In general, it’s a good idea to listen to what scientists have to say. However, as is the case with any profession, what happens in the lab can sometimes play a game of telephone by the time it gets to the public, leaving us with an overdramatic claim that hasn’t quite earned its scientific stripes yet. And that’s if the study was even performed properly!
Read on to learn exactly why you should sometimes put on your skeptic hat when you read about a dramatic new study in the press…
1. Mad Scientist
Interestingly enough, scientists themselves would be the first to tell you not to trust the results of every study you hear. According to a recent Public Library of Science Journal study, up to 72 percent of researchers confessed that they believed their colleagues engaged in questionable research practices, with some even going so far as to accuse others of deliberate falsification.
2. Food For Thought
In a study conducted over the course of thirteen years (starting in 1977), the Food and Drug Administration found scientific flaws in 10 to 20 percent of the studies they audited. Considering the FDA determines what products are safe for us to put in and on our bodies, these results are enough to make anyone queasy.
3. Fatal Errors
If there’s one field of science that definitely needs to be thorough, it’s cancer research. Unfortunately, faulty science has even impacted the study of this deadly, mysterious disease, potentially slowing down progress for years to come. This was confirmed when a biotech firm’s efforts to double-check 53 published studies on the subject came up 47 short.
4. Money Talks
In 2013, an Iowa State University professor was forced to resign and ultimately face criminal charges. The reason? He falsely claimed that rabbit blood could be used to develop an anti-AIDS vaccine in order to get a $19 million grant. The researcher was caught spiking the rabbit serum with healthy human blood in order to produce favorable results.