Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bakers bake bread, scientists write crap

Phone call for Dr. de Marchi:  correlations exist, and can be used to publish "science."

Dr. Allison said that the true relationship between eating breakfast and body weight, if there is one, was still an open question. But observational studies that tout an association between the two are churned out “just about every week,” despite doing nothing to actually test or prove the claim.

“At some point, this becomes absurd,” he said. “We’re doing studies that have little or no value. We’re wasting time, intellect and resources, and we’re convincing people of things without actually generating evidence.”

As for why the subject has created something of an echo chamber of observational research, Dr. Allison said that unlike randomized controlled trials, which are expensive and difficult to carry out, sifting through large sets of observational data to find tantalizing associations is fairly low cost and easy to do. “Just like bakers bake bread, scientists write papers,” he said, “and we get rewarded for writing and publishing papers.” 

Nod to Anonyman

1 comment:

John Thacker said...

And here I thought you opposed these sorts of crowdsourcing efforts to find bad NSF grants.