We Should Not Accept Scientific Results That Have Not Been Repeated

We Should Not Accept Scientific Results That Have Not Been Repeated, by Ahmed Alkhateeb.

A few years ago, I became aware of serious problem in science: the irreproducibility crisis.

A group of researchers at Amgen, an American pharmaceutical company, attempted to replicate 53 landmark cancer discoveries in close collaboration with the authors. Many of these papers were published in high-impact journals and came from prestigious academic institutions. To the surprise of everyone involved, they were able to replicate only six of those papers—approximately 11 percent.  …

The institutionalization of science in the early decades of the 20th century created a scientific sub-culture, with its own reward systems, behaviors, and social norms. The rest of society sees this sphere a bit differently: Scientists are portrayed as selfless individuals who are solely motivated by curiosity and a hunger for knowledge. However, the existence of the irreproducibility crisis implies that other motives may also exist. …

Sociologists of science have consistently identified “public recognition” as scientists’ primary motivating factor. …The inconvenient truth is that scientists can achieve fame and advance their careers through accomplishments that do not prioritize the quality of their work. If recognition is not based on quality, then scientists will not modify their behaviors to select for it. In the culture of modern science, it is better to be wrong than to be second. …

Objective quality should be based on the concept of independent replication: A finding would not be accepted as true unless it is independently verified.

Most people still don’t seem to realize that the carbon dioxide theory of global warming is based entirely on a model, which is to say it is theoretical. There is no empirical evidence to back it up, let alone reproducible evidence. In fact there is considerable empirical evidence to say it is dead wrong, namely the missing hotspot — and also the pause in warming for the last 15+ years isn’t exactly supportive. Yet the global elite is fully supportive of the theory … perhaps because regulating emissions of carbon dioxide requires a global bureaucracy.

hat-tip Matthew