Saturday, July 12, 2014

Science Lies Too!

One of the goals of this blog is to reconcile and/or defend classical theology with/from current scientific assumptions.  This forum (like classical theology itself) is not the slightest bit "anti-science" as long as science is simply understood as a methodology that builds and organizes knowledge as opposed to an infallible bastion of "enlightenment" and "reason" whose methods and results are the product of  unquestionable and superior intelligence.  The knee-jerk acceptance of anything that appears in a "study" along with tables, graphs and statistical analysis is actually unnerving considering just how frequently scientifically "proven" findings have been rejected or revised from time immemorial.  From the scientific belief in the Luminiferous Aether and the theories of Phrenology to the very often updated age of the Universe and the almost comical reversals in food science (see Time's Ending the War on Fat) it should be clear that we should take any scientific pronouncement with a pinch of salt at least.

Yesterday, ran a story concerning what it called "one of the biggest cases of scientific misconduct in history."  Apparently, a scientific publisher called SAGE had to pull 60 peer-reviewed research papers by a researcher named Peter Chen.  It also informs us that the record for retraction is held by a anesthesiologist named Yoshitaka Fujii who fudged his work 183 times!  So how'd Dr. Chen do it?  By fabricating his own reviewers and creating a "peer review and citation ring."  The Vox piece then goes on to ask the obvious questions - "why would a journal let you pick your own reviewers?" and "is scientific misconduct becoming more common?"  Good questions.

The obvious truth is that scientists are as human as everyone else and not the nether-worldly paragons of detached reason as so many seem to think.  They get jealous, compete for funding, fudge numbers and fall victim to group-think like any other population and this article serves as an excellent reminder of that. Therefore, when some lab coat clad individual (or group) waives this or that study around and informs us that "science and theology are incompatible" bear in mind that in the world of science today's accepted fact is tomorrow's fiction.  Pass the butter...

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