Good science: Based on impartial evaluation of evidence, not mere consensus.
This intentionally short phrase does need a little bit of unpacking. Science is not just evidence, but also interpretation of that evidence—and many scientists together—a consensus—decide the value of the interpretation. However, it is important for people to realize that the system does have inherent problems. For example, some scientists fail to distinguish between interpretation of data and speculation about or extrapolation from data (which can be and often is inaccurate). Others are so desperate for their papers to fit with the consensus views that they ignore or bury inconsistent data. After all, what a scientist reports will affect whether they get grants, tenure and are published. Even though most scientists are genuine people sincerely seeking advances in their area of science, they are human: subject to the same temptations, errors in judgment, and even deliberate close-mindedness as the rest of us.
Dr. Crocker has experience as a medical research scientist working on grants from pharmaceutical companies, a professor working with students, an expelled scientist, and just a citizen. She knows that when data are not favorable to the company funding the work, some companies use a confidentiality clause to prevent publication. She has seen numerous students cheat in their classes—undergraduates, postgraduates, and medical students, and is aware that many professors do not report or even discourage this practice. A more intentional breach of scientific integrity is also active in the schools, namely the suppression of information that might allow students to critically assess the evidence for politically-charged science, such as evolution and climate change.
AITSE is a consortium of scientists, engineers, physicians and professionals from other disciplines working together to improve science education and increase awareness about the need for more scientific integrity. Experience has shown that, for example, companies hiding problems with a medication end up with more financial problems than those who don’t. Similarly, students that cheat regularly usually fail in the end. Suppressed information seems to find a way of becoming known one way or another. Therefore, AITSE’s goal is to offer clear, reliable, and balanced science education with the goal of liberating science and technology from ideology, politics, and the illusion that consensus views are as reliable as many people believe them to be. We also seek to advance honest, ethical, and beneficial scientific progress and give people accurate information and the tools to assess scientific claims for themselves.