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How Scientists Can Be Stubborn and Wrong

December 1, 2016 | Comments

There is a famous saying in science that goes “torture the data until they confess.” Nerdy scientists will immediately laugh at this quote because we’re all familiar with the myriad ways in which scientific data can be manipulated to fit our pre-existing notions and biases. Most of the time, scientists are not doing this in any kind of sinister way. In fact, data can be so prone to manipulation that this can even happen somewhat unconsciously.

We mused on this based on our own experiences as scientists in this piece at Psychology Today.

So what is to be done? The first step is to make sure scientists can be open about their mistakes and that everyone in the general public understands how science can go wrong. Only then can we work together for better solutions.

Are you a scientist or researcher of some kind? Can you relate to the temptation to torture data until they confess? Or are you a consumer of scientific news and wanted more transparency around scientific processes (including errors)? We’d love to hear from you. Comment on this post or contact us here.

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