here's a nugget from the Open Pit Irony Mine:


I'm very open-minded.

Now let me tell you why you're all wrong.

 
At 3:42 PM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

Anonymous,

I goofed. I did NOT mean to imply that non-mammal animal models are irrelevant in general. I certainly didn't mean to insult anyone who works in non-mammalian animal models.

To me it seems we're trending towards expecting that everyone needs to have all of these other things I listed AND cure ALL disease in every creature on earth!!... in order to get a single publication...

Apologies if I ruffled your feathers.

 
At 7:21 AM, Anonymous TW Andrews said...

unless you've done similar experiments yourself, you probably don't know what you're talking about.

I would tell them exactly that, in almost precisely those words, with a few selected obsenities inserted at the appropriate places.

I absolutely loathe people who think they're clever because they can find reasons why something won't work.

Newsflash! It's not hard to make something which doesn't work. Making it work is the difficult thing, and if someone is getting results from their experiments, there's a good chance that they're at least moving toward that goal. Clever posturing is definitively unhelpful, and supremely irritating to boot.

 
At 12:05 PM, Anonymous etbnc said...

"I absolutely loathe people who think they're clever because they can find reasons why something won't work."

I've noticed a sizeable faction of our culture in which skepticism is a kind of fetish.

As long as those people derive gratification from their friends and colleagues, that toxic subculture can persist. So, yes, occasional pointed reminders that other contributions are more valuable can undermine that toxic subculture.

I derive a lot of value from a paraphrase of George Box: Most models are wrong, but some are useful.

Cheers

 
At 7:49 AM, Anonymous Sarah said...

I have a guy in my field who is present about 90% of the time when I present my work. And EVERY time he's the first to put up his hand and make his point about why what I'm doing is a waste of time. And, exactly like you say, then proceeds with a tirade of all the problems there are with my work (which I've just explained to people myself, obviously), mentioning nothing at all constructive, leaving no time for other people to chip in with more useful suggestions or comments. He's such a f*ckwit, it drives me nuts!

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home