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Science and Society

Jan. 10, 2012 2:41 pm
'T ain't what you do it's the way that you do it, That's what gets results.
Ella Fitzgerald

The furore surrounding the scientific fraud perpetrated by Diederik Stapel continued this week with the further retraction of scientific papers from mainstream scientific journals.

Not surprisingly, other scientists have sought to distance themselves. And many in the "hard" sciences - physics, chemistry and, arguably, biology - have sought to distance themselves not only from the man but from the entire field of social psychology.

Which is a pity. For, aware of the dangers of confirmation and other forms of systematic bias in their research, many social psychologists are probably better trained in experimental design and scientific method than those of us in the hard sciences. (See Do Scientists "Do" Science?)

And there is a danger in science abandoning such important areas of human behavior. To do so is to concede that scientific reasoning has no place in social, educational and health policy making. No place in data based, evidence based decision making. No place in society.

And that's cobblers.

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