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Anomaly Science

Here I'll keep my notes on "Anomaly Science" issues. While generally not claims of "Creation Science", creation scientists occasionally reference these issues as either evidence of controversies in mainstream science or as evidence supportive of their particular theory.

What do I mean by "Anomaly Science"? My basic definition is science based on some local (by various definitions of 'local') anomalous measurements which the researcher claims demonstrates that the prevailing paradigm for the field is wrong. The researcher often extrapolates these observations to construct a globally dramatically different theory.

Another common characteristic of anomaly-based science is that in its zeal to solve a handful of anomalies, it requires such radical changes in previously developed models that a far larger body of data becomes anomalous. Most advocates of these hypotheses tend to ignore the side-effects of their claim.

A surprising number of scientists who push some anomaly theory have legitimate scientific achievements, often in another field, but occasionally in the field where they have some expertise. However, they often overinterpret their data, not properly screening it for selection effects.

Advocates of an anomaly science theory often claim conspiracies and/or cover-ups in trying to suppress their work. Usually what has happened is after some initial interest in the anomaly by the scientific community, it is resolved in a manner that the advocate refuses to accept, or often even acknowledge. After that, the general scientific community often ignores the researcher and their work gets locked out of more prestigious scientific journals, relegated to venues with little or no peer-review.

For example, the work of Arp and Tifft both rely heavily on small, highly-selected samples, ignoring the number of statistical side effects that occur in these cases. When examined in the scope of the entire body of data the claims disintegrate. In the days before large galaxy surveys, their observations were compelling and received some attention. But as detailed statistical studies were performed and more recently, modern galaxy surveys and the availability of more powerful computers, it became more apparent that their results were a statistical artifact of their small sample sizes.

There now appears to be a merging of the quantized and discordant redshift advocates.

Last Modified: Tue Nov 24 23:41:14 2009