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Showing posts from January, 2011

How we deal with what we know - or don't know

Through the KM4Dev.org network , I came across this interesting article in the New Yorker: "The Truth Wears Off" . It elaborates in the "Decline Effect"or empirical science, which is the phenomenon that the more scientists try to replicate previous empirical results, the more the statistic effects of these results wear off. "Such anomalies demonstrate the slipperiness of empiricism. Although many scientific ideas generate conflicting results and suffer from falling effect sizes, they continue to get cited in the textbooks and drive standard medical practice. Why? Because these ideas seem true. Because they make sense. Because we can't bear to let them go. And this is why the decline effect is so troubling. Not because it reveals the human fallibility of science, in which data are tweaked and beliefs shape perceptions. (Such shortcomings aren't surprising, at least for scientists.) And not because it reveals that many of our most exciting theories are