Discredited famous studies

To find more statmodeling.stat.columbia.edu/category/zombies/page/10

The Brian Wansink case🔗


(Been called Pizzagate, not to be confused with the Trumpist conspiracy theory also known as Pizzagate)

Brian Wansink and his apprentices did large scale data dredging, aka p-hacking. Most papers now withdrawn. For fun, read the blog post by Wansink that triggered the scrutiny.

Why did peer review not catch this?

“Because peer review doesn’t do this,” Heathers told Ars. The point of peer review has always been for fellow scientists to judge whether a paper is of reasonable quality; reviewers aren't expected to perform an independent analysis of the data.

“Historically, we have not asked peer reviewers to check the statistics,” Brown says. “Perhaps if they were [expected to], they’d be asking for the data set more often.” In fact, without open data—something that’s historically been hit-or-miss—it would be impossible for peer reviewers to validate any numbers.

Peer review is often taken to be a seal of approval on research, but it’s actually more like a small or large quality boost, depending on the reviewers and scientific journal in question. “In general, it still has a good influence on the quality of the literature,” van der Zee said to Ars. But “it’s a wildly human process, and it is extremely capricious,” Heathers points out.

There’s also the question of what’s actually feasible for people. Peer review is unpaid work, Kirschner emphasizes, usually done by researchers on top of their existing heavy workloads, often outside of work hours.

>”Where are the attempts to disprove the conclusion? Science is about the attempting to DISPROVE a result.”

Yep, when I was becoming aware this is one of the first conversations I had in the hallowed academic halls.

me: “Shouldn’t we by trying to disprove our hypothesis, rather than prove it? The null hypothesis should be what we predict will happen.”

prof: blinks and changes subject

The Andrew Wakefield case

The Diederik Stapel case🔗

Tilburg University suspended him in 2011. As of 2015, 58 retractions. He has sockpuppeted on Retraction Watch.


  • Selfishness in carnivores

The Sally Clark case

The Rat Park study

The China Study


The "himmicanes and hurricanes paper" attempted to show that you can save lives by giving hurricanes male names rather than female names, because a male name is more intimidating so people take more safety measures, while they don't take female hurricanes seriously.

It has been refuted by cite:smithHurricaneNamesBunch2016 ; there were quite a few problems with the original paper.

"Beautiful people have more daughters"

What links here

Created (16 months ago)