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The good, the bad and the ugly science: examples from the marine science arena

Show simple item record Parsons, Edward C. M. Wright, Andrew J. 2016-08-09T00:49:32Z 2016-08-09T00:49:32Z 2015-06-04
dc.identifier.citation Parsons ECM and Wright AJ (2015) The good, the bad and the ugly science: examples from the marine science arena. Front. Mar. Sci. 2:33. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2015.00033 en_US
dc.description.abstract The terms “good science,” “bad science,” and especially “sound science” are frequently used in the policy arena. Most often, this is so parties with interests (usually economic) in the outcome of a political decision can promote certain results and attempt to discredit others. It has been argued that the terms “sound science” and “junk science” have been appropriated by various industries, such as the oil and gas industry and the tobacco industry. “Junk science” is the term used to tar scientific studies that disagree with positions favorable to the industry (Mooney, 2004, 2006; Oreskes and Conway, 2011; Macilwain, 2014). But can science actually be “good” or “bad”? Science is a process. It's the act of taking observations made in the natural world to test hypotheses, preferably in a rigorous, repeatable way. The tested hypotheses are then rejected if they fall short, rather than accepted if the data are compatible, and the results are ultimately critically reviewed by the scientific community. Concepts that work survive, whereas those that do not fit the observed data die off. Eventually, concepts that survive the frequent and repeated application of enormous amounts of observational data become scientific theory. Such theories become as close to scientific fact as is possible—nothing can be proved absolutely. This process holds for social science as much as for chemistry, physics or biology: it does not matter if the data come from surveys or observational data from humans. A study either follows this protocol or it does not. Put simply, it is science or it isn't science. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Publication of this article was funded in part by the George Mason University Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Frontiers en_US
dc.subject Science en_US
dc.subject Good science en_US
dc.subject Bad science en_US
dc.subject Junk science en_US
dc.subject Sound science en_US
dc.subject Policy making en_US
dc.subject Science communication en_US
dc.title The good, the bad and the ugly science: examples from the marine science arena en_US
dc.type Article en_US

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