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Everything You Know Is Wrong*

Posted by Richard on August 30, 2005

Before you rejoice over the latest good news about coffee or despair over the new dire warnings about grilled chicken, consider this: A new study reports that there is less than a 50% chance that the findings of a published scientific research paper are true:

John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece, says that small sample sizes, poor study design, researcher bias, and selective reporting and other problems combine to make most research findings false. But even large, well-designed studies are not always right, meaning that scientists and the public have to be wary of reported findings.

"We should accept that most research findings will be refuted. Some will be replicated and validated. The replication process is more important than the first discovery," Ioannidis says.

Of course, it’s possible that Ioannidis’ research is wrong…

* Everything You Know Is Wrong is the title of a classic Firesign Theater album. Truly wonderful. Read the short review and see if you’re not tempted to order a copy.


Check out the lunch menu at Basil’s Blog. And the open post at Mudville Gazette.

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2 Responses to “Everything You Know Is Wrong*”

  1. Brad Warbiany said

    Yeah, yeah, yeah… I’m still going to treat the coffee article as gospel, along with every other study that supports my habits. And I’ll still ignore all those that call my habits unhealthy.


  2. Anonymous said

    I’m with you, Brad. My confidence in the research about the health benefits of drinking single-malt whisky, drinking beer, being slightly overweight, and masturbating is unshakeable.

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