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Science and choosing ones own credence

 
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Science isn't an art. Pointing out the self-correction mechanisms that science has built into the approach, the ability for science to be wrong and get corrected, isn't a clever way to denounce the scientific approach.

The fact that it has been found that dietary cholesterol has little bearing on blood cholesterol levels is actually something of a victory for science and nutrition. It's also a good example of how the profit motive can contaminate and warp any pure endeavour. Even a healthy skepticism can be twisted by the lust to prove onesself right at the expense of someone else's ego, or for more concrete profit-taking.

It is unwise to assume that one has the whole picture if one is otherwise unbriefed on a whole field of study. Science lives in the realm of objective reality. The observations being made are mostly of a subjective nature.

The argument being made essentially amounts to, "Because organic matter decomposes really fast in my garden and in my compost, it is impossible for organic matter to last long enough to change into a fossil form." That subjective reality doesn't even address the fact that decomposition requires some very simple, basic conditions in order to occur.

So the way that organic matter either becomes preserved, or is destroyed in the process of fosssilisation, is that it dies and is deposited somewhere that lacks those prerequisites for decay.

There are also chemical analyses that can tell you, with some precision, what the composition of crude is, and there aren't mineral sources for those components.

And as evolution doesn't require anyone's belief to validate it, seeking alternate explanations will only net you an incomplete, or otherwise incorrect, answer.

-CK
Staff note (James Freyr):

It's important to note that this conversation was split off from another thread, and if there is any confusion on the continuity and flow of how this thread starts off that this note clears things up.

 
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Chris Kott wrote:Science isn't an art. Pointing out the self-correction mechanisms that science has built into the approach, the ability for science to be wrong and get corrected, isn't a clever way to denounce the scientific approach.



That's fine, Chris. :  )
I never expect agreement... so it's totally all right with me that we each hold a different view.

Science can be completely wrong, even for decades, and its wrong conclusions are religiously accepted by the general public as truth...

...until objective reality asserts itself so completely as consequences of events that the truth can no longer be denied.
 
Chris Kott
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Greg Mamishian wrote:

Chris Kott wrote:Science isn't an art. Pointing out the self-correction mechanisms that science has built into the approach, the ability for science to be wrong and get corrected, isn't a clever way to denounce the scientific approach.



That's fine, Chris. :  )
I never expect agreement... so it's totally all right with me that we each hold a different view.

Science can be completely wrong, even for decades, and its wrong conclusions are religiously accepted by the general public as truth...

...until objective reality asserts itself so completely as consequences of events that the truth can no longer be denied.



objective
subjective

Why does this all make me think of idiot politicians conflating local weather events with large-scale shifts in climate?

-CK
 
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Chris Kott wrote:Why does this all make me think of idiot politicians conflating local weather events with large-scale shifts in climate?



(shrug...)I don't know what makes you think, Chris.

I'm only saying that scientists can be totally wrong for years and years
and people believe their pronounciations as if they were religious articles of faith,
and they repeat them to others who repeat them to others
until they become collective cultural memes.
 
Chris Kott
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Everything makes me think, Greg. Practice makes perfect after all.

The people who take science dogmatically are rarely scientists, because the very notion is anathema to the scientific method. It's the people with the purse strings that either dumb the message down for the consumption of the non-thinkingly dogmatic, or fabricate scientistic studies that counterfeit the actual article for profit.

In the former case, that's where you will see honest medical opinions from decades ago, which at the time represented the science of the day, that have been held onto by non-scientists and non-doctors because of how humans react to change. It's like we're being challenged, sometimes, so we use the bludgeon of dogma to batter our reason into submission so we don't have to reexamine what we think we know.

In the latter case, we simply need more controls on how business can be done. If it were illegal to use an economic system that failed to account for social and environmental ills, and if there were real penalties for the people involved behind the decisions to lie about, say, how healthy tobacco or sugar or petroleum or pesticides are, the market would have built-in measures to keep profit from impinging upon scientific integrity.

The issue of the integrity of individual scientific studies is an issue of some concern for me. The solidity of the scientific method concerns me not at all, nor should it concern any reasoning individual.

-CK
 
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Chris Kott wrote:The people who take science dogmatically are rarely scientists, because the very notion is anathema to the scientific method.



We each have a different view, Chris, and since it will always be this way I will only describe my view in contrast to your view.

As I see it, science has it's own religious orthodoxy and to speak contrary to it is regarded as blasphemy by the clergy as well as the faithful.

It's the people with the purse strings that either dumb the message down for the consumption of the non-thinkingly dogmatic, or fabricate scientistic studies that counterfeit the actual article for profit.



I agree with this... especially in regards to scientists who are dependent on government funding.

Tracking Climate Fraud

 
Chris Kott
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The existence of alternative points of view doesn't speak to their relevance.

All I am saying is that it is a commonly used tactic for people espousing "alternative facts" to point out what they perceive to be failings of science and tout them as reasons to invalidate the whole of the scientific approach. This is base sophistry.

These arguments are usually made by people with no better alternative explanation, only ways that they wish to defray their system costs onto others in order to make an easy profit. It is base intellectual dishonesty, or at very least willful ignorance, for selfish gain.

The only dogma that pertains to the scientific method, as I see it, is devotion to reason. If a conclusion doesn't follow naturally from observation, one doesn't shoehorn it in so that it fits the hypothesis; one changes the hypothesis based on the results, and tries again.

I like to see people taking issue with specific unscientific studies, and they exist, that are either sheer dishonesty motivated by greed, or a more honest flavour of less-than-scientific study that could be improved upon to provide better answers. When people allow the profit motive to override their sense of professional integrity, they need to be corrected.

But rejecting all of science has always seemed to me to be the last recourse of the intellectually lazy individual. I prefer to think.

-CK
 
Greg Mamishian
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Chris Kott wrote:The existence of alternative points of view doesn't speak to their relevance.



One thing everyone shares in common is that they believe their view to be relevant to their own life. I'm certain yours is just as valid to your own life as mine is to mine.

Science isn't always wrong... it just isn't always right either.  I don't buy into science when it becomes cultural orthodoxy repeated by people like a collective mantra.

For example... remember the decades of scientific condemnation of eggs and butter?

"Cholesterol is bad for your health.
You should eat margarine."


Whenever something is pronounced by science as being "bad"... whatever replaces it is likely to be worse! (lol)
I didn't follow the cultural orthodoxy and have enjoyed eating eggs and butter all of my life. I'm 70 now, active, not overweight, with no major health issues, and not on any prescription drugs. So in my own personal experience my view of not blindly following cultural orthodoxy is highly relevant... and I have the objective reality of the real world consequences of my own actions as positive confirmation that I'm doing what's best for me.

As to your assumption, I have never said I "reject all of science" because I don't.
However, I do not follow fake science that calcifies into cultural orthodoxy.

 
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It seems to me that each of you have respect for good science, and a disdain for bad science.

You both also  seem to agree that the difference between the two is, good science follows rigorous scientific method  to the results,  and refines them to based on new observation , while bad science follows something maybe resembling scientific method to results that serve something other than the truth.

Where I see you differing is how you view the practice of science.
Chris seems to see bad science as not science at all.
Greg seems to see science as primarily consisting of the bad variety, suspect till proven trustworthy.

This split mirrors popular views of capitalism, communism, and religion of all kinds.

I, for example see capitalism as an inherently amoral, but inevitable force that needs to be carefully controlled in order to enjoy prosperity   and avoid self perpetuating oligarchy .
I see communism as a essentially moral system, that , when exposed to the base motivations of humanity, collapses into unacknowledged and therefore unfettered capitalist oligarchy.

Similarly, I see good science as the only real science, but I recognize real science as a fragile thing that cannot survive the base motivations of humanity unprotected, and it's also utterly amoral, and cannot be allowed to be left unfettered.

There is a huge amount of fraud and shoddy work being published as "science".
The conclusions that can make someone rich are the ones that get promoted.
New, objectively better theories are fought by those (including scientists) with a vested interest in the status quo.

We see the same practices in religion.
Fake healers,  believers that don't know their own holy texts, TV evangelist stripping money from believers,  reforms and reformations being resisted in favor if bigotry...

Science as it is practiced in the real world is no more scientific than christians in the real world are christlike.

That is all the more reason, in my opinion, to seek out science that is rigorous and true to the scientific method and christians that walk their talk.

Both have important  things to offer us, all the more precious for their rarity.
 
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Yet statements like the following are always curious:

"Though the philosopher's stone was a myth and alchemy failed, the alchemists weren't completely wrong: With modern physics equipment, such as particle accelerators, it is indeed possible to create gold from other elements, though the amounts are sub-microscopic and the process costs far more to create than the resulting gold is worth." -- https://www.livescience.com/39314-alchemy.html

That it takes the pinnacle of human ingenuity to make this happen on a microscopic scale doesn't negate the possibility that it can happen rather readily under circumstances unknown.  So maybe in the case of oil genesis the minerals all turn into carbon-based petro. :-)

Stated tongue-in-cheek, of course....but only because of our current subjective understanding of the natural world.
 
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William Bronson wrote:Greg seems to see science as primarily consisting of the bad variety, suspect till proven trustworthy.



I regard a lot of science as being just fine, William. :  )
Fake science which becomes cultural orthodoxy is for people who share its values. If that is what they want, they are free to have it.

I, for example see capitalism as an inherently amoral, but inevitable force that needs to be carefully controlled in order to enjoy prosperity



Capitalism is amoral because it is the foundation of American liberty... the free choice to do with it as each individual sees fit... either for good or for evil. When used for evil it is the fault of the person who made that choice, not in Capitalism itself being the rain which falls upon the just and the unjust alike.

For me personally, Capitalism divorced from morality is not Capitalism at all. It is something else. However, because Capitalism as I know it is built upon the bedrock of doing what is morally right, it possesses the power to open the door of opportunity to the enjoyment of financial independence and the personal liberty of self governance.

And what is morally right? Very simple:
Possess only what you can own. Use your time energy and abilities in service to others who share your values. Your ability to create wealth is only limited by your time energy and talents. Leave seeking to get something for nothing to the cheats who prey upon their own kind.
 
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In fact, I don't recall a specific scientific condemnation of cholesterol. What I do remember is a large scale effort by the dietetics and nutrition community (which may contain scientists but is not a organised scientific group) to promote unsaturated fats. This came on the heels of the similar injunctions from the same corner (dietetics and nutrition) against fat in general. Sifting through the reams of medical studies on coronary disease is a massive undertaking and when doctors started wondering about cholesterol in the bloodstream, it was easy to make an association with dietary intake (the first order effect) rather than look at metabolic pathways (second order). When more research was done, what we found was that trans fats (typically made from unsaturated vegetable oils) were far worse for people and were much more likely to cause problems that had previously been attributed to cholesterol. And yes, if you go back now and look at the history of this movement, you see that the sugar industry was funding primary research that said fats, and particularly animal fats, were bad for us. The cholesterol question was a windfall for the vegetable oil producers, but this was probably a coattail effect.

Now I look at a large scale effort that has been running which has influenced public opinion and policy on the question of climate change and human contribution to it. Again, the promoters of the viewpoint are not an organised scientific group, although there are some scientists among them. However, these folks tend to be geologists, and work in a field where the overwhelming majority of work available is looking for oil and gas deposits, since the modern economy would grind to a halt without cheap energy. Lo and behold, it also turns out that the funding for the campaign comes from corporations that make their money extracting and selling fossil fuels. But what they haven't been able to do is produce any significant research that refutes the mainstream models with the data that is out there for anyone to interpret. Meanwhile, the actual science of climate research, which has been building on foundations well over a century old, keeps adding to what is already a massive pile of data and the conclusions all point in the same direction.

There is a common and pervasive misconception of "science" in the minds of a large segment of the public, and it's not helped by shallow media reporting. Scientists tend to be careful to express their findings within the context of what was actually under study, and if you read lots of journal articles you very quickly develop a feel for the way confidence is expressed. Science reporting, OTOH, tends to omit the specificity and nuance and go for the splashy headlines. Controversy sells, and while the cholesterol controversy was interesting, the climate controversy has been phenomenal. Follow the money.
 
Greg Mamishian
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Phil Stevens wrote:In fact, I don't recall a specific scientific condemnation of cholesterol.



(first search item on google)

"Elevated cholesterol levels are one of the risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.
The mechanism involving cholesterol in all three diseases is the same; plaque buildup within arteries
decreases blood flow affecting the function of the cells and organs that these blood vessels supply."
 
Phil Stevens
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I was specifically referring to dietary cholesterol (our bodies produce the stuff, too), and from my reading of the thread the context of the discussion is the research and public health campaign in the 1960s and 70s which demonised the stuff.

Also, what in your search result suggest that is a scientific condemnation? It's merely a medical description of the physiopathology of arterial blockage.
 
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I'm not going back to find the research, but my understanding is that studies done in the 50s compared different dietary levels with blood cholesterol and came up with that conclusion  quoted  earlier.  But what most people don't know is that one small part of the study was deliberately not reported where all animal products were removed from a small number of test subjects and there was a marked decrease in serum cholesterol. More recent studies confirm that decrease.

The reason researchers then did not pursue the one condition where a marked change was noticed was because the diet was so extreme they did not believe any one could actually sustain  it. (1950 remember).

There are other things going on that contribute to heart disease, of course but there is no heart disease (number one killer  here) where people don't eat fried foods and are primarily plant eaters.

recent studies

As far as whether serum cholesterol is an indicator of heart disease and why doctors didn't think it was dangerous, I have been told that in the early days when there were no drugs to control cholesterol, doctors ignored it, but as soon as the drugs appeared, they became widely prescribed as doctors started to condemn cholesterol.

Today most doctors are still caught in that 50's assumption that no one will change so just prescribe the drugs (plus that is where the money is), but the scientific literature has known for some time the relationship between dietary cholesterol and heart disease/ serum cholesterol. And diet change is a better controller of cholesterol then the best statin drugs.

Cholesterol is also a big player in altzheimers and lower back pain. altzheimers



 
Greg Mamishian
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Phil Stevens wrote:I was specifically referring to dietary cholesterol (our bodies produce the stuff, too)



That is common knowledge now. It wasn't then. For if it was, scientists would have spoken up many decades ago.

 
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Chris, I respect your writing, and I suspect we strongly agree on many things.

Because organic matter decomposes really fast in my garden and in my compost, it is impossible for organic matter to last long enough to change into a fossil form



This is your quote. Does it restate the argument or are you straw-manning? We had a long discussion over organic matter (petrolates) and their origin objectively defined by science. The problem is that there are postulates that don't rely on these preconceptions for their origin. Does your encapsulation encompass those?

You talked about objectivity vs subjectivity. Traditionally objective science must be falsifiable (make testable claims) and repeatable. Anything that is in the past is very challenging to present as objective to me. Cholesterol hypothesis is both falsifiable and studies are repeatable .This seems objective.  Something like climate change is capable of modeling, but those models are incredibly complex, and nonlinear. As you are probably aware, math that is nonlinear can be solved only under three circumstances, or through computational means. We choose computational. But the computational models are based on the chosen variables. Are those the only variables? Are they even the most important? Are the predictions if made holding up?

I use the results of these models quite a bit (not climate but other multivariant regressions to make a decision).  They have a really crappy record. Better than I would guessing (maybe) but I sure wouldn't put major money on them unless required (and frequently it is a bet not a finding). Is this still objective science? I like to think so but it really? Was in a disagreement today about one with a colleague, with two different and mutually exclusive answers. Am I right? I really don't know, but I have a very good study on my side and he has one on his! Both can't be right but which one has wrong inputs?

There are also chemical analyses that can tell you, with some precision, what the composition of crude is, and there aren't mineral sources for those components



This comes down to semantics. What is mineral versus organic? Are there mineral cabonaceous compounds? Is two carbons enough? The postulated origin of life in evolution depends on your answer. I would say we are pretty sure there are abiotic sources of organic molecules and biotic (my choice of words). The fact that there are two likely pathways starts this looking nonlinear to me. So we are predicting a past event with a pretty incomplete picture. Still consider it objective?

 
Tj Jefferson
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Bob,

hey we're neighbors!

ut my understanding is that studies done in the 50s compared different dietary levels with blood cholesterol and came up with that conclusion  quoted  earlier.



This is the fallacy of correlation = causation. Our brains work that way unfortunately, and most of the time it is a pretty good heuristic. But maybe 10% it isn't. The challenge of science a this point is to find those 10% of sacred cows that aren't cows at all. They tend to have progeny, and embedded interests. But we also don't want to lose the 90% useful heuristics. It is a very formidable challenge to our psychology.
 
Tj Jefferson
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So maybe in the case of oil genesis the minerals all turn into carbon-based petro. :-)  



John, I actually had a conversation with someone with a doctorate in science (seriously) that went something like this:

me: we would need a huge amount of xenon.

them: well lets get more!

me: there are only tiny amounts and it is very expensive.

them: well lets get to manufacturing it as soon as possible!

me: _____ .....
 
bob day
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Hi TJ, what county are you in?

Not exactly sure what you mean referring to correlation studies.  The dietary vs serum  were intervention studies, and with  technology today they can actually show blood level spikes after a single cholesterol meal., so there is no doubt of even 10% with that.  

As far as the relationship of serum cholesterol to heart disease, the massive amount  of research is with population studies, but the evidence is so strong that intervention studies (deliberately giving random people high cholesterol diets) would be unethical.  I'm sorry my memory is a little fuzzy on one study,   that they had to end early because of ethical concerns. Experimenters can only kill so many people before they have to wrap it up.

diet vs death  I did a quick search for the study and couldn't find it, but did find this short video where the md addresses other variables that might be inadvertently skewed along with dietary choices in a population study.  So people  who cared enough about their health to make radical diet choices might also exercise more- etc etc.
there are several studies where researchers have done their best to control for other factors, smoking, etc  but you are right, much of the time it comes down to just common sense where gold standard science can't be applied and one does the best they can with whatever evidence is available.

 
Tj Jefferson
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9552999 PMID BMJ 1996

8857917 PMID A Throm Vasc 1996

Bob,

I would be interested in these large interventional studies that showed such a significant increase it would be unethical to continue. The best literature I know of for interventional decreased dietary cholesterol and saturated fat were both far from compelling. The dietary fat best intervention (BMJ sytematic review of interventional studies) was a 5-6% reduction, which is peanuts from a very strict AHA stage II diet (absolute misery). The A Throm Vasc article shows basically a shutdown in native cholesterol production with high dietary cholesterol, with about 1 out of 4 people unable to "turn off" native synthesis. These articles are over 20 years old and have been cited extensively.

I'm not calling you out, I am suggesting that the popular consumption of Dr Mercola and Yahoo Health lags the scientific consensus by 20 years- literally I have read neither article before this AM, this was a simple google scholar search for interventional cholesterol studies. It is very hard to keep up with scientific fields you aren't immediately involved in. I had an acquaintance 15 years ago who was a gastroenterologist and I remember him saying the popular conception of cholesterol was way off, so this was well known by people close to the field at the time. The overall cholesterol hypothesis (lower LDL is better) has been a qualified "yes- but" situation since the same time period where there was a failure of a drug that should have worked amazingly- ezetimibe. I would say the general consensus back then was that statins work, but not the way we think, which is interesting because they are based on red rice yeast which has been used for a very long time.

For a top level journal, your best chance of getting published is something big and expensive. For a second tier journal your best chance is something flashy. The problem in a huge number of fields is that volume of publications is rewarded. This leads to "authors" that have no involvement with the study (generally whoever approved the funding), p-value fishing, and whatever it takes to get another line on your CV. Then the science journalists "interpret" the study for broad consumption, and more information gets lost. They pick the ones that get clicks, and tend to inflate the confidence of the data and miss critical caveats or study flaws. So the quality of the average published article is suspect to me. I am a published author many times over, but pretty much stopped four years ago (I have two more this year ironically due to findings that were fortuitous). In most industries people have almost stopped reading low impact journals. One of the frustrating things I have experienced (and I bet Dr Redhawk can confirm) is that now we can track the number of people who read an article, and the writing process takes me more hours than the number of people who read the article unless it is something compelling. Additionally, I had to contact authors that cited my work and ask them to correct attributions because they misrepresented the findings, which made me look sloppy by inference.

Once the studies are published, the science writers determine what enters the lay press. They are selling papers or clicks or whatever. Generally they need flash factor. The parascientific fields (in this case dietitians) tend to lag the state of the science quite a bit because humans are creatures of habit and dislike change. Popular conception once formed takes a huge shift to change. Very often nuance is completely lost. A recent example (I hope I don't get beat up for this) is vaccinations and autism. Do they cause autism? In the popular press and alternative press the answer is black and white on either side. The science literature (not the CDC boilerplate) in my reading is probably a good number of very severe cases, maybe a lot (can't rule it out), but likely not close to the majority and probably a small percentage of the overall. How does a science writer sell that to an editor?

I had two occasions this week I was tasked with evaluating something, and met with two people who presented the comment that "everyone knows" that Variable A is responsible for Change B. They represented this as being based on good evidence. Both were things I had not recently evaluated (like in years). So I spent a couple hours reviewing the pertinent literature, and summarized the findings with citations. They did not support the statements either time, and I presented them to the other parties for rebuttal. In neither case were they able to come up with evidence of a high grade (how we score research, pretty objective but not perfect) to support their contention. I doubt they had taken the time to evaluate the topic at all, they relied on heuristics. And these are very good people at what they do! We all can fall into this trap.

In terms of your Diet versus Death link, this is based on the PREDIMED study. Pretty good study, shows pretty well that Mediterranean diet is superior to the typical modern Spanish diet. Not a true interventional study, but probably as good as you can do on a large scale for diet studies.
 
bob day
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Hi DJ, I'm going to leave this in the thread and not pm, cause I believe it is something of interest to others, I would be interested in seeing your reactions, and you seem to be well versed in how science gets reported and misrepresented.  I can go to www.nutiritiionfacts,org and research studies, but you will likely get much more out of the way he researches and collates the findings.

I presented some of his work to an md friend of mine, who accused him of "cherry picking" but when I asked her to show me some other contradictory science, she went strangely silent.

Anyway, mercola is not a source I would recommend, and google is a total grab bag. you can get the worst and the best. Personal opinion, I know lots of people think Mercola is a great doctor, but to me he is more like Dr.Oz

I will acknowledge my own prejudice based on different natural healing systems I have studied and my personal choices. So there are many of my beliefs that are not yet scientifically established(and I am careful to distinguish  between the two), although so far, as the science catches up I seem to be choosing pretty good. What I'm presenting here I believe to be the best science available, but I am not reading original articles or verifying everything Dr. Gregger says. I already believe the stuff, so I might be in the same position as the meat eater saying the eskimos didn't suffer from heart disease or fish oil is good for you

https://nutritionfacts.org/2018/07/12/the-eskimo-myth/.

I would actually love for someone to really pull the plug on dr gregger if his science is not what he claims it is.
 
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Tj Jefferson wrote:....In most industries people have almost stopped reading low impact journals. One of the frustrating things I have experienced (and I bet Dr Redhawk can confirm) is that now we can track the number of people who read an article, and the writing process takes me more hours than the number of people who read the article unless it is something compelling. .....



Although the proliferation of lower quality journals is, IMHO, not necessarily a good thing due to the sloppiness of the manuscript reviews and editorial oversight, I actually welcome the fact that much is being published that would not find its way into other journals.  Certainly, this means that the onus is then on the reader to be able to examine the experimental design, the type and quality of the results obtained, and the interpretation of those results by the author(s) in order to determine how much 'weight' to give to the findings.  But often these articles are publishing on some aspect that, while not significant to the overall advancement of knowledge, may be significant to investigators who are part of the discipline.   I'm aware of the 'high-impact' journals, but was trained long ago to give critical review to ALL publications in science journals and cringe when I hear others comparing notes on 'impact factor'.  A more concerning development is the increase in 'scientific review' articles by non-research professionals who nevertheless hold advanced degrees:  There are increasing numbers of such articles that ostensibly summarize the 'state of the literature', but in which the author has made no attempt to critically assess the studies being cited in that review.  The result is 'misinformation creep', where certain ideas gain validity strictly out of being referenced in multiple review articles without scrutiny.  And all of this is happening *before* the press gets a hold of it! :-/
 
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The gold standard of evidence review - particularly in medicine - are Cochrane reviews.

https://www.cochranelibrary.com/

 
bob day
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Hi TJ,

I just thought I would report some interesting stuff I'm finding by taking my own advice and researching the other side of Dr. Gregger, looking for critics, and what they have to say.

The whole construct of the internet and various wiki type sites is confusing at best. I'm getting what you were saying about trying to run down reports and determine validity, or simply if the conclusions of the quote were the same as the conclusions of the report.  Articles may be out of date and it can take lifetimes to run down every misquoted or irrelevant study that may be cited as proof or disproof.

One site accused dr gregger of not acknowledging a population study where participants were asked to eat an extra fish meal and they showed a lower incidence of altzheimers. But of course this study is one that would automatically be discarded, even by a novice like myself. one more fish meal per week means one less meat meal, it may also mean one more glass of white wine, ...

other criticisms of specific reports of his were similarly debunked by visiting his site to see that whatever he had reported that may have seemed a weak correlation, was subsequently supported by numerous other studies.

And here we arrive at a point where even if one article is a bit under supported, he has at least five other articles that attack the same issue from other angles.

Anyway, as much as it rankles when I see these threads quote studies that are flawed or even misquoted , I think I am just going to have to leave this all behind me. I have my habits, and my beliefs and I'll have to let others find their own way.
I'm not a researcher, and I don't subscribe to any journals, I just get a video or blog every day and let him report back to me, although I may start to do a little more research on the opposition fro time to time.

And Michael,  the Cochrane report seems to be dominated with drug studies, and a maze to try and access specific information. In what context do you use it? What specifically qualifies it as a "gold standard?"

The older I get, the less I "know"
 
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FYI there are several links here to 'NutritionFacts' which is the work of Dr. Michael Greger, an avowed vegan, with a serious bias.  I think it is a disservice to compare him to Dr. Mercola.  BTW, a very entertaining, well footnoted, and unbiased book on the history of the 'nutrition industry' is 'Death by Food Pyramind' by Winger, which includes the Ancel Keys "fat is death" fiasco (how many people avoided animal fat, ate 'innocent' sugar, and died prematurely?... all the while trusting 'science'?)  Also, check out Wiki:  'Replication Crisis' and 'Decline Effect' for more info.  

When 'science' declares areas of study out of bounds and unworthy of research, scorns 'anecdotal' evidence, requires 'extraordinary proof', etc., I think it is betraying 'real science', and promoting 'scientism'. (After all, the basis of the 'scientific method' is the hypothesis, which is based on observations, anecdotes et al.) I think 'scientism' is assuming the respectabilty of 'the scientific method', and largely buffaloing, and milking, us trusting folk.  
 
Tj Jefferson
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Bob,

I am not going to "take down" Greger, but apparently he is popular, so  a few thoughts. I don't know him and I honestly had never heard of him until you mentioned him. From my baseline of skepticism about anyone touting their credentials, I always look for incongruities.

The first glaring one is that he is a medical doctor who never completed a residency based on his CV. This is a very small percentage. I don't know what it is, but I would say well under 1%. Maybe someone else knows. The reason is that unless you do a residency you aren't considered an expert in any field. That is a big warning sign to me. When I lived in Florida there was a guy who was injecting vet botox and ended up nearly killing some people. The same GI doc told me he had failed out of his residency and this was how he could make money. He said this was a red flag, residency has been the norm for decades. Greger has additional letters after his name, which are from an organization that he is a founding member of. Not confidence inspiring, this is something that is done to create authority. Additionally he dropped out of an MD/PhD program (per wiki), which is fine. That sounds like an awful decade of your life. The combo though is concerning. This seems like someone based on his CV who got into medical school but probably was not in the right field. It is fine to discover you aren't a fit for a given career, but then it misleading to use that as a basis for your authority.  One of my colleagues it turns out went to seminary, graduated and realized he wasn't a fit for it at all. He does not represent himself as being a minister. I respect that, the credential doesn't make the man.

I still haven't watched a single video (this is like live-blogging). Two minutes on the website. Funding apparently comes from donations. I like that, it takes out a major source of issues with industry groups funding "research". But they don't post their donors, so I don't know if this is legit, corporations fund fronts bigly at this point. Based on their staff numbers they are profitable, this is a pretty high dollar operation. Maybe his book sales are responsible or youtube payouts.

That's OK, anyone who knows me is aware that pieces of paper don't make me think highly of anyone. But I have some preconceptions about what I will find: someone who claims authority from a credential but didn't want to do the hard part (residency is like an extended fraternity initiation, or Japanese high school). I could be wrong. I'm going to watch a video.  

Scientifically I chose the first one. Dark chocolate and arterial function. I don't care for the presentation method with the voiceover and slides flipping in with cutouts (it distracts me from the content) but it may work with the facebook generation. Whatever gets the message out I'm cool with it. Whats the message? First is a journal about possible mechanisms for the compound, second is an article about an arterial test after ingestion. I like the general progression of the topic. I pulled a couple of the articles to see if he was misrepresenting them. Scanning quickly doesn't look like it. Then he gets to Internation Journal of Cardiology 149 @3:53 about sugar-sweetened vs non-sweetened, and states non-sweetened is better. I include a screenshot from the video. Anyone familiar with statistics will quickly see that the study doesn't agree with that statement. The 95% confidence intervals overlap, and overlap alot. I didn't finish the video. That is either very sloppy or misleading, either one makes me think this is not a great place to get your analysis, but I don't have a better source for you. I am solely looking at the methodology of the video. I have no idea if he is right or wrong.  He did make a comment about industry support for some of the research and tried to figure out if it was a confounder, which is a good and important aspect.

Where to get expert analysis on things you don't have the time to really dig into? I have a couple trusted people who I think have a good handle on certain fields, and I'm always interested in more. I would put some people on here in that category. That is one reason I really am interested in some topics on permies, because there are some amazing subject matter experts. I met someone yesterday who is an expert on the different quarries in the area and the mineral contents (sweet!) Otherwise

as the science catches up I seem to be choosing pretty good

using your "whiff test" hueristics are not a bad idea! If it makes intuitive sense to you that is using a deep and time-tested method. There are pitfalls but having a coherent approach (i.e. natural processes are generally better than artificial ones) is a good way to stay sane and make progress.
cocoa.jpg
[Thumbnail for cocoa.jpg]
 
Greg Mamishian
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Heard a great comment from Dennis Prager with which I totally agree.

"Studies either confirm what you already know by your own common sense...

...or they're wrong."
 
Tj Jefferson
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John Weiland wrote:

Tj Jefferson wrote:....In most industries people have almost stopped reading low impact journals. One of the frustrating things I have experienced (and I bet Dr Redhawk can confirm) is that now we can track the number of people who read an article, and the writing process takes me more hours than the number of people who read the article unless it is something compelling. .....



Although the proliferation of lower quality journals is, IMHO, not necessarily a good thing due to the sloppiness of the manuscript reviews and editorial oversight, I actually welcome the fact that much is being published that would not find its way into other journals.  Certainly, this means that the onus is then on the reader to be able to examine the experimental design, the type and quality of the results obtained, and the interpretation of those results by the author(s) in order to determine how much 'weight' to give to the findings.  But often these articles are publishing on some aspect that, while not significant to the overall advancement of knowledge, may be significant to investigators who are part of the discipline.   I'm aware of the 'high-impact' journals, but was trained long ago to give critical review to ALL publications in science journals and cringe when I hear others comparing notes on 'impact factor'.  A more concerning development is the increase in 'scientific review' articles by non-research professionals who nevertheless hold advanced degrees:  There are increasing numbers of such articles that ostensibly summarize the 'state of the literature', but in which the author has made no attempt to critically assess the studies being cited in that review.  The result is 'misinformation creep', where certain ideas gain validity strictly out of being referenced in multiple review articles without scrutiny.  And all of this is happening *before* the press gets a hold of it! :-/



John, excellent comment. I agree very much. This is something I think is changing, peer review is mostly nonexistent in the majority of papers, so let people publish whatever they want. Ultimately it is their reputation on the line. Open-source journals I think are an exciting development. It is like the fake news issue. Either there is a gatekeeper or there isn't. In science the gatekeepers have been shown to do almost nothing to prevent misinformation and unrepeatable results. There are some top level journals that have even been caught up in this, but I think most are still pretty legit.

Supporting reading from an open-source journal: The Validity of Peer Review in a General Medicine Journal PMID: 21799867 "The editorial publication decision accurately discriminated high and low impact articles in 68% of submissions." Not only is 68% pretty bad, but that doesn't account for the fact that rejection means relegation to a lower status journal, making it less likely to be cited. So circular reasoning as well.
 
Michael Cox
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And Michael,  the Cochrane report seems to be dominated with drug studies, and a maze to try and access specific information. In what context do you use it? What specifically qualifies it as a "gold standard?"



As I said, it is a medical based review institute. But the approach they use can be applied to any field. Essentially they take a systematic review of the entire body of evidence in a narrow field. They assess each published study to determine various factors like sample size, method used, statistical analysis of the data etc.. to detect fraud (yes, it happens). They discard papers that don't meet their high standards of reliability, and then they publish an overview of the whole body of published work. This review is intended to provide a snap shot of the current state of published work in any field. It is the antithesis of the shock-factor news headline based on a single sensationalist paper/article.

The methods they use are published clearly and they are transparent in what they do. Their conclusions tend to be weighted in terms of probablilities eg "such and such intervention on average adds x many years of life" or "97% of patients show improvement beyond a placebo when given drug y for condition z".
 
nancy sutton
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Well, Greg, we will have to disagree.  I have changed my mind in the face of 'contrary' facts.  I think Prager was describing his own modus operandi : )
 
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Research and information from a doctor with many years of service as a heart doctor and who isn't into the flash like Dr Greger:
http://www.dresselstyn.com/site/articles-studies/

For what it's worth, i am not trying to convince anyone. I mostly keep my mouth shut about food and nutrition around here. I know the prevailing belief and understand. I watched my mom follow Mercola and Weston Price for years. I did it too albeit less devoutly. But she was perfect in her practice, and had great genes going for her too.

Organic,  no plastic, no microwaves, no processed food, no eating out, no sugar, natural sweeteners in small amounts, minimal (soaked) grains, fermented foods, grass fed local meat, coconut oil,  spring water, etc. Exercise and hard work, etc Etc. She was healthy into her 70s. No Doctor visits. Clearly the healthy way to live,  right? And then she wasnt feeling well for a couple months. Probably nothing. And suddenly she had a colon cancer diagnosis and died 3 weeks later.

After that it was clear to me that something I had believed and she had followed was wrong and lots of research led me to go to plant based whole foods.

I wouldn't have believed it before I watched her die and I don't expect anyone here to either. It is just my story. She is just one person and one anecdote.  But there is a link if you want to follow it.
 
Greg Mamishian
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nancy sutton wrote:Well, Greg, we will have to disagree.  I have changed my mind in the face of 'contrary' facts.  I think Prager was describing his own modus operandi : )



I'm fine with that, Nancy, as we each have different life experiences.

My simple approach is to live by my own common sense and not to follow the collective cultural orthodoxy when its wrong. The real world consequences of my own actions let me know how well my approach is working in real time. I also observe what happens to others as the result of their actions when they don't turn out well, and simply don't do whatever they're doing.

I'm way closer to the end of my life than the beginning and so far my approach works quite well. However, I'd never recommend it for anyone else as I have no idea of where their mind is.
 
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Sonja Draven wrote:I wouldn't have believed it before I watched her die and I don't expect anyone here to either. It is just my story. She is just one person and one anecdote.  But there is a link if you want to follow it.



Your experience says... everyone dies from something.

Over the last three years, I've spent time with hundreds of dying folks, and they are teaching me a valuable lesson that there is ~something else~ going on...

...and it has absolutely ~nothing~ to do with "science".
 
Tj Jefferson
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Sonja Draven wrote:Research and information from a doctor with many years of service as a heart doctor and who isn't into the flash like Dr Greger:
http://www.dresselstyn.com/site/articles-studies/

For what it's worth, i am not trying to convince anyone. I mostly keep my mouth shut about food and nutrition around here. I know the prevailing belief and understand. I watched my mom follow Mercola and Weston Price for years. I did it too albeit less devoutly. But she was perfect in her practice, and had great genes going for her too.

Organic,  no plastic, no microwaves, no processed food, no eating out, no sugar, natural sweeteners in small amounts, minimal (soaked) grains, fermented foods, grass fed local meat, coconut oil,  spring water, etc. Exercise and hard work, etc Etc. She was healthy into her 70s. No Doctor visits. Clearly the healthy way to live,  right? And then she wasnt feeling well for a couple months. Probably nothing. And suddenly she had a colon cancer diagnosis and died 3 weeks later.

After that it was clear to me that something I had believed and she had followed was wrong and lots of research led me to go to plant based whole foods.

I wouldn't have believed it before I watched her die and I don't expect anyone here to either. It is just my story. She is just one person and one anecdote.  But there is a link if you want to follow it.



Sonja, I am so sorry about your mother. I lost an uncle this last year. He was a great human, not perfect, but a solid addition to the species. his last meal was Schlitz and scrambled eggs, what a guy!

That is what I hope isn't lost in this blitz of malinformation. We have to keep living. Many (if not most) of these people are well meaning. Then the profit margin starts to creep in and you lose a little bit of your humanity. I suspect Dr Mercola has gotten quite wealthy, which isn't of itself a bad thing. I know zero about his operation other than what I read today. Most are no better or worse than Medscape or mayo online or ten other sites. In fact most of these sites are simply regurgitating more innovative but less tech savvy ideas. So be it.

Don't lose your engagement to what matters over it. I have lost family members (really!) who see me as a soulless part of the industrial complex. I am anything but. I get a paycheck from them and put the money into the study and practice of reclamation. It makes me very happy to do it. I want to cherish and steward this place for my time here, and bring a lasting joy in the springing of life and vigor where it wasn't. This is the same with my kids, I want them to be so full of the joy of nature that they accept no substitute. The pain and loss are part of the natural order.

It is a short journey whether 50 or 100 years. Too short, but long enough to create a legacy of lasting beauty I hope.
 
bob day
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Hi TJ, thanks for the overview. I can understand why Dr.Gregger might have quit residency, he watched his grandmother butchered by heart surgeons until they said she couldn't take any more surgery, then she came home, went into a vegan diet program(one of  Pritikin's "death's door patients), and got out of her wheelchair, walked 10 miles in three weeks and lived for decades afterward.

We both know the state of medicine today and it's total involvement with the drug industry, so it's likely he had finally had enough of the farce. Although not exactly knowing that much about residency and how doctors establish their further credentials, I have no idea if there was also an issue with his competence.

He certainly has an avid following, something of a rock star in the vegan community, but I can understand your frustration with the fast bits and cutouts of studies in his videos that I would also maybe like to understand better. there are also written out blog posts and references to citations below the video if you want to slow the information down a little.

I will go back and look at the dark chocolate video somewhat to understand better what you are commenting on, but also because I am practically living on chocolate smoothies- some sugar, some dark chocolate, soy milk and lots of fruit.

Hi Nancy,

I think I start to get it. I followed your suggestion of  death by food pyramid and started reading,  I can see why these points of view are popular, I had started to doubt my 35 year history as a vegan with consistent excellent health and  wondered if maybe I was just on a falling elevator. weightless because of the speed, but about to crash any minute now.

After reading Minger's experience with vegan diet I started to understand. I laughed when I read about her eating a whole head of lettuce without dressing, the way she refers to it, it sounds like iceberg lettuce!

At any rate her diet was seriously deficient, something I recently saw in a friend who took the cleansing too far, drinking lots of fruit juice, but little nutrition to complement it.  Losing 20 pounds in the last month , skin and bones, a week before he went to the emergency room I was trying to tell him you are like an anorexic girl, stop the juicing and start eating some good food, nuts, legumes, nutritious greens--then a week later the emergency room doctor told him the same thing (more or less).

There is no doubt that there are many unhealthy vegans, and healthy omnivores. There is also no doubt that the American experience has been one of centralizing everything -food supply included. Out of that has come the ever present shortcuts to keep food "fresher" longer, keep oils from separating on the shelf, and we all know the hazards of the agro chemical industry.  I have seen quotes of Ancel's reports, and perhaps he endorsed policies that were more political, or perhaps the merchants took the science he presented and distorted it. All the quotes from Ancel I saw were about whole foods, Plant based, olive oil, less meat and dairy etc. It hardly seems likely to me that the American Diet tragedy was really a part of his science. More like the devil (Greedy Merchants of death) quoting the Bible to their own purpose. In fact, my understanding of the old food pyramid that used to be in every classroom was that it was an advertising strategy backed by the meat and dairy industry with no real science behind it, just arbitrary assignments to promote their industries.

I have never read the china study, nor have i read the book refuting it. But a lot of the people I trust swear by it, so sight unseen I think I will stick by it. (I'm with you greg,):-)


Anyway, I have to get off this discussion, I'm not going to change anyone's mind. The things I believe are a long history of influential people in my life pointing me in one direction or another, hearing about Arnold Ehret, Dr. Christopher, etc, and by the time I got to Gregger I had already formed a belief system based on experience. And everything I heard was either evidence of my belief or false propaganda of a belief i didn't respect. Again Greg, it's starting to make perfect sense.

 
Greg Mamishian
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bob day wrote:There is no doubt that there are many unhealthy vegans, and healthy omnivores.



Bob, I isolated your highly relevant comment so its wisdom doesn't get lost in the shuffle of data.
It points to the objective reality that each of us is free to choose how we live our life.

the title to this thread is revealing:

"Science and choosing ones own credence"


Credence implies our believability to others when what's actually most important is self credence. That's all that really matters. Who cares if we're credible to others? They're not living your life... you are. Each life is unique and filled with completely different experiences. In my opinion, the belief of others should not change your life. If it does, what if their belief is misplaced?

The only real indicator of the validity our own approach to living is the consequences we spin into motion by our own actions.

This is where the rubber meets the road.



 
Tj Jefferson
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Bob, two things: one is that I had forgotten a source for nutrition info that I really like. Marks Daily AppleMarks Daily Apple.

I read hours of his articles about ten years ago, and it looks like he is still in the game. The fascinating thing is that he has no credentials to demand respect. He is as near as I can tell self-taught. He is not going to support a vegan diet if that is your interest, but maybe some of his other articles will be helpful. I learned alot about posture and exercise and recovery from him. I am sure I could find stuff he supports that I disagree with, but I like his method.

That brings back methods and hueristics. Greg and you and I all have different methods of separating the signal from the noise. There are broad categories of how humans do this, but it starts to fall apart because humans are also not very consistent. I may use a certain heuristic in one area but not use it in another area. Part of the art of self-knowledge is identifying those methods, and sometimes accomodating them.

Credentials are a proxy for a certain method. It is a signal that, for instance, a IEEE certification means you practice a method of engineering. You will be expected to account for "accepted variables", not all variables (which would be impossible) and create a plan or fix a situation. A PhD historically meant you practice a research-based approach to a topic. A masters meant you practiced a practical applied approach to a topic. I would have a hard time getting a job in engineering with a PhD, for instance. I would have a hard time getting a job teaching engineering without one. My heuristic states that how a person presents their credentials tells me how they want me to view them. When I worked in NYC, everyone asked three questions: where do you work, what do you do, and where did you go to school. Those are all proxies for earning power. No one cares two craps about any other aspect of your life.  On permies, generally people have aspects of their identity that they are invested in. I'm a curmudgeon who wants proof for proposed theories, therefore I want people to view me as a person who is rigorous. Probably that is overcompensation since my actual home projects are very ad hoc and I can't get my act together with the homesteading. I am used to controlling variables and this whole new thing is totally different (hopefully I have been open about that on here as well).

In the real world we like comparing apples to apples, and credentials try to do that. My issue with Greger is not his methods, it is the disconnect between the credentials he puts out and his method. He chose which credentials he emphasizes. I picked out two- he emphasizes "physician" and "diplomat of the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine" both cut and pasted from his website. Even that is an error, no one is a dilpomat- medicine uses the term "diplomate", I don't know why. He has a degree that allows him to use the first and people can make their own judgement on the second. He also is a speaker and author, which is fine, but likely spring from the authority he gets from his other credentials. No one wants Tony Robbins opinion on cholesterol. I don't think his signal of "physician" means what most people think it means, does that make sense? He doesn't practice medicine in the traditional sense (maybe in naturopathic or some other sense, but that isn't what he advertises). Remember, it's his website and he controls/decides on the signals. It reminds me of these Hospitals advertising they are in the top 5% for heart surgery or whatever, or truck commercials with yet another award for awsomeness- those are paid for, not earned. Increasingly the university system has devalued formal degrees to the point that they no longer represent what people think they do.

This is one reason we are seeing posts like this on permies. I could not agree more, don't spend resources on a signal that is meaningless.

But that is my heuristic. Most of the time. As I said we are not consistent as a species, and I am no better than anyone else in that regard.
 
Chris Kott
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Greg Mamishian wrote:Heard a great comment from Dennis Prager with which I totally agree.

"Studies either confirm what you already know by your own common sense...

...or they're wrong."



This is actually a great example of what I see to be the problem. At the heart of the issue, before even money, is ego. Science very strictly embodies the idea that the most effective learning is done through failure. The process must integrate the idea that the purpose of scientific experiment is to learn from results that don't fit the hypothetical narrative, to cycle back on itself and rewrite the hypothesis until it reflects the evidence and conclusions produced through experimentation.

It's also the flavour of scientific skepticism I dislike the most. It implies that everyone in the pursuit of knowledge of any kind, for any reason, is unreasonably biased and arrogant, which, in my opinion, is unreasonably biased and arrogant. It leaves no room for discussion, because all arguments are then painted with the same brush of unsupported skepticism.

As to the failures of science, as you enumerate them, TJ, you're quite right that much of science has gone further afield than the basic hypothetical/experimental model. I think it will be much easier when we can not only identify all variables in any given model, but have the computational power to run all the variables, with all possible values and iterations, to get a complete picture, as opposed to the cherry-picking we must do now.

At the end of the day, I like it when science doesn't need suffer anyone's belief. Gravity exists whether or not you believe in it, and whether or not anyone has figured out a Grand Unified Theory of Life, the Universe, and Everything (whatever the question, the answer is 42).

By the way, I have to admit my own bias in a lot of these issues. On one level, I don't really care if the cause of climate change is anthropogenic or not. I was happy to hear it when coal started to be phased out of energy production not for any ephemeral or as-yet scientifically-unproven hypothesis, but because there were a fraction of the number of smog days in my city the very next season.

I think, to smell-test our own impartiality, we should really think about the interlace between our personal needs and the needs of humanity and the planet, and the reasons we might have that predispose us to one form of bias or another. To say I don't have any, for instance, would be, well, a lie. But I certainly don't have a direct financial stake in it; the worst I could say of my motivations is that I like to be right. Don't we all? I think that this observation might explain a lot that greed or the manipulations of industry might not.

I think we're actually in a rough period of time for science, historically speaking. Never have so many people had so much instant access to so much incomplete knowledge, absent context or wisdom of it's application, and with such a yuuuuge soap-box or pulpit from which to rant, for reasons of ego, belief, greed, or any combination of the aforementioned.

So do I vaccinate? You'd better believe I will, for childhood diseases, at least. Will I get the flu shot annually, or will my kids get it? Well, I don't get the flu shot now, and I didn't as a child, except for once or twice. If I was living with high-risk or immunocompromised individuals in the same household, I don't think I would be so cavalier.

But when a meningitis scare hit the province when I was a child, I went for that vaccination. There was a boy on my street at the time who didn't, and whose parents homeschooled because they didn't believe in the normal course of vaccinations required for all children attending public schools. I don't remember how long it took him to die, but they eventually had to take him off life-support.

Ultimately, I think it important for people to exercise their faculties. But if we're going to doubt what we are being told, I think that we need better scientific literacy. I think we need more citizen-scientists, capable of doing experiments, recording data, publishing findings, and able to evaluate the research of others, to identify and correct procedural weak points, to repeat experiments separated in time and space from each other.

Self-credence is an important thing to keep in check. Of course it is necessary to trust one's own reasoning, one's ability to think, but I think it crucial to keep in mind that to take that path to its end leads to arrogance, which can be blinding.

If one cannot take the self out of science, there will be issues of contamination. What exists doesn't give a fig what you believe.

-CK
 
Greg Mamishian
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Chris Kott wrote:

Greg Mamishian wrote:Heard a great comment from Dennis Prager with which I totally agree.

"Studies either confirm what you already know by your own common sense...

...or they're wrong."



This is actually a great example of what I see to be the problem.



It certainly is a problem for people who substitute scientific studies for their own common sense. You can find scientific studies that say anything and everything. In the end it is you who have to choose for yourself which ones are valid and which ones are not, and the only criterion is the standard of your own common sense.

So when I hear or read something, I ask myself one simple question:

Does it make sense?

Science very strictly embodies the idea that the most effective learning is done through failure.



I wholly agree!  ...and apply precisely that standard to my own life. By starting a business that failed I learned how to start a business that doesn't fail. By doing things that made me sick I learned how to do things that keep me well. By doing things that made me unhappy I learned how to do things that make me happy. By doing things wrong I learned how to do things right.

The process must integrate the idea that the purpose of scientific experiment is to learn from results that don't fit the hypothetical narrative, to cycle back on itself and rewrite the hypothesis until it reflects the evidence and conclusions produced through experimentation.



You perfectly described the ideal, Chris.
What taints that ideal is scientists who have not first worked to earn their own financial independence and have become "wards of the state" who are completely dependent on government funding for their own fiscal wellbeing. Their own weakness can cause them to parrot the cultural orthodoxy in exchange for financial security... for the heresy of speaking against the "secular religion" would call down the punishment of financial disgrace of a terminated career.

It's also the flavour of scientific skepticism I dislike the most. It implies that everyone in the pursuit of knowledge of any kind, for any reason, is unreasonably biased and arrogant, which, in my opinion, is unreasonably biased and arrogant. It leaves no room for discussion, because all arguments are then painted with the same brush of unsupported skepticism.



The same could be said of scientific belief. For example, is no room for discussion on global warming. It is a closed issue and it is heresy not to espouse all of its articles of faith. This secular religion demands scientists prostrate themselves at the altar of government funding.

1. Global warming is catastrophic.
2. Global warming is caused by humans.
3. Only government taxation regulation and litigation can save the world from global warming.

At the end of the day, I like it when science doesn't need suffer anyone's belief.



As do I... especially when it doesn't need to suffer government funding.

 
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