[Bloat] Fwd: [IP] In science, irreproducible research is a quiet crisis
jch at pps.univ-paris-diderot.fr
Sun Mar 22 22:29:54 EDT 2015
> Evidence of a quiet crisis in science is mounting.
Nothing new here -- confirmation bias and society pressures have always
been the two main problems of science. To quote Richard Feynman:
One example: Millikan measured the charge on an electron by an
experiment with falling oil drops, and got an answer which we now know
not to be quite right. It's a little bit off because he had the
incorrect value for the viscosity of air. It's interesting to look at
the history of measurements of the charge of an electron, after
Millikan. If you plot them as a function of time, you find that one is
a little bit bigger than Millikan's, and the next one's a little bit
bigger than that, and the next one's a little bit bigger than that,
until finally they settle down to a number which is higher.
Why didn't they discover the new number was higher right away? It's
a thing that scientists are ashamed of — this history — because it's
apparent that people did things like this: When they got a number that
was too high above Millikan's, they thought something must be wrong —
and they would look for and find a reason why something might be
wrong. When they got a number close to Millikan's value they didn't look
so hard. And so they eliminated the numbers that were too far off, and
did other things like that.
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