Tuesday, August 7, 2012
A Century After Piltdown Man Hoax, Scientists Are Still Publishing False Studies
The Piltdown Man hoax was one that shocked the scientific community in England back in 1912 and was thought to be a rare occurrence. Upon discovery of the hoax, the credibility of all of the people involved in the study was called into question and reputations were ruined. You would think that scientists would have learned their lesson, but a recent study says that more than half of studies are poorly performed, misleading, or fraudulent.
"After modelling the source of error mathematically, the analysis concluded that even a large, well-designed study with little bias has only an 85 per cent chance of being right. An underpowered, poorly performed drug trial with researcher bias has but a 17 per cent chance. Overall, more than half of all published research is probably wrong."
"By their own admission five per cent of respondents had published the same results in two or more publications, six per cent had failed to present data contradicting their own research, 10 per cent had given inappropriate authorship credit, 15 per cent ignored data on the basis of a gut feeling that it was wrong, and 15.5 per cent had changed the design, methodology or results of a study in response to pressure from a funding source."
A hundred years ago amateur archaeologist, Charles Dawson, presented the Geological Society of London with a skull that he claimed belonged to an unknown early human. Studies were published, some even calling it the missing link, and this early human was given the name of Eoanthropus dawsoni. Fast forward 41 years and the Piltdown Man was found to be a hoax with fingers pointing at Charles Dawson and others who had participated in the study.
Posted by Shawn at 8/07/2012 04:55:00 AM