The rot from within: bad science and distrust of experts

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Climate change naysayers and anti-vaxxers frequently make the claim:

“Peer-reviewed literature is often faulty.”

Sadly, this is true. Too much peer reviewed literature IS faulty… a fact that is upsetting to those of us who count on such research to be authoritative.

And then there is the problem of how reporting of research can be misleading yet adding another layer of doubt.

And of course there are well publicised cases of people writing nonsense that gets published or being epic fraudsters who last for years.

And there’s social taboo of calling out colleagues which can make the checks and balances of peer reviewed research hard to actually carry out. The hoops David Brockman had to go to in order to expose Michael LaCour being a great example of this.

The fight for funding and recognition has become ugly and integrity is getting more scarce. It is certainly not “often faulty” but it is often enough that there is a serious problem.

The worst offenders appear to be in drug research but their behaviour casts a shadow on all scientists, including climate scientists.

We shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater and toss out all scientific research as dubious. But it this shambolic state of affairs that gives people reason to doubt experts.

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