First, I have no idea if this is much worse than before. Before the modern era did science faithfully replicate its findings and things have gotten worse? Maybe a replication rate of 25% (the usual horror story number) is better than it used to be. How do we know what a good rate ought to be? Maybe replicating 25% of experiments is amazingly good. We need a base rate, and, so far, I have not seen one provided. And until I do see one, I cannot know whether we are in crisis mode or not. But I am wary, especially of decline from a golden age stories. I know we no longer live in an age of giants (nobody ever lives in a golden age of giants). The question is whether 50 years from now we will discover that we actually had lived in such a golden age. You know, when the dust has settled and we can see things more clearly.
Second, I think that part of the frustration with our current science comes from having treated anything with numbers and "experiments" as science. The idea seems to be that one can do idea free investigations. Experiments are good or not on their own regardless of the (photo)theory they are tacitly or explicitly based on. IMO, what makes the "real" sciences experimentally stable is not only their superior techniques, but the excellent theory that it brings to the investigative table. This body of knowledge serves as prophylactic against misinterpretation. Remember, never trust a fact until it has been verified by a decent theory! And, yes, the converse also holds. But the converse is taken as definitional of science while the role theory does in regulating experimental inquiry is, IMO, regularly under-appreciated.
So, I am skeptical. This said, there is one very big source of misinformation out there, especially in domains where knowledge translates into big money (and power). We see this in the global warming debates. We saw it on research into tobacco and cancer. Indeed, there are whole public relations outfits whose main activity is to spread doubt and misinformation dressed up as science. And recently we have been treated to a remarkable example of this. Here are two interesting pieces (here, here) on how the sugar industry shaped nutrition science quite explicitly and directly for their own benefit. These cases leave little to the imagination as regards science disrupting mechanisms. And they occurred a while ago, one might be tempted to say in the golden age.
As funding for research becomes more and more privatized this kind of baleful influence on inquiry is sure to increase. People want to get what they are paying for, and research that impinges on corporate income is gong to be in the firing line. If what the articles say is correct, the agnotology industry is very very powerful.
A second interesting piece for those interested in the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. I have been persuaded by people like Lila that there is no real basis for the hypothesis, i.e. that one's particular language has, at best, a mild influence on the way that one perceives the world. Economists however are unconvinced. Here is a recent piece arguing that the gender structure of a language's pronoun system has effects on how women succeed sociopolitically. Here is the conclusion:
First, linguistic differences can be used to uncover new evidence such as that concerning the formation and persistence of gender norms. Second, as the observed association between gender in language and gender inequality has been remarkably constant over the course of the 20th century, language can play a critical role as a cultural marker, teaching us about the origins and persistence of gender roles. Finally, the epidemiological approach also offers the possibility to disentangle the impact of language from the impact of country of origin factors. Our preliminary evidence suggests that while the lion’s share of gender norms can be attributed to other cultural and environmental influences, yet a direct role language should not be ignored.Evaluating this is beyond my pay grade, but it is interesting and directly relevant to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. True? Dunno. But not uninteresting.