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Culture Beat / Mar. 17, 2016

No Room to Doubt Climate Change?

Being published isn't proof that a study should be accepted as truth.

The scientific community is beginning to admit that being published isn’t proof that a study should be accepted as truth. For example, the Reproducibility Initiative was a project that sought to reproduce the experiments of 100 psychological experiments. It found that it could successfully replicate the original study’s results 40% of the time. Combined with other efforts to verify that the scientific method is being faithfully followed, there’s a growing body of work that argues a large percentage of the studies published today are false. Part of the reason is that in order to be published, scientists try to find results that are surprising or exciting, which could cause the scientists to stretch findings. As a result, psychologists in academia are starting to better scrutinize studies, calling for more rigor to the field.

This comes just when the political pressure is increasing to prosecute climate change deniers. Last week, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that she asked the FBI to consider whether or not the crime of questioning the prevailing opinion in the science community could fall under its purview. The scientific method is a discussion. To silence one side is an attempt to control what people think.

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