Sunday, September 6, 2009

Langmuir's Laws (of bad science)

By Rich Kozlovich

Irving Langmuir 1881-1957 American chemist; awarded 1932 Nobel prize for chemistry for his work in surface chemistry.

As you read these “rules” I recommend that you precede each rule with the statement “You know it is bad science when” and then read the rule. Makes the rules much easier to understand.

1.The maximum effect that is observed is produced by a causative agent of barely detectable intensity, and the magnitude of the effect is substantially independent of the intensity of the cause.

2. The effect is of a magnitude that remains close to the limit of detectability, or many measurements are necessary because of the low level of significance of the results.

3. There are claims of great accuracy.

4. Fantastic theories contrary to experience are suggested.

5. Criticisms are met by ad hoc excuses thought up on the spur of the moment.

6. The ratio of supporters to critics rises to somewhere near 50% and then falls gradually to zero.

No comments: