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Welcome to the blog

If you've been following news in the past months you could read that scientific studies found out that pesticides are linked to autism, an intelligent computer passed the so-called Turing test, a new mathematical algorithm will endanger the security of the internet, a higher concentration of antioxidants in organic food makes them healthier, PowerPoint slides make people stupid and apples improve women's sex life.

I have checked some of these claims and ignored others. However, I am quite certain that all of these claims are just plain wrong. You can find these stories almost on a daily basis. There's a never ending flow of bogus science stories in the media. It would be easy to blame the journalists and sensationalist media here. But there are various mechanisms at work here: Scientists exaggerating their research, press releases exaggerating scientific claims and journalists either uncritically reporting them or reporting them in a completely misleading way.

Bogus news stories about scientific results are just the tip of the iceberg. In recent years I became increasingly interested in everything that science gets wrong. This started when I became aware of the problem of publication bias: Many scientific results never get published. I learned that there's a big debate about a reproducibility crisis in science. Often enough scientific results cannot be replicated if other scientists try to do so. The bottom line is that far too many published scientific results are simply wrong and huge amounts of resources are wasted.

While these problems get more attention, some people want to try out radically new ways of doing science. A community that has gathered around the idea of Open Science wants to turn the scientific publication process around and bring much more transparency to science.

Science will never be perfect. Mistakes and preliminary results that later turn out to be wrong are an essential part of science. But many of the problems are fixable.

I find these issues incredibly interesting. I first had thoughts about writing a book about it, but I decided starting a blog would be an easier task. So here it is and hopefully it will present some interesting insights in a debate that is crucial to science.

Before I end this introduction I want to make something clear: I'm not against science. In fact, I love science. It's the only way we have to reliably find out things about the world around us. It is great that these days we know so many weird things about the universe that generations before us couldn't even imagine. Sometimes the flaws of the scientific process are used by the proponents of pseudoscience. However, they offer no better alternative. Proponents of so-called alternative medicine want to replace science with personal experiences, creationists want to replace science with ancient books, others want to replace science with the latest woo woo they found somewhere on the Internet. None of these things offer a meaningful alternative to science. The only way to fix science is better science.


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