El error es propio de la ciencia

Hasta ahora, se consideraba con frecuencia que el fin principal de la ciencia médica era el descubrimiento, pero actualmente éste resulta casi demasiado fácil. Cualquiera que disponga de un poco de financiación y algunos especímenes biológicos en un refrigerador puede hacer miles de "descubrimientos" postulados.

De hecho, el número de cuestiones planteadas en materia de investigación está aumentando de forma exponencial. Equipos médicos del tamaño de la uña de un dedo pulgar pueden evaluar un millón de factores biológicos diferentes de un individuo con una cantidad infinitesimal de sangre. Se pueden plantear en el acto un millón de cuestiones de investigación, pero, incluso con las pruebas estadísticas idóneas, muchas de esas decenas de miles de factores biológicos pueden parecer importantes sólo por pura casualidad. Sólo un puñado de ellos lo serán. La inmensa mayoría de esos resultados iniciales de la investigación resultarán ser descubrimientos espurios.

Por eso, actualmente la cuestión principal es la de validar los "descubrimientos" reproduciéndolos en marcos diferentes. Varios equipos de investigadores deben verlos "funcionar" una y otra vez utilizando reglas comunes. Además, todos los equipos deben comprometerse a no seleccionar y comunicar sólo los datos que parezcan más impresionantes. Con una comunicación selectiva, acabaríamos con una larga lista de todos los descubrimientos falsos hechos por todos los equipos de investigación y sólo unos pocos hallazgos verdaderos sepultados bajo esa pila de desperdicios no reproducidos.

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