Academic Condom: Faith

In relation to top ten most highly cited retracted academic papers that still end up being cited, even after retraction, Neil Remington Abramson commented as follows:

If a percentage of scientific research is no longer reliable or valid, how does the rest maintain its value against the growing feeling of doubt and uncertainty?

There is “faith” but in the past science has fought to discredit that concept. Now, maybe that’s what’s left, or will be left.

It’s a bit like unprotected sex with a stranger. Your paper could be infected because your thinking was infected by something retracted but still public domain.

And how could you have known?

And what is the equivalent of a condom in library research?

I was just reading that faith is trust under conditions of uncertainty, but that it is not rational and possibly emotional. Having faith in science these days is a bit like the faith that you won’t get HIV from unprotected sex this time because you believe the odds supposedly favour you. But faith isn’t a rational analytical thing and, as the list of retracted academic papers grows, faith in the general integrity of academic scholarship might be described as “being in denial”.

About brucelarochelle
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