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"6 Reasons You Can't Trust Science Anymore" Aug 13 (lists some problems, don't think title is great)

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Dolphin, Aug 15, 2015.

  1. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

    (August 13, 2015)


  2. whodathunkit

    whodathunkit Senior Member

    Interesting article! Although I would argue that #6 ought to be #1, given that it's the primary reason that people are not taking science and scientists as seriously as they once did. It's a big credibility problem when you only publish stuff that suits your preferred narrative. It's being done in all areas, from food stuffs to climate change. Sadly, the trend seems to be rampant. "He who controls the narrative controls the universe." Or something like that.
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  3. WillowJ

    WillowJ คภภเє ɠรค๓թєl

    WA, USA
    A link I followed from there tells how a science journalist (PhD in molecular biology of bacteria) organized a study specifically designed to show how badly-designed studies get picked up by the press and reported as fact, when they may in fact be "noise".

    Although published in a vanity journal, it was pretty easy to make all the headlines.

    particularly telling:
  4. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

    1 reason you can't trust articles about how you can't trust Science any more:

    * They see all these problems as somehow new evils, unique to the terrible modern times we live in.

    None of them are all that novel, except perhaps paying for publishing, but even that's been going on since the 70's. .... But then how can you write an "evils of our modern age" narrative if you acknowledge that?

    I know, I'm missing the point. Just hate those "evil of our modern age" stories!
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  5. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

    Okay, on a more serious note, I was thinking about biases in science. Here are some more:

    1. Publication bias. That's the one about non-significant findings not getting published. This bias also influences replications: Studies that are replications are less likely to get published than "novel" studies, so this means work is not getting properly replicated... it can take years to discover a finding is dodgy!

    2. Citation bias: the tendency to cite articles that support a prevailing view over those that cast doubt on it

    3. Outcome reporting bias: the tendency for researchers to report outcomes that yield significant effects and not report on those that yield non-significant different.

    4. Failure to correct for multiple comparisons. So for example, a study of CFS patients gets them to complete 5 questionnaires, measuring 16 different psychological constructs (not unusual), and compares results to some control group. Guess what the chances are of getting at least 1 significant difference? Almost 100%!

    And here are a few bias that in Psychology that affect the way the actual participants respond:

    5. Response bias: a collection of biases that affect how people complete self-report questionnaires. For example, they may be biased to respond in ways that are socially desirable, or in ways that please the researcher

    6. Recall bias: if you ask someone about their past when they are depressed, they are more likely to recall negative than positive events. Same goes for people who are severely ill.

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