The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Agency of Pseudo-Skepticism & Cultivated Ignorance

Distinguishing Scientific from Academic Study

Scientific and academic study are two different things. Two different standards of hypothesis development and method of reduction/inference. Academic study bears more in common with pseudoscience than it does science. Particularly in a circumstance of stakeholder risk – always know the difference – always demand the real thing.

What qualifies as a real scientific study? What do we call the circumstance wherein a study is produced which only meets part of that necessary set of requirements, or perhaps few or none of them? How do we flag the circumstance for instance, wherein a large population is placed at risk, and diligent precaution is established by means of simply a few incomplete statistical inductions falling far short of any standard of consilience? Below we have developed a checklist, which highlights the difference between academic study, and the real thing, scientific study. The checklist centers around the development of real professional hypothesis and the standards employed to accomplish testing and hypothesis reduction/inference.

An academic study, while it may employ some of the heuristics of statistical or other science – is not a scientific study if it does not get its boots muddy. That is to say, if it

Academic Study Pseudoscience

It does not matter whether or not such a study passed social peer review or not. These are the ethical standards which distinguish real science from its authorized poseur.

If it sits in its cubicle and merely employs analysts or interns to run some ‘reliable’ (key word for lazy) databases and spin some heuristics on a one-and-done a priori question (orphan question) – then this is not science, rather social activity. Anyone can do that shit.

For instance, if you are tasked with protecting the American public on a matter of health risk (see Example C here), and you direct a ‘one-and-done’ statistical study in another country, which counts absences of danger flag data as if they were confirmed observations of negatives – and you place such analyses into the hands of interns running academic exercises – you should not get peer review, rather you should get prison time. As this is not real scientific study, no matter how correctly it might employ regression heuristics and p-values – and even if it passes peer review.

A meta-study of 1000 academic studies, is still an academic study – and not the pinnacle of scientific rigor.
Especially if the meta-study is then employed as excuse to avoid having to conduct real scientific study.

The below checklist is handy in differentiating real science, from its light and easy academic poseur. It is not that academic science does not serve an important role in both the development of intelligence and training of new scientists. The shortfall occurs when media pundits, conflict of interest policy-makers, fake skeptics and social wannabe’s fail to distinguish academic science from the real thing. This checklist is crafted to show, that academic science, despite its legitimacy in certain contexts and even in the case of having passed peer review, bears more in common with pseudoscience than it does real science. Particularly in the circumstance of precaution – always know the difference – always demand the real thing.

This standard is a tough standard. It should be tough – as that is the job of skepticism: ensuring rigor inside science.

The Ethical Skeptic, “Distinguishing Scientific from Academic Study”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 30 Dec 2018; Web, https://wp.me/p17q0e-9fg

 

December 30, 2018 - Posted by | Ethical Skepticism |

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Thomas Donlon

It is amazing how often people get things wrong and how misguided policies can wreak havoc on people. We live in the modern age and we look down on the science and practices of earlier times. We ridicule people of a few generations ago for practicing bad science such as “bleeding” to cure people. Yet with the backing of “science” … our modern age has produced a proliferation of new problems. We have modern science and we now have an obesity epidemic in this country. (By the way I sent to the ethical skeptic email address at Yahoo on 12/21/2018… Read more »

Thomas Donlon

A few months ago I randomly opened one of the volumes of a partial set of books that I have called MESSAGES AND PAPERS OF THE PRESIDENTS. One of the papers (I can’t remember which) had expressed some thoughts that showed that it would be in everyone’s best interest to come to some compromise and avoid the Civil War. Certainly, in retrospect the South would have been better off to have just capitulated and come to some workable solution rather than to lose some many lives and so many of their cities in defense of slavery. However emotions ran high… Read more »

Thomas Donlon

I could really have used some better editing in my last statement. One of my biggest mistakes was in that I should have said that the US federal government is spending 25 cents for every 15 cents it collects in taxes. Also, I appreciate your statement in your first comment ” instilling wonder again…” One of the drawbacks in the creation/evolution debate is that some evolutions may minimize “the difficult questions” for evolution and of course this doesn’t bode well for the sense of “wonder.” If your main goal is to teach evolution rather than “what is” you will focus… Read more »

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