For John, BLUF: I have confidence in science. I have even more when it appears as engineering. But even that isn't a guarantee. Remember Galloping Gertie? (Video) Nothing to see here; just move along.
In the Science section of The International New York Times, Reporter Benedict Carey gives us Many Psychology Findings Not as Strong as Claimed, Study Says
From the lede:
The past several years have been bruising ones for the credibility of the social sciences. A star social psychologist was caught fabricating data, leading to more than 50 retracted papers. A top journal published a study supporting the existence of ESP that was widely criticized. The journal Science pulled a political science paper on the effect of gay canvassers on voters’ behavior because of concerns about faked data.This is a follow-up to a 15 June 2015 article by the same Reporter, Benedict Carey, "Science, Now Under Scrutiny Itself".
Now, a painstaking yearslong effort to reproduce 100 studies published in three leading psychology journals has found that more than half of the findings did not hold up when retested. The analysis was done by research psychologists, many of whom volunteered their time to double-check what they considered important work. Their conclusions, reported Thursday in the journal Science, have confirmed the worst fears of scientists who have long worried that the field needed a strong correction.
The vetted studies were considered part of the core knowledge by which scientists understand the dynamics of personality, relationships, learning and memory. Therapists and educators rely on such findings to help guide decisions, and the fact that so many of the studies were called into question could sow doubt in the scientific underpinnings of their work.
Science needs to do better. These days, when I hear that this or that is bad for you I always project ahead 15 or 20 years and ask if the findings will have been reversed by then.
Of course, climate change is "proven science".
Regards — Cliff