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scientific method

Truer words are rarely spoken

Phil Plait of the Bad Astronomy blog just recently posted this article about Simon Singh and his current tussle with the British Chiropractic Association. I’ve been following the situation, but what really caught me about this update was Plait’s words in the first two paragraphs about science.

Science thrives on criticism. Reality, being what it is — real — can withstand the slings and arrows of critics. It’s our methods, models, and interpretation of reality that are subject to withering critique, and through such honing moves us ever-closer to understanding the true nature of the world.

Any claim that is said to be scientific should be held up to such scrutiny. If it is correct, it will survive. If it is not correct, it can be abandoned or improved. That is in the best interest of everyone.

That, in my opinion, is beautifully stated.

Too often, as in the case with the BCA, purveyors of bad "science" will try to quash those who disagree with their statements rather than offer evidence to support their statements. Or, if pressed further (again as in the case of the BCA and as noted in Plait’s post), they will offer up shoddy research, conjecture, invalid evidence, or outright lies.

There are plenty of other groups that take the same tactics as the BCA (as noted previously here), using every trick they can conjure up instead of simply providing well-researched, corroborated evidence to back up their claims. If they refuse or cannot offer such evidence, they should be brushed aside and ignored until such time as they can step up and take some responsibility for their claims.

…but I won’t hold my breath.