>>(The last stats I saw stated that something on the order of 70% of all scientific studies are later shown to be partially or wholly incorrect; for medical studies it's over 80%.)
This kind sir is what is known as the scientific method, science progresses through falsification. A body of work is done, a theory advances, more work is done which explores the limitations of the theory, holes are found, a modification/new theory is proposed, the cycle repeats, humanity reaps the benefits.
>>Conversely, the lack of an advanced degree (or any degree, for that matter) does not preclude someone from doing good scientific work; these folks tend to fall more into the tinkerer and inventor category, though, rather than theorist.
A degree does not prevent you from doing good science, it would however prevent access to labs, equipment and the like required to do lots of the interesting types of science. It also makes it less likely you will have an appreciation and understanding of the work done before, could preclude an accurate analysis of your data, and will likely prevent a full understanding of the results and their impact to the relevant scientific field.
Tinkering is not science. Inventing is not strictly science. If my cousin invents a knoon (knife-spoon, you can keep that one), that does not make him a scientist
>> Note that the main author of this work is an otherwise well-respected scientist with substantial credentials.
A Nobel prize is an award for a significant piece of research in a field. It is not a guarantee the person who won it is not a complete loon or hold some ideas so barmy they should be committed to Her Majesties finest pillow lined rooms. Think of it like an Oscar, for science. Now think of Tom Cruise, nominated for Oscars (won many other prizes, you could consider this as substantial credentials) ... do you think he is a respected commentator on religious matters (something outside of his field if you will)? Thought not.