Science is broken…

It’s worth remembering whenever you read something in the media wherein a gullible hack with a degree in Art History and a twenty-something’s sense of certainty starts spewing forth about health or the environment or whatever they think ‘the science’ is settled on.

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It isn’t that scientists are frauds; it’s that the incentive system in science is flawed. As a community, we want science to build up a reliable body of knowledge. But as an individual scientist, you are incentivised to publish lots of papers showing exciting, novel results. And when the individual’s incentives don’t align with wider society’s, the individual incentives will win out almost every time. The trouble is, this wastes resources, skews results and creates fake narratives.

The article highlights some of the problems, but it only obliquely deals with the biggest one: that scientists are heavily disincentivised by the system of funding from pursuing one of the fundamental requirements of scientific rigour, which is to set out with the aim of falsifying previous experimental results, or pursuing a null-hypothesis.

Thus having seen false-positives or statistically flawed results accepted into the canon, funding to independently validate or falsify such results does not exist.

Co-incidentally, it’s just another one of the many and diverse things that Vox Day has been across for years.



2 thoughts on “Science is broken…

    • It’s high time a university offered a degree course in XKCD studies. God knows what levels of cognitive dissonance it would lead to.

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