Intelligent Design Peer review Science

Does it matter in science if no one can replicate your results?

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From Neuroskeptic at Discover:

In a new paper in the Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence, Chris Drummond takes aim at the ‘reproducibility movement’ which has lately risen to prominence in science.

If we have multiple pieces of evidence for a hypothesis, but none of those pieces of evidence are reproducible, the hypothesis would have no support. Reproducibility of the primary evidence must be there first, before we can marshal the evidence to support our models. A model supported by lots of unreproducible evidence is a house built on sand.

So I agree with Drummond that reproducibility, alone, is not sufficient to make strong science (I’m not sure if anyone thinks it is), but I stand by my view that it is necessary. More.

From the bleachers: What’s the alternative to your results getting replicated? Just belonging to the science union and paying your dues is all that matters?

See also: Replication: Can new metric crack science’s credibility problem?

7 Replies to “Does it matter in science if no one can replicate your results?

  1. 1
    JSmith says:

    Reproducibility is critical. Unfortunately, you don’t get tenure by reproducing someone else’s work.

  2. 2
    ET says:

    Arthur Eddington got famous for reproducing Einstein’s work.

    Reproducibility is totally absent from Common Descent and natural selection as a designer mimic.

  3. 3
    buffalo says:

    Empirical science is observable, repeatable and predictable. Short of this it moves into philosophy.

  4. 4
    Bob O'H says:

    ET – no Eddington didn’t reproduce Einstein’s work, he provided some of the first empirical confirmation.

  5. 5
    aarceng says:

    When it comes to historical science you could indeed have multiple lines of evidence, none of which can be replicated. At best you might be able to show how something could have happened but not necessarily how it did happen. In such cases we must use inference to the best explanation.

  6. 6
    Axel says:

    So, circumstantial evidence is not strong science ? Although a lack of empirical evidence seems to spoken of as the ‘be all and end all’ in the judicial system, at least as reported in the press, it sometimes, im-admittedly-ho, is utterly compelling – binding, even.

    You, in the US, had a young psychopath convicted of murdering his wife, largely, if I remember correctly, on the basis of cryptic phone-calls to his girl-friend.

    We, in the UK, had a young psychopath convicted of murdering his adoptive parents and sister, on the basis of circumstantial evidence; He blew his parole hearing by saying, no doubt with barely-stifled glee, ‘But you can’t prove it’ (…..!). Duh!

    Spurious, ‘planted’, hard evidence on the other hand, has often been used to pervert the course of justice.

    Maybe, it’s prudent to distinguish between ‘hard science’ and philosophy in this context, but common-sense surely tells us, for instance, the there is ludicrously overwhelming evidence for Intelligent Design, and that materialism is self-refuting. Well, we know that scientism has made a fetish of empirical science, as the repository of all truth, anyway, don’t we ?

  7. 7
    critical rationalist says:

    Yes, it matters. It means there is some mistake in one of our idea. That is a problem to solve. Finding problems in our ideas is how we make progress!

    In fact, if every once could perfectly reproduce every existing experiment then there would be no problems. If we keep failing to find a problem with our current theories, then we’re pretty much stuck and cannot make progress.

    This is why some people were disappointed with the prospect of finding the Higgs boson. Not finding it would mean there is some problem with the standard model and that would be just as much of a reason to pop the cork, so to speak.

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