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Highlighted Article: The Unstoppable Momentum of Outdated Science

Posted On:
Dec 24, 2020 at 3:00 AM
Climate Change


From: The Honest Broker Newsletter

By: Roger Pielke Jr.

Date: November 30, 2020


The Unstoppable Momentum of Outdated Science


Much of climate research is focused on implausible scenarios of the future, but implementing a course correction will be difficult


"A 2015 literature review found almost 900 peer-reviewed studies published on breast cancer using a cell line derived from a breast cancer patient in Texas in 1976. But in 2007 it was confirmed that the cell line that had long been the focus of this research was actually not a breast cancer line, but was instead a skin cancer line. Whoops.

Even worse, from 2008 to 2014 — after the mistaken cell line was conclusively identified — the review identified 247 peer-reviewed articles putatively on breast cancer that were published using the misidentified skin cancer cell line. A cursory search of Google Scholar indicates that studies continue to be published in 2020 mistakenly using the skin cell line in breast cancer research.

The lesson from this experience is that science has momentum, and that momentum can be hard to change, even when obvious and significant flaws are identified."...


The Unstoppable Momentum of Outdated Science