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Counter-science

Countering the spread of unverified or unverifiable results

Published onNov 20, 2020
Counter-science
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Single-study fragility...
Weight placed on results...
Extraordinary support for extraordinary claims…

The challenge: snake oil science
There is a common failure mode — where established scientists study highly unlikely or surprising hypotheses, occasionally find support for those hypotheses, selectively cite anyone else who ever had similar results, and declare victory. Pop-science gives it attention, social media broadcasts the result as truth. Rinse + repeat

Plausible-sounding, authoritatively-delivered, but ultimately ungrounded.

How do we catch these failures early and minimize amplification of results that depend on them?

How do we chang the publishing incentive structure to counter any transient benefits from misleading society this way, and perhaps go further (to more strongly discourage this, as we do plagiarism).

Examples

1) COVID-19 not so deadly? : Ioannidis (+ / ?? / -)

2) Crank physics : EM Drive (and impact of the published NASA study)

3) Arbitrary decisions embedded in history: Recommended Daily Allowance?

4) Why we sleep (+ / -) : (and the sleep revolution?)


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