We rely on science to inform our understanding of truth in a confusing world. But when faulty science is accepted as fact, the consequences can be dire. Produced by The Corbett Report, The Crisis of Science examines the factors that produce compromised science, and the risks they pose to all of us.
There are several reasons why a scientific study might contain misleading data, including simple human error, prevailing bias, a flawed premise, and overt fraud. Sometimes, it comes down to a case of ego, and a scientist's desire to publish the most provocative and attention-grabbing study possible. After all, if the study involves a large enough sampling of the population, researchers can usually extrapolate the figure they need to support their claims.
Case in point: A 2015 study concluded that chocolate could help you lose weight. The study, published online by an esteemed science journalist, gained traction and was soon carried in publications around the world. While the study itself was real, the author admitted the findings were a sham. He simply wanted to test how successful he could be at spreading false science as accepted fact.
This is an extreme example, but indicative of a more widespread and insidious crisis. The consumption of chocolate may seem innocuous, but what if the public believes false data regarding vaccines or other potentially life-altering healthcare services? Corporations have used bribes to sway crucial research in their favor. Viewers learn about several such studies that successfully spread and sold questionable research in studies related to swine flu, bladder cancer and asbestos exposure.
The film outlines a myriad of worrisome issues that are currently plaguing the field of scientific study. Most retractions are made as a result of flagrant fraud and other misconduct. An increasing number of studies are not designed to allow for replication by other scientists; therefore, the study's claims cannot be adequately confirmed, and the bedrock of scientific certainty remains elusive.
The Crisis of Science contains informed narration that runs throughout the course of the film, and a series of news clips and study extracts that further illustrate its concerns.