a guest Apr 17th, 2018 72 Never
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- The natural sciences do not have a magical property that makes those engaged in it superhuman. I wanted to say honest, but I have seen the 'rot' first hand, and my impression is that you cannot really blame people too much for what happens.
- Anyway, my canonical example for a successful but bankrupt branch of science is string theory physics and some of the stuff floating around it. You don't have to believe me, for there are books on it: Not Even Wrong by Peter Woit and The Trouble With Physics by Lee Smolin. Essentially, it's physics that's impossible to test or falsify, so it's pretty useless, but is very successful in attracting money.
- Then there is the ailment called p-fishing, and its symptom the 'replicability crisis'. This sounds as if something is being done about it, but that is not what I see: too many people are invested to the hilt in their fields, children to be fed and mortgage to be paid and all. And too competitive an environment, where you just cannot afford to have been wrong.
- The replicability crisis bit the social sciences, but that is because its subject matter is relatively easy to understand for outsiders. Some fields in biology and medicine (and even in applied math) are very well shielded from outside by an impenetrable thicket of technicalities and jargon, so it is hard for an outsider to assess the bankrupcy, and thus nothing for whistleblowers to talk about. Peers are invested in the survival of the field, and often living in denial, so nothing comes of "peer review".
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