Lies, Damned Lies, and Retractions – “settled” science unsettled

From Benedict Carey at the New York Times, via Chaos Manor:

“The crimes and misdemeanors of science used to be handled mostly in-house, with a private word at the faculty club, barbed questions at a conference, maybe a quiet dismissal. On the rare occasion when a journal publicly retracted a study, it typically did so in a cryptic footnote. Few were the wiser; many retracted studies have been cited as legitimate evidence by others years after the fact.


3 responses to “Lies, Damned Lies, and Retractions – “settled” science unsettled

  1. The problem is that science is, by and large, government-funded. Government has a political agenda. Scientists, like anyone who works for someone, know which side their bread is buttered on. They will produce results pleasing to those who hold the purse-strings. All it takes is some creative manipulation of raw data, just like the NOAA did recently in producing continued “warming” even though there hasn’t been any.

  2. ernestncurtis

    Right on, Ruth. It never ceases to amaze me that so many people fail to realize that government does indeed have its own agenda. One of the great successes of the advocates for big government was to convince most people that, because we have basically democratic institutions, that we are the government. As the great economist, Murray Rothbard, noted in respect to the Keynesian dictum on the national debt that the level of debt didn’t matter because “we owe it to ourselves” , the problem is that “we” and “ourselves” are two entirely different groups of people.

  3. I definitely agree that government funding taints science. Environmental sciences in particular have always had strong political influences. As far as I can see, privately funded science is no better. He who pays the piper still calls the tunes. Medical sciences are heavily influenced by money. Even astronomy has to justify its keep. If you don’t find something sexy with your big dollar telescope, your research won’t get funded. Money makes the world go around, even in the purest of scientific pursuits.

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