• Jun Park

Science : The Reforms needed in Crisis

Science has been for the better part of the last century the true pillar behind growth and progress. Scientific breakthroughs have brought us medicine, production, and the ability to face any challenge with process, reason, in a systematic intellectual practice to observe and experiment in the seek of truth.


Today, the system shows to be broken. The systematic practice and the process of reason has been broken. The inability to reproduce results of scientific experimentation is the core of proof of the existence of something.


For example:


If you grab and raise an apple over your head standing up, and drop it, the Apple will fall on your head. Try it, it works. Not only that, I am confident that there is no one on Earth that without any additional element, will not be able to avoid this.


Gravity is explained Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, and measured with Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation, and the proof of gravity is in the experiment.


Today, the crisis lies on the experiment, or more importantly, the inability to replicate experiments with the same result. The reason behind that is being debated, and a lot of the drivers behind publishing seem to be greatly responsible.


Academia is pushing students with very high quota demand of published articles which add to the tally of the institutions which makes it look more active, and prestigious. Rather than focusing on the quality of research, the demand for a certain number of published articles is forcing the new generation of scientists to have to meet a volumetric standard rather than a quality standard.


And it shows.


In 2018, Nature Human Behavior published an article Evaluating the replicability of social science experiments between 2010 - 2015.


They found that 14 out of 28 findings failed to replicate. They also found that those that did replicate, would consistently replicate, while those that didn't normally failed across the samples and contexts.


Now, we have the Reproducibility Project which is part of the Center for Open Science which is currently reviewing many articles in different fields and putting in question a lot of papers published in peer-reviewed esteemed journals.


This, is one of the biggest problems that is systemic in the world of science, which has to do with the loss of science in the last decades. Public opinion today impacts Science more than the science itself.


This systemic errors make movements like Anti-vac and flat-earthers are able to cling to their questioning scientific discoveries.


On top of that you have significant amount of studies funded by private interest into institutions that are disguised with very official names, which not only have a financial bias, they are also allowed to only publish whatever they decide, meaning that there are many scientific discoveries that could be found of something, that would be negative for that company, and therefore, it is not disclosed to the public.


This practice is the reason why tobacco was commercialized the way it was, and today we have that with many different industries.


While the world crumbles, we have an opportunity to build up again. Let's build it right, and let's not shy away of what's hard to fix.

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