Is user research just 'smoke and mirrors'?

Adrian Chong posted to iaslash a set of links to writings by Christopher Fahey about the “Smoke & Mirrors” of user research: Design vs. Science, Research as a Design Tool, Research as a Political Tool.
Chong says:

As designers look towards user research for the objective truth, Christopher questions the motives behind the research. He follows with a series of articles, the first of which discuss user research as a pseudo science pointing to absolutes that do not exist. He continues the discussion stating that tools such as eye tracking provide results that are already apparent to good UI designers. His latest article explains that a value of user research is often to cut through the politics and convince stakeholders to make good design decisions.

His next article promises to be good too. (I’ll bowdlerize the title to “Research as b.s.”)