It has been a busy week and so many things standing out as Hilary's Village goes headlong down the slippery slope. Much of the talk has been about Ireland where the Church has exposed its spectacular failure and allowed the same-sex marriage buggers overturn morality.
But has 'science' taken over, or just stupidty, hytseria and cant? The Ireland/Church/Buggers issue has to take a back seat right now.
The IPCC has started to distance itself from its own outlandish predictions though and 'science' itself is being exposed.
A conversation most people will not have noticed was being quietly spoken in a dark corner of the Tavern, that needs to see light.
It was Richard Horton of the Lancet - you must have heard of the Lancet: it is the Premier Medical Journal - who had been to a secret meeting of science bods. He had some very startling (and perhaps chink of light) things to say.
We all know that so much of 'science' today is ruled by money, feminism, politics and socialism. It has gone so far as to corrupt science.
Remember Sherlock Holmes' famous dictum, told to Watson?
"It is a Capital Error, Watson, to make the data fit the theory. We must change the theory to fit the data."
Offline: What is medicine’s
“A lot of what is published is incorrect.”
I’m not allowed
to say who made this remark because we were askedto observe Chatham House rules. We were also askednot to take photographs of slides. Those who worked for government agencies pleaded that their commentsespecially remain unquoted, since the forthcoming UK election meant they were living in “purdah”— a chilling state where severe restrictions on freedom of speech
are placed on anyone on the government’s payroll.
Why the paranoid concern for secrecy and non-attribution?Because this symposium—on the reproducibility andreliability of biomedical research, held at the WellcomeTrust in London last week—touched on one of themost sensitive issues in science today: the idea thatsomething has gone fundamentally wrong with one of our greatest human creations.*The case against science is straightforward: much of the
scientific literature, perhaps half,
may simply be untrue.Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects,invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflictsof interest, together with an obsession for pursuingfashionable trends of dubious importance, science hastaken a turn towards darkness. As one participant putit, “poor methods get results”. The Academy of MedicalSciences, Medical Research Council, and Biotechnologyand Biological Sciences Research Council have now puttheir reputational weight behind an investigation intothese questionable research practices. The apparentendemicity of bad research behaviour is alarming. In theirquest for telling a compelling story, scientists too oftensculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world. Or theyretrofit hypotheses to fit their data. Journal editors deservetheir fair share of criticism too. We aid and abet the worstbehaviours. Our acquiescence to the impact factor fuelsan unhealthy competition to win a place in a select fewjournals. Our love of “significance” pollutes the literaturewith many a statistical fairy-tale. We reject importantconfirmations. Journals are not the only miscreants.Universities are in a perpetual struggle for money andtalent, endpoints that foster reductive metrics, such ashigh-impact publication. National assessment procedures,such as the Research Excellence Framework, incentivisebad practices. And individual scientists, including theirmost senior leaders, do little to alter a research culture thatoccasionally veers close to misconduct.*Can bad scientific practices be fixed? Part of theproblem is that no-one is incentivised to be right.Instead, scientists are incentivised to be productiveand innovative. Would a Hippocratic Oath for sciencehelp? Certainly don’t add more layers of research redtape.Instead of changing incentives, perhaps one couldremove incentives altogether. Or insist on replicabilitystatements in grant applications and research papers.Or emphasise collaboration, not competition. Or insiston preregistration of protocols. Or reward better pre andpost publication peer review. Or improve research trainingand mentorship. Or implement the recommendationsfrom our Series on increasing research value, publishedlast year. One of the most convincing proposals camefrom outside the biomedical community. Tony Weidbergis a Professor of Particle Physics at Oxford. Followingseveral high-profile errors, the particle physics communitynow invests great effort into intensive checking and
rechecking of data prior to publication. By filtering results
through independent working groups, physicists are
encouraged to criticise. Good criticism is rewarded. The
goal is a reliable result, and the incentives for scientists
are aligned around this goal. Weidberg worried we set
the bar for results in biomedicine far too low.
In particle physics, significance is set at
a 'p' value of 3 × 10–7
or 1 in 3・5 million (if the result is not true, this is the
probability that the data would have been as extreme
as they are). The conclusion of the symposium was that
something must be done.
Indeed, all seemed to agree
that it was within our power to do that something. But
as to precisely what to do or how to do it, there were no
firm answers. Those who have the power to act seem to
think somebody else should act first. And every positive
action (eg, funding well-powered replications) has a
counterargument (science will become less creative). Thegood news is that science is beginning to take some of itsworst failings very seriously. The bad news is that nobodyis ready to take the first step to clean up the system.
- Vol 385 April 11, 2015
Science is a captive of politics, socialism and dishonesty. It is rife with 'Advocacy' research where the outcome is already decided.
Update - A case in point is an article below. Horton is a very 'high profile' person in the scientific field and people take notice, but what of other's less well known? In the light of the substantial cant and fabrication by the 'Gay' lobby, the experiences of David Brookman below are instructive, especially what he was told by his superiors about not challenging clearly faked data.
Broockman is a thoughtful, fastidious guy — you don’t get a tenure-track Stanford professorship at 26 without being one. Before we spoke on the record for the first time, he sent me a seven-page document outlining all the thoughts that had rattled around in his head since the news broke. So it wasn’t surprising that he also prepared and emailed me a quote that, in his view, sums up the problems that plagued him during his sometimes-halting investigation of LaCour’s work. “I think my discipline needs to answer this question: How can concerns about dishonesty in published research be brought to light in a way that protects innocent researchers and the truth — especially when it’s less egregious?” he wrote. “I don’t think there’s an easy answer. But until we have one, all of us who have had such concerns remain liars by omission.”
He shows just how even a nonentity like LaCour can fool so many and actually be passively protected by people who should know better.The laboratories are alive with a Legion of Cancer researchers also should know better and who should have solved that medical problem decades ago. But heck, all that money awarded by Government, collected in 'Fun Runs' by an army of people who have to be 'employed', and lorded over by 'Charity' Directors on several hundred thousand dollars a year, cannot be dried up or diverted to something else.
But is Horton understating the problem?
But is Horton understating the problem?
“” The slide into the abyss is not new. Writing in 2003 in ‘Fads and Fallacies in the Social Sciences’ Steve Goldberg said there “was a time when you could assume that an intelligent person looking for the truth was guided by the most basic of scientific intuitions: nature will give you a lift only if you are going her way.” That time is no more.
Particularly in sociology “we find large and increasing numbers of ideologues who act as if nature is not something to be discovered no matter what she should turn out to be, but a handmaiden whose purpose is to satisfy one’s psychological and ideological needs.” (It’s worth noting that Goldberg is a self-declared liberal.)The situation is no better in medicine. “”
Ask me, I don’t think the system can be fixed.
We have to let it burn itself out, like a tire fire.
The Tax systems of several countries and major parts of the world rely upon taxing 'carbon'. Scientists are very reticent to correct the term to Carbon Dioxide in case they be blackballed by some government flunkey.
The Universities were mentioned. The Uni of Western Australia, for example, has turned away Professor Bjorn Lomborg because he is not Global warming 'Enough'. !!!
Its enough to make a chap believe in God. Well the one or more that are said to send mad the folk they wish to destroy.
I shall stick with the Real One.
But..... our civilisation is going mad.
(Apologies for the formatting.)