From Ronald Bailey at Reason:
“Science, the pride of modernity, our one source of objective knowledge, is in deep trouble.” So begins “Saving Science,” an incisive and deeply disturbing essay by Daniel Sarewitz at The New Atlantis.
And then there is the huge problem of epidemiology, which manufactures false positives by the hundreds of thousands. In the last decade of the 20th century, some 80,000 observational studies were published, but the numbers more than tripled to nearly 264,000 between 2001 and 2011. S. Stanley Young of the U.S. National Institute of Statistical Sciences has estimated that only 5 to 10 percent of those observational studies can be replicated. “Within a culture that pressures scientists to produce rather than discover, the outcome is a biased and impoverished science in which most published results are either unconfirmed genuine discoveries or unchallenged fallacies,” four British neuroscientists bleakly concluded in a 2014 editorial for the journal AIMS Neuroscience.More.
The good news is that we can get past the cheerleading for science and discuss this stuff now. We can’t fix what w e can’t discuss, and I remember when we couldn’t, not really.
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