for...even more so for demonstrating that the scientific consensus

ironman2012

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

Scientific conclusions derive from an understanding of basic laws supported by laboratory experiments, observations of nature, and mathematical and computer modeling. Like all human beings, scientists make mistakes, but the scientific process is designed to find and correct them. This process is inherently adversarial—scientists build reputations and gain recognition not only for supporting conventional wisdom, but even more so for demonstrating that the scientific consensus is wrong and that there is a better explanation.

(This comes from Climate Change and the Integrity of Science on Science 07 May 2010.)

1. Does "for" here mean "in order to"?
2. Does "even more so" refer to "build more reputations and gain more recognition"?
3. Does "the scientific consensus" refer to "conventional wisdom"?

Thanks in advance!
 
  • grassy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Does "for" here mean "in order to"?

    For = in exchange of
    Does "even more so" refer to "build more reputations and gain more recognition"?
    :thumbsup:
    "Reputation" doesn't work in plural here, though. But you've got the idea.
    Does "the scientific consensus" refer to "conventional wisdom"?
    No, the scientific consensus = the fact that the majority of scientists agree on something, e.g. 97% of climate scientists agree that global warming is caused by human activity.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The syntax is unusual. I would expect “build reputations and gain recognition” BY doing certain things. Or: become known FOR doing certain things.

    … supporting conventional wisdom,

    (= providing evidence in support of what is currently believed to be true)
    but even more so
    (but also, and more importantly)
    demonstrating that the scientific consensus is wrong and that there is a better explanation
    (= providing evidence against what is currently believed to be true)
     

    ironman2012

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    For = in exchange of
    scientists build reputations and gain recognition for supporting conventional wisdom

    I think scientists often support something, and then build reputations and gain recognition. So do you think the order should be changed to "scientists support conventional wisdom for building reputations and gaining recognition"?
     

    grassy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    scientists build reputations and gain recognition for supporting conventional wisdom

    I think scientists often support something, and then build reputations and gain recognition. So do you think the order should be changed to "scientists support conventional wisdom for building reputations and gaining recognition"?
    The idea is that scientists support conventional wisdom, and for that (= in exchange for supporting conventional wisdom) they build their reputations and gain recognition.

    So if you write a paper and your conclusion is that climate change is a fact, you support the conventional wisdom. You will no doubt gain some recognition for that but you could gain incomparably more recognition if your thesis convincingly argued that climate change is not happening. That seems to be the idea of the paragraph and I agree with it.
     
    Last edited:

    ironman2012

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    and for that (= in exchange for supporting conventional wisdom) they build their reputations and gain recognition.
    So if you write a paper and your conclusion is that climate change is a fact, you support the conventional wisdom. You will no doubt gain some recognition for that
    After reading the second paragraph, I feel "for" here means "because of", rather than "in exchange for".
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    The problem is "for" means "for". It exists because it has that meaning. Anything else is only an approximation. It's kind of like "in exchange" and it's kind of like "because of", but it's neither of those - it's "for".

    "Even more so" means they get even more recognition if they successfully challenge conventional wisdom/consensus. That's because they are the only person (or one of a few) saying what they are saying. If they are right they become very famous (sometimes long after they are dead) but if they are wrong, nobody remembers them.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    If you add useful information to mankind's knowledge then you gain recognition. Most useful knowledge added is in support of the consensus because the best minds have very good reasons to believe in that consensus. It's usually survived years of questions and challenges and discussions. So most scientists spend their time discovering additional information that fits the existing theory or fills in gaps. They are adding finer and finer levels of detail and if what they do is new or interesting they will gain recognition.

    But every once in awhile, someone comes along and and discovers either by accident or on purpose, that the main theory is wrong or at least very inadequate. Einstein didn't discover that Newton was wrong, he discovered that Newton's theory was only applicable in very specific conditions. Outside those conditions it was inadequate to explain nature. Einstein offered an alternative that could explain nature in all those conditions. So he became even more famous than all those other scientists who were simply adding small improvements to Newton's ideas.
     
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