Guest post: The correct scientific response is to improve the method

Originally a comment by Rob on Et tu Brown?

I mean, putting aside the potential issues of contagion and methodology for a minute; there are people who are morbidly obese, or smokers, or alcohol drinkers, or drug users, who feel aggrieved at health and medical advice becoming part of public policy and discussion. They feel their lifestyle choices are negatively highlighted (not necessarily saying that being trans is a lifestyle choice). Tough shit. There is sound evidence that it’s so and sound reasons for said medical advice and public policy. You might be happy as fat person, a drinker or a smoker. That doesn’t mean that there are not negative social outcomes or that certain facts are not in play.

Why should an emerging social issue go unresearched, just because some people dislike the results of research. If there is a problem with the methodology of the research, the correct scientific response is to critique and improve the method, then repeat the research. not to suppress the original research. Plenty of the original research in many fields is initially shallow and not best practice. Often this is because there is poor funding or support. Sometimes it is through lack of knowledge in an emerging field. Poor methodology alone does not also mean that the conclusion reached is wrong or has not raised useful questions for further study.

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