Science, Now Under Scrutiny Itself*
The crimes and misdemeanors of science used to be handled mostly in-house, with a private word at the faculty club, barbed questions at a conference, maybe a quiet dismissal. On the rare occasion when a journal publicly retracted a study, it typically did so in a cryptic footnote. Few were the wiser; many retracted studies have been cited as legitimate evidence by others years after the fact.
But that gentlemen’s world has all but evaporated, as a remarkable series of events last month demonstrated. In mid-May, after two graduate students raised questions about a widely reported study on how political canvassing affects opinions of same-sex marriage, editors at the journal Science, where the study was published, began to investigate. What followed was a frenzy of second-guessing, accusations and commentary from all corners of the Internet: “Retraction” as serial drama, rather than footnote. Science officially pulled the paper, by Michael LaCour of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Donald Green of Columbia, on May 28, because of concerns about Mr. LaCour’s data. More.
* Note the locution: “Science … Itself,” as in “Jesus … Himself.”
Aw, fer heck’s sakes, give it a rest, will ya? High time “science” was under scrutiny. There is altogether too much “sciencey” around nowadays, and nowhere near enough actual science.
If they want to make science a religion, they had better get used to the ridicule. Retraction Watch has more tips than it can handle.
Serious doubt about peer-reviewed studies is increasing
If peer review is working, why all the retractions?
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