T Nation

A Scientific Study of Scientific Studies

I am not surprised.

Last week a group of people and myself were joking around about how every possible thing has been studied except the studies themselves. I felt nerdy joking about it, but I feel better now knowing that a bigger nerd actually studied studies.

[quote] Wall Street Journal Article wrote:
Statistically speaking, science suffers from an excess of significance. Overeager researchers often tinker too much with the statistical variables of their analysis to coax any meaningful insight from their data sets. “People are messing around with the data to find anything that seems significant, to show they have found something that is new and unusual,” Dr. Ioannidis said.[/quote]

Suffering from an excess of significance. That’s classic.

I’m sure these findings aren’t infallible either, but it reinforces my ho hum attitude toward much of what purports to be conclusive data drawn from research.

As my grandpa liked to say “Figures can’t lie, but liars can figure.”

While the author has a point, error is what drives science. Knowing what isn’t true is often more helpful than thinking we know what is.

Process of elimination, scientific method, consider the source, yada yada.

My problem with scientific studies, as far as their usefulness to athletes, is the unending fluidity. This week’s Earth shattering breakthrough is all too often next week’s oopsy or worse.

Not to mention the fact that I just don’t believe we know nearly as much as our community arrogance leads us to believe. By us I mean mankind in general represented by the venerated and all, but deified scientific mainstream. I absolutely do not believe anything on paper that my eyeballs clearly demonstrate as not being necessarily true. This article just lends some credence to that view.