Medicine yields insights into global warming research

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Yes, the article is about medical research, but I suspect much of it also applies to global warming.

Statistically speaking, science suffers from an excess of significance. Overeager researchers often tinker too much with the statistical variables of their analysis to coax any meaningful insight from their data sets. "People are messing around with the data to find anything that seems significant, to show they have found something that is new and unusual," Dr. Ioannidis said.

In the U. S., research is a $55-billion-a-year enterprise that stakes its credibility on the reliability of evidence and the work of Dr. Ioannidis strikes a raw nerve. In fact, his 2005 essay "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False" remains the most downloaded technical paper that the journal PLoS Medicine has ever published.

H/T: Hot Air


Rick Ballard said...

It would be rather peculiar if people who are intelligent and sophisticated enough to believe that they were capable of fashioning their own personal ethical code didn't include exception and escape clauses permiting a little fudging now and again. Especially if the 'end' is attached to a 'greater good'. After all, there is no certification to lose, no legal ramifications that are clearly demarked, only 'reputation', which is clearly just another artificial power construct developed with the intent of subjugating people to artifical norms.

For Gaia's sake, let's keep the conversation focused on purity of motive and leave these niggling details to those incapable of maintaining completely open minds.

Barry Dauphin said...

Compunding the problem is the fact that most journals will not accept manuscripts for publication that do not show "significant" results. So whatever a researcher has "demonstrated" in one study, we don't know how many other attempts there have been, which have not seen the light of day due to insignificant results.