We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Back in the days when I was involved with some research, I saw some iffy work done. The pressure to come up with some result was powerful, and people kinda sorta convinced themselves that it meant something.
Here's how it worked: You spent six or twelve months accumulating data to test an hypothesis. You ran some basic statistical tests on the data, and it turned out that there was no statistical correlation to support your hypothesis. (Negative results are wrongly and rarely published.) THEN, so as not to waste your pile of data and all of the time spent (and with computers this is easy to do), you would ask the computer to find some pattern in your pile of data. Often it would find one - and that would be your published paper. Data-mining. You just re-write your hypothesis after the fact, and nobody ever knows. It's a form of lying, really.
Dr. Ioannidis of Tufts Medical School says in the WSJ:
There is an increasing concern that in modern research, false findings may be the majority or even the vast majority of published research claims," Dr. Ioannidis said. "A new claim about a research finding is more likely to be false than true."
The hotter the field of research the more likely its published findings should be viewed skeptically, he determined.