Critiques of Science as Currently Praticed

Discussion in 'Why Science Is Wrong... About Almost Everything' started by Sciborg_S_Patel, Jan 7, 2016.

  1. The Truthiness Of Scientific Research
    The topic itself is not new. For decades, there have been rumors about famous historical scientists like Newton, Kepler, and Mendel. The charge was that their research results were too good to be true. They must have faked the data, or at least prettied it up a bit. But Newton, Kepler, and Mendel nonetheless retained their seats in the Science Hall of Fame. The usual reaction of those who heard the rumors was a shrug. So what? They were right, weren't they?

    What's new is that nowadays everyone seems to be doing it, and they're not always right. In fact, according to John Ioannidis, they're not even right most of the time.

    John Ioannidis is the author of a paper titled "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False," which appeared in a medical journal in 2005. Nowadays this paper is described as "seminal" and "famous," but at first it received little attention outside the field of medicine, and even medical researchers didn't seem to be losing any sleep over it.

    Then people in my own field, psychology, began to voice similar doubts. In 2011, the journalPsychological Science published a paper titled "False-positive psychology: Undisclosed flexibility in data collection and analysis allows presenting anything as significant." In 2012, the same journal published a paper on "the prevalence of questionable research practices." In an anonymous survey of more than 2000 psychologists, 53 percent admitted that they had failed to report all of a study's dependent measures, 38 percent had decided to exclude data after calculating the effect it would have on the outcome, and 16 percent had stopped collecting data earlier than planned because they had gotten the results they were looking for.

    The final punch landed in August, 2015. The news was published first in the journal Scienceand quickly announced to the world by the New York Times, under a title that was surely facetious: "Psychologists welcome analysis casting doubt on their work." The article itself painted a more realistic picture. "The field of psychology sustained a damaging blow," it began. "A new analysis found that only 36 percent of findings from almost 100 studies in the top three psychology journals held up when the original experiments were rigorously redone." On average, effects found in the replications were only half the magnitude of those reported in the original publications.

    Why have things gone so badly awry in psychological and medical research? And what can be done to put them right again?

    I think there are two reasons for the decline of truth and the rise of truthiness in scientific research. First, research is no longer something people do for fun, because they're curious. It has become something that people are required to do, if they want a career in the academic world. Whether they enjoy it or not, whether they are good at it or not, they've got to turn out papers every few months or their career is down the tubes. The rewards for publishing have become too great, relative to the rewards for doing other things, such as teaching. People are doing research for the wrong reasons: not to satisfy their curiosity but to satisfy their ambitions.

    There are too many journals publishing too many papers. Most of what's in them is useless, boring, or wrong.

    The solution is to stop rewarding people on the basis of how much they publish. Surely the tenure committees at great universities could come up with other criteria on which to base their decisions!

    The second thing that has gone awry is the vetting of research papers. Most journals send out submitted manuscripts for review. The reviewers are unpaid experts in the same field, who are expected to read the manuscript carefully, make judgments about the importance of the results and the validity of the procedures, and put aside any thoughts of how the publication of this paper might affect their own prospects. It's a hard job that has gotten harder over the years, as research has become more specialized and data analysis more complex. I propose that this job should be performed by paid experts—accredited specialists in the analysis of research. Perhaps this could provide an alternative path into academia for people who don't particularly enjoy the nitty-gritty of doing research but who love ferreting out the flaws and virtues in the research of others.

    In Woody Allen's movie "Sleeper," set 200 years in the future, a scientist explains that people used to think that wheat germ was healthy and that steak, cream pie, and hot fudge were unhealthy—"precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true." It's a joke that hits too close to home. Bad science gives science a bad name.

    Whether wheat germ is or isn't good for people is a minor matter. But whether people believe in scientific research or scoff at it is of crucial importance to the future of our planet and its inhabitants.
  2. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

    Oct 31, 2013
    Ditto for almost all science. The only areas that may be exempt are areas of research related to specific immediate goals. Research on a faster chip has to deliver a faster chip with a decent yield, that works reliably. Research on dark matter distribution in the cosmos, evidence for strings in the early universe deduced from the cosmic wave background, evidence for a particle that only lives for 10^(-25) sec (the Higgs), evidence for Global Warming, etc etc - all these must be utterly suspect.

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  3. Saiko

    Saiko Member

    Nov 2, 2013
    My take:

    Not good enough. In fact not much different from the current status quo.

    No. Though I do lean to believing that the greatest benefit would be in most individuals finding their own paths and not blindly kowtowing to info from authorities. Whether those authorities wear the mantle of science or any other religion.
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  4. Posted on Kastrup's forum, may have already been seen here but figure I'd mention it:

    The Cold Fusion Horizon
    : Is cold fusion truly impossible, or is it just that no respectable scientist can risk their reputation working on it?

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  5. Saiko

    Saiko Member

    Nov 2, 2013

    Cold Fusion?

    Cold fusion is a certain type of nuclear reaction that occurs at or near room temperature. In years past, it was studied as theoretical and hypothetical, but scientists all over the world have attested to the possibility of cold fusion becoming a reality and the tremendous implications it can have for clean energy generation. It is a form of energy generated when hydrogen interacts with various metals, like nickel and palladium. It has been subject to a large amount of criticism and opposition, and while many remain skeptical, a number of distinguished scientists have confirmed its reality.

    Cold fusion would also eliminate the modern day energy industry, and this is not just a crazy theory; hundreds of people in over 12 countries have been investigating the process with success. Thousands of papers have been published and are available for review at

    A paper published by Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, for example, claimed to successfully demonstrate cold fusion. (source) It is highly controversial, and you can learn more about it by listening to this lecture given by MIT professor Peter Hagelstein. He outlines that the primary implication of the Fleischmann-Pons experiment is that there may be new physics which allow for clean nuclear energy production.

    A few years ago, a group of scientists led by physics professor Yoshiaki Arata of Osaka University in Japan claimed to have made a successful demonstration of cold fusion.

    Below is a video of Eugene Mallove, who held a BS and MS degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from MIT and a doctorate in environmental health sciences from Harvard University. He was also the chief science writer at the MIT news office at the time of the (supposed) first cold fusion breakthrough in 1989.

    It’s also important to mention that new documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) have revealed how the Patent Office has been using a secret system to withhold the approval of some applications.

    This 50-page document was obtained by Kilpatrick Towsend & Stockton, LLP, who commonly represent major tech companies that include Apple, Google, and Twitter (to name a few). You can view that entire document HERE.

    It’s also important to note (as reported by the Federation of American Scientists) that there were over 5,000 inventions that were under secrecy orders at the end of Fiscal Year 2014, which marked the highest number of secrecy orders in effect since 1994. (source)

    As Steven Aftergood from the Federation of American Scientists reports:

    Thus, the 1971 list indicates that patents for solar photovoltaic generators were subject to review and possible restriction if the photovoltaics were more than 20% efficient. Energy conversion systems were likewise subject to review and possible restriction if they offered conversion efficiencies “in excess of 70-80%.” (source)

    It’s something to think about.
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  6. Arouet

    Arouet Member

    Oct 30, 2013
  7. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

    Oct 31, 2013
    I think it is clear that "Cold Fusion" was suppressed for some reason(s). Even if the experiments were wrong, and CF is not possible, the speed of the refutation gave the game away. You don't replicate or refute another's experiment in a matter of weeks.

    Possible reasons:

    1) It would make the very expensive hot fusion research pointless (and it was Culham that did one of the major refutations).

    2) Conceivably the technology could be used to make a very powerful bomb.

    3) Assorted other energy interests didn't want the competition.

    4) Depending on why the Global Warming scam was being concocted, Cold Fusion might have made it irrelevant. E.g. some suggest that it CAGW is just a way of letting the Third World catch up by hobbling the advanced nations.

    If any fusion occurs at all - even on a scale that could not be exploited - it would be of enormous interest to physicists and chemists. It is extraordinary how it has been almost suppressed.

    Look here for a lot more details including some lectures from MIT:

  8. Cold fusion was suppressed by hot fusion scientists who were afraid of competition. The energy companies took a different approach to potential competition, they began their own research programs on cold fusion.
  9. Old Aeon article I just remembered:

    Science fictions

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  10. Power failure: why small sample size undermines the reliability of neuroscience

  11. From 2010, don't know what's changed or how badly psychology is affected by this:

    Psychology Studies Biased toward Western Undergrads

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  12. Cross-cultural studies of toddler self-awareness have been using an unfair test

    Another sign as to the potential fragility of psychology as a scientific discipline.
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  13. north

    north Member

    Oct 31, 2013
    The metaphysical residue of materialism constrains the advancement of the philosophy of science to detail with concepts like fairness and culture. Psychology has to try to deal with human concerns while matching the "objectivity" of physical sciences. It is a poor fit at present.
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  14. Brian Whitworth on why physics is a "Hollow Science", taken from Quantum Realism, Chapter 1: The physical world as a virtual reality

    "We take our world to be an objective reality, but is it? The assumption that the physical world exists in and of itself has struggled to assimilate the findings of modern physics for some time now. An objective space and time should just "be", but space contracts and time dilates in our world. Objective things should just inherently exist, but electrons are probability of existence smears that spread, tunnel, superpose and entangle in physically impossible ways. Cosmology now says that the entire physical universe just popped up, out of nothing about fourteen billion years ago. This is not how an objective reality should behave!"


    "In modern physics strange theories are routine, e.g. in many-worlds theory each quantum event divides all reality, so everything that can happen does happen, in an inconceivable multiverse of parallel worlds (Everett, 1957). In the inflationary model, the physical universe is just one of many bubble universes (Guth, 1998) and string theory has six extra dimensions curled up and hidden from view. In M-theory, the universe floats on a fifth dimension “brane” we can’t see (Gribbin, 2000) p177-180 and others suggest we are one of two universes that collide and retreat in an eternal cycle (J. Khoury, 2001). The days when physics just described the physical world we see are long gone.

    Yet the findings of physics are equally strange: the sun bends light by curving the space around it; the earth’s gravity slows down time; and atomic clocks tick faster on tall buildings than they do on the ground. Movement also slows down time, so an atomic clock on an aircraft ticks slower than a synchronized one on the ground (Hafele & Keating, 1972), and moving objects become heavier with speed as well. In our world, space, time and mass vary but the speed of light is strangely constant.

    If relativity is strange then quantum theory is even stranger: in Young's experiment one electron goes through two slits at once to interfere with itself; entangled photons ignore speed of light limits; the vacuum of space exerts pressure; and gamma radiation is entirely random, i.e. physically uncaused. Einstein, who was as open to new ideas as anyone, thought quantum theory made no sense, and it doesn’t"


    "...There are equations, proofs and applications, but the models that work make no physical sense, e.g. in Feynman's sum over histories an electron travels all possible paths between two points at once, but how can one electron do that? Theory should increase understanding, but in physics it seems to take it away. In wave-particle duality particles morph into waves, denying the very sense of what waves and particles are. Given a choice between meaning and mathematics, physics chose the latter and it shows. Quantum theory still isn’t taught in high schools because who can teach what makes no sense? Modern physics is a mathematical feast that at its core is entirely empty of meaning. It is a hollow science, built on impressive equations about quantum states that everyone agrees don’t exist! And physics has chosen this way of no meaning as a deliberate strategy..."


    "It is not generally realized that the new structures of quantum theory and relativity are built on the old foundation of physical realism. If the physical world is real, trying to smash matter into its basic bits in particle accelerators makes sense. Yet the idea of a continuous universe made up of elementary point particles makes no more sense than a complete universe that always was. An object with an inherent mass needs a substance that extends in space. So it has left and right parts that by the same logic have still finer parts, and so on ad infinitum. The current response is that the universe consists of point particles with no extent, but how can something with no extent have mass? And since a billion points of no extent take up no more space than one, how then do extended objects form? It was then necessary to invent invisible fields continuous in space to keep these “points of no extent” apart by force. Finally, as every force needs a particle cause, the fields had to act by creating virtual particle agents, e.g. virtual photons. This masterpiece of circularity is immune to science, as a virtual photon is just a physical photon that can never be observed, as it is created and destroyed in the effect instant. Only physicists can see them, in equations and Feynman diagrams, which is good enough.

    All was well, until new effects like neutron decay implied new forces and new invisible fields whose virtual particles had mass. The solution, in what was by now a well-oiled machine, was that another field created the virtual particles of the first field, and so the Higgs search began. The Higgs boson is the virtual particle created by an invisible field to explain another virtual particle created by another invisible field to explain an actual effect (neutron decay). Given dark energy and dark matter, it explains at best 4% of the mass of the universe, but the standard model needs it, so when after fifty years CERN found a million, million, million, millionth of a second signal in the possible range, physics was relieved. There is no evidence this “particle” has any effect on mass at all, but the standard model survives."
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  15. As drug industry’s influence over research grows, so does the potential for bias

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  16. Is the cold fusion egg about to hatch?

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  17. Is the Scientific Process Broken?

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  18. The Tacit Magical Thinking in Popular Science

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  19. Who Will Debunk The Debunkers?

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  20. Rupert Sheldrake; Redesigning Science - Exposing the Dogma (Video)

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