As the election drew closer, several scientific journals took the unprecedented step of endorsing a Presidential candidate. The cries of "politics polluting science" are met by equally vociferous shouts of "It's about time. Make the madness stop." As with many beliefs, the Age of COVID requires the relationship between science and politics to be rediscovered and refashioned.
I pitched a column to the journal Science titled, "How I Became a Junk Science Debunker." It was initially accepted and went through two months (and nine rounds) of editing. At the last moment, however, the column was spiked by senior editor Tim Appenzeller (pictured). Why? Because I'm a corporate shill, of course.
There's a pervasive bias in academia against scientists who work in industry. It is often said that such individuals aren’t "real scientists." The less charitable describe them as having gone over to the so-called dark side. For at least two reasons, this is a shameful and hypocritical way to characterize industry.
A couple of years ago Panera Bread went crazy. Those high up in the corporation decided that selling really great tasting food was no longer a sufficient strategy. No, they reasoned, if Panera Bread wanted continued success it needed to go on a full-frontal assault against science.
Despite having yet to save the life of a mouse, an Israeli company is making grandiose pronouncements. However, if you look beyond the hype the medical approach is actually pretty interesting.
As the saying goes, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." We know that's true because statisticians themselves just said so. A jaw-dropping study reveals that nearly 1 in 4 of them report being asked to remove or alter data to better support a hypothesis. That is called scientific fraud.
Some scientific journals are publishing articles by anti-technology activists without disclosing their blatant financial conflicts of interest. Despite all the pleas for transparency, the problem is getting worse.
According to pharmacologist Ray Dingledine, good science is hard to do because of (1) "our drive to create a coherent narrative from new data, regardless of its quality or relevance"; (2) "our inclination to seek patterns in data whether they exist or not"; and (3) our negligence to "always consider how likely a result is regardless of its P-value." The good news is that this can be fixed.
Though we're often told that with every new digital health product, medication or device, biotech firm or health-system launch how "groundbreaking," "revolutionary" or "disruptive" it is, here's an ongoing medical reality that actually is just those things.
In a world where we can no longer distinguish truth from lies and science itself has been redefined, non-scientists can claim to be scientists. And our writer is the Queen of England.
With drones, discovery in science and medicine makes the sky – and now the sea – the limit.
Using data on scientific citations and impact, a group of scientists reflect on what makes for innovative science in the hopes of crafting a formula.