This sort of sexism is doing a very good job at pushing women out of science altogether. The higher up women get in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the longer they have to tolerate this sort of shit and the more likely they are to quit. But hey, it's not like there are any negative consequences to arbitrarily wiping out a huge chunk of the talent pool, right? Since when has any field been improved by inviting a whole bunch of new geniuses into it?
It's All About the Money
On some level, we're all aware that scientists are regular people. They eat, sleep, and enjoy dressing up in furry costumes just like the rest of us. But we also like to think that scientists are somehow above the greed and bias that clouds the average human brain. Maybe that the years of bullying and unintentional celibacy rob them of such base human failings. At the end of the day, it's all about the cold, hard data.
Rarely does one find a gun clutched in its fingers, though.
Sadly, the truth is that money and ambition tend to kick the crap out of objectivity at every step of the research process. To get tenure, funding, and maintain their prestigious positions, researchers are under constant pressure to publish their results in the best journals. Those journals want only important, interesting findings, which means that researchers have every motivation to find crazy cool things, regardless of how much bullshit might be required to get there.
And because "conflict of interest" is only a problem if you have morals, various industries often hire researchers to study the safety and efficacy of their products. This works out just about how you'd expect. When, for example, drug manufacturers pay for studies, they mysteriously tend to find that their meds are more effective than non-industry studies do. We'll call this the "makin' it motherfucking rain" effect, and it generally holds across all industry-funded studies.
But our study that reading Cracked makes you 37 percent more attractive is totally legit.
Happily, these totally-valid-you-guys-we-swear studies are often used by the FDA (and other entities) when assessing new products. Usually, these folks stick to the typical methods of massaging results, but sometimes the conclusions their employers want them to reach are so far from the truth that no amount of statistical foreplay is going to get them all the way. That's when straight-up fraud comes in handy.
Just to be clear: It's not that you should suddenly stop trusting science in general -- without science it would be impossible to distinguish charlatans from people who have actual wizard powers. But there's a big difference between accepting scientific consensus and just blindly believing everything said by a guy in a white lab coat.
Particularly if he has a maniacal laugh.
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Related Reading: Maybe after reading this you'll be less surprised that science doesn't even really understand water. On the plus side, it has proved that diamonds don't come from coal. And if you think that's impressive, check out the things scientists are building purely to gross us out.