You see it all the time: an article or news story begins with, “A new study shows. . .” or “Science says. . . ”
The media frequently uses Appeals to Authority–i.e. Science™–in order to convince you of something, whether it be to eat genetically modified food, not have kids, or, in the event their anti-reproduction propaganda failed to dissuade you from having kids, get your kids vaccinated.
Any time you see an article or news report that begins with “Study shows,” understand that the elite is trying to get you to change your behavior and is using the unassailable authority of Science™ to do so.
For most people, when they see, “Study shows,” they are immediately won over. “It’s gotta be true; Science™ says so.”
But what most people do not know is that their absolute faith in Science™ is misplaced and undeserved. The Scientific™ Community is in the midst of a great Replication Crisis, in which a large percentage–and in certain fields the number is well over a majority–of studies cannot be replicated in subsequent attempts.
The implications here are significant: if a “groundbreaking” study comes out and causes a whole bunch of people to make changes in their lives in response, you would hope that study is on solid ground. But many studies are on anything but.
Replication is extremely important when it comes to scientific studies. It means that after a study is published, other scientists can then conduct the study themselves independently and come to about the same conclusions. If a study’s results can be consistently replicated by other scientists, that means the study is more likely to be valid.
But get this: in the psychology field, 100 scientists tried to replicate the results of 270 prior studies, yet failed in nearly two-thirds of attempts.
“A landmark study involving 100 scientists from around the world has tried to replicate the findings of 270 recent findings from highly ranked psychology journals and by one measure, only 36 percent turned up the same results. That means that for over half the studies, when scientists used the same methodology, they could not come up with the same results.
“A large portion of replications produced weaker evidence for the original findings despite using materials provided by the original authors, review in advance for methodological fidelity, and high statistical power to detect the original effect sizes,” the team reports in Science today.”
For instance, one of the strongest myths that persists in the psychological field is that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and that a depressed person’s only hope in life is consuming drugs produced by Big Pharma. But it’s not true:
“The idea that depression and other mental health conditions are caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain is so deeply ingrained in our psyche that it seems almost sacrilegious to question it.
Direct-to-consumer-advertising (DCTA) campaigns, which have expanded the size of the antidepressant market (Donohue et al., 2004), revolve around the claim that SSRIs (the most popular class of antidepressants) alleviate depression by correcting a deficiency of serotonin in the brain.
For example, Pfizer’s television advertisement for Zoloft states that “depression is a serious medical condition that may be due to a chemical imbalance”, and that “Zoloft works to correct this imbalance.”
However, there is one (rather large) problem with this theory: there is absolutely no evidence to support it. Recent reviews of the research have demonstrated no link between depression, or any other mental disorder, and an imbalance of chemicals in the brain (Lacasse & Leo, 2005; (Valenstein, 1998).
The ineffectiveness of antidepressant drugs when compared to placebo cast even more doubt on the “chemical imbalance” theory. (See my recent articles Placebos as effective as antidepressantsand A closer look at the evidence for more on this.)”
If you really think about it, the chemical imbalance theory is pretty obviously BS. When a psychologist or psychiatrist prescribes a patient Zoloft or Prozac or some other anti-depressant, does the shrink conduct a chemical test of the patient’s brain to confirm there’s a “chemical imbalance”? Of course not. Yet they prescribe the drug anyway.
How can they know someone has a chemical imbalance in their brain without testing? While we are endlessly told that depression is caused by chemical imbalance, antidepressant drugs are not handed out based on chemical tests.
And yet go out in the street and ask 10 people at random if they believe depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and I’m sure a majority will answer affirmatively. People have been won over by pseudoscience.
The chemical imbalance myth has the effect of making depressed people hopeless. They come to believe that there is basically nothing they can do to feel better: not diet, not exercise, not repairing personal relationships, not reevaluating their career choices–nothing but buying and taking drugs produced by Big Pharma.
It’s not just the psychology field that is mostly junk science. Even the medical science field, which most people consider to be perhaps the most legitimate scientific field of all, is littered with junk studies:
“Low reproducibility rates within life science research undermine cumulative knowledge production and contribute to both delays and costs of therapeutic drug development. An analysis of past studies indicates that the cumulative (total) prevalence of irreproducible preclinical research exceeds 50%, resulting in approximately US$28,000,000,000 (US$28B)/year spent on preclinical research that is not reproducible—in the United States alone.
As high as 89%! That’s incredible.
The number of fields affected by the Replication Crisis is far greater than just psychology and medical science. Everything from physics to economics and beyond is tainted, and the scariest part is that we don’t even know the full depth and scope of the crisis yet.
The question then becomes, “How did this happen?”
How was Science™ ruined?
The answer, to me, is simple: corruption. Governments and corporations pay scientists to conduct studies that aren’t even really studies at all but instead exist to “confirm” and legitimize preexisting political agendas.
So many studies these days are not conducted to find the truth, but rather to push a certain political agenda.
And so when actual honest scientists get around to trying to replicate the results of these “studies,” they can’t.
But the problem is that the moment these junk studies are published, they are treated as the unassailable truth. Science has spoken! The debunking of the study never makes the news, so the corporate shills masquerading as scientists win the day.
The replication crisis undermines the entire scientific community. From the Wikipedia page on the Replication Crisis:
“Because the reproducibility of experiments is an essential part of the scientific method, the inability to replicate the studies of others has potentially grave consequences for many fields of science in which significant theories are grounded on unreproducible experimental work.”
That sounds like a huge deal, no?
Why is the Mainstream Media not informing Americans about the Replication Crisis? Why do we not hear on the news that the entire institution of Science™ is in the midsts of a massive credibility crisis?
Because the Mainstream Media relies on junk studies and junk science to spread its propaganda. The media elites know most Americans will not double check the studies they cite for replication and validity.
The media knows all it has to do is say, “Science says” or “Study shows” and most Americans will believe every last word that follows.
Yet it is the great irony of our time that we live in an era where the average person’s faith in Science™ has never been more blind and absolute despite the Scientific™ community’s objective credibility being perhaps as low as it has ever been.