Sunday, September 22, 2013

Unreplicable studies...  Especially in certain branches of science there has been a rash of scientific studies that were published, but whose results could not be duplicated.  Sometimes these studies aren't discovered to be unreplicable for many years.  It used to be that such problems occurred mainly in the “soft” sciences, like psychology and anthropology, where the scientists involved may have had little mathematical training, and where opinion and fact are difficult to discern.  More recently there's been an increasing number of unreplicable studies in “hard” (or at least, harder) sciences like climatology and medicine.  The common thread seems to be money: when it's possible to obtain grant money by outright fraud or less overt “shading” of study results, you'll see some people doing that.  The more that such tactics work, the more pervasive the practice becomes.  The antidotes are the pure sunshine of exposure and greater care with the money...

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