The numbers on "bad science"

This infographic from is interesting. It speaks to President Eisenhower’s second warning in his famous farewell speech. More below.

Here’s the references as actual links:


This WUWT post: Ike’s second warning, hint: it is not the “military-industrial complex” is well worth a read for the prescient context it provides to this infographic.


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No amount of time and money can be compared to medical……
…immediately followed by an ad from a lawyer saying
“If you took this medicine and you leg fell off… us”
And we should think a group of glorified weathermen are somehow more advanced than that?

I find it hard to believe that any scientist would admit to “falsifying or fabricating data outright,” even in a purportedly anonymous survey. Or are standards now so low that such behavior is no longer an automatic disqualification for the profession?
/Mr Lynn

That poster could have been specifically designed for Climate Scientology


The caption below the first picture in red is a testament to just how little even this study understands the problem… the fact they’ve never heard of this thing called eugenics and need “new studies” to point out a well known fact is just sad.

Kurt in Switzerland

I love the “take home”:
Three easy ways to make the science more honest:
1) make all raw data available to other scientists.
2) hold journalists accountable (for just publishing the press release w/o critical thought)
3) introduce anonymous publication – not completely sure about that one, but “encourage anonymous review and anonymous criticism of perceived misconduct” would be better.
Kurt in Switzerland


Sadly most of this comes down to the desire for a specific result. People want to be right about something, some preconcieved notion–investigator bias. Consequently, they can be duped by their desire to be correct to do all the things listed in that infographics.
It all begins and ends with investigator bias.


Methinks that another survey is needed, one of climate “scientists” affiliated with the team and taken while they are under the influence of sodium pentathol.


Its quite plain that the word “scientist” will be treated as a dirty word before too long.
A field of endeavour to be avoided for fear of being tarnished by the implications of being in that field.
Whats also plain is that standards have dropped markedly as have the calibre of people being granted the title of “scientist”.
Pity, because its mankind that will utlimately suffer the consequences of the delusions of these so called “scientists” who skew data, falsify their findings and play hockey games within the field they supposedly are excelling in.
Its a shame for them and an even bigger shame for all the branches of science and research that they disrespect them so deeply by acting in such a dishonest manner.
It really is all about the money for these particular types.
Theyre no better than criminals to my mind.

Matt in Houston

Richard Feynman’s cargo cult science is also a good and relevant read in this regard. I know some folks here are already aware of Feynman and all of his contributions to science, but for those who aren’t:
This kind of report of fraud and is unfortunately par for the course the way science is taught in so many places today. I was fortunate to have engineers for parents and some excellent teachers and a good brain to go along with it. When I ask people in a discussion about science, how they define science and how it should be practiced they usually aren’t sure how to address it- but the experts are of course on top of it and whatever they say is probably right. Sad.


These people are racist , every caricature is of a minority type person. I am calling the Whitehouse.
REPLY:I don’t see it that way. It seems more to do with the graphical color scheme than anything. – Anthony

No one is to blame: We are living in “interesting times”, and according to the most vilified and rejected by the most honorable “new age” scientists, Astrology, this happens once in a while, following the rhythms of the Sun, planets and stars: It is just a new “turn of the screw”, following the unending spiral of evolution, which, by the way and contrary to the most holy law of Saint Newton, gravity, it goes up as all life on earth does (including the famous apple tree of the above mentioned famous Saint). Thus, history will repeat itself but at a higher pitch, on a higher octave, but now the other way around, because the Sun, as Jose, Shirley and others observed, changed direction on its path around its invisible barycenter.
In the former “interesting times” the world witnessed several world “revolutions”, now we have already experienced the fall of a big wall, which divided east and west, but….the best is yet to come, so, though hardly accepted the New science paradigm will flourish while the old one passes away, and not precisely graciously, as “Climate Gate” showed it.
Remember that lyrics:
When the Moon is in the seventh house
and Jupiter is aligned with Mars…..
Just wait and see…

And this is in the normal scientific discipline (or semi-scientific discipline) of psychology. The present day field of climate science was built almost entirely from the funding apparatus that Al Gore put in place when he served as Bill Clinton’s “climate czar,” allocating the first $10b of climate funding. NO ONE who was not on board with Gore’s anti-CO2 alarmism ever got a penny of that funding. Climate science is BY DESIGN built to arrive at a particular conclusion, no matter how at odds with reason and evidence, so the situation is far far worse than the bad-enough practices in other disciplines.

Owen in GA

@renowebb – I hope that was with tongue firmly planted in cheek. I really get tired of the race card, even in jest. (Ok, so I don’t have a sense of humor on this, but once racism is claimed all discussion usually stops!)

How is Climategate like the Enron scandal? It is not so surprising what is illegal or unethical, but what was legal or acceptable practice.
It has been stated ad nauseam that there was nothing unacceptable in what the Climategate principals did because they were cleared by several investigative panels, even the inspector general of the National Science Foundation.
The problem is the definition of what constitutes scientific misconduct. The Code of Federal Regulations, Title 45, Chapter 4, National Science Foundation, in section 689 has a definition of Scientific Misconduct.
Scientific misconduct on government funded research is limited to 1) Fabrication, 2) Falsification and 3) Plagiarism. But any investigation (i.e. whitewash) is performed by the recipient institution, which can be reviewed by the Inspector General.
“689.2 (c) A finding of research misconduct requires that…
“There be a significant departure from accepted practices of the relevant research community….” I.E. If everybody does it, then it is ok. Boggles the mind. There are many more requirements addressing discrimination and financial controls than there are addressing research standards.
It is time to establish ISO style standards for publicly funded scientific research. Mike Mann compared the climate models to those used to design aircraft. If he wants tom make that comparison, then we should look at establish standards for scientific research comparable to what is used in industry.
The standards do not need to be as complex as the ISO9000 standards, but should include but not be limited to the following:
1. Requirements to archive and provide public access of data, methods and code so that the research can be replicated and evaluated. Any data collected but excluded from the final analysis should also be available along with reasoning why they were excluded.
2. Requirements for random audit of research.
3. Standards for statistical analysis. How about a blind analysis, where a statistician analyses the data, not knowing what he is analyzing or what the underlying theory being advocated is?
4. Standards for the peer review process which would eliminate advocacy by journals and editors and “pal review”.
5. And most important, eliminate section 689.2(c) above.
6. And more??


Love the graphics Anthony, but it is too obvious, too clear too unequivical.
I have observed, and regretfully finally admitted to myself that most people don’t think, and those that do take *very* small steps to change their mind…unforunately.
I love your work!


For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.” – Richard Feynman

It’s not science, it’s just speculation, until the engineers get aholt of it and create something real 🙂

Matt in Houston

If you are serious, thanks for missing the forest and the trees and then broadcasting your own freudian slip to share with the rest of us about the racist that you are. Please let the White house also know that we would like our tax dollars back since they are so incredibly efficient at wasting them on fraudulent scams like solyndra, the volt, fisker and God knows what other flavor of the month political handouts they have going on.
Let us know how that goes.


I don’t believe many scientists cook the books per se, but those that do are clearly driven by some other agenda.
However, I can well believe that 70% of scientists think others have quenstionable methods – ask two tradesmen what they think of each others work, and you’ll get different responses! Note that, in my opinion, as a scientist and engineer – I always question others work, not in a derogatory fashion (unless it’s rubbish!) – but as in a scientific, need to understand their method and reasoning, type fashion, (if that makes sense?). By the same token, I expect to be questioned for my reasoning and methods – it’s all perfectly acceptable! So, if I were to fill in such a survey, it may well look worse in some respects! but it does NOT mean I actually distrust other scientists/engineers, etc.
The essence of skepticism is so deeply based within real scientists that you simply cannot get 100% agreement over some things – it does not equate to them being unreliable – indeed, one could argue that, for real scientists (I’m discounting many of the warmist grant seeker types!) it demonstrates how the peer review system and need for ‘proof’ means that it can and should, largely, be trusted as a valid viewpoint/analysis.

Great set of pictures. And the three suggestions are important, though they need the backup of legislation to give them teeth. I notice they don’t mention the fourth suggestion I’d make ie “get a blog going where everyone can comment”. And I think there is a fifth tool which I’m working on.

kbray in california

It’s that old adage…
Power Corrupts….

Mr Lynn says:
February 7, 2012 at 1:37 pm
I find it hard to believe that any scientist would admit to “falsifying or fabricating data outright,” even in a purportedly anonymous survey.

On the other hand I have known some who told me right to my face… I even worked with some who told me same…
Experiences do differ don’t they?
Course I do other things now…


I hope that was a joke post?
I despise racism – but I openly admit to not liking the French much, or the Arabs (I worked for a French company in the Middle East), etc, etc – but I am not racist, or at least certainly not in a traditional sense, because I know that I can meet and get on with some Frenchies and some Arabs, etc!.
If you look at an image (of anything or anybody) and see ‘racism’ – that is really quite sad, IMHO – what you ‘see’ is surely an indication of what you may feel? just sayin…..


bkindseth says:
February 7, 2012 at 2:02 pm
I agree with your sentiment, all public funded research should be accountable too – though, IMO, ISO 9000 is not that difficult because it is based mostly on record keeping and ‘saying what you do and actually doing what you say you do’ – which in the end, is the nuts and bolts of any ‘standard’.

More Soylent Green!

If this many admit to it…


If you don’t believe it, follow this site:


I lived in akademia for over 30 years, and the amount of fraud was impressive. I’m not saying error. I don’t think that more than 10% of current published research can be relevant for 10 years. Most depends on what’s fashionable and akademic politics. It doesn’t matter how right you are. (I will not produce a single more comment on this.)


There is a 2009 study called, “How Many Scientists Fabricate and Falsify Research? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Survey Data” here-
“…while surveys asking about colleagues are hard to interpret conclusively, self-reports systematically underestimate the real frequency of scientific misconduct. Therefore, it can be safely concluded that data fabrication and falsification –let alone other questionable research practices- are more prevalent than most previous estimates have suggested.”
“…scientists were less likely to reply affirmatively to questions using the words “fabrication” and “falsification” rather than “alteration” or “modification”. Moreover, three surveys found that scientists admitted more frequently to have “modified” or “altered” research to “improve the outcome” than to have reported results they “knew to be untrue”. In other words, many did not think that the data they “improved” were falsified. To some extent, they were arguably right. But the fuzzy boundary between removing noise from results and biasing them towards a desired outcome might be unknowingly crossed by many researchers.”
The research includes some interesting diagrams such as, ” Admission rates of Questionable Research Practices (QRP) in self- and non-self-reports.”

renowebb says:
February 7, 2012 at 1:51 pm
> These people are racist , every caricature is of a minority type person. I am calling the Whitehouse.
Yes, it’s shameful, all the scientists are balding (even the redhead), only the monster has a full head of hair. Clearly we need more diversity among caricature scientists. People will think the caricature is settled. 🙂
Umm, /sarc seems to be important here.

Heh, another timely post! Clearly this isn’t confined to psychology. Nothing can be more clear that bad science is prevalent throughout than the circular and contradictory blatherings about our corals.
We simply cannot trust scientists to give us the whole unabridged truth. They won’t do it even when their own recent blatherings contradict their already accepting ravings.


WillR says: February 7, 2012 at 2:29 pm On the other hand I have known some who told me right to my face… I even worked with some who told me same…
I’ve seen two picking cherries in their data right in front of me (Not this one… , this one is ok…) and a third bragging of plagiarizing. I’ve seen published papers entirely made up. I’ve seen averages of a population of ONE, and fabricated data. I was asked to hammer statistics (of course I didn’t). Etc.

Anonymous publication is especially important because there you can report unlikely, surprising observations and theories, which are exactly the ones that have the highest value.
Think just about cold fusion. Devastating change if proven true, but also high risk of being wrong.
Peer-review is anonymous in principle, but not in reality. Scientific publications are nowadays like newspapers and report things that we already “know”. Confirmation bias is palpable.

TG McCoy (Douglas DC)

Matt in Houston-Feynman, Dyson, Borlaug. all Heros…


Perhaps Climate Science needs an Office of Climate Science Research Integrity, similar to this
In a case involving a scientist at the University of Michigan Medical School, the Office of Research Integrity “found that the Respondent knowingly and intentionally tampered with research materials related to five (5) immunoprecipitation/Western blot experiments and switched the labels on four (4) cell culture dishes for cells used in the same type of experiments to cause false results to be reported in the research record. ORI also found that the Respondent tampered with laboratory research materials by adding ethanol to his colleague’s cell culture media, with the deliberate intent to effectuate the death of growing cells, which caused false results to be reported in the research record. ORI has concluded that these acts seriously deviated from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting, and/or reporting research.”


[harmless, but way way off topic – Anthony]

Dr. Dave

At first I had a really hard time accepting what they said about medical research, then I remembered all the crap that passes for “medical research.” A really good example are the last studies that “proved” second-hand smoke presents a health risk. There were three very large, well designed studies that explored this question. Problem was they kept getting “the wrong answer”. Eventually the anti-tobacco zealots cobbled together a much smaller study with ridiculous confidence limits. At last! They got the desired answer. It was politically correct but scientifically meaningless. I’m not defending smoking, but I strongly oppose fraudulent science. A lot of the stuff that comes out of the CDC under the guise of “medical research” is actually crap. I’m sure a lot of grad students in academia cheat and fudge data and results of their projects which could be called “medical research”.
Most of what I consider “medical research” is funded by the private sector and is conducted with strict scientific rigor and intensive review.

Dave Wendt

Latitude says:
February 7, 2012 at 1:37 pm
No amount of time and money can be compared to medical……
…immediately followed by an ad from a lawyer saying
“If you took this medicine and you leg fell off… us”
And we should think a group of glorified weathermen are somehow more advanced than that?
“glorified weathermen”? I would suggest that a more accurate characterization of the climate community would be “degenerated weathermen”. After all, in order to maintain themselves in their positions, weathermen must eventually demonstrate at least some level of predictive skill. From what I’ve seen, no such restriction applies in the field of climate mythology.


Thanks antony it was way off topic LOL

Dr. Dave says:
February 7, 2012 at 3:37 pm
At first I had a really hard time accepting what they said about medical research, then I remembered all the crap that passes for “medical research.” A really good example are the last studies that “proved” second-hand smoke presents a health risk.
I remember it well. It was for the greater good….. I believe that was the rationalization. It was then that caused me not to believe a damned thing spewed from the govt/scientific community. I recall the EPA changing their standards so SHS could be labeled as a carcinogen. Alas, poor Liberty, we barely knew ye.

David A. Evans

Matt in Houston
Spot on post. If that post was serious about racism, how come no-one else saw it? Says more about the observer as in too many real life cases of racism


This is not off topic I think its obvious that the AGW scam is about over. I don’t think we should hound the people responsible. I think they honestly believed in it (I did certainly did when I saw the Hadcrut Graphs 4 years ago!).. To their credit, they have provide graphs showing flat temps since 1998 (Hadcrut)/. I say leave them alone… They will retire or change their research subject.

Good post, Anthony. Thank you.
I think that some scientists are willing to make such admissions in a survey, despite the conceivable risk to themselves, because of a feeling of guilt over not having admitted them publicly. Of course, the one does not remit the other, but it is better than nothing, and deserves our praise.
Thank you, scientists who answered these survey questions truthfully — especially those scientists whose truthful answer was in the affirmative. May your honesty be rewarded.


Basic problem , in the name of ‘the cause’ anything is justified so bad practice becomes good practice in the same way poor research becomes good if it supports ‘the cause ‘ Therefore, its simple not possible for bad science to be done when its result are useful to ‘the cause ‘ The final part of this idea is that is of course that any practice or research that does not support ‘the cause’ is automatically bad becasue clearly no good research could ever do this .
Look up Orwells 1984 and will understand how this works.

one more link – could be re-written with “climate science” replacing “medical” in about one minute.

Alan D McIntire

I can see how scientists can subconsciously cherry pick data, but I cannot for the life of me understand why 1 in 50 would admit to falsifying data or that 81% of biomedical research trainees would admit that they would modify or fabricate data to get a grant or get published. Those actions should be beyond the pale!

R. Shearer

I’ll have my consensus science with hot fudge and a cherry on top!


Anthony I follow links does not appear the above content, can you clarify. Did it come from somewhere else?


How much research science is actually done by students under supervision for their doctoral thesis ?
When you see how the “team” behave there is no reason to doubt their students would do anything to keep the “research” true to the holy grail.

Owen in Ga

You know, I think it used to be standard practice in a thesis defense for one of the interrogators (ok they aren’t really interrogators, it just feels that way) to take a contrarian view in line of questions to force the candidate to defend his position against the pall of authoritative adverse opinion just to test the candidates integrity. Do they not do this anymore? It seems we could weed out a bunch of bad actors by making sure they understand they have to go where the data leads and not lead the data to popular opinion.

Roger Carr

renowebb says: “These people are racist , every caricature is of a minority type person. I am calling the Whitehouse.”
Wal… I laughed along with you, renowebb. Nice!