Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It needs to be highlighted

So, I'm a proponent of the scientific method. I consider it the best method to date for gathering objective data, and figuring out how this world of ours operates. One of the key components of the scientific method is "replication of experiments/studies." Meaning if someone does a study or an experiment that seems to show evidence for, say, precognition, telepathy, homeopathy, the efficacy of a drug, the Higgs Boson particle, a genetic basis for homophobia, etc etc, I want to see the study replicated. I want another group of researchers to try the experiment themselves, and see if it works out the same, because guess what? Sometimes, it doesn't. Once the experiment has been replicated multiple times, and once the experiment has been vetted for any methodology errors, bias creeping in, and other problems, I want other experiments to be tried that maybe approach the hypothesis from a slightly different angle. All of this should be done with an eye toward falsifying the hypothesis, and every step of the way should be documented and published in peer reviewed publications.

Thus, when I see something like what Ben Goldacre is reporting, I find it disappointing and annoying. Mr. Goldacre made some excellent points, and I agree entirely.

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