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Many scientific “truths” are, in fact, false

From Quartz:

In 2005, John Ioannidis, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, published a paper, “Why most published research findings are false,” mathematically showing that a huge number of published papers must be incorrect…

By some estimates, at least 51%—and as much as 89%—of published papers are based on studies and experiments showing results that cannot be reproduced.

Source: Many scientific “truths” are, in fact, false – Quartz

This is interesting and disturbing on a number of levels.

It certainly brings into the question the idea of “settled science”.

It undermines the concepts behind “evidence based” treatment. One the one hand we diagnose and treat based on traditional time tested methods that do not always have solid science behind them. In this case using a real scientific evidence based process would be a benefit to the profession and to our patients.

On the other hand if “evidence based” is used to regulate and disrupt the intimate person to person relationship of a patient and their dentist (or physician) based on published science that has a greater than 50% chance of being wrong then “evidence based” is not a benefit at all.

It all depends on who determines what evidence counts or is valid.

The Internet is both a solution and a problem.

The Internet provides instant communication and access to the entire scientific world. This allows faster dissemination of knowledge, immediate peer review via crowd sourcing from the entire scientific community, more cooperative efforts leading to the growth of “real” knowledge and the discrediting of “false” knowledge.

On the other hand it is the Internet. Anybody can publish anything… and they do.

13 replies on “Many scientific “truths” are, in fact, false”

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