Editors In Chief of World’s Most Prestigious Medical Journals: “Much of the Scientific Literature, Perhaps HALF, May Simply Be Untrue” … “It Is Simply No Longer Possible To Believe Much of the Clinical Research That Is Published”

Corruption Is Destroying Basic Science

Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine are the two most prestigious medical journals in the world.

It is therefore striking that their chief editors have both publicly written that corruption is undermining science.

The editor in chief of Lancet, Richard Horton, wrote last month:

Much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. As one participant put it, “poor methods get results”. The Academy of Medical Sciences, Medical Research Council, and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council have now put their reputational weight behind an investigation into these questionable research practices. The apparent endemicity [i.e. pervasiveness within the scientific culture] of bad research behaviour is alarming. In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world. Or they retrofit hypotheses to fit their data. Journal editors deserve their fair share of criticism too. We aid and abet the worst behaviours. Our acquiescence to the impact factor fuels an unhealthy competition to win a place in a select few journals. Our love of “significance” pollutes the literature with many a statistical fairy-tale. We reject important confirmations. Journals are not the only miscreants. Universities are in a perpetual struggle for money and talent, endpoints that foster reductive metrics, such as high-impact publication. National assessment procedures, such as the Research Excellence Framework, incentivise bad practices. And individual scientists, including their most senior leaders, do little to alter a research culture that occasionally veers close to misconduct.


Part of the problem is that no-one is incentivised to be right.

Similarly, the editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Marcia Angell, wrote in 2009:

It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.

In her must-read essay, Dr. Angell skewers drug companies, university medical departments, and medical groups which set the criteria for diagnosis and treatment as being rotten with corruption and conflicts of interest.

And we’ve previously documented that the government sometimes uses raw power to cover up corruption in the medical and scientific fields.

Postscript: Corruption is not limited to the medical or scientific fields. Instead, corruption has become systemic throughout every profession … and is so pervasive that it is destroying the very fabric of America.

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  • Lynn Walker

    Gee, and how many times have morons flamed me in this forum over the past few months for asserting the very same thing. I get labelled as a Christian illiterate (I’m not Christian) simply for speaking out against science. The blind-science believers have become as illiterate as the Christian right. Nobody seems to pay attention to the fact that corporations finance practically everything labelled as science, and while they know corporations are evil propagandists, they don’t extend this thought to science.

    If we’re all dumbed down, and we know everybody else is, why can’t we accept that it applies to us as well?

    • klem

      I work in science in a lab with good scientists, we discuss and criticize science all the time, we do this because science is our passion. And incredibly we’ve been flamed on blogs like this one for questioning science, in the same ways you’ve described.

      Science requires continuos skepticism and criticism, that’s part of the fun, without it science becomes a faith.

      • cettel

        Yes, but you are defending Lynn Walker’s statement that “she is “speaking out against science,” when what she actually criticizes is violations of science, but she only thinks that she is “against science,” and you are reinforcing that error in her thinking — her implicit equation that: violations of science are science. It’s screwball thinking, but it’s common, and for a professional scientist, such as you apparently are, to reinforce that confusion among the public is bad; it’s actually a violation of your profession, because you are spreading misinformation of what that profession is. Science is not violations of science. Violations of science are accepted only on faith, never on science. Those are opposite epistemologies, and you are accepting Lynn Walker’s equation of these opposites. Just because the editors and writers who issue those fake ‘scientific’ papers have said that they are ‘scientists’ does not make them scientists. To assert otherwise is to confuse the word with the thing. It’s stupid, and definitely not scientific. You don’t “criticize science all the time.” You criticize fake ‘science.’ And yet you aren’t even aware of the difference between those two things.

    • Lawrence

      Well stated.

  • nick quinlan

    Industry will corrupt science to protect its profits, and its products. Monsanto comes to mind as a huge misinformation machine, spending millions to keep truth from the people, to protect its profits from engineered/chemical doused food and the chemicals that go hand in hand with production

    • Lawrence

      So is Big Pharm with it’s vaccination “research” and the millions adversely affected with anti-depressants.

  • hvaiallverden

    Its about making profitt, anything else is just talk.
    And of course, the science we have to day is totally rotten, and is disintegrating from within.
    I am not shamed, just pissed of.

    And rest for shure, this article will NEVER be printed on the walls of the leauge of prestitutes, and in their whorehouse MSM.
    And I also feels it becomed dangerous, all this wilde experiments, from genetic modifications to vaccines.
    Its unpressedented the corruption.
    Its like a blanket of inpenetrable blackness, drawn infront of our eyes, and the demonising of people oposing their dogmas and consensusses, is medival and downright hillarious if it wasnt for the seriosness in their insane babbeling, where people like us is wanted to be incarsirated and indoctrinated in the proper teahings.
    Good old stalinism.

    I wounder what else have they withheld from us.
    And I think of physics.


    • Big Bank

      Be kind and correct your English before you write!

  • kimyo

    >> “perhaps half….”

    as it turns out, roughly half of the published research shows that cell phone usage is safe and not linked to brain tumors. the other half?:

    We reviewed 23 case-control studies that examined tumor risk due to cell phone use. Although as a whole the data varied, among the 10 higher quality studies, we found a harmful association between phone use and tumor risk. The lower quality studies, which failed to meet scientific best practices, were primarily industry funded.

    The 13 studies that investigated cell phone use for 10 or more years found a significant harmful association with tumor risk, especially for brain tumors, giving us ample reason for concern about long-term use.

    (from sf gate
    if i were a parent, i’d yank my kid’s phones, laptops, tablets. keep them connected, absolutely. just use desktops / cat5. facebook now or brain tumor tomorrow? it can wait.

    Epidemiological evidence for an association between use of wireless phones and tumor diseases

    Concerning age, highest risk was found in the age group <20 years at
    time of first use of wireless phones in the studies from the Hardell

    In summary our review yielded a consistent
    pattern of an increased risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma after
    >10 year mobile phone use. We conclude that current standard for
    exposure to microwaves during mobile phone use is not safe for long-term
    exposure and needs to be revised.

  • Rogoraeck

    In our society today, everything went to the dogs ! So called “respected” scientist which are only pompous asses, scaring the people with bullshit theories. Like “GLOBAL WARMING ” Then in the sixties it was GLOBAL ICE AGE. In medicine they are killing us with vaccines ect..ect.. When they are proven wrong, then they are insulting us by calling us deniers,conspiracy nut believers !
    IMHO . Most of, let say 90% of scientists rank just below a second hand car dealer !