A new book takes science to task, and it couldn’t come at a better time
Asa science journalist and former researcher, I was terrified by British psychologist Stuart Ritchie’s new book, Science Fictions. Ritchie lays out all of the ways in which modern science has failed, with a plethora of shocking and embarrassing examples, many involving famous studies. He lists negligence in scientific methods, bias in the search for answers, hyping up of a study’s results, and flat-out fraud as being science’s four horsemen of the apocalypse, and he cites scandal after scandal in the fields of medicine, biology, and especially his own discipline of psychology as evidence. These error-filled and misleading publications confuse and delay genuine scientific progress, waste vast amounts of human and monetary resources, and, in some cases, even cost people their lives.
A very interesting read about an incredibly timely book.
The book, which was published in July, could not have come at a more apt time. Every problem Ritchie raises in it has played out in the research on the novel coronavirus. Elemental spoke with Ritchie about how the pressure cooker of a pandemic has made the situation worse and what it means for the public’s trust in science at this critical time.