Bad science, humility, virtues.


Among Stanford University’s palm trees and sandstone arches—the picture of ivory-tower—there’s going to be a center dedicated to chipping away that ivory, The Economist reports. The university plans to open a Meta-Research Innovation Center: a center for the study of bad science.

The center will take aim at biomedical studies that are poorly designed, are redundant, weren’t published because they report negative results, and/or independent scientists can’t reproduce. The idea is that an enormous number of published studies showing that Drug X cures Disease Y, or that Gene A is related to Condition B, are actually incorrect. Drug X doesn’t cure Disease Y, or isn’t really better at curing Disease Y than Drug Z, which has been around forever. Nevertheless, because of poor statistical analysis or other problems, scientific journals publish these untrue studies. Doctors then read those studies and use them to help decide how to treat their patients. (1)

It is characteristic that 80 percent of non-randomized studies (by far the most common type) turn out to be wrong.

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A step in the right direction nonetheless.

In every aspect of life (religion included), being humble is the best way to earn respect.

A single announcement of efforts to find bad science is much more effective than 1000 announcements on the power of good science. In the same way efforts to fix the errors of church helps religion, any effort which tries to find and fix errors of science helps and promotes science in the best way.

He who admits his powerlessness is the most powerful of all.
We are all part of a world full of incompleteness.
Let’s not try to promote our merits, but to pinpoint our sins.
Stay low if you wish to reach the highest hights…

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  1. jbw0123

    Here, here!

    1. skakos

      ?! 🙂

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