After reading my news article on the replication crisis, Mikael Wolfe writes:
While I’m sure there is a serious issue about replication in social science experiments, what about the natural sciences? You use the term “science” even though you don’t include natural sciences in your piece. I fear that climate and other science deniers will use your piece as ammunition that peer-reviewed science is “junk” and therefore no action on climate change and other environmental problems is warranted.
My reply: In climate science it is difficult to do any real replication because we can’t rerun the global climate, so any replications will necessarily be very model based. Regarding the natural sciences more generally, there have been many high-profile replication failures in biology and medicine. In biology it can be notoriously difficult for people from one lab to replicate studies from other labs. Finally, regarding your last point: I don’t think that uncertainty should be a reason for doing nothing. After all, we are uncertain about what countries might attack us, but that does not stop us from spending money on national defense. We should be able to acknowledge uncertainty and still make decisions.