In many cases a correction seems to be just ignored -- post-modernist arguments seem to be designed as an excuse to do whatever one pleases in spite of any evidence. Solipsism and Nihilism abound. It's amusing to watch the frustration settle in when these arguments prove to be such a hard sell off-campus, in the everyday world, with everyday people who have no choice but to grapple with everyday risks. It is hard to tell whether it is this inexperience with data or out-right willful distortion that underlies phenomena such as the Dubious Data Awards 2000 (no doubt assisted by the absence of a statistics course, among other things, in Journalism School).
In other cases, there is a seemingly deliberate confusion: "absence of evidence" is not "evidence of absence". First, ensure there are no data testing Hypothesis A, assert that absence, and then in later discussion they argue against A because the literature does not support it. In other words, the lack of data is twisted to mean that the hypothesis is false -- say what!? To defend yourself against this and other logical fallacies, try the Fallacy Tutorial.
It's a bad time to be a crass empiricist. It is disquieting to see the growing number of "voices" that don't want to be confused by actually counting the horse's teeth. I grew up knowing I had to take politicians (and then software developers) with more than a grain of salt, but that list has grown to include a number of other constituencies. Passion, activism, and advocacy are admirable, up to the point where minds close and distortion begins. That's why reality-contact figures so prominently in psychopathology diagnoses.
"Hearing what you want to hear" is just the Plugger's description of "confirmatory bias," but repeating a big lie loud and often is a very different problem. As long as research is not proscribed by unidimensional agendas, eventually the truth will come out, though in the meantime we figure to continue wasting a lot of time and money sorting out truth and convenient fictions. That is an unfortunate outome of a zeitgeist of data fog, namely, if you are not active in a given area, how do you know who to trust? And if certain orientations are more favorably reviewed by IRBs, when will the situation be straightened out?
Political intrusions into research have been discussed before (e.g., Hunt's Know-Nothings), in efforts toward Silencing Science. Some on-going topics are discussed here and at the Junk Science website.
The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. -- H.L. Mencken
Obviously the list below could go on for a long time, but it should be clear that not all vested interests derive from a profit-loss statement. To paraphrase Andy Warhol, maybe we live in a time when everyone can be an expert on something for 15 minutes. But apparently that isn't long enough to satisfy some parties, they know how we should all live all the time. Intolerance under the banner of tolerance is something Winston Smith could easily understand.
The potential for poltical distortion is bad enough without giving IRBs license to further proscribe "good" research.
Keep asking "Who profits?" And if a party piously proclaims independence from filthy profit, just ask "Who gains power?"
War Against Boys
"The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" -- an idea whose time has come and gone perhaps?
Post-Divorce Wealth Gap
False Memory Syndrome
Violence Against Men/Women
Phonics vs. Whole-Word Reading Instruction
Smoking And Lung Cancer
It's interesting how when a legal judgment is made it becomes as important as peer-reviewed evidence, maybe moreso in the public's mind, thanks to the media frenzy. And we all know how well-trained typical judges, lawyers, and journalists are in terms of science and quantitative analysis.
A confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished. -- Goethe.