Why Most Published Research Findings Are False
I have been watching this since the mid 1970s, then through college, and finally as a litigation attorney litigating medical issues.
I decided to put together a few articles, and YouTube videos which point out the flaws in research, and make it clear that while the problem is acute in medical, lifestyle, and similar areas, it cuts across the board, and hits all areas of science.
We know so much less than we think we know, mostly because so much of what we know is not so.
The following video is pretty good, it also pointed out to me that my stat skills are completely rusty! Mon Dieu! This surprised my although it should not have, since college is now +30 behind me.
How to Make More Published Research True
This is a potential answer, but obviously the real fix is a long way off.
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" was a phrase made popular by Carl Sagan. However, Laplace writes: "The weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness." Also, David Hume wrote in 1748: "A wise man ... proportions his belief to the evidence", and "No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish." and Marcello Truzzi says: "An extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof."
Either way, the phrase is central to scientific method, and a key issue for critical thinking, rational thought and skepticism everywhere."
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence - RationalWiki
In the end, my point with all of this is that skepticism is always in vogue, and should be high on the shelf for everyone, and particularly when the data points to something new, novel, or incredible.
While I am in no way a climate denier, I am deeply skeptical about many scientific research findings, including the fact that human released carbon is, or will have the alarming, catastrophic results claimed by the global climate alarmist. They have done little to prove their point, they have commonly withheld data, algorithms, and other information necessary to test their hypotheses, the models they rely on are poor, the data they rely on is commonly not the raw data but data altered, and they are commonly relying on a very small data set extending only from about 1850 - present. None of this is comforting, and instead is indicia of poor data, research, analysis, and reporting techniques. It is prima facie untrustworthy and requires a very high degree of proof to overcome, proof which is not present.
Unfortunately, these poor techniques make it very difficult for non-scientists to simply take scientific findings at their face value. These problems are compounded when combined with bias, poor experimental structure, and the myriad other ways research can be accidentally, incompetently, or intentionally fudged.
We stand at a place where we should be able to rely on the scientific findings reported, but we cannot. A primary driver of this is the top down journal/peer review system which is supposed to clarify, but which commonly obfuscates, with peer reviewers rubber stamping research which comports with their bias, or belief, and shunning other research regardless of value.
Science stands in the dock, and needs to come to grips with the fact that it can lose the admiration, and trust of the people if it does not begin to cull the most obvious deadwood, and garbage. As we find more and more science less and less valuable, there is the potential for the Average Joe to simply begin to deny that science knows anything.
It is the problems with popular science like global warming, the massive, and shocking changes to medical procedures like the recommendation for PSA being suddenly withdrawn, and nearly all the prior advice regarding prostate exams being tossed under the bus. The fact that breast mammography is far less valuable than advertised, and the significant changes to these recommendations over the past many years. The constant fiddling with disease threshold levels causing reporting of massive increases in disease like stroke, high blood pressure among others which are actually only figments of the new definition, not changes in the actual amount of underlying disease. None of this results in trust. It instead appears as if the science is incompetent, and untrustworthy.
I may craft inflammatory headlines, to grab attention, but my point is always skepticism, not science denialism.
A few sites regarding science, and the problems:
Retraction Watch - Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process