Saturday, October 1, 2011

How bad is it to cherry-pick scientific studies that support your position?

Very bad, explains Ben Goldacre. He calls out Aric Sigman, a popular science writer who admitted to cherry-picking only the studies that supported his pre-existing views about day care (that it's harmful to young children).

At the end of his post, which is worth reading in its entirety, Goldacre concludes:

A deliberately incomplete view of the literature, as I hope I’ve explained, isn’t a neutral or marginal failure. It is exactly as bad as a deliberately flawed experiment, and to present it to readers without warning is bizarre.
I have a feeling that last sentence was carefully edited, and that he originally wrote a different word than "bizarre."


chickelit said...

Pre-school for young children is only as bad as the people they hire. I learned this from someone who actually tended young kids and reads lots of books on raising kids.

Saying there is something intrinsically wrong with pre-school stinks to me. Arguing that pre-school should be free is a whole other topic, but I'm afraid I digress.