Most scientific papers are probably wrong!

I remember talking to a friend of mine mentioning the fact that I am really skeptic about the results of the studies in the multi-variable fields with no underlying theories, such as life sciences, social sciences, and earth sciences. My argument is as following, there are many parameters to change, and since we have no theory to compare the experimental predictions with, we could easily get misled by the results. In fact, in most of these fields we can’t even answer the basic questions, such as how many parameters are there to estimate the right sample size!

Recently, I came across this article in newscientists which basically proves that many scientific results are probably wrong! What I like about physics, in general, is that we have theoretical guidelines which help us to better understand the experiments. Of course, our theories are based on many approximations and assumptions, however, it is still unreasonably accurate. In fact, the main difference between theoretical physics and applied mathematics is how to lay down different approximations. This is one of the main reasons that, I believe, we have a steady progress in physics, and sorts of a random walk in other fields. By the random walk, I do not mean that we are not making progress, of course, we are. However, there is no sense of direction in what we are doing, at least by an outsider like me!

Advertisements