Implications of "Consensus" Science


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When we speak of free financial markets we recognize the value of each participant in the market to make decisions based on the information they have and what their needs are. Central planners do a poor job attempting to run economies because they do not have information necessary to make wise decisions concerning myriad aspects of the market or how individuals in that market will react to interference in their decision making.

Central planners often fail to recognize that expert participants in the market often know as much or more about the market and what the central planners intend to do or are likely to do than many of the individual central planners themselves. As such not only do they not have enough information to run economies they are competing both internally with the visions of other central planners and externally with experts who anticipate and often influence the actions of central planners.

Like central planners in the market central planners in science and technology do not have enough information to plan wisely, they are competing against the vision of other central planners and those not involved in central planning. Other experts may know more than the central planners and will act in their own interests that may involve influencing central planners, acting against them, or simply avoiding them. In any case those involved with the science and technology market will react to interference in their decision making.

Science and technology have been a major influence on economies since the beginning of economies. As such the participants in science and technology are significant players in the markets regardless of their individual financial gains.

Controlling information is part of the central planner’s path to power. The information bottlenecks and distortions created by the central planner’s ripples through the entire economy as decisions become more and more removed from correct information. Those in the market react to controlled and distorted information and may withhold information from central planners to gain what little advantage they can. Central planner control of major media markets is a sure sign of authoritarian rule to come.

In science and technology control of the journals is akin to control of the major media markets by central planners. Whether economic or scientific central planners - they can set the agenda, control the participants in the discussions, and determine acceptable dialog or political correctness.

When government central economic planners and science central planners act in concert individuals in the market get it from every direction. Science no longer remains the task of finding the correct answers to the questions we have of nature but is now part of central planner’s task of controlling information in order to maintain power. Political power and money go hand in hand so science and technology is to have its information controlled in order to divert money into political hands. Hence the growth of "Consensus" Science – which is to say non-science given the stamp of science by political consensus to further the power of central planners.

What about “Big Science”? The central planner’s answer is always “Big Government”. My answer is “Big Private Industry”. If private industry had grown like government has been allowed to grow there would be no project too big for private industry to handle - including nuclear and space development.

Dennis

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Dell Computer Corporation has $2 billion in cash and is considering taking itself private. The central planners took over physics and then biology. Computers - telecom and knowledge and related - have blossomed. Publication in a peer-reviewed journal is irrelevant, even unheard of. Google was not launched that way. (And no patents were filed.) I have no solution for you, Dennis, if you want to continue to work in physics. It is a tough slog, I know. In technical writing, I quote one price, and the buyer comes back with a higher price they are willing to pay. In security, I cannot get a management slot because I am not a reitred cop or former military. You go where the markets are. That's all I can recommend.

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Dell Computer Corporation has $2 billion in cash and is considering taking itself private. The central planners took over physics and then biology. Computers - telecom and knowledge and related - have blossomed. Publication in a peer-reviewed journal is irrelevant, even unheard of. Google was not launched that way. (And no patents were filed.) I have no solution for you, Dennis, if you want to continue to work in physics. It is a tough slog, I know. In technical writing, I quote one price, and the buyer comes back with a higher price they are willing to pay. In security, I cannot get a management slot because I am not a reitred cop or former military. You go where the markets are. That's all I can recommend.

I am mostly thinking out loud after an e-mail conversation with my cousin who was saying he doesn't expect his work in optics to be implemented in his lifetime. He has good reason for such pessimism with defense cuts coming and the central planners with their hands all over the kind of work he does slowing things down by decades.

In physics I have been convinced since 1992 that independent work is the only way to go. Things have only gotten much much worse since then. Not feeling sorry for myself - just a recognition of the limitations to affect large bureaucratic monsters out of control.

Dennis

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Consensus = scierntist 2 corroborating the predictions that scientist 1 makes under stated conditions with stated instruments with a stated error interval.

OR

scientist 2 checks the mathematical calculations and inferences of scientist 1.

this is not a popularity contest. It is a careful check by scientist 2 of the work of scientist 1.

That is how errors are exposed.

That is how science works.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Consensus = scierntist 2 corroborating the predictions that scientist 1 makes under stated conditions with stated instruments with a stated error interval.

OR

scientist 2 checks the mathematical calculations and inferences of scientist 1.

this is not a popularity contest. It is a careful check by scientist 2 of the work of scientist 1.

That is how errors are exposed.

That is how science works.

Ba'al Chatzaf

That is what it used to mean - not the case any longer. The language has been hijacked.

Dennis

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Consensus = scierntist 2 corroborating the predictions that scientist 1 makes under stated conditions with stated instruments with a stated error interval.

OR

scientist 2 checks the mathematical calculations and inferences of scientist 1.

this is not a popularity contest. It is a careful check by scientist 2 of the work of scientist 1.

That is how errors are exposed.

That is how science works.

Ba'al Chatzaf

That is what it used to mean - not the case any longer. The language has been hijacked.

Dennis

So you say. I have yet to see proof in physics.

Do you recall the recent broo ha ha over wether neutrinos go faster than light? That we cured within a month. A loose connection was found. The escutcheon of physics was not sullied.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Consensus = scierntist 2 corroborating the predictions that scientist 1 makes under stated conditions with stated instruments with a stated error interval.

OR

scientist 2 checks the mathematical calculations and inferences of scientist 1.

this is not a popularity contest. It is a careful check by scientist 2 of the work of scientist 1.

That is how errors are exposed.

That is how science works.

Ba'al Chatzaf

That is what it used to mean - not the case any longer. The language has been hijacked.

Dennis

So you say. I have yet to see proof in physics.

Do you recall the recent broo ha ha over wether neutrinos go faster than light? That we cured within a month. A loose connection was found. The escutcheon of physics was not sullied.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Those results were never blessed with the status of consensus science.

Dennis

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Those results were never blessed with the status of consensus science.

Dennis

I pay attention to the old fashioned kind of science which, I am happy to say, is still practiced.

I also note with some hope the the esteem in which string theory was once held is in decline.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Those results were never blessed with the status of consensus science.

Dennis

I pay attention to the old fashioned kind of science which, I am happy to say, is still practiced.

I also note with some hope the the esteem in which string theory was once held is in decline.

Ba'al Chatzaf

I agree that old fashion science is still practiced - but I know the term "consensus" science has purposefully been targeted and hijacked for political purposes. Although I agree string theory has lost some of it glamor if you look at the crew manning the "Perimeter Institute" you would think it was still the late 1980's and all hope rested with string theory.

Dennis

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Ba'al Chatzaf

I agree that old fashion science is still practiced - but I know the term "consensus" science has purposefully been targeted and hijacked for political purposes. Although I agree string theory has lost some of it glamor if you look at the crew manning the "Perimeter Institute" you would think it was still the late 1980's and all hope rested with string theory.

Dennis

When have the Lords ever hesitated in using any dirty trick they think they can get away with?

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Consensus = scierntist 2 corroborating the predictions that scientist 1 makes under stated conditions with stated instruments with a stated error interval.

OR

scientist 2 checks the mathematical calculations and inferences of scientist 1.

this is not a popularity contest. It is a careful check by scientist 2 of the work of scientist 1.

That is how errors are exposed.

That is how science works.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Well, yes, that is how science is intended to work. The corruption of science by politics (including corporate politics) begins with moral failures that consequentially degrade and betray the process. It is not just that the wrong people from Lysenko to Solyndra get government funding - which prevents funding to the right people. Government funding of science is no different than government subsidies to businesses, whether tariffs or direct grants. Changing form the spoils system to civil service improved the working lives of government employees but did nothing to solve the real problem of government acting beyond its proper bounds. So, too, with government funding of science, the deeper and more consequential problem is the general abandonment of the scientific method.

Junk Science: How Politicians, Corporations, and Other Hucksters Betray Us by Dan Agin, Ph.D., (Thomas Dunne St. Martin’s Press, 2006) repeats many of the known stories of Piltdown Man, eugenics, phrenology, and Lysenko. As a working biologist, he also offers cases that are less well known to the general public, such as Emil Abderhalden’s “defense enzymes.” Agin also writes about the recent cases (1997-2004) of Marion Brach, Friedhelm Herrmann, and Roland Mertelsmann who conspired to publish at least 37 and perhaps 100 papers for which the experiments and data were entirely fabricated.

“There are two prevalent myths concerning scientific fraud.

The first myth states that most scientific experiments are replicated by other laboratories, that science is self-correcting because the discovery of fraud involving the fabrication of data is inevitable.

The second myth is that scientific papers involving fabrication of data are extremely rare, with only a few fraudulent papers published in any one year." (Page 39)

In fact, given the huge body of published papers, even a small percentage of fraudulent cases – perhaps only 0.04% according to the arithmetic of published cases from the Office of Research Integrity of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – means that from the 5,600 significant scientific journals come 400 fraudulent papers each year. However, by the metrics of criminologist Liqun Cao, (see previous posts on this blog) the number might be closer to 200,000 given that the intentional harms might be small: rounding up or rounding down, dropping inconvenient data, etc. The median guess might be the most accurate. “In one survey published by American Scientist in 1993, between 6 and 9 percent of scientist respondents said that they were personally aware of results that had been plagiarized or fabricated within their facilities.” (Page 40)

From my blog here.

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If science is so damned corrupt explain the corpus of technology that emerges from it. We have mammoth technological improvements. The basic science must be pretty near right for the engineers and applications guys to do so will with it.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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If science is so damned corrupt explain the corpus of technology that emerges from it. We have mammoth technological improvements. The basic science must be pretty near right for the engineers and applications guys to do so will with it.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Most of the technological improvements of late are largely electronics related and based on fundamental physics from generations ago. Electronics is by no means a free market but it is much freer than many other markets hence the flood of money into that sector and the innovation that flows when you have at least partial freedom in a market. You don't see mammoth technological improvements in many other markets that are less free. Again a case of the seen and the unseen.

Dennis

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Agreed, add to that that millions of science graduates see research as their "only" option and are hardly at all trained to go into business. Did you know that dentists typically have a class in Practice Management? Other doctors do not. Of course, at the university, if you major in physics and pursue a graduate or post-grad degree, taking business management classes is not part of that. The anti-capitalist mentality is deeply engrained and strongly embedded.

OTOH, with computers in general and "electronics" in general - and other areas, too, see below - largely, people with cool ideas want to market them. So, they learn on the fly what the schools did not (cannot) teach.

Over on LinkedIn, I joined the DIY Bio group which is international in scope. I am active here in the Austin Biotech meetup and LinkedIn group. My review of Biopunk: DIY Scientists Hack the Software of Life. So, in life sciences, genetic engineering, people work on their own to develop products, rather than working in a university research lab. The same stories come from another book I reviewed, She's Such a Geek! Several of the women who wrote for that left either the big university or big business to acheve more consequentiality.

I add here that the author points out for 100 years, scientists from Pasteur to Salk worked without apparatus that we have in our kitchens. The same applies to our garage and basement workshops. The point is that the mass media presentations of the gizmos and gadgets confuse technology with science, which Dewdney carefully delineates. Science is a method. Science does not necessarily lead to technology. Often, technology is later explained by science.

Another of my book reviews:

Embargoed Science by Vincent Kierman (University of Illinois Press, 2006). Major academic journals such as Nature, Science, the New England Journal of Medicine, and a hundred or so others, have a policy of announcing important publications by sending press releases to major mainstream media on the condition that the reporters not publish until the journal does. The result is loud bursts of astounding science stories breaking on our awareness ... which then fade … until the next time. The true costs include the loss of reflection and review, as contradictory findings roll out over the years without in-depth comparison and contrast. Another cost is the loss of independence both of the news media which will not pursue a story beyond the press release; and also among the scientists who are constrained to divulge only what they publish in peer-reviewed journals.
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The peer review process is self-correcting. But to what end? In physics where there is no product to sell, I suppose truth. But what if the purpose of the research and the peer review is to sell a product?

There is a lot of reading material here.

http://dorway.com/history-of-aspartame/

I will cut it down for you. Starting under 1976.

This is what passes for science when the goal is not truth but to sell a product.

A few of the relevant findings summarized from various documents describing the FDA Task Force Report:

a. “Excising masses (tumors) from live animals, in some cases without histologic examination of the masses, in others without reporting them to the FDA.” (Schmidt 1976c, page 4 of US Senate 1976b) Searle’s representatives, when caught and questioned about these actions, stated that “these masses were in the head and neck areas and prevented the animals from feeding.” (Buzzard 1976a)

“Failure to report to the FDA all internal tumors present in the experimental rats, e.g., polyps in the uterus, ovary neoplasms as well as other lesions.” (Gross 1987a, page 8).

b. G.D. Searle “stored animal tissues in formaldehyde for so long that they deteriorated.” (Gordon 1987, page 496 of US Senate 1987; US Schmidt 1976c, page 25, 27 of US Senate 1976b)

c. “Instead of performing autopsies on rhesus monkeys that suffered seizures after being fed aspartame, the company had financed a new monkey seizure study with a different methodology that showed no problems.” (Gordon 1987, page 496 of US Senate 1987)

d. “Reporting animals as unavailable for necropsy when, in fact, records indicate that the animals were available but Searle choose not to purchase them.” (Schmidt 1976c, page 5 of US Senate 1976b)

e. Animals which had died were sometimes recorded as being alive and vica versa. “These include approximately 20 instances of animals reported as dead and then reported as having vital signs normal again at subsequent observation
periods.” (Gross 1985, page S10835)

f. “Selecting statistical procedures which used a total number of animals as the denominator when only a portion of the animals were examined, thus reducing the significance of adverse effects.” (Schmidt 1976c, page 4 of US Senate 1976b)

g. G.D. Searle told the FDA that 12 lots of DKP were manufactured and tested in one study, yet only seven batches were actually made. (Gross 1985, page S10835)

h. “Significant deviations from the protocols of several studies were noted which may have compromised the value of these studies… In at least one study, the Aspartame 52 weeks monkey study, the protocol was written after the study had been initiated.” (Gross 1985, page S10835)

i. “It is significant to note that the Searle employee responsible for reviewing most of the reproduction studies had only one year of prior experience, working on population dynamics of cotton tail rabbits while employed by Illinois Wildlife Service. In order to prepare him for this title of ‘Senior Research Assistant in Teratology’ (fetal damage) Searle bought him books to read on the subject and also sent him to a meeting of the Teratology Society. This qualified him to submit 18 of the initial tests to the FDA, in addition to training an assistant and 2 technicians. He certainly must have kept them busy because Searle claimed that 329 teratology examinations were conducted in just 2 days. He estimated that he himself examined about 30 fetuses a day, but officials for the Center for Food and Applied Nutrition could never determine how that was possible.” (Stoddard 1995a, page 9; Graves 1984, page S5500 of Congressional Record 1985a)

j. “In each study investigated, poor practices, inaccuracies, and discrepancies were noted in the antemortem phases which could compromise the study.” (Gross 1985, page S10836 of Congressional Record 1985b)

k. “Presenting information to FDA in a manner likely to obscure problems, such as editing the report of a consulting pathologist… Reporting one pathology report while failing to submit, or make reference to another usually more adverse pathology report on the same slide.” (Schmidt 1976c, page 4-5 of US Senate 1976b)

l. Animals were not removed from the room during the twice per month exterminator sprayings. (Gross 1985, page S10836 of Congressional Record 1985b)

m. Often the substance being tested that was given to the animals was not analyzed or tested for homogeneity. “No records were found to indicate that any treatment mixtures used in the studies were ever tested or assayed for pesticide content… Running inventory records for either treatment mixtures or the test compounds used in treatment mixtures are not maintained.” (Gross 1985, page S10836 of Congressional Record 1985b)

n. In the Aspartame (DKP) 115 week rat study the written observations of the pathology report was changed by the supervising pathologist, Dr. Rudolph Stejskal even though he was not physically present during the autopsies and could not have verified the observations of the pathologist who did perform the autopsies. The pathologist who did perform some of the autopsies had no formal training for such procedures. (Gross 1985, page S10837 of Congressional Record 1985b)

o. “Contrary to protocol, slides were not prepared of this [unusual lesions from the Aspartame (DKP) study) tissue for microscopic examinstions…” (Gross 1985, page S10837 of Congressional Record 1985b)

p. “In the Aspartame 46 weeks hamster study, blood samples reported in the submission to FDA as 26 week values (for certain specified animals) were found by our investigators as being, in fact, values for different animals, which were bled at the 38th week. Many of the animals for which these values were reported (to the FDA) were dead at the 38th week.” (Gross 1985, page S10838 of Congressional Record 1985b)

“It is apparent from the report, that the Appendix portion contains all the individual (animal) values of clinical lab data available from the raw data file. A selected portion of these values appears to have been used in computing group means (which were reported to the FDA). It is not clear what criteria may have been used for selecting a portion of the data or for deleting the others in computing the means (reported to the FDA).” (Gross 1985, page S10838 of Congressional Record 1985b)

q. “Searle technical personnel failed to adhere to protocols, make accurate observations, sign and date records, and accurately administer the product under test and proper lab procedures.” (Farber 1989, page 109)

r. [There were] “clerical or arithmetic errors, which resulted in reports of fewer tumors.” (Schmidt 1976c, page 27 of US Senate 1976b)

s. [G.D. Searle] “delayed the reporting of alarming findings.” (Schmidt 1976c, page 27 of US Senate 1976b)

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The peer review process is self-correcting. But to what end? In physics where there is no product to sell, I suppose truth. But what if the purpose of the research and the peer review is to sell a product?

There is a lot of reading material here.

http://dorway.com/history-of-aspartame/

I will cut it down for you. Starting under 1976.

This is what passes for science when the goal is not truth but to sell a product.

A few of the relevant findings summarized from various documents describing the FDA Task Force Report:

a. “Excising masses (tumors) from live animals, in some cases without histologic examination of the masses, in others without reporting them to the FDA.” (Schmidt 1976c, page 4 of US Senate 1976b) Searle’s representatives, when caught and questioned about these actions, stated that “these masses were in the head and neck areas and prevented the animals from feeding.” (Buzzard 1976a)

“Failure to report to the FDA all internal tumors present in the experimental rats, e.g., polyps in the uterus, ovary neoplasms as well as other lesions.” (Gross 1987a, page 8).

b. G.D. Searle “stored animal tissues in formaldehyde for so long that they deteriorated.” (Gordon 1987, page 496 of US Senate 1987; US Schmidt 1976c, page 25, 27 of US Senate 1976b)

c. “Instead of performing autopsies on rhesus monkeys that suffered seizures after being fed aspartame, the company had financed a new monkey seizure study with a different methodology that showed no problems.” (Gordon 1987, page 496 of US Senate 1987)

d. “Reporting animals as unavailable for necropsy when, in fact, records indicate that the animals were available but Searle choose not to purchase them.” (Schmidt 1976c, page 5 of US Senate 1976b)

e. Animals which had died were sometimes recorded as being alive and vica versa. “These include approximately 20 instances of animals reported as dead and then reported as having vital signs normal again at subsequent observation

periods.” (Gross 1985, page S10835)

f. “Selecting statistical procedures which used a total number of animals as the denominator when only a portion of the animals were examined, thus reducing the significance of adverse effects.” (Schmidt 1976c, page 4 of US Senate 1976b)

g. G.D. Searle told the FDA that 12 lots of DKP were manufactured and tested in one study, yet only seven batches were actually made. (Gross 1985, page S10835)

h. “Significant deviations from the protocols of several studies were noted which may have compromised the value of these studies… In at least one study, the Aspartame 52 weeks monkey study, the protocol was written after the study had been initiated.” (Gross 1985, page S10835)

i. “It is significant to note that the Searle employee responsible for reviewing most of the reproduction studies had only one year of prior experience, working on population dynamics of cotton tail rabbits while employed by Illinois Wildlife Service. In order to prepare him for this title of ‘Senior Research Assistant in Teratology’ (fetal damage) Searle bought him books to read on the subject and also sent him to a meeting of the Teratology Society. This qualified him to submit 18 of the initial tests to the FDA, in addition to training an assistant and 2 technicians. He certainly must have kept them busy because Searle claimed that 329 teratology examinations were conducted in just 2 days. He estimated that he himself examined about 30 fetuses a day, but officials for the Center for Food and Applied Nutrition could never determine how that was possible.” (Stoddard 1995a, page 9; Graves 1984, page S5500 of Congressional Record 1985a)

j. “In each study investigated, poor practices, inaccuracies, and discrepancies were noted in the antemortem phases which could compromise the study.” (Gross 1985, page S10836 of Congressional Record 1985b)

k. “Presenting information to FDA in a manner likely to obscure problems, such as editing the report of a consulting pathologist… Reporting one pathology report while failing to submit, or make reference to another usually more adverse pathology report on the same slide.” (Schmidt 1976c, page 4-5 of US Senate 1976b)

l. Animals were not removed from the room during the twice per month exterminator sprayings. (Gross 1985, page S10836 of Congressional Record 1985b)

m. Often the substance being tested that was given to the animals was not analyzed or tested for homogeneity. “No records were found to indicate that any treatment mixtures used in the studies were ever tested or assayed for pesticide content… Running inventory records for either treatment mixtures or the test compounds used in treatment mixtures are not maintained.” (Gross 1985, page S10836 of Congressional Record 1985b)

n. In the Aspartame (DKP) 115 week rat study the written observations of the pathology report was changed by the supervising pathologist, Dr. Rudolph Stejskal even though he was not physically present during the autopsies and could not have verified the observations of the pathologist who did perform the autopsies. The pathologist who did perform some of the autopsies had no formal training for such procedures. (Gross 1985, page S10837 of Congressional Record 1985b)

o. “Contrary to protocol, slides were not prepared of this [unusual lesions from the Aspartame (DKP) study) tissue for microscopic examinstions…” (Gross 1985, page S10837 of Congressional Record 1985b)

p. “In the Aspartame 46 weeks hamster study, blood samples reported in the submission to FDA as 26 week values (for certain specified animals) were found by our investigators as being, in fact, values for different animals, which were bled at the 38th week. Many of the animals for which these values were reported (to the FDA) were dead at the 38th week.” (Gross 1985, page S10838 of Congressional Record 1985b)

“It is apparent from the report, that the Appendix portion contains all the individual (animal) values of clinical lab data available from the raw data file. A selected portion of these values appears to have been used in computing group means (which were reported to the FDA). It is not clear what criteria may have been used for selecting a portion of the data or for deleting the others in computing the means (reported to the FDA).” (Gross 1985, page S10838 of Congressional Record 1985b)

q. “Searle technical personnel failed to adhere to protocols, make accurate observations, sign and date records, and accurately administer the product under test and proper lab procedures.” (Farber 1989, page 109)

r. [There were] “clerical or arithmetic errors, which resulted in reports of fewer tumors.” (Schmidt 1976c, page 27 of US Senate 1976b)

s. [G.D. Searle] “delayed the reporting of alarming findings.” (Schmidt 1976c, page 27 of US Senate 1976b)

The first best defense is to keep the government out of it entirely. You can trace the change in sweeteners hysterias right back to congressional and corporate insider trading when they can ban substances on a known time schedule then invest to reap the profits.

Dennis

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The peer review process is self-correcting. But to what end? In physics where there is no product to sell, I suppose truth. But what if the purpose of the research and the peer review is to sell a product?

The first best defense is to keep the government out of it entirely. You can trace the change in sweeteners hysterias right back to congressional and corporate insider trading when they can ban substances on a known time schedule then invest to reap the profits.

Dennis

JTS, having a product to sell was only a surface effect. The researchers were employees who were rewarded for favorable results and for whom no oversight was engaged. We do not do that for accounting or shipping and receiving. Blueprints have blocks and in the blocks are fields for the checkers. Some sign their initials or names but often historically someone has their own special stamp and colored pad they use. It becomes integral to the process: without the green JTS-in-a-circle, manufacturing will not produce the part because the prints were not checked.

In the laboratory, it is different.

And more to the point, perhaps, whether in government, in a corporation, or in your own shop, great work and horrbie lapses alike are expected and obtained. I am reading Gleick's Genius now. Feynman, Bethe, Oppenheimer, they did not need oversight committees to keep them honest: they were honest. Most people are. It is honest mistakes that we seek most to avoid. Arithmetic errors happen.

When someone chooses to be dishonest, government organizations are probably the worst at oversight, with corporations somewhat better. Systematically,that is to be expected. When you are dishonest in your own lab or workshop, only you (and your immediate customers) suffer. Many years ago, a friend of mine told me the story of a perpetual motion advocate who was killed when his machine flew apart from centrifugal force. No social system can prevent that.

It comes down to the individual. We know that some people are tempted by opportunity. We know that criminogenic organizations differentially reward dishonesty. We know that criminals actively seek opportunities. Overall, as we Objectivists know, our society lacks a strong moral basis because it has the wrong moral foundation. I believe that 250 years ago, Benjamin Franklin and Adam Smith indicated the proper pathway, but few followed.

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Physicists tend not to replicate published work because no reward for doing so exists, aside from the search for Truth. However, chemists do rely on new synthesis (and analysis) upon which to build their own solutions. Think of guys window shopping in the Craftsman aisles at Sears or the hardware store or Home Depot: "Hey, I can use one of those!" Then, they try.... and they either replicate or not.... Now comes this via the Slash Dot nerd news service:

Bloggers Put Scientific Method To the Test 2
Posted by Unknown Lamer on Tuesday January 22, @01:10AM
from the like-mythbusters-but-with-science dept
.

Link here

"Scrounging chemicals and equipment in their spare time, a team of chemistry bloggers is trying to replicate published protocols for making molecules. The researchers want to check how easy it is to repeat the recipes that scientists report in papers — and are inviting fellow chemists to join them. Blogger See Arr Oh, chemistry graduate student Matt Katcher from Princeton, New Jersey, and two bloggers called Organometallica and BRSM, have together launched Blog Syn, in which they report their progress online. Among the frustrations that led the team to set up Blog Syn are claims that reactions yield products in greater amounts than seems reasonable, and scanty detail about specific conditions in which to run reactions. In some cases, reactions are reported which seem too good to be true — such as a 2009 paper which was corrected within 24 hours by web-savvy chemists live-blogging the experiment; an episode which partially inspired Blog Syn. According to chemist Peter Scott of the University of Warwick in Coventry, UK, synthetic chemists spend most of their time getting published reactions to work. 'That is the elephant in the room of synthetic chemistry.'"

I highly recommend The Same and Not the Same by Roald Hoffmann. Hoffmann is a chemist and a Nobel Laureate. In this apologia for chemistry, he writes about the need to replicate results and says that about one-third fail.

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