While good papers by real scientists like Heng Li are getting rejected and a reviewer goes to the extent of calling him ‘scientifically dishonest’, top journals have no problem getting themselves filled with garbage from social ‘sciences’. We already presented -
A reader brought to our attention another 2013 paper by the positivity lady, this time published in Physiological Science. The abstract alone made us puke.
In the meanwhile, the math in her 2005 paper on nonlinear dynamics was challenged by Alan Sokal, and she claimed that she did not understand her equations. That is an outrageous statement given that the lady was credited for providing mathematical basis for psychology. The commentary The Magic Ratio That Wasnt is well written on that saga.
She is not alone. Science journal published a ‘Research Article’, where the authors claimed to link the increase in the rate of violence around the world with climate change. From Ron Weiss’ blog -
The Darwin made me do it, or did he?
First, it seems that climate change engenders violence (BBC story about a Science article).
Shifts in climate are strongly linked to increases in violence around the world, a study suggests.
US scientists found that even small changes in temperature or rainfall correlated with a rise in assaults, rapes and murders, as well as group conflicts and war.
The team says with the current projected levels of climate change, the world is likely to become a more violent place.
How this jibes with the On High pronouncement by the Authority from Harvard (Steven Pinker) in his book, “The Better Angels of Our Nature”, that suddenly our nature (our gentler angels, that is our inherentic genetic nature somehow made prisoner by our environment until recently) has come to be in control and we’re not violent any more–stories the media seem to have blessed as The Truth, we don’t know! After all, haven’t we been told, with great authority, that natural selection and competition have made us the nasty violent beasts that would please any strongly adaptationist Darwinian?
Ron Weiss included three other ‘science’ papers published in Nature Communications and other top journals explaining monogamy and telling us how nature does not like selfishness !! In his summary -
The problem, of course, is that the bullshit factor (that’s a technical term we scientists use, for which there isn’t a good vernacular equivalent) is now part of science. It’s science’s playing on the stage of attention-seeking, and the media (presumably trained somewhere, but apparently not trained to do their job properly and be skeptical) dance along. Well, it’s how science is done these days. Unfortunately, we let the scientists tell Hollywood stories– melodramatic, scary, heavy, and so on–but we don’t require Hollywood to pay for the ‘research’ on which they’re based.
But there is hope and that is ‘bad science’, a website and blog dedicated to bad science. It is maintained by Ben Goldacre (thanks bonay maronay), whose book was covered in an earlier commentary. We hope Ben Goldacre starts a journal titled ‘bad science’, where real researchers like Heng and others can publish their rejected quality work. That will fit well our upside-down world of scientific publication.