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October 27, 2005

It Ain't Necessarily So (Ch. 4 & 5)

"Scientific research... is flawed, because it relies on an invalid proxy... occasionally researchers are unable to measure something directly, so they must rely on a proxy instead."

I understand why scientists use proxies, but I think that journalists must be aware of the existence of proxies, and not over-exaggerate a study if it's based one. While some information revealed by the data could be true, it could result in false interpretation.

Imagine a study where scientists are trying to figure out why hermit crabs prefer to be submerged in water when the moon is out. The real reason they are underwater is because the moon is pulling the tide in, and they have no chioce-- but because of the nature of the study a headline could read "crabs Afraid of the Moon." For the crabs... it's not a matter of preference.

Posted by DavidDenninger at October 27, 2005 11:13 AM


Interesting about the crabs David. I never knew that about Hermit crabs, what can I say? You learn something new every day.

Posted by: Lorin Schumacher at November 8, 2005 12:53 PM

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