Thursday, August 25, 2016

Deceiving Science versus Reproducibility: Should anything other than reproducibility take back seat?

The impact is not necessary a science. A scientific method usually starts with making an observation, asking questions, then forming a hypothesis to answers the question, make a prediction based on the hypothesis, do an experiment to TEST the prediction and then analyze the results to check whether the hypothesis is correct or incorrect, and finally reporting the result.
Image from OpenStax Biology

Reporting the result is usually done through publication.

So what is reproducibility? Being able to replicate the thing. This allows predicting the future, or what will happen for a given state or condition.

Humans or many other organisms relies on reproducibility to decide things. If things wouldn't be reproducible, we wouldn't know anything. We wouldn’t know how to reach the office, if the location of the office is not reproducible, we wouldn’t make delicious food, if the recipe of the food wouldn’t be reproducible to give similar taste. We wouldn't be asking questions like why, what, where, when if things wouldn't be reproducible. Even the scientific method that is described here would be wrong if it's not reproducible.

Humans or many life forms are always curious to know because knowing helps them to make correct decision or decision that is required for their survival, e.g. in the case of a bird, why it is able to recognize its food, why don't it take undigestible food such as sand and pebbles? It's because a bird has learned how to recognize its food because it's reproducible. If things wouldn't be reproducible, everything would be random from which we can get no knowledge.

But being curious to know (future in advance) can also make you in the trap of deception. Deceptions that are not reproducible. This is the reason, why many still believe in techniques like astrology which are not reproducible, media still promote it in new channels. It could make an impact, but is it a science.

In the case of publication, the number of citations decides its impact. It's like things that are more popular or well-liked is correct. If popularity decides it correctness is it even a scientific method. From history, we can learn that most popular theories of past have been denounced today and new/better theories have been constantly made to replace old ones.

Reproducibility should be the first preference, taking everything a back seat.