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Psychologist sounds alarm: We are turning science into science fiction!

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A voice from the urban wilderness:

WHEN Stuart Ritchie was a graduate student in Edinburgh, UK, in 2011, he was involved in an incident that shook his faith in science. With two colleagues, he tried and failed to replicate a famous experiment on precognition, the ability to see the future. They sent their results to the journal that published the original research and received an immediate rejection on the grounds that the journal didn’t accept studies that repeated previous experiments.

Graham Lawton, “Stuart Ritchie interview: A deep rot is turning science into fiction” at New Scientist (subscription required)

Of course not. There isn’t a rubbish heap big enough, conceptually or otherwise.

Anyway, Ritchie went on to write a book, Science Fictions: How Fraud, Bias, Negligence, and Hype Undermine the Search for Truth (July 21, 2020).

From the publisher:

Stuart Ritchie’s own work challenging an infamous psychology experiment helped spark what is now widely known as the “replication crisis,” the realization that supposed scientific truths are often just plain wrong. Now, he reveals the very human biases, misunderstandings, and deceptions that undermine the scientific endeavor: from contamination in science labs to the secret vaults of failed studies that nobody gets to see; from outright cheating with fake data to the more common, but still ruinous, temptation to exaggerate mediocre results for a shot at scientific fame.

Yet Science Fictions is far from a counsel of despair. Rather, it’s a defense of the scientific method against the pressures and perverse incentives that lead scientists to bend the rules. By illustrating the many ways that scientists go wrong, Ritchie gives us the knowledge we need to spot dubious research and points the way to reforms that could make science trustworthy once again.

But now, here’s a problem: In the world of the war on math, what, exactly, is wrong with science fiction replacing science? If 2 + 2 does not necessarily = 4, how can we be expected to even know that bogosity is wrong?

Some of these people are pretty late grasping the implications of naturalism.

8 Replies to “Psychologist sounds alarm: We are turning science into science fiction!

  1. 1
    chuckdarwin says:

    What’s the big deal? Psychologists have been trying to turn science fiction into science since Freud……

  2. 2
    AaronS1978 says:

    Smart ass comment of this thread
    Darwin already made it science-fiction

    That’s just a baseless smart ass comment

    On a more serious note he just touch on some key things there about science and that type of thing has spread quite rapidly especially when it comes to politically motivated science

    A recent Study just recently posted on neuroscience news, finds that people who refuse to take the covid vaccine neurologically sport the same issues as those who have a problem with authority

    Obviously this is manipulative and tries to invalidate objectors to a vaccine that could be very harmful especially given the fact that there is no functional vaccine for any family of SARS to date

    I promote vaccines but I will not take this one and that’s study disregards the reasoning for why people don’t trust a government that has not given them a reason to trust them

    It also ignores the fact that this seems to be a today problem and not a problem that was an issue 20 years ago, When HIV was an issue people begged for a vaccine. Those same people are alive today and many of them are saying they don’t want this Covid vaccine

    There’s a reason for this and now science is being used as a manipulative tool to gain leverage on the public

  3. 3
    jawa says:

    Too little, too late.

  4. 4
    polistra says:

    These particular problems have been well known and openly discussed for many years. Not a secret at all.

    Back in 9th grade (1962) I tried one of those ‘telepathy’ experiments as a project for science class. The science teacher gently pointed out the problems with observer bias, and I learned something.

    The real failure is that Big Science DOESN’T LEARN when the bias is pointed out, because Big Science is NOT TRYING TO DO SCIENCE AT ALL. Big Science is trying to destroy all life and obliterate the universe. The frauds and biases help Big Science to accomplish its goal, so they continue and expand.

    We can see this non-learning in fatally obvious form with the “virus” genocide. The Public “Health” Officers openly SHOW us that they are miscounting deaths, misusing tests, and mischaracterizing the meaning of “cases”, and then they continue to imprison and bind and gag us because they derive pleasure from our pain.

  5. 5


    OP: …the realization that supposed scientific truths are often just plain wrong.

    Chuck: What’s the big deal? Psychologists have been trying to turn science fiction into science since Freud

    Is the jest intended to convey that there are no frontline scientists (or entire scientific disciplines for that matter) who ”exaggerate mediocre results for a shot at scientific fame” on important issues — issues of broad public and intellectual interest?

    How many of our most prominent Origin of Life researchers (Szostak, Joyce, Surherland, etc) have ever directly engaged and confronted the already well-documented physical conditions required for the origin of life on earth?

    Are there any examples? Are there any examples at all?

  6. 6
    jawa says:

    You have raised very good questions.

  7. 7
    chuckdarwin says:

    Upright biped

    Although I jest about psychology, if I had to speculate, I would think that there would be substantially more “cheating“ in the social sciences than in the hard sciences. Also, I think the actual prevalence of cheating and fraud in research is similar to the so-called voting fraud crisis manufactured in politics, it makes for great theater, but is really actually very rare.

  8. 8

    You punted the question.

    You have no examples, because there aren’t any.

    Should the essential physical conditions required for OoL not be part of OoL research? Should we not wonder why none the leading OoL researchers ever address those essential physical conditions?

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