I had an interesting argument with a friend a few weeks ago re:the reliability of scientific studies. Turns out he’s wiser (or just older) and I’m a mouthy chump.

When scientists battle for recognition (a.k.a. get their names in the history books), they do so via scientific papers and research projects. Coming up with the latest findings and experimenting with current issues are their bread and butter. We trust them to stick to the impartial scientific method.

But what happens if you’re a scientist and the 2-year project you’ve worked on is going nowhere? Enter: natural human instinct.

We see it on the news sometimes: “such-and-such study was retracted” or “scientists are re-examining the correlation between children picking their noses and IQ scores”. Most of us shrug it away and move on…

As it turns out, about 2/3 of the retracted scientific papers are pulled due to intentionally misleading results and poor scientific methodology (Popular Science). In other words, the scientists made things up (University of Washington).

To summarize, integrity is a lost art.

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