Monday, April 24, 2017


The article The Problem With the March for Science states thoughts that I have been unable to articulate this clearly for a number of years. It also adds some more irony to Ars Technica's 107 cancer papers retracted due to peer review fraud.

My son, who is an actual scientist, commented:
Parts I found most amusing:

“When a lot of the fake peer reviews first came up, one of the reasons the editors spotted them was that the reviewers responded on time,” Wager told Ars. Reviewers almost always have to be chased, so “this was the red flag.

Fake peer reviewers often “know what a review looks like and know enough to make it look plausible,” said Elizabeth Wager, editor of the journal Research Integrity & Peer Review...I wonder if this journal has the same issues with the peer review process. That would be ironic.

Then again, some sort of response is needed. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' disbanding of the National Commission on Forensic Science was a move that will hurt the effort to prove the science behind "forensic science." Slate's Jeff Sessions Doesn’t Understand the Necessity of Science is perhaps the most thoughtful discussion of the decision I've seen. A quote from Jeff Sessions' decision to cut Department of Justice forensic science commission raises eyebrows says that "...we're going to take this and we're going to put it back in the Department of Justice, create a new office of forensic science. On the surface, that sounds good...The problem of forensic science is that it grew out of an arm of the judiciary, and by putting it back, you basically don't deal with the questions that are being asked from mainstream science." With explanations like that, it's hard not to read ulterior motives into Sessions' actions.

A day later, some more info on "science." Ars Technica again with “Mindless Eating,” or how to send an entire life of research into question describing a social scientist who seems to have a limited grasp on statistics. While I would tend to think that if this were a physicist or chemist or climate researcher, that they would have a better grasp of statistics, I am basing my opinion on conventional wisdom, not any actual review of the relative statistical ability of the scientists in various disciplines.