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March 13, 2012


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i found the "the scientific impotence excuse" amusing.

Basically they're saying people make up their own conclusion when they don't agree that a scientific publication observed something they don't like.

Frankly, I see people do this all the time. However, I don't think the problem is psychological. I think most people do not understand the scientific method and are incapable of determining whether a particular observation or experiment conforms with how science works. Thus they can not determine the limitations of the study, let alone if the math is done properly in statistical analysis.

As science is a process of putting forward a hypothesis, testing it, replicating the previous experiment again but slightly differently to account for other variables - determining the hypothesis does not fit every scenario and offering an improved hypothesis - and repeating. Thus science produces knowledge. The more often an experiment is replicated identically (for example not adding additional control groups or accounting for other variables or observations) the worse the poorer 'quality of the science'.

"In a survey of 4,600 studies from across the sciences, Daniele Fanelli, a social scientist at the University of Edinburgh, UK, found that the proportion of positive results rose by more than 22% between 1990 and 2007 (ref. 3). Psychology and psychiatry, according to other work by Fanelli4, are the worst offenders: they are five times more likely to report a positive result than are the space sciences"

So in short, Science does not actually allow subjective measurements at all either, that's kinda what it was created to offer an alternative to. All measurements must be made by instruments that can replicate a reading from one person to another, even if it's a monkey or a trained dog or a robot/machine/sensor making the measurement. This is called objective. Everything can be measured objectively, the degree to which we can measure it is the degree to which we have certainty something has been observed. If it can't be measured it's either because technology isn't there yet and we can make no meaningful deduction, or it's because the thing we want to measure is too vague and subjective to be measured. Most things in psychology and psychiatry fit in the latter category. You can't have even 2 different definitions for an observation and still have something objective.

Psychologists need to invent objective criteria for what they're observing. Ignorance of how science works seems to be an endemic problem in the USA.. we don't teach it in schools and we don't teach it anywhere. You have to buy a 600page hardcover book on your own time to know how science works, otherwise people just know what science has produced and maybe some gyst of how it works. They go out buy a software package and claim they're producing science.. The Peer reviewers are apparently not legally required to know what the heck their supposed to be doing.

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