Announcement Next week I am on vacation as I prepare for the Cultural Event of the year. There will be no new posts: there may be classic reposts.
Last week I was invited to a National Association of Scholars event, hosted by Scott Turner: Is Science Broken?
The answer is yes. Yes, it is. Here’s what they said about the event:
On the surface, modern science glitters like a shining jewel, a rare instance of government spending that works. The MEDLINE database lists more than 1.6 million scientific papers published in 2022 alone. Scratch the surface, though, and the picture looks less rosy. Validation is dicey. Retractions are ramping up. Outright fraud bubbles up more frequently. Politics, not reason, is firmly in the driver’s seat. Breakthroughs are rare, and seemingly independent of spending. More and more, science seems to be something like a very expensive version of Head Start: a money sink that has no aim but self-preservation.
They have had, and will have, many similar events—at the link above.
(Yes, my lighting stinks, I look sallower than a fatted pig fallen into a vat of rancid butter, and the sound is not so hot either, but Steps Are Being Taken to rectify these shortcomings. Regular readers know how much I love video, hence the delay. But since the Broken Science podcast is now starting, I am forced to upgrade from the spoken to the visual word.)
We had some time to answer a few questions from viewers (start at around 45 minutes). I also received this thoughtful email from Anon, which might be of interest to many. My answers follow.
Dear Mister Briggs,
Many thanks for your fantastic webinar yesterday. I learned a lot of great things again. I would like to ask you some follow-up questions and remarks.
First, as you already mentioned, a practical how-to book would be very nice. A book like Data Analysis for Business, Economics, and Policy by Gábor Békés and Gábor Kézdi, for example. This is more of a hands-on book.
Moreover, are you familiar with the logical thinking process of cause and effect developed by Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt and fine-tuned by William Dettmer and Lisa Scheinkopf? Do you find logical maps based on observations useful?
In addition, are you familiar with Professor James Tour and his harsh critique on (a)biogenesis? Mister Tour talks a lot about the vast over-certainty in his field of chemistry. I believe this is one of his most interesting videos about bad science.
Lastly, are you active on the blog Watts Up With That? People often mention the importance of measurement error analysis (e.g., John R. Taylor). One of the prominent voices here is Mister (Patrick) Frank. I have attached some of his papers; maybe you can give them a quick look if you are unfamiliar with his work.
I hope to hear from you.
Many thanks again. Keep up the good work!
PS I deeply admire you for your work, humor, and extreme intelligence. You are one of few people that can see through the web of lies in this modern society.
PSS The Amazon suggestions The Effect: An Introduction to Research Design and Causality and Thinking Clearly with Data: A Guide to Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis are also very interesting examples.
Yes, I’ve started a book to rival Uncertainty, in more general terms. Maybe a good title is Broken Science — And How To Fix It. Or some such banal thing. I’m terrible at titles.
I don’t know the works of Goldratt or his followers, or of Tour. Maybe some of our readers do?
Frank’s efforts I do know, and admire. His papers should be looked up and read by everybody as terrific arguments that “climate change” science is vastly more uncertain that most know. The ones you sent (for everybody else) are: “Are Climate Modelers Scientists?“, “Propagation of Error and the Reliability of Global Air Temperature Projections“, and “LiG Metrology, Correlated Error, and the Integrity of the Global Surface Air-Temperature Record“.
I don’t publish directly at Anthony Watt’s fine site, though some followers of mine post my things there from time to time. Many of their guys drop by here, too.
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