We Tried to Publish a Replication of a Science Paper in Science. The Journal Refused.

From Slate

Slate accidentally stumbles onto something interesting, important, and probably factual.

Our research suggests that the theory that conservatives and liberals respond differently to threats isn’t actually true.

By Kevin Arceneaux, Bert N. Bakker, Claire Gothreau, and Gijs Schumacher

June 20, 20196:43 PM

There are researchers still seeking truth and advancing science.  In this environment, these guys are heroes.

Our story starts in 2008, when a group of researchers published an article (here it is without a paywall) that found political conservatives have stronger physiological reactions to threatening images than liberals do. The article was published in Science, which is one of the most prestigious general science journals around. It’s the kind of journal that can make a career in academia.

It was a path-breaking and provocative study. For decades, political scientists and psychologists have tried to understand the psychological roots of ideological differences. The piece published in Science offered some clues as to why liberals and conservatives differ in their worldviews. Perhaps it has to do with how the brain is wired, the researchers suggested—specifically, perhaps it’s because conservatives’ brains are more attuned to threats than liberals’. It was an exciting finding, it helped usher in a new wave of psychophysiological work in the study of politics, and it generated extensive coverage in popular media. In 2018, 10 years after the publication of the study, the findings were featured on an episode of NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast.

I believe it is also the basis for Chris Mooney’s book: The Republican Brain.

The question is whether this relationship is really as meaningful as we sometimes think it is. The brain is a complex organ with parallel conscious and unconscious systems that don’t always affect the other one-to-one. We still believe that there is value in exploring how physiological reactions and conscious experience shape political attitudes and behavior, but after further consideration, we have concluded that any such relationships are more complicated than we (and the researchers on the Science paper) presumed.

A familiar story took place.

We did not expect Science to immediately publish the paper, but because our findings cast doubt on an influential study published in its pages, we thought the editorial team would at least send it out for peer review.

It did not.
……….

We wrote back asking them to consider at least sending our work out for review. (They could still reject it if the reviewers found fatal flaws in our replications.) We argued that the original article continues to be highly influential and is often featured in popular science pieces in the lay media (for instance, here, here, here, and here), where the research is translated into a claim that physiology allows one to predict liberals and conservatives with a high degree of accuracy. We believe that Science has a responsibility to set the record straight in the same way that a newspaper does when it publishes something that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. We were rebuffed without a reason and with a vague suggestion that the journal’s policy on handling replications might change at some point in the future.

The full Slate article is here.

HT/Judith Curry

89 thoughts on “We Tried to Publish a Replication of a Science Paper in Science. The Journal Refused.

  1. Negative results are not considered good results. This should change. Good that this gets some visibility in the somesphere, if not on the pages of Science.

    OTOH, I’m not a topic specialist, there still might be perfectly valid reasons not to publish.

    • There may be perfectly valid reasons not to publish.
      But what valid reasons are there not to even review the paper?

      • What is needed is a new venue for publishing replication studies. Perhaps a new journal to be called “Science Replication” is in order. There contrary findings can be published for any paper that doesn’t stand up to the task of Replication.

        • Very very good idea. A journal named “Science Replication” would be an excellent idea. It would indeed be a good idea, more generally, that the science of replication be debated in its own right. So a specific journal seems to me to be faire game.

          Let’s hope someone picks up the idea.

    • If the paper were being rejected for perfectly valid reasons, it would be easy for the editors to tell the authors what those reasons are.

  2. Personally, I think Science should leave this stuff to the soft science journals, and it may be that their response says that they have belatedly realised that too.

    A reason is that the notion of replication needs care with a statistical result. It recognises randomness, so a second experiment can’t be expected to get the same result. What they say is that Oxley et al get a significant result, and they do not. That means that they failed to reject the null hypothesis of no correlation. That is a failure. It could of course be an inferior experiment (or they assess the fuzzy political concepts differently etc). But basically it just isn’t contradictory. What they need to do is now adopt the Oxley relation as the null, and see if they can reject that. If Oxley’s result is true, it will have a distribution, and while it should be improbable that there is zero correlation, it is quite possible (with a good experiment) that another instance will be in a range that would be deemed lacking significance.

    They do list some indications that the expected correlation may be zero or negative, but I can’t see any statistical tests of that. They seem to rely entirely on the fact that they did not get a statistically significant result and Oxley did.

    • Personally, I think Science should leave this stuff to the soft science journals, and it may be that their response says that they have belatedly realised that too.

      Wow. So they screwed up by getting into a soft science issue and so that’s a good excuse to not consider correcting the record that they themselves created by making that screw up?

      Next you’ll be excusing Boeing because the pilots should have been trained on the material that wasn’t in the training manuals because Boeing is, after all, an airplane company not a training company? So they don’t need to rewrite their training manuals because they shouldn’t have been involved in writing them in the first place? No need to correct those? See any problem with this thinking Nick when you apply it to the real world outside of academia?

    • Nick….peer review does not mean a paper is correct or accurate…you know that

      …there is no excuse for not publishing a paper that refutes it

      • But it doesn’t refute it. The fact that someone doesn’t get statistical significance when someone else did doesn’t refute anything. You could go forever publishing results of that kind. And as they say, it has been 11 years, and a lot else has been published in that time.

        • good grief….

          One paper claims there is something..
          ….the other paper claims there’s not

          Of course that’s refuting it…even if it doesn’t….that’s the way science is supposed to work
          ….it doesn’t stop a peer review…peer review is where it’s supposed to start

          …and just because it’s been 11 years…the paper has been cited a million times…means nothing….it only means a bunch of people jumped on it….

        • Nick They very strongly reduced the uncertainties involved – sufficient to negate the original papers positive conclusion.

        • A lot has also been published in the last decade about the publication of false positives in all fields of science, and the need to publish both negative results and attempts to replicate (successful or not).

        • “And as they say, it has been 11 years, and a lot else has been published in that time.”

          Nick did touch on one thing here….

          What this says is a bunch of people cited it….took peer review as gospel….when it had not been replicated

          …and now they all have a vested interest in not allowing it to be shown wrong or questionable

          if it’s wrong…so is their work

        • ” it has been 11 years, and a lot else has been published in that time.’

          This is a joke right?

          Science isn’t about how long a hypothesis or theory has existed and been supported it is about testing, testing and more testing.

        • The problem is when a fundamental result is trashed then its like a house of cards. Better to get to the truth earlier than later.

          For example imagine the impact on climate science if someone could definitively prove that GCMs had no predictive power?

          Half or more of climate science would evaporate.

        • I think I can agree with Nick Stokes on this one.

          I had to suppress a chuckle when I read “the research is translated into a claim that physiology allows one to predict liberals and conservatives with a high degree of accuracy”.
          I wonder what their physiology has to say about those of us who are able to change our minds? That we’re human, perhaps?

    • Wow, a complete rejection of one the cardinal rules in science, Nick. Guess that says all we need to know.

      Just as a side note, this is why “p” values should be tied to a stake and burned. Foolish people ascribe meaning where there is none and they’re great for fudging data.

      • Nick Stokes uses the homeopathy defence, in which a small, poor-quality study finds an effect and a larger, better study does not.
        Pretty pathetic behaviour from Nick Stokes, if you ask me.

      • “why “p” values should be tied to a stake and burned”
        I would prefer more humane measures. But “p” values are the basis of this new paper too.

    • In the social sciences a correlation of 0.6 is considered a “solid” correlation.

      Regarding the Oxley study, there have been quite a few replications (and refinements). Jordan Peterson subscribes to the validity that personality trait profiles can predict political allegiance quite well…and that’s good enough for me

      I too can pick out political allegiances by personality assessment. In my studies I’ve discovered that persons who are parasites are always rank and file Democrats, and those who are predators are Democrat leaders or Crony Capitalist Republican supporters of Democrats. Hard working individuals that are heavily invested in the scientific method in order to discover the truth are always Republicans or Libertarians. Those who corrupt science at the drop of a hat for political or personal gain are Democrats or Socialists.

      My studies have a correlation coefficient of over 0.9…a new benchmark in the social sciences.

    • I think this is an errant interpretation of the scientific method. It is not mandatory to contradict the original result. That would be similar to an expectation that an accused prove themselves innocent rather than the burden of proof on a prosecutor to prove guilt. Proving a negative is not a viable method of science progress. The fact is that a correlation is low grade evidence. Repeating a study and finding no correlation is an important observation. Until causal links our found correlations can simply be random effects and any studies failing to support the correlation should be treated as important observations. If a correlation is causal then it should be detectable in most adequately sized and well conducted studies. If Science published the original then they have a responsibility (assuming they are truly in the business of science) of treating contradictory evidence with similar respect and exposure.

      • “Repeating a study and finding no correlation is an important observation.”
        But they didn’t find no correlation. They found a correlation which, at 95% confidence, could not reject the null hypothesis of zero correlation.

        Suppose you are testing a coin for fairness in tossing. You get six heads in a row. That’s significant. Someone else tosses it six times and gets four heads. Clearly insignificant. A refutation? No! After all, 10 heads out of twelve is definitely significant. But you could keep tossing, and probably fade in and out of significance. Does Science have to publish a paper every time?

        It mixes in the fallacy of “significance” (or not) after repeated trials.

        • In this case the trial is against how people think and that’s soft science at best.

          Individuals’ ways of thinking changes. I think its fair to say whole categories of people can change the way they think over time too. Especially in these days of social media.

          So your whole argument of “didn’t show it this time doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist” is as flawed as the reasoning behind believing there is lasting meaning from these kinds of papers at all.

          • “So your whole argument of “didn’t show it this time doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist” is as flawed”
            You’re just setting out yet another reason for saying that the later study did not “refute” the earlier. In fact Oxley et al specified their definition of “con/lib” as
            ” individuals particularly concerned with protecting the interests of the participants’ group, defined as the United States in mid-2007, from threats”
            Specific in time and place. The later study was not only at a different time, but half the respondents were in Europe.

            So the studies didn’t match up well either. All I’m saying is that, even if they did, getting different significance levels doesn’t mean one is right and the other wrong.

          • Nick writes

            So the studies didn’t match up well either. All I’m saying is that, even if they did, getting different significance levels doesn’t mean one is right and the other wrong.

            And I agree with you right up to the point where one paper (and it’s conclusions) is repeatedly referenced but the other never sees the light of day.

        • ” We conducted two “conceptual” replications (one in the Netherlands and one in the U.S.) that used different images to get at the same idea of a “threat”—for example, a gun pointing at the screen.”

          The replication could be flawed. The authors say that they used in their final experiments the same images as in the original, adding “a few” of their own. If they used something like the gun image in this set of experiments, it may not have been a wise choice, since gun rights and ownership are a politically and emotionally hot topic, not merely something one might perceive as a threat.

          Personally, I think a journal like Science has a right to set policies regarding whether to publish replications. The journal only has so much space, and publication in it is highly competitive. If they are going to publish replications that don’t support the original work, they should also publish those that do, and that would make getting “original” research published there far more competitive. There are plenty of well-respected journals out there that cater to specific fields within science; it’s not as if an article would be ignored just because it didn’t appear in Science.

          • Kristi writes

            If they are going to publish replications that don’t support the original work, they should also publish those that do, and that would make getting “original” research published there far more competitive.

            In science only one can be correct. If both are correct then its not a scientific result, its something else and personally I think both papers are actually much more closely aligned to philosophy.

    • “Personally, I think Science should leave this stuff to the soft science journals….”
      It has had whatever soft science is, actually worse, for a long time. There are other examples.
      “Fortunately, …decrease(s)(of) excess nutrient loads proceeded without complete scientific consensus .. ” (2002)
      “…..intangible value for feelings of connection…..” (1998)

      These were not in Science, but decent marine science journals. The first is obvious, the second about fish stocking. Neither were working out the way the advocates needed.

    • Dear Mr Stokes–how, pray tell, do you define “replication”? The researchers followed the original studies design, but used a larger N, and failed to find any significant finding.
      So is your conclusion that Science should not have published the original study anyway, so it is trivial to find it is perhaps not valid?

    • I agree with Nick.
      At the next annual (or regional) meeting of ‘whatever’, they could all get in a room and ponder the We-said — They said things.
      Meanwhile, the replicators could continue the work as interest warrants.

    • Stokes’ Maxim — Anything can be justified or dismissed (whichever you choose), just ask me.

  3. Regarding the Republican brain verses the Democratic brain,

    Its the nature versus nature thing.

    If your family are already Democrat then one could say that the genetic
    makeup of Mum and Dad s genes will have determined how the brain is
    formed.

    Then growing up in a household of in this case a Democratic family will largely
    determine how the child will develop. The same goes for a child born
    and raised in a Republican family.

    Obviously there will always be a case where a child rebels against the
    political thinking of both Mum and Dad, but I would say that the child
    is usually a reflection of its parents.

    MJE VK5ELL

    • I doubt psychology will back you on that one. Not to mention you just condemned every country on the planet to the lousy systems they currently have, if you’re correct. I can see today’s lousy psychologists saying that (because they are now politicians), but REAL study will most likely not back you up.

      I’m not saying children don’t reflect a lot of their parents attitudes, but reality has a way of changing those attitudes when children leave home. Also, if daddy or mommy are criminals, this would mean the children would likely be. This was believed back in the 19th century. I guess some have not yet reached enlightenment on that one….

      • In a lot of cases, we learn how to be a parent from our parents. How we react in certain situations will tend to mirror how our parents reacted in similar situations. If our fathers are violent towards their kids, their is a greater likelihood that their children will become violent towards their own children when they become parents, especially the male children as father is their role model.
        We also do tend to pick up bad habits from them as well. Parents that smoke are more likely to raise children that also smoke as it is part of their environment and daily exposure has an effect. Same with drinking alcohol. Daily exposure to and availability of the products in the household environment can lead to a child using them.

      • Sheri – June 22, 2019 at 6:03 am

        Not to mention you just condemned every country on the planet to the lousy systems they currently have

        So tell us, Sheri, ……just how many countries on this planet have WILLINGLY changed their lousy system during the past 100 years?

    • Studies of twins separated at birth showed that each child held attitudes prevailing in their adoptive family upon reaching adulthood, but gradually shifted to attitudes matching their twin thereafter.
      Nature wins out over nurture in the long run.

      SR

    • Michael – June 22, 2019 at 12:01 am

      Then growing up in a household of in this case a Democratic family will largely
      determine how the child will develop. The same goes for a child born
      and raised in a Republican family.

      Right on, Michael, …. because: “You are what your environment nurtured you to be”.

      The Slate article should have started with this statement, to wit:

      ….. after further consideration, we have concluded that any such relationships are more complicated than we (and the researchers on the Science paper) presumed.

      Then they wouldn’t have presumed any of the following, to wit:

      Our story starts in 2008, when a group of researchers published an article that found political conservatives have stronger physiological reactions to threatening images than liberals do.

      An image by itself is not threatening. The subconscious mind has to associate the image with a nurtured entity for it to be threatening. So, you see it here, its threatening, ……. you see it there, its not threatening. So, the question is, were the researchers who selected the “images” politically biased themselves?

      It was a path-breaking and provocative study. For decades, political scientists and psychologists have tried to understand the psychological roots of ideological differences.

      Decades is right. Like since the late 19th Century. And it will be quite a few more decades if said political scientists and psychologists continue to assume that the conscious mind is in control of how a person acts, reacts, etc. They should relegate those beliefs to the trash heap and embrace the new science whereby the conscious mind can only make choices and is subservient to the subconscious mind. Those per se “psychological roots” are nurtured (recorded) in the DNA of the brain’s neurons and only accessible by the subconscious mind.

      The brain is a complex organ with parallel conscious and unconscious systems that don’t always affect the other one-to-one

      And that description of the human brain-mind is exactly why they have been “spinning-their-wheels” and accomplishing little of nothing.

  4. I can only speak for myself but I think the original proposition is probably wrong. I used to be rather left leaning when younger but I have swung completely around. I think political leanings stem more from individual (right-rural-traditional) thought as opposed to group thinking (left-urban-Hollywood-trendy) and of course from one’s paternal and educational influences.

    • Don’t worry Mike…

      According to the great modern philosopher P. J. O’Rourke if you are not a lefty when you are young there is something wrong with your heart and if you are not a conservative when you are older there is something wrong with your head.

      • I was like that until my late twenties. Then reality smacked me upside my head.

        But my dad never taught me anything about the real world. My children are all conservatives, and have never been liberals. Because I taught them properly. All four are nice, stable, giving, loving and have their heads on straight. Not bragging, (much) just fact.

    • I thought it all started with them trying to figure out why conservatives are defective, not being skeert of ‘Climate Change – the Settled Science.’

      Conservatives get scared like anyone else – when there is something to be scared of.

      • Exactly. When a leftist starts telling me what I am thinking, I do start to get annoyed. Their observational powers on that subject are severely lacking and completely faulty, guided by the same exact confirmation bias that makes climate science so frequently ridiculous.

        The original paper was a tendentious effort, not to understand any facet of objective reality, but to smear right of center thinking on so-called “climate science.” In the opinion of the CAGW movement, we right of center people are not enough afraid of climate change, not willing to vote to castrate our own economies, and they, at some level, understand that ridiculing of the chicken little aspects of the whole charade are bearing fruit, electorally. The original paper is a proto-Lew paper.

      • “Conservatives get scared like anyone else – when there is something to be scared of.”

        I would say, like anyone, they can be scared of imaginary things, too.

  5. I remember that study when it came out (the first one) and thinking it didn’t make any sense. Response to threats happens at the instinctive level. Fight or flight is anything but an intellectual response, while politics is purely an intellectual response. Trying to claim the two are integrated in some way doesn’t seem reasonable.

    • Liberals often try to claim that the reason conservatives are not receptive to their crazy ideas, is because conservatives are afraid of new things.

  6. Science can’t be seen to publish too many retractions. After all, their reputation is more important than actual science, especially when it contradicts the leftist ideology that dominates every form of media.

    • exactly…..when reality says the paper went in the wrong direction
      it’s the liberals that fall for all this crap

      global warming causes asteroids

  7. The “soft” sciences are nothing but junk science.
    But clearly Science mag editors will still publish total crap social science papers if it suits their bias.
    The destruction of science continues. The idiots who carry posters at Leftist marches proclaiming “I believe in Science” are simply useful idiots in the climate war.

    • One of my former colleagues referred to the ‘soft’ sciences as the “silly sciences.”

    • Joel, there are real and useful things to study in the social sciences centred on why humans individually or collectively behave the way they do in the marketplace, in social settings, in politics, and in all forms of interaction. That we recognize deviant behavior is itself a valud data point.

      I sugest that what you are recognizing in your assessment of it is the fact that these disciplines have been thoroughly corrupted by leftist “progressive” politics and therefore rendered “junk”. The exact same corruption has rendered consensus climate science “junk” too. The social sciences AND mainstream climate science both blame the “problems”, real or imagined, on capitalism, big corporations, and right wing thinking (sceptics).

      Disclaimer: I’m a geologist and engineer.

  8. We are always told that psychotic contagious panic results from the absence of realistic timely danger perception ?

    In other words, in the absence of quick objective information on what goes on, all it takes is few words to induce panic.

  9. The most influential paper I saw is one that found that something like 80% of all academics are overtly “democrat” and that a few (3?) percent are overtly Republican.

    That is why “science” and other academic subjects as portrayed by the media is almost 100% pro-Democrat (because even if a few Republicans produce work … their own Universities are biased against them so even the 3?% don’t get publicity)

    Or to turn it around … if you’re a Republican politician giving money to academia … you’re basically giving money to a pro-Democrat lobbying machine.

  10. Honestly it could simply be that they’re refusing to publish psychological claptrap garbage studies now because back when they were they got burned badly. A great deal of psy studies have turned out to be even worse than that glyphosate study where they used like 28 rats all genetically pre-disposed to cancer and fed them the wrong material with bad food. At least with the rat study “cancer” wasn’t a qualitative analysis done by a psychotic liberal.

    In the end the primary study basically would show that conservatives have a great deal more understanding that events have repercussions and that liberals don’t process what they do to see if it can go wrong. This is replicated in The State of California’s law books.

    • They could have simply said that, but I think it’s telling that they didn’t. And if they didn’t feel qualified enough to declare it “claptrap”, then they should have sent it on for review. But they didn’t. It is the non-response that is so troubling with this because it tells us that their reasons are probably not rational/defensible.

  11. This journal sold itself out to climate doom years ago , so support the idea that skeptics are merely wrong but ‘mad and bad ‘ is not something they have any interest in undermining . Even if its a claim based on rubbish.

  12. Here’s a funny but interesting, and perhaps useful, comment which “TyroneJ” posted, on the Slate article:

    TyroneJ 1 day ago

    Science (& Nature) have a poor track record of correcting fields where they created a problem by publishing weak or flawed articles that made a big splash. However I have found first hand that their editorial staffs are much more open to publishing articles that undercut the other journal. I would suggest these authors submit their article to Nature.

    This was my less-interesting comment:

    Dave Burton 12 minutes ago

    I think it has been a long time since Science Magazine was really deserving of being called “one of the most prestigious general science journals around.”

    Some of the biggest names in academic publishing have the biggest problems, these days. Science, Nature, and PNAS have all become extremely politicized, and generally untrustworthy.

    The academic “peer-review” process, which is supposed to ensure quality control, is hopelessly broken. Studies have found that as many as half of all peer-reviewed study results are simply wrong.

    In some fields, the leading refereed journals are completely dominated by junk science. Have you seen this?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVk9a5Jcd1k

    I have accumulated a large collection of articles and papers about the ongoing “replication crisis” and related problems in science, here:

    https://sealevel.info/papers.html#whitherscience

  13. I have a hard time believing there are actually two distinct ideologies defined as left or right. For myself I lean right on some issues and left on others although I have never voted for a left wing political candidate.
    I am Canadian and I am certain that not even the most conservative of us would ever opt for a return to user pay medical care. Our Guaranteed income supplement for seniors may find some opposition among the wealthier of us but that is a different division. Even the most ardent Liberal is loathe to lower their own standard of living in deference to equality.
    From my viewpoint the differences mostly lay in an incomplete understanding of the other position and an inability to modify opinions once a mindset has been established.

    • I am a Canadian, but I would like to see user pay healthcare for day to day medicine, and reserve government run insurance for catastrophic illness or injury. Perhaps you just never thought about it or aren’t really that conservative. In Canada we are fed a steady diet of propaganda making our healthcare system look like a panacea. I have traveled, and experienced other systems and found all to be much better.

  14. Some things change, some things don’t. It’s still not what you know but who you know that is most important.

  15. This topic (like climate science & “grievance studies”) is a swamp of junk science. Here’s another example, published in 2012:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3809096/

    And here’s an “epic” erratum, by the same authors, almost three years later, in 2015, correcting their blunder:

    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ajps.12216

    It begins:

    The authors regret that there is an error in the published version of “Correlation not Causation: The Relationship between Personality Traits and Political Ideologies” American Journal of Political Science 56 (1), 34–51. The interpretation of the coding of the political attitude items in the descriptive and preliminary analyses portion of the manuscript was exactly reversed. Thus, where we indicated that higher scores in Table 1 (page 40) reflect a more conservative response, they actually reflect a more liberal response…

  16. This is not the worst refusal Science has committed. They published Bitman’s seminal work on DDT-eggshell thinning. When Bitman redid his own research, adding calcium to the original calcium-deficient diet fed to the birds, the results showed no eggshell thinning. Science refused to publish the corrected work, saying eggshell thinning by DDT had become accepted science.

    How much blood is already on their hands?

      • If you need a more respected source, let me know, I’ve seen it elsewhere. This is just the first one I found.
        Read the paragraph immediately above the section titled, “The Hearing That Wasn’t Heard.”

        “Environmentalists ignored such evidence and exploited these myths that had engrained themselves in popular opinion through the 1960s. The movement gained new momentum in 1970 when the journal Science published a study by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) chemist Joel Bitman and two colleagues demonstrating that DDT in birds’ diets causes eggshell thinning. The scientific community demanded a retrial when it discovered Bitman had significantly reduced calcium in the diets of the test birds, though calcium is necessary for healthy eggshells. Bitman repeated the study with adequate dietary calcium, and the shells were not thinned at all. However, Science refused to publish the corrected research! Edwards reported that when challenged, editor Philip Abelson said his journal “would never publish anything that was not antagonistic toward DDT.”

        https://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/15583-ddt-breeds-death

        • The New American is a shaky source, but this incident is also recounted in The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science, By Tom Bethell, here.

          Here’s a screenshot (you might have to click 2 or 3 times to enlarge it to readability):
          https://sealevel.info/Tom_Bethell_Politically_Incorrect_Guide_To_Science_excerpt1_DDT_Bitman_incident01.png

          Bitman did eventually publish his results, but in a low-profile journal, Poultry Science. I believe this is the paper:
          https://doi.org/10.3382/ps.0500657
          https://sealevel.info/cecil_bitman_harris1971.pdf

          The paper reports that they tested Japanese quail with adequate calcium in their diets, in three groups: with normal food, and with very high levels (100 ppm) of either DDT or DDE (a breakdown product of DDT) added to their diets.

          The study was very small, using a total of only 40 birds, divided among the three test groups.

          They reported that there was a slight elevation in frequency of broken eggs from the pesticide-fed birds (4% of eggs, vs. 2% from the controls), but that the effect seemed to be confined to just a few specific birds, with most of the birds in each group laying no broken eggs.

          They also reported that the control birds had eggshells which were 8.0 ±0.1 ten-thousandths of an inch thick, but that the DDT-fed birds had eggshells which were only 7.8 ±0.2 ten-thousandths of an inch thick.

          • Thanks, Dave. Even now, it is very easy to find references to Bitman’s flawed research published in Science, but almost impossible to find his corrected research, to wit:
            Bitman J, Lillie RJ, Cecil HC, Fries GF. Effect of DDT on reproductive
            performance of caged leghorns. Poultry Science 1971;50:657-659.

            Seems more people read Science than Poultry Science (who knew?), so the eggshell-thinning myth continues to this day.

  17. King Solomon has their number 3,000 years ago:

    “A prudent man sees evil and hides himself,
    But the naive go on and pay the penalty.”
    Proverbs of Solomon, chapter 27, verse 2

    “Eternal foresight and vigilance are the price of safety.” -Commander Doug Crowell in his standing orders for shipboard officers of the deck.

    Republicans are wiser than Democrats.

  18. This may help:
    Some 30 years ago, a paper was published that claimed that left-handedness was genetic.
    With this, William Buckley Jr., himself, at the National Review wrote that this would also explain:
    Left-wingedness.
    Works for me.
    For too many it is built in, but for some, sadly it has been learned.

  19. If the paper has merit and ‘Science’ will not publish it maybe other competing journal will (maybe a few of them will).

    • Certainly that will be the case. The Slate article points out that the job of correcting landmark articles shouldn’t be left to lesser journals that will have less exposure. If I were an author of the replication study, I’d feature the rejecting publication very prominently, along with a disclosure that their level of integrity allowed them to ignore the fact that they had published garbage and politically-motivated drivel.

      It does say something significant about the state of science that such a respected journal would be so irresponsible.

  20. This sounds very odd since both Science and Nature have talked extensively of late about the “crisis of irreproducability” of journal papers.

  21. Ummm… I think the main issue is that all knowledge is simply an attempt at understanding and we should treat it with a healthy dose of skepticism. First off, just because a journal of any kind or credibility publishes something, even if it is replicated a myriad of times does not mean that the conclusions drawn from it are ‘true’ it simply means that given stimuli a reaction is formed. The underlying cause can still be conjectured on.

    For instance many articles written about ‘Climate Change’ are HIGHLY misleading, and factually inaccurate. For instance this is ‘unprecedented warmth’. Based on data that has been gathered this is pretty much ‘false’ the pace of the rise, based on many studies, does not even make the temperature rise we have had to date ‘unprecedented’, yet many people think that the world will end and we are the cause of it because of the words used and the meanings behind them. for instance the words are hidden in chosen facts, unprecedented warming reported over the past century. This can be factually ‘true’ but is a fatally flawed statement when additional knowledge base is added onto it.

  22. Psychophysiological responses in humans are very complicated. Small changes, including the sex and biases of the person interacting with the subjects can have strong effects. I was involved in an experiment that involved loading subjects with complete or deficient amino acid mixtures. This procedure had been used without problem many times before in the laboratory. In this case, subjects kept vomiting the mixture onto the nurse’s boots. On investigation, it turned out that this nurse thought that the preparation smelled like she imagined the ovens at Auschwitz as she prepared it. Even after identifying the problem, she was less successful than previous nurses in getting all the mixture down, and getting it to stay down. This in turn probably had effects on the emotional and motivational measures later taken on the subjects.

    In the case of the non-replication under discussion, the passage of time and social changes could also be involved. In the past 10 years, there has been a huge increase in the use of scare tactics from the left, and this may be reflected by real changes in the degree of emotional reactions measured in labs.

  23. Why not peer review :

    “It is hard to get good data on the cost of peer review, particularly because reviewers are often not paid (the same, come to that, is true of many editors). … The cost of peer review has become important because of the open access movement, which hopes to make research freely available to everybody.”

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov › pmc
    Peer review: a flawed process at the heart of science and journals – NCBI”

    https://www.google.com/search?q=why+not+peer+review&oq=why+not+peer+review+&aqs=chrome.

  24. Re. booth Rica and Timor on Medical care.

    I recall reading that long ago in 19 the century Germany, Chanceller
    Bismarck, a very right wing politician stated, “” It is essential for the State
    to ensure that every man has a shirt on his back, a roof over his had and food
    in his belly. Also of course that he has employment to ensure all of those
    things. This is essential for the Greater long term good for Germany.””

    Obviously that had to include the wife and children.

    I recall reading that at the commencement of 1942 in the USA with
    conscription, that a very high percentage of men were rejected on health
    grounds, this being probably part due to the Great Depression. Long term it
    should be essential for the well being of a country and its wealth that a
    population is fit and healthy.

    I find what I read about the USA money driven health scheme rather
    alarming in this regard.

    MJE VK5ELL

  25. “There are researchers still seeking truth and advancing science. ”

    There’s the problem. They should be seeking research grants and advancing their careers.

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