Skip to main content

You Oughta Know: "Facts" & "The Truth" Just Aren't What They Used To Be

Okay, so I just read this article on The New Yorker's site "The Decline Effect and the Scientific Method", and it had some pretty shocking results to me. Why shocking you may ask?

According to Ioannidis, the main problem is that too many researchers engage in what he calls “significance chasing,” or finding ways to interpret the data so that it passes the statistical test of significance—the ninety-five-per-cent boundary invented by Ronald Fisher. “The scientists are so eager to pass this magical test that they start playing around with the numbers, trying to find anything that seems worthy,” Ioannidis says. In recent years, Ioannidis has become increasingly blunt about the pervasiveness of the problem. One of his most cited papers has a deliberately provocative title: “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False.”



This is particularly troubling in regards to clinical trials -- the things they use to determine if a new drug or treatment works or is safe.


Many scientific theories continue to be considered true even after failing numerous experimental tests. Verbal overshadowing might exhibit the decline effect, but it remains extensively relied upon within the field. The same holds for any number of phenomena, from the disappearing benefits of second-generation antipsychotics to the weak coupling ratio exhibited by decaying neutrons, which appears to have fallen by more than ten standard deviations between 1969 and 2001. Even the law of gravity hasn’t always been perfect at predicting real-world phenomena. (In one test, physicists measuring gravity by means of deep boreholes in the Nevada desert found a two-and-a-half-per-cent discrepancy between the theoretical predictions and the actual data.) Despite these findings, second-generation antipsychotics are still widely prescribed, and our model of the neutron hasn’t changed. The law of gravity remains the same.

"The truth wears off" indeed. - QBF

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

#SundayStrips

She's a natural! - QBF


#NSFWMonday

I'm not saying that today's dose of sexy will directly lead to you having an awesome week... but I'm not not saying it either! - QBF

#NSFWMonday

Monday's motivational mocha ladies are brought to you by your friendly neighbourhood Quick Brown Fox! - QBF