"This Study Shows" and science are not the same thing.

in #news2 years ago


I have come to the point where I check out the moment I see a news story with the words "Study shows." It's not that I dismiss studies off hand. Nobody should. But, I hate that kind of reporting passing as science.

A study showed that vaccines cause autism. That was complete bullshit. A study showed some evidence of ESP in humans. Complete bullshit. A study showed a connection between GMO foods and cancer in rats. Again, complete bullshit.

Some of these cases are products of nefarious intent. It's pretty clear that Wakefield lied about the connection between vaccines and autism due to a profit motive. The GMO study was clearly manipulative and conducted by a person who was out to try to prove that GMOs are unsafe even though they clearly are.

Some cases, like the ESP study, were conducted honestly; but, with bad methodology that only became clearly flawed in retrospect.

Some studies are conducted honestly with sound methodology and are still wrong because of flukes. That's why studies only really carry weight if results can be replicated.

Sharing news stories reporting on studies isn't a sign of great scientific knowledge or devotion to science. It really shows the opposite. It shows a willingness to pick and choose your preferred version of reality rather than looking at the preponderance of the evidence.