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Friday, July 06, 2018

The unreliability of science

Remember, this is the standard by which Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris believe truth should be measured:
"The majority of papers that get published, even in serious journals, are pretty sloppy," said John Ioannidis, professor of medicine at Stanford University, who specializes in the study of scientific studies.

This sworn enemy of bad research published a widely cited article in 2005 entitled: "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False." Since then, he says, only limited progress has been made....

"Diet is one of the most horrible areas of biomedical investigation," professor Ioannidis added -- and not just due to conflicts of interest with various food industries. "Measuring diet is extremely difficult," he stressed. How can we precisely quantify what people eat?

In this field, researchers often go in wild search of correlations within huge databases, without so much as a starting hypothesis. Even when the methodology is good, with the gold standard being a study where participants are chosen at random, the execution can fall short.

A famous 2013 study on the benefits of the Mediterranean diet against heart disease had to be retracted in June by the most prestigious of medical journals, the New England Journal of Medicine, because not all participants were randomly recruited; the results have been revised downwards.

So what should we take away from the flood of studies published every day?

Ioannidis recommends asking the following questions: is this something that has been seen just once, or in multiple studies? Is it a small or a large study? Is this a randomized experiment? Who funded it? Are the researchers transparent?

These precautions are fundamental in medicine, where bad studies have contributed to the adoption of treatments that are at best ineffective, and at worst harmful.

In their book "Ending Medical Reversal," Vinayak Prasad and Adam Cifu offer terrifying examples of practices adopted on the basis of studies that went on to be invalidated, such as opening a brain artery with stents to reduce the risk of a new stroke.

It was only after 10 years that a robust, randomized study showed that the practice actually increased the risk of stroke.
Never forget that science cannot be considered reliable until it is called "engineering". Until then, the most that one can accurately assume is that it has about a fifty percent chance of actually being correct. The fact that some physicists got some very accurate results in the 1950s says precisely nothing about that study published by a biologist or a medical researcher or an economist 70 years later.

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73 Comments:

Blogger Zaklog the Great July 06, 2018 6:32 AM  

There's a reason science as we understand it emerged in Christian Europe. It's the same reason science is becoming less and less reliable as the influence of Christianity on our society recedes. If truth is not your highest ideal, why not pursue the next research grant or "socially desirable" results?

Blogger Mark Stoval July 06, 2018 6:36 AM  

Let us not forget that political ideology also plays a large role in many fields of "science".

The people trying to find the truth about how IQ effects the behavior and abilities of the various nations of peoples have to be very careful. Some lose their career over stating obvious truths or reporting good research.

To say that a person's DNA is extraordinarily important and that we are NOT a blank slate is something the left does not want to hear. And you know how un-civil those people are.

Blogger tublecane July 06, 2018 6:37 AM  

If they don't watch out, their writing will get as bad as the humanities.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine July 06, 2018 6:42 AM  

Theology > Natural Philosophy > Science as we know it.


It's amazing how hard it is even to unveil for someone who's looking that science is a subset of religion.

Faith can certainly be had in evil things, and evil faiths will reveal nothing and occult everything.

Blogger Resident Moron™ July 06, 2018 7:00 AM  

I found this quite interesting. It's a bit less mechanical and a bit more philosophical, but it is based on decades of experience of actually cutting open people's brains so the empiric foundation is definitely there.

https://www.plough.com/en/topics/justice/reconciliation/science-and-the-soul

A smart man begins a career as a materialist neurosurgeon. Decades of experience and expertise compels him to abandon that position.

Who'd have thunk it?

Blogger JACIII July 06, 2018 7:13 AM  

All one need do is live past 40 to realize modern medical science is a fad mill that progresses in much the same fits and starts it did when the saw bones were figuring it out through trial and error.

Dietary Science is the Gender Studies of medicine.

Blogger Cloom Glue July 06, 2018 7:14 AM  

Now that you mention science studies: That theory about folic acid causing twins (in the other thread), looks less likely, and less significant even if true, than in the first study (Sweden 2001), because vitamin A and IVfertilization and older mothers are all contributing causes, confusing the studies. I knew somebody with the spina bifida problem, just before folate was added to flour by mandate, which I did not know. So I was saying take a supplement to somebody else, not knowing the government had mandated it, so I will shut up about it now (nutrient dose problem). http://www.mja.com.au/journal/2007/186/5/folic-acid-and-risk-twinning-systematic-review-recent-literature-july-1994-july
On the face of the studies reviewed here, these effects are of a smaller magnitude than previously proposed.

Blogger Skyler the Weird July 06, 2018 7:15 AM  

Science has become Lysenkoism.

Blogger L' Aristokrato July 06, 2018 7:17 AM  

Look up 'John Bohannon' and 'Who's afraid of Peer Review'.
Just gonna leave this here:

Summary
Dozens of open-access journals targeted in an elaborate Science sting accepted a spoof research article, raising questions about peer-review practices in much of the open-access world.


This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Blogger The Kurgan July 06, 2018 7:19 AM  

The main problem being, of course, that the real scientific method has now practically almost gone the way of the dodo.

While genuine errors (including frauds) in science were always there, I would posit that in the last 50 years the incentives to forego almost any aspect of scientific methodologybhave been massive.

I have had to read hundreds of medical papers related to brain tumors and probably an equal number on other sciences, and literally 95% of them have serious flaws in the baseline principles of the methodology used.
The “best” papers were this were the scientist actually pointed out the bias themselves and in essence, while these added up to what I would consider a “strong anecdote” and were in fact useful, they were far from classical scientific studies.
And it was with these papers that my ex-sister in law’s life was extended by 5 years during which time she had a son, instead of the 8-12 months she would have lasted without this information.

It was the equivalent of some kind of search for information Indiana Jones style and when I confronted top medical experts in the field with this stuff in a blunt and direct manner I was surprised to discover that they were mostly ignorant of it.
The one guy who was not ignorant of it commended me on the conclusions I had reached and showed me some further raw data he had created feomnhis own patients. The ones who were not aware of it, to their credit, actually listened and adopted the treatment regime I, a layman, suggested.

Honestly, we are not as far as people think from using witchdoctors and slugs to cure diseases.

Blogger Duke Norfolk July 06, 2018 7:36 AM  

Resident Moron™ wrote:A smart man begins a career as a materialist neurosurgeon. Decades of experience and expertise compels him to abandon that position.

Holy crap. That was eye opening for me.

I don't know anything anymore.

If there's one thing that I've taken away from all this (as I've become aware of this over the last, say, ten years), is that humility is absolutely required. Any "scientist" (or anybody else, for that matter) who is certain that they've got it right is not to be trusted.

I've started calling the 20th century the age of arrogance. Only now are we (at large) starting to see the errors made, and starting to appreciate the wisdom of the ages, if you will.

Blogger JACIII July 06, 2018 7:49 AM  

Resident Moron™ wrote:I found this quite interesting. It's a bit less mechanical and a bit more philosophical, but it is based on decades of experience of actually cutting open people's brains so the empiric foundation is definitely there.

https://www.plough.com/en/topics/justice/reconciliation/science-and-the-soul

A smart man begins a career as a materialist neurosurgeon. Decades of experience and expertise compels him to abandon that position.

Who'd have thunk it?


That is a fascinating article. Thanks.

Blogger insight July 06, 2018 7:52 AM  

OT - And you thought it was your city!?

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2012/04/24/what_s_that_thing_mysterious_wires_edition.html

Blogger Zwiebel July 06, 2018 7:52 AM  

These errors are persistent, as well. My sister in law doesn't let her son eat eggs because cholesterol. Even though this has been debunked to the point that even official heart health organisations recommend eating egg, as it is so healthy.

Blogger Pierre Truc July 06, 2018 7:54 AM  

When I did my BSc, I started by reading the prior works of other alumni from the same school.

All the math was wrong. ALL OF IT. The models were wrong. And of course, the conclusions were also wrong... and no-one had noticed.

Blogger Don't Call Me Len July 06, 2018 7:57 AM  

The reference to diet "studies" highlights one of the major issue with SCIENCE! that people seem to believe in fervently: that all the possible confounding factors can be "controlled for" (if they're even known), because it's SCIENCE!

Blogger nswhorse July 06, 2018 7:59 AM  

L' Aristokrato wrote:Look up 'John Bohannon' and 'Who's afraid of Peer Review'.

Just gonna leave this here:

Summary

Dozens of open-access journals targeted in an elaborate Science sting accepted a spoof research article, raising questions about peer-review practices in much of the open-access world.

This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.


The problem is this result has been used as a way to strengthen the power of the ideological gatekeepers who control the peer review process, who decide which scientific questions may be investigated and which potential answers are acceptable. The benefit of the open access approach is that it forces the individual to think and consider things for themselves. You know going in there is a lot of chaff, whereas the peer review process has given people a false confidence that anything that makes it to print is wheat.

Blogger Resident Moron™ July 06, 2018 8:04 AM  

... yet even in the most prestigious of science journals we know there has been massive long-running collusion to rort the peer-review process, Mann et al's climate scam pal review scheme being a classic case of rooking gullible politicians of billions of taxpayer dollars in return for politically biased expert opinion.

Blogger Wuzzums Fuzzums July 06, 2018 8:08 AM  

I have a few contentions.

1) Medical studies and science are 2 different things.

Medicine has yet to reach the level of science. It has always been sold to the public that medicine is a science or that doctors are scientists but this is a flat out lie. Doctors receive no scientific training whatsoever. Medical research, yes. Scientific method, no. "Evidence based medicine" is a phrase found in most medical textbooks. "Science based medicine" is yet to be used once. There's a reason why most drugs used today are the same drugs that were used more than 100 years ago.

I recommend the book "Bad Science" by Dr. Ben Goldacre if you want to be further black-pilled on the current state of medical "science".

2) Dawkins never really made any claims about medical science ("science") as far as I know. He held lectures to medical doctors trying to explain evolutionary biology to them, but other than this I don't recall him ever venturing out of his field of expertise.

Harris on the other does fall in the trap of hubris thinking he's an expert on everything. He does like to call himself a neuroscientist as if that means anything. So I wouldn't be surprised if he repeated the usual garbage big pharmaceutical companies like to say to the public.

@9

Peer-review is a complete failure because of 2 reasons:
1)It relies on the objectivity and integrity of the reviewers.
2)Given that 100% of the reviewers are 100% ethical and 100% correct in their reasoning 100% of the time, there is simply no time in the world to go through each article and review it accurately. What was it that Taleb said about France? "A country where there are more books written in a year than read in a year" (paraphrased). Same is true for peer-review.

So yeah, I'm gonna go with @1 and agree. The validity of science/research will always depend on the morality/integrity of the scientist/researcher.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine July 06, 2018 8:11 AM  

"My sister in law doesn't let her son eat eggs because cholesterol."

Which one, LDL or HDL?

...both of which are proteins, as I've had the occasion to point out to even supposed medical doctors hundreds of times. And then I have the fun of telling them that the average human cell's membrane is composed of nearly 50% cholesterol.

Virtually everyone follows priests and prophets by any other name. This is why killing false prophets and destroying evil priests are so important. Fad followers all.

Blogger Didas Kalos July 06, 2018 8:14 AM  

But "science" is self correcting. Didn't you know ?

Blogger Azure Amaranthine July 06, 2018 8:19 AM  

Right up until it's not.

Blogger JACIII July 06, 2018 8:24 AM  

Pierre Truc wrote:When I did my BSc, I started by reading the prior works of other alumni from the same school.

All the math was wrong. ALL OF IT. The models were wrong. And of course, the conclusions were also wrong... and no-one had noticed.


People are lazy and dishonest. The math was probably intentionally wrong to support the desired conclusion. This is done way more often than people think. People rarely check.
I had a lawyer friend of mine brag to me that he won a case because he intentionally added incorrectly in a written argument; not in a 6 figure financial calculation but a tally of people. As in SIX people.

Blogger dienw July 06, 2018 8:28 AM  

@ Resident Moron
Thank you for that link to Plough. The article is fascinating; for me as an artist, it expands what Cezanne meant by "Art is intellect" and it exposes what I have long thought to be the defect in Braques' statement that "Art is concept: the first is the union of intellectual powers with the will: the two main powers of the soul; Braques' is basically "I gots an idea!"

The article also made clear to me as to why I enjoy the materialist late 19th Century realist art or its modern incarnations. It also makes clear why in 1981 my mind emphatically rejected the retinal method I was using to draw and paint.

Blogger Tino July 06, 2018 8:31 AM  

Non-practicing MD here. Being a glorified mechanic was not my cup of tea, plus too many restrictions on what to do or how.

The medical knowledge-base is in shambles. If you look wide-scope, we know this is true simply because we don't have cures for most of the 20th century scourges.

Until they allow a Wild-West like we had in early computer science, I despair seeing anything taken from concept to science to engineering to market. The FDA/NIH axis is hopelessly broken.

Blogger Wuzzums Fuzzums July 06, 2018 8:31 AM  

Azure Amaranthine wrote:Which one, LDL or HDL?

...both of which are proteins


Cholesterol is a lipid not a protein, however it is indeed integral to cell membranes.

Cholesterol (LDL) has also never been proven to be causal to heart disease. High levels are correlated heavily with heart disease but any explanation as to why this is the case is just an unproven theory.

Blogger James Dixon July 06, 2018 8:33 AM  

> Never forget that science cannot be considered reliable until it is called "engineering".

There's a reason engineering is also known as "applied science".

> My sister in law doesn't let her son eat eggs because cholesterol.

Yeah, that's a pet peeve of mine too. We've been eating eggs for thousands of years.

Blogger Pierre Truc July 06, 2018 8:35 AM  

JACIII wrote:People are lazy and dishonest. The math was probably intentionally wrong to support the desired conclusion.

Not intentionally wrong, there was nothing to gain from faking it, no politics, nothing at all, I assure you. It was just wrong math. The supervisors were simply too incompetent and lazy to check.

Blogger Eduardo July 06, 2018 8:38 AM  

Actually just read as many papers as you want, as soon as you start wanting to KNOW instead of LEARN why the paper arrives at its conclusion, is that you realise how shitty Scientists are as thinkers.

Better to hijack the Data and put in some DataBase of something like that, so you can take your own conclusions.

(of course it isn't bad ALL the time... but most of the time...)

Blogger Eduardo July 06, 2018 8:43 AM  

@1

Science depends on a firm belief that the World is Rational and Truth is Good.

Every ideology who doesn't perceive things that way will eventually realise that all their are doing is Conceptual Analysis and soon as possible will modify Science to be JUST Conceptual Analysis of whatever they want.

Blogger Uncle John's Band July 06, 2018 8:44 AM  

The arrogant faith that material processes reveal transcendent truth goes back at least to the Renaissance. What is different now is the idea that half the population needs to be indoctrinated in this fantasy, elevating the storytellers to a contemporary priesthood.

Somewhere along the line, science shifted from an induction driven process to the weird pseudo-deduction from leftist talking points that we see today. This doesn't happen without increasing centralization, but that relationship is symbotic. The elites fund "science" and gain the imprimatur of "truth" in exchange. The whole structure likely needs replacing from the ground up.

Blogger Zwiebel July 06, 2018 9:03 AM  

I told her that about human cells - I'd seen that argument before - but she just looked at me like I was crazy.

Blogger Zwiebel July 06, 2018 9:03 AM  

I told her that about human cells - I'd seen that argument before - but she just looked at me like I was crazy.

Blogger Slen July 06, 2018 9:07 AM  

#13

I've seen similar wires like this in my area. Super thin wire stretched above pedestrian areas along our river walk. They are a very effective means of keeping those pesky seagulls away. Low-tech but they work great.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine July 06, 2018 9:10 AM  

"Cholesterol is a lipid not a protein,"

Thanks for proving my point for me. In case you still don't get it, LDL and HDL are proteins, they aren't cholesterol. They're literally proteins that in part function as transporters of cholesterol.

Blogger Avalanche July 06, 2018 9:28 AM  

@10 "when I confronted top medical experts in the field with this stuff in a blunt and direct manner I was surprised to discover that they were mostly ignorant of it."

Tom Naughton in his http://www.fathead-movie.com/ blog produced a tidbit (I forget from which (diet, medicine, health) book review and can't find it this morning) that the length of time it take up-to-date medical 'science' (and its allegedly sound) information to reach your local doctor's actual daily practice AVERAGES SEVENTEEN YEARS!

When advising folks on thyroid / adrenal 'work' -- I point out that, almost without exception, unless a doctor has actually HAD thy./adr. problems -- personally or in a close family member and thus discovered that the 'standard of care' is useless, bad, or actively harmful -- they will not be able to actually help you! (We call Synthroid "Synthcrap" for a/several reason/s!)

Today, getting medical care requires SELF-education because your local doc is supposed to know a *little bit* about every possible thing; and the experts are uniformly 'formed' by Big Pharma!

If you haven't read John Ionnides' article in The Atlantic called "Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science," please do so!

Then add:
Tom Naughton video: "Diet, Health and the Wisdom of Crowds": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzPnnDDCIjo (and his blog: fatheadmovie (dot)com and his two documentaries (also free on YouTube).

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, the author of The Great Cholesterol Con, wrote a good article, called "The dog that did not bark in the night," about yet another desperate attempt by the medical profession to sell statins to everyone regardless of efficacy. drmalcolmkendrick (dot) org

And anything on Dr Mike Eades' blog about statin -- dip a toe! proteinpower (dot) com -- search for statin and read how we are misled into very-ill health!

Blogger pyrrhus July 06, 2018 9:29 AM  

Establishment Medical science and social "science" is typically such nonsense that amateur scientists are the best in the field....There is still discipline in physics, where every significant finding is tested in laboratories around the world. But the influence of the MIC has been very pernicious...

Blogger pyrrhus July 06, 2018 9:31 AM  

@36 New longitudinal studies have shown that people with high cholesterol live longer, while statins may be harmful. But the marketing campaign continues...Doctors cannot be trusted, at all.

Blogger Daniel Paul Grech Pereira July 06, 2018 9:31 AM  

If you know any vegans or SJW types, "bad science" is always the stuff that they disagree with.

Blogger Avalanche July 06, 2018 9:48 AM  

@14 "My sister in law doesn't let her son eat eggs because cholesterol."

Invite her to read Gary Taubes' book Good Calories, Bad Calories (The Diet Delusion in Britain)? Or his later, shorter popularizer book, Why We Get fat and What to DO About It"? (GCBC is absolutely brilliant, and very well-written -- Taubes is a fantastic science writer! A hero to editors everywhere!)

Mike Eades writes in his review of GCBC:
"Gary's book is filled with accounts of low-fat advocates clinging to the low-fat hypothesis despite the lack of evidence that it was valid. In fact the evidence had been accumulating showing that dietary fat didn't have anything to do with heart disease in particular and that it was rapidly losing its status as a risk factor for all diseases in general. The low-fat advocates tenaciously clung to any research – no matter how flimsy – showing any connection with fat consumption, especially saturated fat consumption, and disease while totally disregarding much stronger evidence that fat wasn't the problem. Papers presenting data showing the lack of causality between fat consumption and disease or data indicating that carbohydrates might be the problem were written off as inconclusive while totally inconclusive data was not only accepted as gospel, but presented as a smoking gun."
Rest here:
https://proteinpower.com/drmike/2007/08/06/862/

Blogger Avalanche July 06, 2018 9:57 AM  

@26 "Cholesterol (LDL)..."

(Self-educate!)
Cholesterol (LDL) has also never been proven to be causal to heart disease. High levels are correlated heavily with heart disease but any explanation as to why this is the case is just an unproven theory.
https://proteinpower.com/drmike/2013/11/10/cholesterol-heart-disease-science/

and (same source; my emphasis):

As I reported in my post {http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/statins/statin-panic/} the only evidence that statins produce any decrease in all-cause mortality is in men under the age of 65 who have established heart disease. For women of all ages with and without heart disease and for men of all ages without heart disease, these drugs don’t bring about a decrease in all-cause mortality.

And in that small subset of people for whom they do work – men under the age or 65 with a history of heart disease (not a history of high cholesterol, but a documented history of having experienced a heart attack), the evidence is that they don’t work all that well.

What do you mean they don’t work all that well? Robert Jarvik tells us in the ubiquitous Lipitor ads that the drug reduces the risk of heart disease by 36 percent in these people.

{quote:} The dramatic 36% figure has an asterisk. Read the smaller type. It says: “That means in a large clinical study, 3% of patients taking a sugar pill or placebo had a heart attack compared to 2% of patients taking Lipitor.”

Now do some simple math. The numbers in that sentence mean that for every 100 people in the trial, which lasted 3 1/3 years, three people on placebos and two people on Lipitor had heart attacks. The difference credited to the drug? One fewer heart attack per 100 people. So to spare one person a heart attack, 100 people had to take Lipitor for more than three years. The other 99 got no measurable benefit. Or to put it in terms of a little-known but useful statistic, the number needed to treat (or NNT) for one person to benefit is 100.

Compare that with, say, today’s standard antibiotic therapy to eradicate ulcer-causing H. pylori stomach bacteria. The NNT is 1.1. Give the drugs to 11 people, and 10 will be cured.

A low NNT is the sort of effective response many patients expect from the drugs they take. When Wright and others explain to patients without prior heart disease that only 1 in 100 is likely to benefit from taking statins for years, most are astonished. ...
... In contrast, the only large clinical trial funded by the government, rather than companies, found no statistically significant benefit at all.

Blogger Eduardo July 06, 2018 9:58 AM  

Dudes...!?!

Cholesterol is not a Lipid, it is a Steroid, by it's shape.

I thought lipids were long acid chains


Blogger kurt9 July 06, 2018 10:25 AM  

Never forget that science cannot be considered reliable until it is called "engineering".

You got that right, dude.

Blogger justaguy July 06, 2018 10:45 AM  

Science has worked great over the last several decades just as it was supposed to do: it got large amounts of government funding to say the correct things to the bureaucratic science politicians running NSF and NIH; created lots of tenure tracked lifetime well paying positions; tried to get people to get used to doing what they say because science?; and finally raised the self-esteem of the near genius "scientists" who wrangled the positions over those that thought that actual merit was to be rewarded.

Blogger cheddarman July 06, 2018 10:52 AM  

take fookin' fish oil and some vitamin C for the win.if you take enough it has a similar effect as Viagara

Blogger Wuzzums Fuzzums July 06, 2018 11:03 AM  

Azure Amaranthine wrote:Thanks for proving my point for me. In case you still don't get it, LDL and HDL are proteins, they aren't cholesterol. They're literally proteins that in part function as transporters of cholesterol.

Cholesterol is NOT a protein.
LDL and HDL are a means through which cholesterol is transported through the body. Neither are proteins but they do contain proteins because they are vesicles. Vesicles are usually naturally formed through the interactions between the solvent and solute molecules. The fact that they have proteins there to stabilize the surface tension of the membrane DOES NOT make them a protein. If you remove all the protein from a vesicle you will still have the vesicle but it will be less stable.

You are confusing a tree with a forest. Because a forest has bears in it, it does not mean a tree is a bear.

Eduardo wrote:Cholesterol is not a Lipid, it is a Steroid, by it's shape.

FFS, it's a lipid.
A steroid is a hormone. "Hormone" is not a description of molecular structure it is a description of function.

Blogger Rooted in Him July 06, 2018 11:19 AM  

I teach.

We get "research shows..." all the time. But no one actually does K-12, large scale, randomly sorted, research projects, controlled for socio-economic factors.

Therefore, the research is suspect.

Now, the push is for various SJW projects with no research behind them or with countering, but ignored research.

Blogger RobertT July 06, 2018 12:09 PM  

I can not tell you the number of times I have eagerly clicked on a site or article to read something promising, only to discover the thesis is poorly formed, the article is poorly written and it goes off into the bushes before I'm a quarter of the way into it. It is seldom that an article meets the promise of it's title. Ditto with books. I probably buy 25 books for everyone I want to keep. My Kindle is a forest of inanity. No amount of reading the comments helps.

Blogger Jehu July 06, 2018 12:45 PM  

One huge problem in medical research in particular is that PLACEBOS WORK. It might in a lot of cases be a better set of outcomes (fewer side effects, less risks) to give people placebos than the drugs that are only marginally better than them. Maybe research needs to go into making better placebos.

Blogger michimartini July 06, 2018 1:15 PM  

Thanks for that, brilliant article. I came to the same conclusions when i read about the effects of hemispherectomy.

Blogger Lance E July 06, 2018 2:16 PM  

Far be it from me to suggest that biology is a perfect field (nutrition is particularly awful, lurching from one ridiculous fad to the next), but economics - if we're talking about macroeconomics or economic modeling - doesn't deserve to be called science at all. It's a grotesque stew of meaningless concepts, useless equations, and textbook fraud.

Blogger MB July 06, 2018 3:14 PM  

For what does LDL stand?

Blogger Dirk Manly July 06, 2018 3:18 PM  

@2


"The people trying to find the truth about how IQ effects the behavior and abilities of the various nations of peoples have to be very careful. Some lose their career over stating obvious truths or reporting good research. "

It's time for certain members of the scientific community to start publishing under pseudonyms, or even anonymously.

Blogger JustBob July 06, 2018 3:28 PM  

Eduardo, yes cholesterol has the same ABCD (cyclopentaperhydrophenanthrene nucleus) as steroids but also is classified with lipids (you may have been thinking about fatty acid triacylglycerol side chains).

@52 Low-Density Lipoprotein

Vox, I wonder how much the reproducibility problem is due to overlooking "the engineering aspect" of a test (enzyme activity or could be building a bridge) and how it is impacted by the "where" the test is conducted (environment- i.e., magnetic, temperature, water variations).

Also, "reliable science" might not be equivalent to "science is reliable" - in that the methodology of genetic engineering is reliable/consistent but the product of the genetic engineering and its impact may not be something that one wants to rely on.



Blogger Dirk Manly July 06, 2018 3:29 PM  

@6

"Dietary Science is the Gender Studies of medicine."

I've yet to meet a dietician who gives advised based upon the use of logic an reason.

Blogger MB July 06, 2018 3:51 PM  

What is a lipoprotein?

Blogger James Dixon July 06, 2018 3:55 PM  

> What is a lipoprotein?

lip·o·pro·tein
ˈlipəˌprōtēn/
noun Biochemistry
noun: lipoprotein; plural noun: lipoproteins

any of a group of soluble proteins that combine with and transport fat or other lipids in the blood plasma.

Also see https://infogalactic.com/info/Lipoproteins

Blogger MB July 06, 2018 3:58 PM  

Lipid in the center.
Protein on the outside.
Transport of non polar lipid in polar fluid with polar interface.

Blogger Eduardo July 06, 2018 4:16 PM  

@46

After taking a look at some PDF's...

hmmm apparently ALL Steroids are Lipids. I guess that classification depends on function rather than shape... weird.

Considering you can synthetise all sorts of steroids that are abviously not hormones.

Blogger Eduardo July 06, 2018 4:22 PM  

@54

Pretty much!

(although I had no idea those were the names of the structures)

Blogger Azure Amaranthine July 06, 2018 5:40 PM  

"Cholesterol is NOT a protein."

I never said it was. "Which one, LDL or HDL" was sarcasm. Re-read.

Blogger Bootstrapper July 06, 2018 5:42 PM  

I, for one, no longer trust the utterances of "scientists". These days, after any new announcement, my first response is "who's funding this study?". And I'll generally dismiss the "findings" if they support the ideological position of those who pay for the "research".

This is a crisis of credibility that Science has brought on itself. Scientists aren't entirely to blame. Scientific research was once the activity of gifted amateurs, working from private, self-funded facilities with basic apparatus. Now that all the "low-hanging-fruit" of scientific discovery has been harvested, science is by necessity an enormously expensive enterprise. Science needs funding - lost of it and there are only a few sources. The leaves the door to corruption wide-open.

What frightens me even more, is that many who share the same opinion are embracing superstition (religion) instead of insisting that the scientists honestly follow the scientific method and report their findings without fear or favour.

Blogger Brian Dean July 06, 2018 8:42 PM  

So, someone used the SCIENTIFIC method to determine that some scientific PAPERS were inaccurate eh?

Blogger Dirk Manly July 06, 2018 9:49 PM  

@29

"Better to hijack the Data and put in some DataBase of something like that, so you can take your own conclusions.

(of course it isn't bad ALL the time... but most of the time...)"

Oftentimes, even the data isn't nearly as useful as the authors say it is.

For example, if you're doing a physics experiment, FIRST you weigh one or known reference masses, to get an idea of how your scale is operating. Then, you measure your masses used in your experiment. So, really, you're doing TWO experiments. And you're comparing the results of your 2nd experiment to the results of your 1st experiment.

So many psych and sociology and medical experiments... if you're not measuring in comparison to OTHER things, then you really can't draw any conclusions.

If you say, "well, 2.5x as many people recovered from their illness using substance X that I'm testing as compared to substance Y that Dr. Joe Blow tested..." that's NOT the scientific method. You have to test both X and Y in the same experiment.
Just having a "control group" who does nothing or only takes placebo doses doesn't validate claims of X having 2.5x more efficacy than Y, because there is no control for other numerous conditions.

If your experiment doesn't go back and repeat ANOTHER experiment, your data is utterly worthless in comparison to ANYTHING.

Blogger Dirk Manly July 06, 2018 9:53 PM  

@34

"I've seen similar wires like this in my area. Super thin wire stretched above pedestrian areas along our river walk. They are a very effective means of keeping those pesky seagulls away. Low-tech but they work great."

Encouraging Jews to believe they cheat even at their own religion is not progress by any conventional definition of the word.

Blogger Dirk Manly July 06, 2018 10:01 PM  

"Cholesterol is not a Lipid, it is a Steroid,"

CORRECT! Any -sterol is a steroid.

Blogger Dirk Manly July 06, 2018 10:03 PM  

@43

"Never forget that science cannot be considered reliable until it is called "engineering".

You got that right, dude."

It's also why the BEST scientists in the world are engineers.

"Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't" is not acceptable to an engineer. An engineer will then dive deeper, to find out exactly why "it" fails sometimes...and then find a way to either detect the failure mode before it occurs, or to force the system out of failure mode back into a working mode.

Blogger Dirk Manly July 06, 2018 10:06 PM  

@46 Fuzzums Wuzzums

"You are confusing a tree with a forest. Because a forest has bears in it, it does not mean a tree is a bear."

And if ANYBODY knows anything about bears and forests, someone named Fuzzums Wuzzums would definetely be onf those who are in the know


[/ducks]
[/runs]

Blogger Ominous Cowherd July 07, 2018 10:27 AM  

Dirk Manly wrote:And if ANYBODY knows anything about bears and forests, someone named Fuzzums Wuzzums would definetely be onf those who are in the know

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear,
He knew science wasn't there,
So Fuzzy wasn't fuzzy, wuz he?

Blogger Ominous Cowherd July 07, 2018 10:29 AM  

Dirk Manly wrote:"Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't" is not acceptable to an engineer. An engineer will then dive deeper, to find out exactly why "it" fails sometimes...and then find a way to either detect the failure mode before it occurs, or to force the system out of failure mode back into a working mode.

We can find out why, or we can just learn what not to do.

Blogger Dirk Manly July 07, 2018 3:44 PM  

Either way, engineers are far more rigorous in their research than "scientists" And I'm including any physicist who isn't in "applied physics."

Blogger Grouch, MD July 07, 2018 6:33 PM  

This is far more widespread than alluded to by the good Mr. Day. The researcher cited in this post is certainly the most famous but many abound. Try this article, and the linked papers who were unable to replicate many anti -cancer basic science papers.

https://www.nature.com/news/biotech-giant-publishes-failures-to-confirm-high-profile-science-1.19269

You could also look at the blog “www.retractionwatch.com” for more fun and entertainment. Science has serious fundamental, structural problems. This includes the fact that it is done by imperfect humans, but even proper statistical tests, appropriately applied, have serious and under appreciated limits.

As you were.

Blogger Grouch, MD July 07, 2018 11:11 PM  

See also the following article. It crowdsourced the analytical methos to determine if there was a racist component in red cards in soccer. It give some flavor as to the complexity of analysis and how subtle choices can have a nonlinear effect on the conclusions. Not sure that this approach brings us any closer to The Truth. The final published version of this paper concluded that there was racism in the red card calls, which is an absurd claim based on this data set.

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Seth_Spain/publication/320041452_Many_analysts_one_dataset_Making_transparent_how_variations_in_analytical_choices_affect_results/links/5afd9e1b458515e9a5fc84ae/Many-analysts-one-dataset-Making-transparent-how-variations-in-analytical-choices-affect-results.pdf

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