Fishy Science? Scientific literature needs discipline – an example from a killer whale life expectancy study
Is it junk science?; biased?; flim-flam?; fraudulent?; simply bad?; lazy?; fishy science?; or just normal "whatever" science.
The daily scientific crapola appears to exist way beyond the narrow domain of orthodoxy climate science, unfortunately.
"We all know bad papers are out there. When you read them, you’re left scratching your head and wondering, “How on earth did these pass peer-review?” Worse still, there are “ugly” science articles, where the scientific method goes by the wayside and data are cherry-picked, misinterpreted or manipulated to justify a political or ideological agenda or to undermine science that interferes with that agenda.
Robeck et al. (2015) is a recent example of ugly science. The authors (three of whom work for SeaWorld, one for the Minnesota Zoo) compared survivorship and longevity of orcas in captivity versus the wild. They stated that “the estimated ages assigned to [free-ranging killer whales]…were inaccurate” and “Our analysis supports a proposed longevity of between 60 and 70 years for females and 50 and 60 years for males…substantially less than the longevity of 80-90 years for females and 60-70 years for males…previously suggested” (p. 1066, emphasis added). This paper also dismissed decades of life history table analyses that have long been accepted within the scientific community, stating that they were of “limited value” (p. 1059).
With these conclusions, Robeck et al. effectively tossed 43 years of research by a number of respected orca biologists under the bus."