Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Trouble With Science

The purpose of a grant, after all, is to facilitate research. But the rationale has become curiously inverted: now the purpose of one’s research seems to be to get a grant ...

Jerry Coyne
This is a post for scientists and those who would be scientists.

Wake up!!! Science is in trouble! If you don't believe me, read How science goes wrong and Trouble at the lab. Both articles were published in the October 19th edition of The Economist.

It likely that you've heard all this before but the magnitude of the problem just hasn't registered with you. Well, it's time to start paying attention.

Jerry Coyne has written an excellent commentary on these articles [Science is in bad shape]. Read it. Now.

These articles and commentaries focus on research but let's not forget teaching. There are far too many science teachers—expecially at the university level—who are doing a terrible job of teaching evolution and biochemistry. (And probably lots of other subjects but those are the ones I'm familiar with.)

We have to do something about this.


  1. Yep. Example, when I send a manuscript describing further/better confirmation of some hypothesis the journals reject them quickly because they are not "surprising", or because they're "just confirmatory." So we end up with singlets that we can't know if they have been verified or confirmed by a different approach.

    Etc., etc., etc.

  2. Science, whatever that is, is not in trouble.
    Its just that other motivations or incompetence or averageness in difficult subjects.
    Creationists have been saying this since Darwins time about origin subjects.
    Its a accurate line of reasoning that it happens elsewhere as pressure is built up for desirable results.
    Error in 'science" os just error in people.
    science should be about a high standard of methodology before conclusions are drawn.

    1. Um, yes, but people are all we have to do science and to make and implement policies based on that science, so do you see what he meant?