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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Science is not a reliable guide

The problem with appealing to science isn't limited to the problem of deriving "ought" from "is". It is that the human element corrupts the process to the point that one cannot reasonably expect to rely upon science to accurately relate "is" any longer, barring exogenous real-world confirmation:
If you want to see just how long an academic institution can tolerate a string of slow, festering research scandals, let me invite you to the University of Minnesota, where I teach medical ethics.

Over the past 25 years, our department of psychiatry has been party to the following disgraces: a felony conviction and a Food and Drug Administration research disqualification for a psychiatrist guilty of fraud in a drug study; the F.D.A. disqualification of another psychiatrist, for enrolling illiterate Hmong refugees in a drug study without their consent; the suspended license of yet another psychiatrist, who was charged with “reckless, if not willful, disregard” for dozens of patients; and, in 2004, the discovery, in a halfway house bathroom, of the near-decapitated corpse of Dan Markingson, a seriously mentally ill young man under an involuntary commitment order who committed suicide after enrolling, over the objections of his mother, in an industry-funded antipsychotic study run by members of the department.

And those, unfortunately, are just the highlights.

The problem extends well beyond the department of psychiatry and into the university administration. Rather than dealing forthrightly with these ethical breaches, university officials have seemed more interested in covering up wrongdoing with a variety of underhanded tactics. Reporting in The Star Tribune discovered, for example, that in the felony case, university officials hid an internal investigation of the fraud from federal investigators for nearly four years.
This is why religion and philosophy will always trump science. Due to the human element of scientistry and its obvious susceptibility to corruption, science that has not yet reached the level of reliability and credibility we call "engineering" simply does not merit being taken seriously by anyone who is not a professional scientist.

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94 Comments:

Anonymous WhiteKnightLeo #0368 June 24, 2015 11:03 AM  

If what you're saying is that any science that hasn't proven itself by practical uses isn't reliable, then - speaking as an atheist - I agree with you.

But then what does that say about evolution, when you consider microbes and insects reacting to our antibiotics and pesticides?

Anonymous Jack Amok June 24, 2015 11:15 AM  

Well for starters Leo, it says you should certainly be skeptical of any claims about evolution made by the University of Minnesota, and for damn sure don't sign up to participate in any studies on it done by the Department of Psychiatry.

Blogger wrf3 June 24, 2015 11:16 AM  

VD wrote: science that has not yet reached the level of reliability and credibility we call "engineering"...

In my field we have a saying: "If carpenters built houses the way programmers build programs, the first woodpecker to come along would destroy civilization."

We have another saying that "there are more horses rear ends than there are horses."

Some things are well engineered. Some things are not.

Anonymous Trimegistus June 24, 2015 11:20 AM  

In fairness to science, a couple of things are worth pointing out:

1. Medicine has always had an arm's-length relationship with science. It was only in the past 20 or 30 years that "evidence-based medicine" has become widespread. "Evidence-based" meaning treatments based on actual experiments with control groups and statistical testing, rather than whatever some doctor thought up that didn't immediately kill anybody.

2. Psychiatry is the crazy aunt in the attic of the medical community, pretty much literally. All eye doctors wear glasses, and all psychiatrists are at least slightly nuts.

So the lunacy of a psych department doesn't really tell us much about the credibility of, say, cosmologists or chemists.

Now I agree that there's far too many grifters, ideologues, and lunatics wrapping themselves in the white lab coat of scientific authority right now, and the whole field is overdue for a thorough housecleaning. But arguing against the actual validity of science as a way of understanding the universe just plays into the hands of the forces of irrationality tearing our civilization apart.

Anonymous JohnnyLightwave June 24, 2015 11:21 AM  

> when you consider microbes and insects reacting to our antibiotics and pesticides?

If I have a herd of sheep, and I constantly kill off any sheep with darker wool, is that "evolution?" Or is it just husbandry?

The "evolution is a fact" people try to glom onto husbandry-- which we can observe, view, and experiment with, in the same way that social scientists try to glom onto engineering.



Anonymous Spooner June 24, 2015 11:34 AM  

Szasz.

Blogger VD June 24, 2015 11:35 AM  

But arguing against the actual validity of science as a way of understanding the universe just plays into the hands of the forces of irrationality tearing our civilization apart.

Who is doing that? I am arguing for a much more rigorous scientody and a much more skeptical attitude towards scientistry.

Anonymous Northern Observer June 24, 2015 11:37 AM  

Is Myers caught up in any of this?

Blogger ScuzzaMan June 24, 2015 11:37 AM  

Spooner: exactly.

Blogger Aeoli Pera June 24, 2015 11:41 AM  

Another reason science is a poor guide is that, done properly, it takes too long. We are in a very strange moment in time where everything is changing very quickly: genetic mutations, magnetic north, weather cycles, ecological conditions, etc. This is a poorly understood source of error in all but the most immovable sciences (e.g. physics). By analogy, imagine that the slow shift in the fundamental physical constants of cosmology were instead quick and erratic. This would introduce unaccounted errors in experimental methods.

I noticed about five years ago that the meteorologists were suddenly doing a fantastic job of predicting the 5-day forecast. All that data-crunching appears to have paid off. But now I'm noticing huge systemic biases in their mistakes (last year and a half or so). They still do an incredible job, considering, but they were constantly guessing low on temperatures in Minnesota's this year. That sort of thing isn't supposed to happen. And the precipitation is throwing them off much more than usual, although at first glance the errors at least appear to be properly random.

Or maybe I'm just being normal crazy.

Anonymous BrerFox June 24, 2015 11:41 AM  

This was the first thing that came to my mind. At the very least I'd like to see his response to all this in his backyard.

Blogger Mastermind June 24, 2015 11:45 AM  

There are human elements in religion and philosophy too.

Anonymous RedJack #22 June 24, 2015 11:46 AM  

Correlation isn't always causation. Most of the weather models are statistical based. If X pressure is in Y location, expect Z to happen. Which, overall, is pretty good. The problem is that the assumptions are not listed. Namely, the data is within the normal tolerances of the system. Looking at my greatgrandfather's records from the late 1800's, we have been in a very mild run of weather. Now, he was using what is now considered very crude measurements, but the summer temps via a mercury thermometer in the same location for a 100+ years is pretty interesting. Same with snow an rain amounts.

The models are also influence by the AGW theory. You are required to though some of those assumptions in.

Overall, they do a bang up job in a two day forecast. Beyond that it is a guess in the Midwest, but still not bad. The 30 day forecast? Well, they might bat above .300.

Blogger Russell (106) June 24, 2015 11:49 AM  

This just highlights an attitude that's been prevalent for a while "If I'm doing science, I'm doing Good, and whatever I do is science, whatever I do is Good."

It's like a funhouse mirror of Confucianism, one's moral value increases the more one rises in the system and abuses of power are signs of virtue.

Anonymous Wiccapundit June 24, 2015 11:49 AM  

Spooner for the one-syllable win.

Szasz's "The Theology of Medicine", "Ceremonial Chemistry", and "The Untamed Tongue" are all in my library.

Anonymous Pax Romana June 24, 2015 11:50 AM  

I had thought the linked article might be anti-AGW, or some other science-based religious movement that is otherwise respected (wolf in sheep clothing, if you will). That the article is about psychiatry, a field that is known for being unethical (the Stanford Prisoner experiment, the Milgram Experiment, et al, ad eternum) is not the least bit surprising to me.

Anonymous WhiteKnightLeo #0368 June 24, 2015 11:53 AM  

@JohnnyLightwave

Actually, it's both.
.
Evolution, considered broadly, is the process by which various (primarily environmental) pressures affect living populations. There's a few more caveats than that (it requires, for example, that only mutations that occur between generations be considered, and thus microbes that don't have defined nuclei aren't included in most evolutionary laws because they share genetic information between them), but a shepherd culling his herd is an environmental pressure on the sheep population just the same as anything else is.
.
The insects that survive the pesticide were those that had some resistance to it, and thus the next generation will have at least some of that same resistance to the pesticide. Since insect generations are very short, their populations develop resistances to poison quickly (assuming you haven't actually killed them all).
.
The same with microbes. The advantage with microbes is that the resistance gains only affect those within the host, unless the host manages to infect someone else. So quarantines work with antibiotic resistance in a way that they don't with insecticide resistance, since there's no practical way to contain a population of insects that isn't already in captivity.
.
Thus at least some level of evolutionary theory produces both testable hypotheses and practical results. Obviously it doesn't prove all of it, just as the fact that some anti-psychotic drugs work doesn't prove psychiatry, but it does mean that at least some of it does.

Blogger JDC June 24, 2015 11:58 AM  

C. S. Lewis wrote, “On in War-Time,” Christian intellectuals have a special responsibility when it comes to the secular world attacking Christianity as a relic from the past.

"To be ignorant and simple now—not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground—would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defense but us against the intellectual attacks
of the heathen."

This is why I have appreciated Vox's posts so much. Thanks again.

Blogger Elocutioner0226 June 24, 2015 12:01 PM  

"Now I agree that there's far too many grifters, ideologues, and lunatics wrapping themselves in the white lab coat of scientific authority right now, and the whole field is overdue for a thorough housecleaning."

I suspect a few years of declining global temperatures will kick that into high gear. The problem for the grifters is that the Internet doesn't forget and everything is a google search away.

Anonymous JohnnyLightwave June 24, 2015 12:04 PM  

@WhiteKnightLeo

I understand the process-- I have bred mice and fish and am working on breeding dachshunds right now. I understand husbandry very well.

But isn't this glomming on? The premise of "politicized evolution" is that a new species arises. The existence of husbandry does not automatically mean that that is true. At some point, one of the mice I bred might change enough that it remains fertile within its own generation, but cannot breed with its nth grandparent-- and I would accept that as "evolution no longer a theory." But we haven't had any opportunity with actual observation to observe that-- even with fruit flies, whose genes "go back to normal" after you breed them enough, but then remove the specific pressure you were applying.

My objection here is the piggybacking of theoretical science on the facts of engineering. In this case, evolution is theoretical science, and husbandry is engineering-- but the existence of engineering doesn't make the theoretical science any more or less sound, until it one day becomes engineering in its own right.

I tend to see evolution piggybacked on husbandry quite a bit on the internet, so I want to point out that husbandry is what we know *is* and evolution is how we think it *might* be.

Blogger bob k. mando June 24, 2015 12:08 PM  

the courts are no better than the scientists:
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/06/netherlands-loses-landmark-global-warming-case-ordered-to-cut-emissions/

EVEN IF i stipulate to every AGW hypothesis ...
the percent of global emissions generated by the Netherlands wouldn't fill a teacup.

so a judge is going to destroy the Dutch economy, for no damn reason.

Blogger njartist June 24, 2015 12:08 PM  

I have been watching Chuck Missler's biblical exegesis videos on youtube: he comes from an engineering background (Naval Academy). He is incorporating up to date quantum physics as part of his explanation of the scriptures.

I am an artist, but this is blowing my mind - in a good manner.

Blogger kurt9 June 24, 2015 12:14 PM  

This is why religion and philosophy will always trump science. Due to the human element of scientistry and its obvious susceptibility to corruption, science that has not yet reached the level of reliability and credibility we call "engineering" simply does not merit being taken seriously by anyone who is not a professional scientist.

Unfortunately, all three of these have demonstrated themselves as covers for criminal sophistry and corruption.

Blogger dc.sunsets June 24, 2015 12:16 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger kurt9 June 24, 2015 12:17 PM  

Science, religion, and philosophy have all shown themselves the handmaidens of criminal sophistry and corruption. I think Murray Rothbard said it best when he said that if people are by nature good, any system should work. However, if people are by nature mostly bad and corrupt, there is no sense in putting one person or group of persons in charge of all others.

Anonymous Rob June 24, 2015 12:18 PM  

But then what does that say about evolution, when you consider microbes and insects reacting to our antibiotics and pesticides?

That evolution seems to be a good theory, when it's espousing facts that have been known for tens of thousands of years and that aren't the theory of evolution?

Anonymous Andrew Spooner Jr. June 24, 2015 12:19 PM  

We have been holding up scientists for the last few decades, when they are in fact nothing but the glorified data collectors for engineers. I fucking love engineers. Where is that Facebook page on my feed?

Blogger RobertT June 24, 2015 12:26 PM  

The scientific method works fine. The problem is, the meaning of every observation is determined by humans. Which makes every observation susceptible to a myriad of fallacies. For instance, I have doubts about radiocarbon dating because of that issue.

Anonymous clk June 24, 2015 12:29 PM  

Lets agree not to call doctors (and biologists) scientists -- physics, chemisty, geology, astronomy .. these are the really sciences -- the rest .. is soft.

The same human elements exist in any field which involve humans so I would not assign greater trustworthiness to them ... -- and if you limit your definitions of science to the "hard sciences" you will find without doubt that the practisioners of these have less of negative human elememts than what might be found in economists, lawyers, poiliticians...

Religion and philosophy are different than science -- not better and never more quantitative -- Use philosphy to predict the velocity of a projectile and all you get is "what goes up, must come down"...

Blogger Cail Corishev June 24, 2015 12:35 PM  

The other lesson here, as if it needed to be made again, is that the academics in their ivory towers are no better than your neighborhood crack dealer when it comes to blowing the whistle on each other's crimes. In fact, they might be worse -- the crack dealer will turn on his fellows for a deal faster than academics will.

Whether it's psych professors mentally torturing subjects, athletes getting cars and "tutors" to do all their work for them, or professors in every field trading grades for sex with their hottest students, the entire institution will circle the wagons to hide it every time. It's not one department; it's everyone from the alumni and boosters to the administrators and teachers to the students. Doesn't matter what crime it is, in what department, or at what college in what part of the country, the pattern is always the same: denials, destruction of evidence, blackmail, payoffs, threats, cover ups.

They might be as bad as cops.

Anonymous Mike M. (minion #315) June 24, 2015 12:39 PM  

Forget the Facebook page, I want the attractive, adoring women.

Blogger Zach June 24, 2015 12:43 PM  

Cail,

professors in every field trading grades for sex with their hottest students

If only professors could marry! That would surely end such sex scandals.

Anonymous BigGaySteve June 24, 2015 12:45 PM  

Well what all can they do against him if he has tenure?

Medicine has always had an arm's-length relationship with science. It was only in the past 20 or 30 years that "evidence-based medicine" has

Going back past 100 years you where often better off not seeing a doctor to treat your malady.

when you consider microbes and insects reacting to our antibiotics and pesticides? If I have a herd of sheep, and I constantly kill off any sheep with darker wool, is that "evolution?" Or is it just husbandry?

We wouldn't have all these drug resistant diseases if people still used the original dosing for antibiotics, for those not smart enough to comply with multiple protracted doses. You could make up some sore of future orientation test so you could pretend race doesn't have any influence on IQ. Better to lose a few to Herxheimer reactions than to needlessly destroy a relatively safe antibiotic's effectiveness for the entire world. Even if we make new antibiotics they are unlikely to be safer than PVK.

Blogger ScuzzaMan June 24, 2015 12:45 PM  

Leo, contradiction is a signal. Self-contradiction a signal of logic failure.
I'll give you a hint; you moved from bacteria already having some resistance, directly to "acquiring" it. But it had to be acquired (more accurately, already present) BEFORE we applied antibiotics or else ALl the bacteria would die. You reverse cause and effect and lecture us on science?

Pffft ...

Blogger Dexter June 24, 2015 12:50 PM  

Psychiatry is a science now? When did that happen?

Anonymous BGS June 24, 2015 12:50 PM  

Saudis busted for buying grades and according to the comments raping, while college employees help them flee the country to avoid arrest. Reality was reveled by wikileaks. http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/saudis-tried-to-shield-students-from-scandal-at-montana-tech/article_c9d7440e-b244-5bde-96a6-2f68f06bdb5c.html

Blogger dc.sunsets June 24, 2015 12:59 PM  

"We wouldn't have all these drug resistant diseases if people still used the original dosing for antibiotics"

Use in animal feeds is part of the problem. Use by idiot doctors (e.g., using long term broad spectrum agents to "fix" an infected prosthetic knee) is part. And some drugs just intrinsically drive resistance (azithromycin drives multidrug resistant Strep pneumo, and ciprofloxacin, among others, drives gram negative resistance by high levels of it excreting intestinally.)

Today's medical community can do many great things, but when "medical misadventure" is probably the 2nd leading cause of premature death, perhaps today's healers aren't as different from those of 100 years ago as we assume.

Blogger Cederq June 24, 2015 1:10 PM  

In reference to dc sunsets; I hand this in a note to new doctors I may have to see:

" Behind every doctor is a guy standing in a clearing with a bone through his nose, clad in a grass skirt, clutching his medicine pouch.
That should never be forgotten. When a doctor objects to that, remind them that they still use leeches, maggots and blood let."

Blogger Brad Andrews June 24, 2015 1:16 PM  

Keep in mind that the ineffectiveness of some pesticides or medicine may be due to a flaw in the target bug. The ones with that flaw survive more and thus seem to dominate. The overall trend may or may not stay there, likely not however, over the long run.

Saying that dogs breed is far different from saying dogs become cats or falcons. A lot of mixing what is meant by "evolution" here.

Anonymous BGS June 24, 2015 1:17 PM  

Thanks to wikileaks we know that Saudis paid to get students caught buying grades & according to the comments even raping while school officials helped them flee the US to avoid arrest/consequences.http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/saudis-tried-to-shield-students-from-scandal-at-montana-tech/article_c9d7440e-b244-5bde-96a6-2f68f06bdb5c.html


http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/saudis-tried-to-shield-students-from-scandal-at-montana-tech/article_c9d7440e-b244-5bde-96a6-2f68f06bdb5c.html

I'll give you a hint; you moved from bacteria already having some resistance, directly to "acquiring" it. But it had to be acquired (more accurately, already present)

Antibiotics are given in protracted doses because the original dosing of giving a single megadose resulted in Herxheimer reactions from too many of disease organisms dying at once. If these reactions are seen with current dosing in the 1st world it is likely the patient has undiagnosed Syphilis or Lyme disease along with whatever they are getting treated for. Taking antibiotics for 10+ days slowly kills off disease.

Let me run out a scenario for you. A low IQ 3rd worlder (LIQ3W) is given free meds to treat their malady along with instructions on how to take them that are beyond the LIQ3Ws capacity to understand. When the LIQ3W starts to feel better it sells the remaining free meds on the black market but still has the strongest remnants of the bacteria left which start to breed again. A thousand generations of bacteria later the same LIQ3W goes and another do gooder gives her the same free meds and she repeats the cycle leaving the strongest remnants and any that mutated to be more resistant as well. This is how drug resistant diseases are created.

Blogger Brad Andrews June 24, 2015 1:18 PM  

BGS,

We wouldn't have all these drug resistant diseases if people still used the original dosing for antibiotics

I wouldn't be so sure about that. The bugs that survive are the ones that were not killed by whatever tried to kill them. Thus the resistant ones will eventually be the majority.

Anonymous Alexander VI June 24, 2015 1:20 PM  

VD: "This is why religion and philosophy will always trump science. Due to the human element of scientistry and its obvious susceptibility to corruption..."

So, religion and philosophy have no human element and aren't susceptible to corruption? Thousands of years of history beg to differ.

Anonymous patrick kelly June 24, 2015 1:21 PM  

Oh the hilarity.......... medical and education costs have skyrocketed way out of proportion to the rest of the economy, and this is what we get for our money........

but just try explaining how more available money through government funding increases these costs to the average voter and watch their eyes glaze over.....or fall into a fit of apoplectic rage....

Anonymous WhiteKnightLeo #0368 June 24, 2015 1:22 PM  

@JohnnyLightwave

Okay, I can buy that. Proof of actual speciation (that is, so-called macroevolution) usually turns to the fossil record or to inactive genes in DNA for evidence.

But no one would suggest that modern cattle are actually the same species as the now-extinct aurochs, even though from what I understand we bred modern cattle from aurochs, just as canis familiaris (dogs) aren't the same species as canis lupis (wolves), even though we bred dogs from wolves.

So I hope you can agree that speciation does happen in response to environmental pressures, at least artificial ones. The question then is whether natural pressures can produce speciation. Which is a wholly different issue. But given that we have both fossils AND inactive genes, we have something to test against.

And since the science that makes our nuclear weapons and reactors work also tells us how old the Earth is, we know for certain that there's a multi-billion year time frame in which whatever natural pressures that do exist were able to work. So unless you are die-hard set against the notion that natural pressures can induce speciation, the possibility, at least, is there.

Anonymous patrick kelly June 24, 2015 1:23 PM  

@41:

Religion and philosophy triumph for reasons other than absolute lack of corruption ......which no one claimed....

Anonymous RedJack #22 June 24, 2015 1:26 PM  

Whiteknight.

Wolves and dogs can breed. There are no "real" aurochs left, but their DNA remains in the breeds.

I remember an older vet I knew growing up. His rule of thumb was that if they can breed, they are the same species. This was when there was a movement to call different strains of cattle separate species.

Anonymous Reasonable, and Not a Hypocrite June 24, 2015 1:30 PM  

Your Pope respects science. Are you not commanded by your god to follow your Pope? Listen to your Pope, Mr. Day. That is all.

Blogger kh123 June 24, 2015 1:31 PM  

...But, but, but... phiwosophy and rewigion have people in them too.

Are we sure this isn't PZ's anticipated response in real time.

Blogger Cail Corishev June 24, 2015 1:32 PM  

If only professors could marry! That would surely end such sex scandals.

Indeed! Especially the homosexual ones. Wives are just what they need.

Anonymous patrick kelly June 24, 2015 1:33 PM  

@43:"And since the science that makes our nuclear weapons and reactors work also tells us how old the Earth is,"

one of these things is not like the other....

"we know for certain that there's a multi-billion year time frame ...." who knows this and how? FWIW I tend to believe this is possible, but all the evidence I've been presented leaves room for reasonable skepticism .......

" So unless you are die-hard set against the notion that natural pressures can induce speciation"

Nope, just skeptical due to lack of empirical evidence.......plus the spell checker doesn't think speciation is a word......doesn't even offer a better spelling....

" the possibility, at least, is there...."

Under a very broad definition of possible.......it is ....possible.....

Anonymous patrick kelly June 24, 2015 1:36 PM  

@46:"Listen to your Pope, Mr. Day. "

If you can direct him to his Pope he might just give a listen.....but I suspect your knowledge of the subject is lacking.

"That is all."

This is possible, but not very likely.

Blogger YIH June 24, 2015 1:37 PM  

Rod Dreher has posted on something similar The reason heroin has made a huge comeback:
It turns out that in the 1990s, there was in US medical circles a revolution in pain management. The story is complicated, but boiled down, junk medical science came to be widely accepted as true. Doctors came to believe that opiates used in treating pain were not addictive. There were never any solid data to support that conclusion, but a single letter to the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine was seized on and repeated in medical circles as a “study” that showed opiates were non-addictive in pain treatment.
Obviously the claim ''opiates were non-addictive'' was known to be BS for over a century. But Perdue Phama was promoting Oxycontin (as a cancer pain med). Next thing you know Oxy was being prescribed like crazy (FL became notorious for that) once hooked on Oxy people started doing whatever it took to get more.
Enter cheaper and easier to get heroin...

Anonymous Stickwick June 24, 2015 1:37 PM  

Trimegistus: So the lunacy of a psych department doesn't really tell us much about the credibility of, say, cosmologists or chemists.

Unfortunately, few people distinguish between the hard and the squishy sciences. Psychiatry is the squishiest of them all -- it doesn't even rise to the level of alchemy.

There are a few reliable tells that should help you determine whether you should be skeptical of a particular discipline. Start by going through this checklist:

1. Does it have any well-established laws that are supported by and not seriously contradicted by evidence?

2. Does a particular paradigm confer huge gobs of money and/or power on certain individuals or small groups of people?

3. Is the discipline strongly wedded to a particular ideology (or against an ideology)?

Psychiatry runs afoul of all three.

1. There are no laws of human behavior on the books. We can also infer that psychiatry is worse than useless by considering the following observation made by Hans Eysenck. The spontaneous two-year remission rate for neuroses is 72%. That means 72% of people with psychoneurotic problems will just get better on their own without any treatment within two years. The two-year remission rate for people who are treated "eclectically," that is, with a variety of methods including cognitive (behavioral) therapies is 64%. So, it's not useful and probably a little more harmful than doing nothing. The two-year remission rate for people who are treated through psychoanalysis is 44%. That means it's unquestionably harmful. That's a significant result that should give any serious scientist pause.

Consider also that virtually every shooting-spree killer in the last 30 years has been under psychiatric care of some kind involving psychotropic meds. This is undeniably a problem for the field of psychiatry.

2. The vast majority of modern psychiatry seems to involve little more than a prescription pad. With an estimated 13 percent of Americans on antidepressants, one has to wonder how much money the pharmaceuticals and others involved in this field are raking in for promoting the current psychiatric paradigm.

3. Freud was a notorious anti-Christian humanist. The entire field is based on the ultra-humanistic principle that no one should ever feel bad for any reason ever.

(See also: AGW/CC and TENS.)

Anonymous Nathan June 24, 2015 1:38 PM  

@Leo

I've got no dog in this fight, but I thought you should be aware of the changing facts on the ground.

Speciation has undergone a recent reinterpretation, often so that there are fewer species now than there were prior to the reinterpretation. For instance, it is current scientific pratice to consider what was once canis familiaris as canis lupis. That's right, a Chihuahua is now considered a wolf as well as a nuisance.

Clear-cut speciation has now become more difficult to prove as there now is demonstration of greater divergance between members of an interbreeding population than previously acknowledged.

Anonymous patrick kelly June 24, 2015 1:44 PM  

"a Chihuahua is now considered a wolf as well as a nuisance"

IT IS SCIENCE!!
(hmmm.....the nuisance part is true...)

Anonymous map June 24, 2015 1:46 PM  

JohnnyLightwave,

The problem with the theory of evolution is that it does a bait and switch: it replaces the theory for the origin of species with the simple example of animal husbandry when it is convenient.

Evolution is not about how an existing species changes over time. It is about how a new species comes into existence. It postulates a movement from the simple to the complex; through the process of natural selection and random mutation; until complexity becomes so great that a new species emerges.

It is preposterous when you really think about it, especially when you include DNA.

It means that, at some point, a man and woman will somehow give birth to a child that will be a completely different species from the parents. Not only that, but such unlikely births will happen to millions of couples in order to sustain such a new species.

In fact, if evolution were true, then bigfoot would exist.

Anonymous BGS June 24, 2015 1:55 PM  

Dc Sunsets everything you listed vs. LIQ3Ws misusing medication is like comparing a guy peeing in a reservoir to the Bopal Chemical disaster in India or Tacoma Narrows in Washington http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/portland-reservoir-be-drained-after-teen-pees-water-n82901 the 3rd world should never have been mixed with the 1st. Keep in mind I would never publicly discuss this in any forum that I could be Identified, at least until retirement past the point I would only volunteer.

The bugs that survive are the ones that were not killed by whatever tried to kill them...eventually be the majority.

Protracted doses are easier on patients and the disease. The ones that survive by LIQ3Ws are simply the ones that survive longer to the point patients stop complying. Think of it this way, the original dosing was like an order to shoot someone in the head twice with a .45 at close range while current dosing is like ordering to shoot someone with a .22 pistol at 50+ paces three times a day for 14 days after meals. If someone is non compliant with the latter several thousand generations later diseases will evolve Kevlar.

Lets not forget that bacteria have new generations measured in minutes. "In bacteria, a mutation at a particular gene occurs on average once in about every 10,000,000 cell divisions. Since bacteria are so numerous and divide so often, even these rare events actually occur quite often. As an example, E. coli cells in a human colon divide 2 x 10^10 times every day. That means that every day in an E. coli population, approximately 2000 cells will have a mutation at a particular gene5 . So, even though mutations are rare events, they occur often enough in bacterial populations to create a lot of genetic variation within populations"

Blogger Dexter June 24, 2015 1:56 PM  

just try explaining how more available money through government funding increases these costs to the average voter and watch their eyes glaze over.....or fall into a fit of apoplectic rage....

Ah want me mah free, high-quality medical care, and ah want it now!

An' ah don' care how much it costs to keep granmaw alive, you do it or I'll sure your ass, ya hear?

Anonymous taquito June 24, 2015 1:56 PM  

This is why religion and philosophy will always trump science.

Religion and philosophy do not also contain a human element that is also susceptible to corruption?

Anonymous DT June 24, 2015 2:04 PM  

WhiteKnightLeo #0368 - But then what does that say about evolution, when you consider microbes and insects reacting to our antibiotics and pesticides?

There is no more of a "reaction" here then there is given a population shift from one color of moth to another. The genetic code for resistance was already there, expressed and active in some while dormant, or even lost, in others.

An insect developing human level intelligence, designing and building a gun, and shooting the illegal immigrant spraying his buddies...that would require new code.

So I hope you can agree that speciation does happen in response to environmental pressures, at least artificial ones.

Speciation != spontaneous new and functioning genetic code. Speciation is real*, but consistent with any of a number of theories as to the origin of life.

* Keep in mind that all of taxonomy is our crude attempt at categorizing systems without a full understanding of those systems. It's kind of like someone from the 1800's categorizing output from a laser printer when they don't even begin to understand what software is, or that they are really categorizing the various forms of software that generated the prints.

Blogger Cail Corishev June 24, 2015 2:10 PM  

In fact, if evolution were true, then bigfoot would exist.

Thank you, that's the same thought I've had for a while. It's not just that the fossils are missing, but that the intermediate forms themselves are missing.

If the hypothesis is that version 1.0 evolved into version 2.0 over a great many years, then v1.1, v1.2, and so on each should have existed for a long time. So they should have left lots of fossils. But why don't they still exist as living creatures? If v1.0 is still running around, and all the versions 1.x survived long enough to produce the next version because they were more adaptive than 1.0, then why did they die out so quickly while 1.0 survived? It makes no sense.

Blogger kh123 June 24, 2015 2:27 PM  

" But why don't they still exist as living creatures? If v1.0 is still running around, and all the versions 1.x survived long enough to produce the next version because they were more adaptive than 1.0, then why did they die out so quickly while 1.0 survived?

Would imagine the Gould line of thinking would be: Geographic isolation + time + historical contingency, i.e. the random nature of nature. The last bit is lame I know, but it's the standard explanation for why, if historic evolution is quantifiable, we can't seem to quantify it nor hope to repeat it.

Another would be generalized vs. specialized, w/ hist. cont. playing out on that.

The TL;DR version I've seen of all of the above is: The Missing Links aren't here, because we are.

That said, I wouldn't rule out something like Bigfoot running around, even in a creationist model. Anthropomorphic apes still exist after all, and we have no way of knowing just how far a created anthropomorphic scale went in the past.

Blogger Aeoli Pera June 24, 2015 2:32 PM  

OT: My comments keep disappearing. I'm pretty sure I've participated in some recent threads, but no sign remains.

Blogger VFM bot #188 June 24, 2015 2:40 PM  

I think Murray Rothbard said it best when he said that if people are by nature good, any system should work. However, if people are by nature mostly bad and corrupt, there is no sense in putting one person or group of persons in charge of all others.

It's not that people are "by nature bad and corrupt". It's that they act in ways they perceive to be their best interests.

Unfortunately, human perception is generally, shall we delicately say, "flawed". AKA, "most people are idiots." (Cf. statism and socialism, the never-dying misperceptions.) Which still reinforces Rothbard's observation.

Anonymous JohnnyLightwave June 24, 2015 2:47 PM  

@WhiteKnightLeo

>But no one would suggest that modern cattle are actually the same species as the now-extinct aurochs, even though from what I understand we bred modern cattle from aurochs, just as canis familiaris (dogs) aren't the same species as canis lupis (wolves), even though we bred dogs from wolves.

Ahhh, well, here's where I think I disagree. "Species" is just some random word of human classifications of what a bunch of white guys in wigs 300 years ago arbitrarily decided were absolutely for sure all the animals on earth.

But dogs can breed with wolves. Cattle possibly can breed with Aurochs. It seems very silly to classify things that can breed with eachother as different species (as opposed to race). Nobody thinks Negroes, Caucasians, and Mongoloids are different species, do they?

I believe in evolution, btw. It sounds like the best possible fit to me. But note that I said "believe" whereas I would never say "I believe in the theory that 2+2=4" ... there's hard data, and there's good guesses, and a lot of people who are deeply invested in the good guesses really want them to be considered hard data.

Anonymous JohnnyLightwave June 24, 2015 2:55 PM  

@Leo

>And since the science that makes our nuclear weapons and reactors work also tells us how old the Earth is, we know for certain that there's a multi-billion year time frame in which whatever natural pressures that do exist were able to work.

This is a bait and switch. Electricity, nuclear weapons, etc, have nothing at all to do with the age of the earth. Uranium could have existed in the primordial nebula. The established validity of one science does not confer automatic validity to anything else that might be described as "science." We give numbers for things like light years and carbon dating, but they're all guesses that "sound about right."

That's the point I was making in my original post-- that the problem is this piggybacking of theoretical concepts on valid ones.

And the worst part is, we have some incursions into science that are unfalsifiable-- in much the same way that wet weather, dry weather, changing weather, stagnant weather, weather that matches the models, weather that doesn't match the models, unusually hot weather, and unusually cold weather all are hard proof of global warming.

Unfalsifiable != science

Blogger ScuzzaMan June 24, 2015 2:55 PM  

@kh123:

The problem with the missing links is not that the links are missing. It is that the term itself assumes the truth of the theory in the absence of any evidence, and then accuses the evidence of being deficient (we just "know" the links were there, but they are missing) for not supporting the theory.

It is the opposite of science and awful philosophy.

IOW, the missing links term is a conscious and deliberate attack on the evidence, with attack being assumed to be the best method of defense, since the theory demonstrably needs defending from the very evidence that is supposed to establish it.

As for speciation, the problem as noted above, is that speciation as we actually observe it, both in the case of wolves/dogs and bacteria, is devolution in action.

You simply cannot get here from there. You cannot create entirely new body plans and organs and features and functions by losing information, of which both the breeding of dogs and the resistance of bacteria are actually cases.

That certain people really badly want to believe that you can doesn't make it any more credible.

Blogger ScuzzaMan June 24, 2015 2:57 PM  

unfalsifiable = !science.

(fixed that for ya)

Blogger Danby June 24, 2015 3:07 PM  

But no one would suggest that modern cattle are actually the same species as the now-extinct aurochs,
I, and may biologists, would certainly suggest so, and the evidence supports it. Domestic cattle were interbred with Aurochs well into the 18th Century in Poland. Else, why are several breeding programs in Europe attempting to breed back from domestic cattle to Aurochs?

So I hope you can agree that speciation does happen in response to environmental pressures, at least artificial ones.

Sorry, not true. In fact, if you keep wolves enclosed and feed them, they change morphologically and behaviorally within a couple of generations. they become like dogs.
Link

Anonymous patrick kelly June 24, 2015 3:18 PM  

67. ScuzzaMan

Awesome summary of reasonable skepticism regarding TENS....

Anonymous Mr. Rational June 24, 2015 3:39 PM  

If I have a herd of sheep, and I constantly kill off any sheep with darker wool, is that "evolution?"

If it causes a change in allele frequencies over time, it's evolution.  In this case, evolution through human selection.

The "evolution is a fact" people try to glom onto husbandry

Changes in allele frequencies have been observed in the lab and in the wild as well.  In the absence of human selection there is natural selection, mate selection and genetic drift, to list just three forces.

plus the spell checker doesn't think speciation is a word....

Because your spell checker is as urine-poor as your science education.  Here's speciation defined for you.  (BTW, your comment is a textbook example of a specious argument.)

It means that, at some point, a man and woman will somehow give birth to a child that will be a completely different species from the parents.

Wrong (and another specious argument).  It means that, at some point, a child will be born which is sufficiently different from the great-to-the-Nth grandparents (and possibly other extant populations) that it must be considered a different species.  I understand that there's sufficiently low interfertility between the San (Bushmen) and Europeans to suggest that speciation through mutual infertility is in the process of arising.

In fact, if evolution were true, then bigfoot would exist.

It's illogical leaps like this and the rah-rah support for them that keep the pejorative "Christ**d" alive.

Anonymous patrick kelly June 24, 2015 3:46 PM  

" your comment is a textbook example of a specious argument."

guess I better keep my day job....

Anonymous BluntForceTrauma June 24, 2015 3:51 PM  

Two words: Piltdown Man.

Blogger ScuzzaMan June 24, 2015 3:59 PM  

changes in allele frequency is a classic shifting of the goalposts. It adds nothing to science per se, but allows the true believers to assert their favourite non sequitur: evolution because science!

Changes in allele frequency do not explain or demonstrate how new body plans, organs, and complex interacting features arise without intelligent direction.

That such differences will inevitably display differences in allele frequency is like observing that War and Peace has more consonants than A Brief History of Time. Once again, it is a reversal of cause and effect, a failure to think coherently, a wish fulfillment fantasy wrapped in a delusion.

Notice, for example, how the word change is constantly used to imply positive progress, never to describe loss of information and associated loss of function, feature, and fitness. It's the very same rhetorical legerdemain as the missing links gambit; deliberately abusing the language to obfuscate while pretending to explain.

Mr Rational.

About as convincing as Operation Enduring Freedom.

Anonymous DT June 24, 2015 3:59 PM  

71. Mr. Rational - If it causes a change in allele frequencies over time, it's evolution.

Change != new information and complexity. Suggesting that change (what is often referred to as micro evolution) proves new information (macro evolution) is yet another bait and switch.

Anonymous DT June 24, 2015 4:00 PM  

ScuzzaMan beat me to it.

Blogger bob k. mando June 24, 2015 4:21 PM  

35. Dexter June 24, 2015 12:50 PM
Psychiatry is a science now? When did that happen?



Descriptive Psychiatry always was 'scientific' ( Observation and Description of that which is observed ) in nature.

Therapeutic Psychiatry ( Freud and his ilk ) have never been any better than taking a chicken to a witch doctor.



41. Alexander VI June 24, 2015 1:20 PM
So, religion and philosophy have no human element and aren't susceptible to corruption?


to the contrary.

religion and philosophy are widely recognized as being highly susceptible to the 'human element'.

it is only "Science!" which pretends that it is incorruptible and above the fray.

hell, even Thomas Dolby knows better.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZOW5GdgCGw

the 'known scientist' is ... what? surprised that she would try to blind him with science?

implying ... that the 'known scientist' is familiar with the concept of ...

blinding non-scientists with science?

Blogger Bobo #117 June 24, 2015 4:23 PM  

Missler rocks!

My wife's an engineer, Missler helped greatly with her conversion.

Anonymous RedJack #22 June 24, 2015 4:38 PM  

The most interesting study in animal husbandry (for me anyway) is going on in Russia with silver foxes.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domesticated_silver_fox

They took wild foxes, and bred them to be pets. A similar thing is going on near me with buffalo. The Buff's there are being bred for meat, and since the farmer doesn't want to deal with a pissed off herd, he selects animals that easier to deal with.

My Grandfather did this with cattle, and kept records for his entire life on his line. We used to have the pictures of his herd through the years and it was amazing the changes he would bring about (this was before the mass production of artificial inseminated cattle, which has large risks).


Blogger Aeoli Pera June 24, 2015 5:42 PM  

Descriptive Psychiatry always was 'scientific' ( Observation and Description of that which is observed ) in nature.

It is pseudoscientific, in that all psychologists who are not pure materialists will assume that there is a nonmaterial causal component to cognition and behavior. Insofar as the material and nonmaterial components can be reasonably separated (e.g. apply a voltage to the brain here, and a muscle twitches there), then the study of the material component can be reasonably described as science.

Blogger bob k. mando June 24, 2015 6:27 PM  

80. Aeoli Pera June 24, 2015 5:42 PM
It is pseudoscientific, in that all psychologists who are not pure materialists will assume that there is a nonmaterial causal component to cognition and behavior.



that's right up there with asserting that Christians can't do "scientific" study in theoretical physics.

aren't you one of the ones who asserts that sociopaths are the creative engine of the business world?

if so, i'd tread carefully. i can smash that ludicrous assertion with a single question.

Blogger kh123 June 24, 2015 6:46 PM  

"It is the opposite of science and awful philosophy."

Given Nye, Tyson, Sagan et al, is browbeating more like. Not arguing against; the points I raised WRT evolution were devil's advocacy, as always.

Blogger Aeoli Pera June 24, 2015 6:49 PM  

if so, i'd tread carefully. i can smash that ludicrous assertion with a single question.

How about instead you try to smash the assertion that you've quoted? That would at least be relevant.

aren't you one of the ones who asserts that sociopaths are the creative engine of the business world?

No, I've referenced the essay "The Gervais Principle", which uses the word sociopath in a different sense, as explained in the essay. And even in that sense, they are merely enablers.

OpenID ymarsakar June 24, 2015 7:54 PM  

http://amasci.com/weird/vindac.html

A good example of why geniuses and scientists that push the boundaries of the field, are ridiculed and cast out as crazies.

Society can't tolerate em, unless there's some kind of powerful technological advantage they can take away from somebody else's work.

Blogger bob k. mando June 24, 2015 11:01 PM  

83. Aeoli Pera June 24, 2015 6:49 PM
How about instead you try to smash the assertion that you've quoted? That would at least be relevant.


your inability to see that your assertion was already smashed is not my problem.


83. Aeoli Pera June 24, 2015 6:49 PM
No, I've referenced the essay "The Gervais Principle", which uses the word sociopath in a different sense, as explained in the essay. And even in that sense, they are merely enablers.



the ability to evade the consequences of bad decisions / falsely claim credit for success in no way "enables" the bottom line of the company.

Blogger Jim June 24, 2015 11:15 PM  

"In fact, if evolution were true, then bigfoot would exist."

This makes no sense to me. What am I missing?

Blogger automatthew June 24, 2015 11:32 PM  

Jim, nothing interesting.

Evolution is not true, and Bigfoot does exist. See the Munns Report for bigfooty goodness.

Blogger automatthew June 24, 2015 11:33 PM  

BOB K MANDO: "your inability to see that your assertion was already smashed is not my problem."

bzzzt. Try again, with a non-Tad answer this time.

Blogger bob k. mando June 24, 2015 11:57 PM  

88. automatthew June 24, 2015 11:33 PM
bzzzt. Try again, with a non-Tad answer this time.



he made an assertion.

i destroyed his assertion.

if you cannot follow the logic, then ask for clarification.

nothing about his statement or my reply was particularly complex.

Anonymous jon June 25, 2015 12:20 AM  

Your post and your example don't really match that well. Of all of the scandals mentioned, only one involved fraud. It may not be ethical to do experiments on illiterate Hmong refugees, but the lack of consent doesn't mean the results aren't valid.

Blogger automatthew June 25, 2015 12:25 AM  

BOB,

You make an assertion about destroying his assertion. Must we really enter an infinite regress here?

YOUR FRIEND,
AUTOMATTHEW

Blogger bob k. mando June 25, 2015 3:55 PM  

91. automatthew June 25, 2015 12:25 AM
You make an assertion about destroying his assertion. Must we really enter an infinite regress here?


IF you understood his argument
THEN you understand my rebuttal.

what are you having problems comprehending?

Blogger Aeoli Pera June 26, 2015 7:30 PM  

Stop acting like a little bitch.

Anonymous Mr. Rational July 22, 2015 10:18 AM  

Found something I forgot to post:

This is a bait and switch. Electricity, nuclear weapons, etc, have nothing at all to do with the age of the earth.

The hell they don't.  The physics of radioactive decay drives both (though spontaneous fission is a far bigger deal for weapons).

Uranium could have existed in the primordial nebula.

Uranium DID exist in the primordial nebula.  So did heaps of just about every radioisotope you can get out of a supernova that lasted long enough.  One isotope was Pu-244, which still exists in (barely) measurable amounts today.  I'd like to see creationists try to explain why Pu-244 exists naturally at all.  A supernova explosion explains it directly.  "God works in mysterious ways" explains nothing.

The established validity of one science does not confer automatic validity to anything else that might be described as "science."

You can't accept any science based on a given physical process or principle and deny anything else based on the same.

We give numbers for things like light years and carbon dating

So you're saying that parallax, Cepheid variables and "standard candle" supernovae are "just numbers", rather than real physical phenomena which can be cross-checked against each other for accuracy... and are?

they're all guesses that "sound about right."

There's an error bar on every physical measurement.  What you should be paying attention to is the debate over the age of the earth around the turn of the last century.  Physicists couldn't see how the Sun could maintain its output for more than a few hundreds of thousands or millions of years (gravitational contraction being the most powerful energy source known), while geologists said the Earth was hundreds of millions of years old.  Turns out there was something the physicists had yet to discover:  e=mc², aka hydrogen fusion.  The creationists were wrong going into this discovery, and were even more wrong coming out.

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