International Business Times
Wed, 10 Aug 2011 06:01 UTC
Citing data compiled by Thomson Reuters, the Journal found a steep rise in retraction notices in peer-reviewed research journals, from just 22 in 2001 to 339 last year. The number of papers published in such journals rose 44 percent in the same time frame. The article pointed to other studies finding that fraud and misconduct were becoming increasingly prevalent.
The article noted that new scientific studies look to past research for guidance, so that a flawed study can cause a cascade of faulty or fruitless research: for example, when the renowned Mayo Clinic had Mayo Clinic found that data about using the immune system to fight cancer had been fabricated, seventeen scholarly papers published in nine research journals had to be retracted.
In addition, doctors rely on research to prescribe the most effective treatment. An ultimately discredited study suggesting that two high blood pressure drugs worked better in concert led doctors to put more than 100,000 patients on a treatment schedule that may offer no benefits and dangerous side effects.
Part of the problem is that scientists are locked in competition for the prestige and money that flows from being published in a recognized journal.
"The stakes are so high," said the Lancet's editor, Richard Horton. "A single paper in Lancet and you get your chair and you get your money. It's your passport to success."
Comment: Personal integrity, love of truth, fairness, conscience, no conflict of interest, taking responsibility, unbiased scientific research, etc. These are pretty words that we have come to associate with members of the scientific and medical community. And why not? After all, they are supposed to be the brightest of us all; the ones that help to create a better future.
The problem with such associations is that they are no more than an illusions, and dangerous ones at that, especially when we provide scientists and whoever funds their research with silent consent to shape, control and influence our lives in any way they see fit.
To better understand the depth of moral depravity and criminal negligence at all levels in the scientific community and how their actions keep us in the dark and often put our lives in harm's way, read this month's issue of The Dot Connector Magazine, dedicated to the issue of the corruption of science.
Also, take a look at the following quotes to get a glimpse of what is really going on behind the closed lab doors:
Choosing research problems can be likened to an investment process (Bourdieu 1975, 1988). Scientists have available a certain amount of "capital" - knowledge, experience, time and effort - that they can invest in different ways. A conservative investment strategy is to pursue small, incremental innovations, with a high likelihood of success and a modest return of investment.[...] A risky strategy is to pursue a speculative idea: the likelihood of success may be low but the returns, if the idea pans out, can be huge.[...]
A different investment calculation comes into play, though, when it comes to someone else's ideas. To examine or even promote someone else's challenge to orthodoxy requires significant time and energy, yet the major returns go to another person, if they are recognized as the innovator. If the idea is a promising one, the temptation is to grab credit, for example by domesticating the radical idea and publishing in orthodox journals. It is no surprise that many innovators are afraid of having their ideas stolen. (Challenging Dominant physics paradigms by J.M Campanario and B.Martin)
In 1951, the U.S Congress established the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide financial support for post-World War II scientific research. Soon thereafter, someone at NSF or on the National Science Board, which is charged with oversight of NSF, had an idea, a really corrosive idea, the implementation of which would lead to the perversion and corruption of American science for decades ahead. The idea was that reviewers of scientific proposals to NSF for government research grant money should be anonymous; the crux of the idea being that anonymity would encourage honesty in evaluation even when those reviewers might be competitors or might have vested interests. Thus the concept of anonymous peer review was birthed.[...]
For decades, the use of anonymity within NSF, NASA, and elsewhere has been gradually corrupting American science. Unethical reviewers - secure, camouflaged, masked and hidden through anonymity - all too often make untrue and/or pejorative statements to eliminate their professional competitors. Nowadays, it is a pervasive, corrupt system that encourages and rewards the darkest elements of human nature. (Basic Cause of Current Corruption in American Science, Herndon, J. Marvin, 2008)
The most common view about how science works is that new ideas are judged on the basis of evidence and logic: if a new idea explains more data or provides more precise agreement with experiment, this counts strongly in its favor.In 2007 Professor Richard Lindzen described in the Wall Street Journal the tremendous pressure upon scientists to conform to the manufactured consensus of Global Warming:
Karl Popper claimed that science advances by falsification (Popper 1963). In his view, it is the duty of scientists to attempt to disprove theories, confronting them with experimental data and rejecting them if they do not explain the data. Theories that cannot be falsified are, according to Popper, not scientific. Many scientists believe in falsificationism.
These conventional views were challenged by Thomas Kuhn (1970). Kuhn argued that scientists - and physicists in particular, since most of his historical examples were from physics - adhere to a paradigm, which is a set of assumptions and standard practices for undertaking research. If an experiment gives results contradictory to theory, then instead of rejecting the theory all together, alternative responses include rejecting the experiment as untrustworthy and modifying the theory to account for the new results (Chia 1998; Chinn and Brewer 1993).
When anomalies accumulate, the paradigm can enter a state of crisis and be ripe for overthrow by a new paradigm. This process of scientific revolution does not proceed solely according to a rational procedure but involves social factors such as belief systems and political arrangements. [...]
In any case, the idea of paradigms puts a different spin on the problem of new ideas in science. Rather than being dealt with according to logic and evidence, challenging ideas may be ignored or rejected out of hand because they conflict with current models. In effect, the logic and evidence used to establish the paradigm are treated as definitive and are unquestioningly preferred over any new logic and evidence offered that challenge the paradigm. During periods of "normal science", the ideas developed by mainstream scientists originate from current paradigms: they add more and more pieces to standard puzzles. Given that the paradigm is the source of ideas, it is not surprising that challenges to the paradigm - the framework that allowed mainstream scientists to contribute to the development of science - are seldom greeted with open arms. If a theory is not considered physically plausible, it may be rejected even though it makes successful predictions. (Challenging dominant physics paradigms, J.M Campanario and B.Martin, 2004)
Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis.
To understand the misconceptions perpetuated about climate science and the climate of intimidation, one needs to grasp some of the complex underlying scientific issues. First, let's start where there is agreement. The public, press and policy makers have been repeatedly told that three claims have widespread scientific support: Global temperature has risen about a degree since the late 19th century; levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have increased by about 30% over the same period; and CO2 should contribute to future warming. These claims are true. However, what the public fails to grasp is that the claims neither constitute support for alarm nor establish man's responsibility for the small amount of warming that has occurred. In fact, those who make the most outlandish claims of alarm are actually demonstrating skepticism of the very science they say supports them. It isn't just that the alarmists are trumpeting model results that we know must be wrong. It is that they are trumpeting catastrophes that couldn't happen even if the models were right as justifying costly policies to try to prevent global warming.