News Briefs 25-11-2010

Save me the neck, will ya? :)

Thanks Rick, Greg & Kat.

Quote of the Day:

"There is increasing concern that in modern research, false findings may be the majority or even the vast majority of published research claims."

John Ioannidis, epidemiologist ("Why Most Published Research Findings Are False")

Comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
earthling's picture
Member since:
22 November 2004
Last activity:
1 hour 53 min

The article correctly points out that statistics are often used incorrectly.

The article also says that is is a general problem in science.

To support this, the article then gives samples of this problem, ALL of them from the science of medicine.

This seems very familiar, I seem to remember this sort of thing.

----
We are the cat.

red pill junkie's picture
Member since:
12 April 2007
Last activity:
42 min 18 sec

When you explain a problem, the most logical choice to give an example for your audience/readers is to show one where your point is more clear.

I think that's why the article chose to show examples of medical studies, instead of studies in particle physics or climatology.

It may also have to do with John P. A. Ioannidis's paper (mentioned in the article) about the several corollaries he presents:

Corollary 1: The smaller the studies conducted in a scientific field, the less likely the research findings are to be true.

Corollary 2: The smaller the effect sizes in a scientific field, the less likely the research findings are to be true.

Corollary 3: The greater the number and the lesser the selection of tested relationships in a scientific field, the less likely the research findings are to be true.

Corollary 4: The greater the flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and analytical modes in a scientific field, the less likely the research findings are to be true.

Corollary 5: The greater the financial and other interests and prejudices in a scientific field, the less likely the research findings are to be true.

Corollary 6: The hotter a scientific field (with more scientific teams involved), the less likely the research findings are to be true.

When it comes to medicine, the last two are the most influential IMO.

Anyway, the reason I chose this link was because it supported past discussions made at TDG, regarding scientific studies conducted on PSI phenomena, and the usual debunking arguments used by the skeptics.

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie
_______________
@red_pill_junkie

earthling's picture
Member since:
22 November 2004
Last activity:
1 hour 53 min

Of course it is relevant. Statistics must be used carefully, and lots of times they are not. The field of medicine is a good example of that, as are claims and counter claims in any field where things cannot be measured directly.

But the article's conclusion (at the beginning) that science in general is not trustworthy is simply false. It is an attention-getting device to get people read the examples about statistics, so that they understand it better. That's all good.

Except that most people won't read the article, they will only read the first few lines and conclude that all science is faking it.

There are many sciences where statistics do not play such a dominant role. In physics or chemistry, or in engineering, things can be measured much more objectively. For those things more reliable ways of testing exist.

I think the article chose to show examples from medicine because the problem with statistics abuse is most prevelant there. That's ok, but the article basically says that the problem is the same everywhere. And it isn't.

----
We are the cat.

red pill junkie's picture
Member since:
12 April 2007
Last activity:
42 min 18 sec

Well, maybe the journalist who wrote the article fell into a bit of hyperbole with the initial tone. The very same abuse scientists make with their statistics.

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie
_______________
@red_pill_junkie

earthling's picture
Member since:
22 November 2004
Last activity:
1 hour 53 min

Right.

The article is a good example of how to mislead with statistics and "creative" sampling, while at the same time correctly pointing out that this is a problem in many scientific fields.

----
We are the cat.

Gwedd's picture
Member since:
8 April 2006
Last activity:
3 days 6 hours
earthling wrote:

Right.

The article is a good example of how to mislead with statistics and "creative" sampling, while at the same time correctly pointing out that this is a problem in many scientific fields.

As in "lies, damned lies, and statistics".......

Respects,
Gwedd

red pill junkie's picture
Member since:
12 April 2007
Last activity:
42 min 18 sec

Nothing like checking out TDG to help digest that big-ass turkey, right? ;)

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie
_______________
@red_pill_junkie

Gwedd's picture
Member since:
8 April 2006
Last activity:
3 days 6 hours
red pill junkie wrote:

Nothing like checking out TDG to help digest that big-ass turkey, right? ;)

Actually, I skipped the turkey this year and made some lovely barbecued pork. Long-grain rice, squash, and beer added to the day, as did the NFL's 3 football games. :)

And yeah, I'm a TDG Junkie. Gotta get my daily fix, or I start jonesing.

V/R

Respects,
Gwedd

nycjeff's picture
Member since:
3 March 2009
Last activity:
3 years 30 weeks

On that Edge article, it probably would have been more interesting to hear their thoughts on what mainstream science could be getting wrong now.
I guess Shermer's PhD is in history of science, but he seems pretty happy to tell people where they're wrong today.
Hindsight is 20/20, unless we've worked it all out now. Otherwise, maybe the should change the name of the magazine to Trailing Edge.

Redoubt's picture
Member since:
14 July 2008
Last activity:
5 years 16 weeks

"Save me the neck, will ya?"

I did try but... when the bird emerged from the oven, the neck jumped from the roasting pan and shouted, like Tommy Lee Jones in MIB... EAT ME!

I complied. (Neck meat is very tasty!)

"The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it."

red pill junkie's picture
Member since:
12 April 2007
Last activity:
42 min 19 sec

Another poultry connoisseur ;)

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie
_______________
@red_pill_junkie