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Unreliability in Science Reaches Epic Proportions

first_imgDr Jerry Bergman is a contributing author and scientist for Creation-Evolution Headlines. Read his Author Profile for his previous articles. (Visited 531 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 by Dr Jerry BergmanAudio Playerhttps://crev.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Bergman-20170603-ReproducibilityCrisis.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Concerns about unreliable findings in biomedical research, such as cancer research, have been well documented. The problem is known as the ‘reproducibility crisis.’ If this is a problem in a field open to observation and visible in the here and now—biomedical research—what about evolution, which is based on events and extinct life forms that are claimed to have existed eons ago?University of Bristol Professor Marcus Munafò writes in Nature in a book review about the crisis,As scientists, we are supposed to be objective and disinterested, careful sifters of evidence. The reality is messier. Our training can give us only so much protection from natural tendencies to see patterns in randomness, respond unconsciously to incentives, and argue forcefully in defence of our own positions, even in the face of mounting contrary evidence. In the competitive crucible of modern science, various perverse incentives conspire to undermine the scientific method, leading to a literature littered with unreliable findings. [1]It’s an alarming statement. The problem is even more serious, though, with evolutionary studies. These are usually based on fragmentary pieces of evidence, like fossils or genes, that evolutionists sometimes manipulate to defend their particular ideas, or at least to try to provide some semblance of plausibility for their pet theories. As Mark Twain aptly stated a century ago, reconstruction of past life is often based on “nine bones and six hundred barrels of plaster.”A wide-ranging critique of modern biomedical research by science journalist Richard Harris documents the fact that, over the past decade the replication of many published research findings has shown their results to be false, or at least questionable. [2]  And since most findings in biomedical science have not been replicated, the actual failures may be far worse than Harris documents. In his book, Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions, Harris calls for a new discipline to address the problem: he calls it ‘meta-science,’ the scientific study of science itself (4/04/17).Among the shocking examples Harris cites, there was a 2012 study by Glenn Begley that found only 11% (6 out of 53) of ‘landmark’ cancer research studies could be confirmed by the biotechnology firm Amgen. [3] Since then, “numerous studies (most recently in psychology and cancer biology) have confirmed that failure to replicate published findings is the norm.” Munafò  continues, saying that “Harris identifies potential culprits, from the complexity of modern biomedical science to the limitations of tools and training, and perverse incentives in modern academia.” [4] The worst failure rate came from a study that “replicated 100 psychology studies, and fewer than half got the same results” as the original published papers. [5]The reasons for irreproducibility are many, but whatever the causes, these alarming statistics show that many original or even replicated studies are unreliable. This study was originally published in one of the most prestigious science magazines, Science. [6] And much research on evolution theories cannot even be replicated in the same way that biomedical research can. At best, the evidence used to arrive at evolutionary conclusions can be reexamined – that is, if permission is granted by the person or organization that owns the artifacts, often bones.Replication is an important scientific tool for exposing fraudulent research. Many consider it a hallmark of science. In actual practice, though, replication often is not carried out for many reasons. Most researchers lack the time, money, and motivation to replicate the work of others because replication is not original science. It is mostly arduous work with few potential rewards. The scientific establishment and the media reward originality. Being second usually wins few accolades. For these and other reasons, replications of most studies are infrequently attempted unless they are particularly controversial.Another reason replication is not often attempted is because it requires the original experimenters to delineate the exact protocol they used for their experiments. But in evolutionary studies, analysis of fossils or other data cited in papers, often are not, or cannot, be perfectly described in detail. The descriptions published by researchers may be detailed, but are often incomplete.Munafò lists a few of the many problems with both biomedical and evolutionary studies:Failure is a normal part of science, but dressing it up as success (for example, by presenting a secondary outcome as the primary outcome) is misleading. So is packaging exploratory, hypothesis-generating work as confirmatory, hypothesis-testing work. Unfortunately, with few ways to publish negative results, such practices are encouraged by incentives to present clean results with a compelling narrative, and be the first to do so.The lesson is clear. We must read all science studies with a skeptical eye – especially studies purported to show evidence for Darwinism.[1] Marcus Munafò, “Reproducibility blues.” Nature, 543:619. March 30, 2017.[2] Richard Harris, Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions. New York: Basic Books, 2017.[3] C. Glen Begley and Lee M. Ellis, “Drug development: Raise standards for preclinical cancer research.” Nature. 483:531–533, 2012.[4] Munafò, Ibid.[5]  Brian Handwerk, “Scientists Replicated 100 Psychology Studies, and Fewer Than Half Got the Same Results.” Smithsonian.com, August 27, 2015.[6] “Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science.” Science, 349(6251):943. August 28, 2015.[7] Munafò, Ibid.last_img read more

Help spot Kruger’s wild dogs

first_img11 October 2007Visitors to the Kruger Park have been urged to report any African wild dogs they come across to help the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) to improve the management of these animals.Between now and the end of November, one of the only viable wild dog populations left in the country can be spotted in the southern parts of the Kruger National Park.Researchers at the EWT are trying to determine how wild dogs are genetically related to each other so as to improve the management of their population.“Visitors can support this research by reporting all wild dog sightings to the EWT’s Wild Dog Hotline number,” said EWT chief executive officer Yolan Friedmann. “Sightings can be phoned in or SMS-ed to 076 725 5242.“This will enable researchers to locate dog packs and obtain the required number of genetic samples to complete the analysis.”The wild dog is South Africa’s most endangered large carnivore. There are fewer than 500 free-ranging wild dogs in the country, most of whom live in the Kruger Park, with a handful found at smaller provincial and private reserves.“Kruger National Park contains the only viable and self-sustaining wild dog population in South Africa,” Friedmann said. “They are therefore an important benchmark with which to compare other less viable and more intensively managed populations.”The wild dogs at the Kruger Park are, however, notoriously difficult to locate.If there is a sighting, as much detail as possible needs to be given on the location, time and size of the group to help the project researchers find the packs.Patterns of relatedness among the southern Kruger wild dog population will be compared to those of smaller populations in reserves like the Pilanesberg National Park, Madikwe Game Reserve, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park and De Beers Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve.The research project is being sponsored by Masslift and Colchester Zoo’s Action for The Wild.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Farmers elated as rain lashes Odisha

first_imgWidespread rain lashed most parts of Odisha for the past 48 hours, creating a favourable condition for farming and bringing down temperature levels.The State, which recorded over 30% deficit rainfall in June, has started receiving good rainfall from July largely due to a well-marked low pressure area that lies over southeast Jharkhand and adjoining areas of Odisha and gangetic West Bengal.Under the influence of the atmospheric system, almost all parts of Odisha received rains. Highest precipitation was recorded at Chandbali where 122.3 mm rainfall was measured. Balangir, Phulbani, Bhubaneswar, Sonepur, Angul, Sambalpur and Cuttack received rainfall above 50 mm during 24 hours ending Tuesday morning.The rains brought cheer to farmers as they are getting ready for the Kharif season.Rainfall deficitAccording to the State Revenue and Disaster Management Department, six districts — Balangir, Nayagarh, Nuapada, Kandhamal, Keonjhar and Sundargarh — had rainfall deficit ranging between 39% and 59%. As many as 18 out of 30 districts had recorded rainfall deficit between 19% and 39%. The Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre had predicted rainfall in the interior areas, especially over central and western districts, over next 24 hours.“The rainfall is critical for furthering farm operations. It restored soil moisture up to some extent,” said Subhendu Rout, a farmer in Jagatsinghpur district.last_img read more

South Africa looking up ahead of World Cup 2019 test vs unbeaten New Zealand

first_imgSouth Africa has the chance to visit an unfamiliar place if it beats New Zealand: The top half of the Cricket World Cup table.It won’t be easy. Unbeaten New Zealand has an even bigger incentive in their game on Wednesday at Birmingham’s raucous Edgbaston ground. A win will move the Black Caps back to the very top of the 10-team standings.The World Cup has been a struggle for South Africa, not just on the field. Star seamer Dale Steyn was injured and replaced without bowling a ball, and Hashim Amla and valuable quick Lungi Ngidi have also been hurt and sidelined.Ngidi injured his left hamstring in the second match, and missed the loss to India, the washout with West Indies, and South Africa’s first win last Saturday against Afghanistan.He’s been passed fit, and is keen to get at New Zealand’s lineup.”I don’t think their middle and lower order have been tested enough,” he says.Ngidi hoped to be part of a fearsome pace attack, but in the absence of Steyn and Anrich Nortje, who was injured before the tournament, veteran spinner Imran Tahir has been the leading wicket-taker with 8.Andile Phehlukwayo and Chris Morris, Nortje’s replacement, have 6 each, and main striker bowler Kagiso Rabada 5. Ngidi took his only three in the tournament-opening, 104-run loss to England.If the wicket is spin-friendly, Tahir ought to be a match-changer for South Africa, though its own batsmen have themselves struggled against spin.While South Africa has three points from five games, New Zealand is in a position of strength with seven points from four games which have varied dramatically.advertisementNew Zealand has crushed Sri Lanka, squeaked past Bangladesh, thrashed Afghanistan, and been washed out against India. The players have embraced an 11-day gap between games.Pacer Lockie Ferguson is in strike mode with 3-22, 1-40 and 4-37 so far, and fast-medium Matt Henry opened with 3-29 and 4-47. The seamer attack includes second-ranked ODI bowler Trent Boult.The 25th game of this World Cup is Edgbaston’s first. The popular venue, where the raucous atmosphere often reaches soccer-style levels, hosts five games in total, including the second semifinal on July 11.last_img read more