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My PI wont follow the evidence


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#46 miRNA man

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 06:15 AM

What I understand George's point to be is that the trained mind of Chargaff wasn't able to convince Pauling, so what hope in hell would an "untrained" mind of a tech have? In this regard (to use Home Brew's example), it would be better for the tech/lower sailer close their eyes and cruise blindly into the oncoming iceberg rather than to try and convince the captain otherwise. But this doesn't really say anything about the mind of the "untrained" only the arrogance of the "trained"

Or maybe I just don't get the point correctly either!

#47 casandra

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 06:29 AM

But this is exactly the point I got but he "regrets that his point is too obscure" for me.....oh well, I can always try another mind-reading...:)...



hey dom,

speaking of making ad homs (my most-hated words) you're worse than I am....how about giving us a different perspective here...(and don't you dare throw away my barbie dolls....:))
"Oh what a beauteousness!"
- hobglobin, personal comment about my beauteous photo......

#48 hobglobin

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 10:24 AM

What I understand George's point to be is that the trained mind of Chargaff wasn't able to convince Pauling, so what hope in hell would an "untrained" mind of a tech have? In this regard (to use Home Brew's example), it would be better for the tech/lower sailer close their eyes and cruise blindly into the oncoming iceberg rather than to try and convince the captain otherwise. But this doesn't really say anything about the mind of the "untrained" only the arrogance of the "trained"

Or maybe I just don't get the point correctly either!


IMO this examples shows more that scientists are not "perfect personalities" that always act 100% reasonable and guided by brain, but follow also their instincts, feelings or even moods...
The question is if a technician (or here ejim) would fit to the non-disagreeable persons. If the PI knows him long time, trusts him or they are even pals, then perhaps. If it's just one technician among others (or he just don't know him well or long enough, don't trust him, don't like him for whatever reason) then not. Independent from the tech's arguments...

Hopefully 'ad hom' free... ;)

Edited by hobglobin, 05 August 2009 - 10:26 AM.


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#49 GeorgeWolff

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 01:53 AM

Now wasn't that a penetrating comment.? Really dominic- I do appreciate the depth of your thinking on this and that you've just joined the discussion. how I regret that my point was too obscure for you.

#50 casandra

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 02:07 AM

Now wasn't that a penetrating comment.? Really dominic- I do appreciate the depth of your thinking on this and that you've just joined the discussion. how I regret that my point was too obscure for you.

Hi George,

Let's already stop with this poking and prodding and dancing around if we want to continue with the real discussion. So what exactly was your point, if you can be more precise then perhaps we will get it and not just speculate on it....I know you always have a point altho the way you express them sometimes comes off a bit arrogantly...and then the outcome: arrogance begets arrogance....this can still be a fruitful discussion for everyone....
"Oh what a beauteousness!"
- hobglobin, personal comment about my beauteous photo......

#51 Dominic

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 04:15 AM

ok - try this george - if your the only person in the room who understands what you are saying does it mean...

A ) everyone else is a moron and should listen harder to you
B ) you obviously have to repeat it slower and LOUDER
C ) they are all so stupid they DESERVE to be insulted
D ) your making no sense

dom

give you a hint - you dont need to be deep and meaningfull to be right

Edited by Dominic, 06 August 2009 - 04:18 AM.


#52 Dr Teeth

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 05:30 AM

ok - try this george - if your the only person in the room who understands what you are saying does it mean...

A ) everyone else is a moron and should listen harder to you
B ) you obviously have to repeat it slower and LOUDER
C ) they are all so stupid they DESERVE to be insulted
D ) your making no sense

dom

give you a hint - you dont need to be deep and meaningfull to be right



George's point, if I may, is that errata and arrogance are a scientists worst enemy. If the PI is incorrect, as was Pauling, publishing his errors (in this situation read: falsehoods or "forced" data) will eventually relegate him to obscurity and dishonor among his peers. Even Pauling's great contributions to the field did not elevate him in the scientific world. Pauling was sure enough of himself that he wouldn't listen to Chargaff, nor will this PI likely listen to his lab tech, and if a distinguished scientist like Chargaff couldn't make Pauling see the light, a lab tech, who would be unable to offer the same level of rigorous discussion, has little hope. In the outside chance that the tech is right, the PI will eventually be his own undoing.

Edited by Dr Teeth, 06 August 2009 - 05:37 AM.


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#53 HomeBrew

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 02:25 PM

Even Pauling's great contributions to the field did not elevate him in the scientific world.



Not for nothing, but I'd call winning two Nobel prizes fairly elevated...:D

#54 Doki

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 06:35 PM

at this point. . . mmm, do we know what Ejim suggested and PI refused? :D
Simple living, highnot thinking

#55 casandra

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 08:03 PM

Even Pauling's great contributions to the field did not elevate him in the scientific world.



Not for nothing, but I'd call winning two Nobel prizes fairly elevated...:)

good catch HomeBrew :P, two Nobel prizes in two different fields and not shared with anybody else..not bad for someone who's been relegated to obscurity...
"Oh what a beauteousness!"
- hobglobin, personal comment about my beauteous photo......

#56 Dr Teeth

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 06:21 AM

Even Pauling's great contributions to the field did not elevate him in the scientific world.



Not for nothing, but I'd call winning two Nobel prizes fairly elevated...:)

good catch HomeBrew :), two Nobel prizes in two different fields and not shared with anybody else..not bad for someone who's been relegated to obscurity...



Well, thank you for majoring in the minors... What about the meat of the point, i.e. that the PI who won't listen will be his own undoing?

Also, not for nothing, but a Nobel Peace Prize hardly counts as elevation in the scientific community and while Pauling did receive a Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1954, this was less than a year after Watson and Crick's publication on the DNA double helix. While it may be incorrect to say that Pauling became obscure (though ask non-scientists who Watson and Crick were, then ask about Pauling...), later in life, Pauling's work went largely ignored (see his work on nuclear structure). Think of how different his life and work may have been had he proposed the correct structure in his PNAS paper in 53. Also, I'd bet that ejim's PI is not the next Pauling.

Edited by Dr Teeth, 07 August 2009 - 06:27 AM.


Science is simply common sense at its best that is rigidly accurate in observation and merciless to fallacy in logic.
Thomas Henry Huxley

#57 casandra

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 10:30 AM

Even Pauling's great contributions to the field did not elevate him in the scientific world.



Not for nothing, but I'd call winning two Nobel prizes fairly elevated...:)

good catch HomeBrew :), two Nobel prizes in two different fields and not shared with anybody else..not bad for someone who's been relegated to obscurity...

Well, thank you for majoring in the minors... What about the meat of the point, i.e. that the PI who won't listen will be his own undoing?

Also, not for nothing, but a Nobel Peace Prize hardly counts as elevation in the scientific community and while Pauling did receive a Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1954, this was less than a year after Watson and Crick's publication on the DNA double helix. While it may be incorrect to say that Pauling became obscure (though ask non-scientists who Watson and Crick were, then ask about Pauling...), later in life, Pauling's work went largely ignored (see his work on nuclear structure). Think of how different his life and work may have been had he proposed the correct structure in his PNAS paper in 53. Also, I'd bet that ejim's PI is not the next Pauling.

Well, thank you too, Dr Teeth, for keeping the ball rolling and flying :) . Is Pauling really that minor?

And I did get your point i.e., the PI’s (in this case, Pauling) arrogance is the cause of his downfall. But then I wonder why George brought this issue up? If at all, it weakens his argument because despite all the experience, knowledge and education a PI has…even if he could “peer-review or generate/report/argue contrary data and opinion in scientific fora”, he could be as wrong as anybody else, just like the rest of us in the minor leagues. So he shld be flexible enough to consider other points of view even from the tech or new students.

I know that getting a Nobel Prize is not the pinnacle of achievement in science or the other fields. It may not elevate your status but I still think it counts and at the very least, it distinguishes you from the rest of the pack. Besides, it isn’t everyday that you get dolled up to receive the award from the King and Queen of Sweden plus take home a million bucks. Sure most everyone knows Watson and Crick but the laymen would probably recognise more the recipients of the Peace prize than Chemistry or Economics…so I guess it all depends.

Edited by casandra, 07 August 2009 - 10:36 AM.

"Oh what a beauteousness!"
- hobglobin, personal comment about my beauteous photo......

#58 HomeBrew

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 11:06 AM

Well, thank you for majoring in the minors... What about the meat of the point, i.e. that the PI who won't listen will be his own undoing?


You may have missed it, but in the very first reply to the original post by ejim, I said:

However, one ignores strong data contradictory to a current theory at one's own peril -- if the contradictory evidence is correct, and you pursue the other theory, you at best waste time and money, and at worst get shown to be in error in the literature when someone else publishes experiments that establish the new theory.


Isn't this exactly the same thing as "the PI who won't listen will be his own undoing"?

I think what threw many of us off was that GeorgeWolff *seemed* to be arguing that ejim contain his hubris and do what the PI says:

Sounds like [ejim] is as "unyielding, stubborn and stuck to his own hypotheses" as anyone. We're not aware that [ejim] has attempted to arrive at a compelling experimental design with his employer or to understand why data so "strong", to his less experienced and less educated mind, are not driving his employer to a different conclusion.
Elitist or not - [ejim] is a lab tech, not a grad student or post doc., who works at the pleasure and direction of the PI.


He does, however, in prior posts and in this post, encouraged ejim to:

Remember - convincing the skeptical is our charge in the critical scientific community.


and has further encouraged ejim to do the definitive experiment or gather further evidence to convince his skeptical employer. But the "Elitist or not" phrases made many of us think that GeorgeWolff was arguing that ejim should just accept his PIs judgment and move on.

Thus it seemed somewhat incongruent when GeorgeWolff posted the Linus Pauling anecdote, for this is clearly an example of the opposite situation: the senior should have listened to his junior colleague.

#59 miRNA man

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 09:59 AM

Not directly on topic, but as some encouragement to the OP, I know of a tech who has a first authored publication in Nature Genetics. Of course, his PI was probably most supportive of him, but it goes to show that you don't have to be a PhD/grad student to publish well, or publish at all.

#60 medchemgirl

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 02:34 PM

I agree with this up to some point. If you were a PhD student I would say go for it, it's your degree, you need to publish and graduate as soon as u can. Many of my friends have had to do their own projects that were not liked by their PI's just because they were not projects that at the time could see profitable or interesting. At the end those side projects were the ones who worked and gave them publications and of course helped them graduate. I think that if u are a technician, don't even worry about it, just do the job ur PI wants and forget about the rest. However, your scientific spirit tells me you should get a PhD.
Good Luck!

I don't agree that you should do the experiments on the sly- it is the PIs lab, his funding and his perogative to use it as he wishes.

The situation is different if you are a PhD student, and obviously worked out for almost-a-doctor, but as a technician it is SO not your job to do experiments that you have specifically been told not to persue.
If I were a PI, I would be PISSED if a staff member went did something I asked them not too, using up valuable resources behind my back!!

Without knowing the details it is hard to know if what he is doing is wrong- or if you just have differing opinions on the same data. I don't think there is anything wrong with a PI not wanting to follow up on some results, quite often interesting things come up in your work but unfortunately funding and time are limited- maybe he just doesn't think it is interesting enough to follow?? Surely that is his decision, after all it is his lab so he can decide what direction he wants the research to head.

If I were you, I would try not to take it personally and just get on with your work the best you can. Of course if you really can't handle working like that then I think your only option is to leave and find a PI who does things in a way that is compatible with you.

Good luck figuring it all out.






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