Scientific Method

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I chose an article from The New Yorker titled “The Truth Wears Off” by Jonah Lehrer that was published in December of 2010. In summary, the article discusses how over time scientists are discovering in ever more frequency that scientific studies cannot be replicated. Scientists have discovered that over time and multiple attempts of replication, many such studies are unable to produce data that is similar to their first discoveries. Or due to the shear number of scientific studies out there, data presented is not being replicated, and therefore enters into society as relatively unproven. This phenomenon has yet to be explained, and definitely needs further study.

As consumers we are caught in the middle of this issue. We rush to find solutions to our every day problems and often jump at the chance to try “cutting edge technology” believing that the appropriate testing has occurred when in fact, according to this article, many results of studies can not be proven and we’re taking our own risks. There are several explanations and examples discussed but none seem to explain the issue out right. Is our scientific method flawed? Is it too subjective? That remains to be seen and in all effect this article screams “consumers beware!” This is down right scary to me. We are taught all through out our lives to trust the science. That the rigorous testing and processes to get products deemed effective and safe is in all essence fool proof. We could trust that products do what they promise to do and not fail us. This article leads me to question all scientific testing, especially with regard to the influence that can be applied to sway results towards one way or another. The scientific method is supposed to be rigid, thorough and trustworthy. It however appears to be failing us and there seems to be no explanation as to why, or how to correct it.
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