Friday, August 22, 2008

How Do You Tell? Where's the Beef?

I suppose "Put up or shut up" is the challenge when you make an assertion. If bad-science is bad, and who would deny it? How do you tell good from bad science? This is especially a question for those who are not scientists. Let's list a few things:
  • Science is data driven
  • Science is primarily about experiments to test hypotheses
  • Science is a collaborative activity which requires replication of experiments
Bad science contrasts with real science in all three elements:
  • Bad Science tends to be agenda driven using unproven theories and simulations instead of experiment
  • Bad Science sets out to prove things and tends to cherry pick their data and dismiss conflicting data as unworthy because it doesn't agree with what is to be proved.
  • Bad Science is often narrowly held and secretive and instead of being collaborative it demonizes those that disagree.
OK there are three things you can look for. Where's the data? Are you trying to find out the truth or push an agenda? Are you open to disagreement and having your results checked?

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