You are being bamboozled by “science” and you don’t even know it. Everytime you hear about a “new scientific finding,” you are being hoodwinked in one way or another. What’s worse, government policymakers are making bets worth hundreds of billions of dollars or more on science that is just plain wrong. The rot runs deep, and most people don’t understand the deep morass that their “betters” are putting them into:
Various factors contribute to the problem. Statistical mistakes are widespread. The peer reviewers who evaluate papers before journals commit to publishing them are much worse at spotting mistakes than they or others appreciate. Professional pressure, competition and ambition push scientists to publish more quickly than would be wise. A career structure which lays great stress on publishing copious papers exacerbates all these problems. “There is no cost to getting things wrong,” says Brian Nosek, a psychologist at the University of Virginia who has taken an interest in his discipline’s persistent errors. “The cost is not getting them published.” _Unreliable Research
Scientists and scientific publishing are more influenced by pressure to publish than most people understand. They can even be willing to “bend” the results to suit those who are funding the work, or those who have the power to publish or deny publishing of the work.
… As their ranks have swelled, to 6m-7m active researchers on the latest reckoning, scientists have lost their taste for self-policing and quality control. The obligation to “publish or perish” has come to rule over academic life. Competition for jobs is cut-throat.
…one in three researchers knows of a colleague who has pepped up a paper by, say, excluding inconvenient data from results “based on a gut feeling”. …
…failures to prove a hypothesis are rarely even offered for publication, let alone accepted. “Negative results” now account for only 14% of published papers, down from 30% in 1990. Yet knowing what is false is as important to science as knowing what is true. The failure to report failures means that researchers waste money and effort exploring blind alleys already investigated by other scientists.
The hallowed process of peer review is not all it is cracked up to be, either. When a prominent medical journal ran research past other experts in the field, it found that most of the reviewers failed to spot mistakes it had deliberately inserted into papers, even after being told they were being tested. _Problems with Scientific Research
Scientists have become the modern archbishops of truth. If a news announcer proclaims that “most scientists think . . .” or “most scientists believe that . . . ” the gullible public tends to march in lockstep with the media. So while the media is arguably “one of the least trusted institutions in North America,” if the media makes pronouncements in the name of science, it can push the public in almost any direction it wants.
Europe has fallen deeply under the spell of scientism — the quasi-religion of science — particularly when it comes to the chaotic and indeterminate field of climate. Spain is suffering badly from its foolish commitment to green-energy-to-save-the-planet. Even worse, Germany — the economic driver of Europe — is in danger of losing its industrial competitiveness from its credulous descent into dependency on unreliable intermittent energy.
Politicians and policy-makers are even less able to distinguish good science from bad science than are peer reviewers — and the widespread incompetence of peer review is just beginning to go public.
Worst of all, most of the funders of modern science have a vested interest in the outcome of the research, including government funding agencies. All modern scientific findings should be viewed skeptically, now more than ever, particularly where political influence has clearly been exerted (see ClimateGate).
Normally in life, one is able to trust but verify. In modern science it is best to be skeptical, even after verifying.