Bad Science

Today we are constantly bombarded by so-called scientific truths. Everywhere data is being vigorously collected and massaged to provide us with messages that show the results of "scientific research" This research apparently provides us with the truth. We are told that we can rely on it.

Such "truth" comes from all sides and is more of a religious experience than anything else. We are being conditioned to believe. We are told that many of the" truths" are self-evident and are backed up by research and scientific evidence. Once, we adopt a belief, we feel much better because now we belong to a group that shares our belief. Whether, the belief is valid or not matters little or not at all. We will still fight for it.

No wonder Jonathan Swift finished Gulliver's Travels in the Country of the Houyhnhnms where horses ruled and the human creatures, the Yahoos were kept in the stables. Swift also concerned himself with the state of science in his time. The Royal Society did not impress him as many of its members were pompous fools. Perhaps we have not come very far from the world that Swift abhorred.

The scientific process starts with a hypothesis, a question, an issue to be test empirically in the real world. No conclusion is drawn but an experiment is designed to test the hypothesis trying rigorously to remain objective and assure some measure of validity and reliability in the results. Measurements will be taken and analyzed by using acceptable statistical methods. Measurement requires an instrument, a tool. In the hard sciences where reliable measurement instruments abound, experiments can provide and have provided many beneficial conclusions. However,in the social sciences the instrument is often something like a questionnaire. Hence, we replace the micrometer with an elastic band. Still, if we are true to the process we may still add to the body of knowledge.

Today's methods especially in the social sciences where the "results" are used to promote questionable enterprises for personal and/or monetary gain are often indefensible. The hypothesis is driven by the desire to show something to be true. The instrument is designed to support the desired end. Biased data is collected from biased samples that support the desired end. Yes, we are cooking the books for gain. This ain't brain science. In fact it ain't science at all. Conclusions are drawn and stated to be true. Cause and effect is established beyond doubt. This is used to make us believe, not think.

Does this excrement come from educational institutions? Yes, it does! Governments and business pay for it and love it for it is fertilizer for decision-making that can be stoutly defended, since it is supported by "award-winning science!" Where are the Luddites when we need them?