John Oliver & Understanding Scientific Studies

A recent John Oliver segment (~20 minutes) provides a terrific look at how scientific studies need to be evaluated.  Here’s the link: John Oliver Scientific Studies

His main points:

  • Scientists are under pressure to publish and sometimes publish a study with a title to grab interest
  • P-hacking can be done to find statistical significance/correlation that is bogus
  • Reports are often distorted by the media to generate a buzz.  Smelling farts does not prevent cancer (see image below).
  • Some reports extrapolate findings in animals to humans without any studies and without mentioning that these were animal experiments; in addition, most treatments on lab mice do not work for humans.
  • Many media reports do not mention whether the study was industry-funded or the size of the study.  Reports with 10 or 20 people are more likely to lead to false conclusions

Related posts:

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