The Power of Independent Thinking

Fixing Science
Practical Solutions for the Irreproducibility Crisis
Posted: Wed. March 18, 2020, 10:05am PT

Many headline scientific findings in recent years have turned out to be false. They can’t be reproduced—and if you can’t reproduce a result, it isn’t science. The headlines are just the tip of the iceberg. A huge amount of ordinary scientific findings published in peer-reviewed journals doesn't replicate. Something has gone terribly wrong in contemporary scientific procedures.

Science’s failure is called the "Irreproducibility Crisis." It is the result of improper use of statistics, arbitrary research techniques, lack of accountability, political groupthink, and a scientific culture biased toward producing positive results. By some estimates, half of recent scientific research could be irreproducible.

In his presentation, Barry Smith discusses the irreproducibility crisis in ontological terms of misuse of data analysis or p-hacking (selective reporting of data, data fishing, data dredging) and how to restore the scientific enterprise. Dr. Smith is the SUNY Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Julian Park Chair, Philosophy Department at the University at Buffalo.

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