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What Is Scientific Uncertainty?

Inspired by this infuriating piece in the NYT, I want to go over the concept of scientific uncertainty.

Scientific uncertainty is a concept meant to remove bias and prevent scientific findings from becoming misleading. It means that, in any given experiment, there may be variables that the scientist can't see or can't control. Those variables could affect the experiment or the findings. Or, they may have nothing to do with it. Whatever an experiment or an observational study found, uncertainty has to do with how much variability might exist within the data. It does not mean an experiment was poorly done, or someone's findings are garbage. Peer reviewed papers contain uncertainty because it is part of good science.

The more times an experiment is done, and the more scientists who have nothing to do with each other perform it (i.e. from different institutions or from different parts of the world or even in different decades) the more uncertainty is reduced. These people hone…

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