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Gizmodo asks experts to name the biggest science frauds of the past 50 years


It’s pretty predictable in that “the cigarette industry’s chief instrument for denying that cigarettes cause cancer” and “research articles… that claimed that the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine was linked with the development of autism” are the first two mentioned. It’s PC to denounce them.

Interestingly, the third expert offers a more general view:

Felicitas Hesselmann, Research Assistant, Social Sciences, Humboldt University of Berlin: Many researchers have a strong belief that science has a way of working itself out: Fraudulent claims, even if they are never explicitly detected, will simply not be replicated or corroborated in subsequent research, they will not lead to productive follow-up questions and eventually just be drowned out. What is more, many fraudulent claims aren’t even particularly outlandish or groundbreaking; they often are somewhat middle of the road, reflecting the overall state of research; or they are things that everybody expects to become possible before long, and fraudsters just claim to be a little faster.

Daniel Kolitz, “What Is the Biggest Scientific Fraud of the Past 50 Years?” at Gizmodo

Dr. Hesselmann’s probably right but how depressing. In a world where so much research that doesn’t involve fraud fails replication, it’s just a fact that most published research papers in many fields are probably wrong or at least sloppy. So why bother with fraud? But not exactly a good look for science.

All previous frauds are infinitesimally nonexistent compared to THE fraud. polistra

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