Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


HuckleB's Journal
HuckleB's Journal
October 11, 2012

Please don't push discredited pseudo-science as being equivalent. It's not.

First, let's point out the fallacy of false equivalency.

No, you’re not entitled to your opinion

Then, let's clarify that the consensus on the study in the OP is that it is crap.

EU rejects French scientist report linking GM corn to cancer

Damning Report Questions Monsanto Genetically Modified Corn Study

Then, let's start to acknowledge that DU should be a place science is first and foremost, and where pseudo-science attacks should be few and far between.

GMO Opponents Are the Climate Skeptics of the Left

Rachel Carson’s dream of a science-based agriculture may come as a surprise to those who believe that sustainability and technology are incompatible.

It not ethical to spread fear via pseudo-science.

October 5, 2012

Book Review of Ben Goldacre's "Bad Pharma"

Lies, damn lies and drug trials: Bad Pharma: How drug companies mislead doctors and harm patients


Goldacre made his name with the Guardian’s “Bad Science” column but it’s been clear for a while that statistics are what really energise him. Most politicians and journalists notoriously find numbers baffling; very clever and influential people get away with epic innumeracy where a slight verbal stumble would be ruthlessly derided. Contrast the sniggering over David Cameron not knowing the translation of “Magna Carta” with the finding from the Royal Statistical Society that 77 per cent of Labour MPs could not correctly answer the question: “If you spin a coin twice, what is the probability of getting two heads?” (It’s 25 per cent, by the way.)

Doctors do at least have some training in appraising evidence but as Goldacre shows, there are so many ways you can skew a clinical trial that it’s unrealistic to expect a GP or consultant to spot any dodgy data. For example, you could recruit patients to your trial who have no other medical conditions or drug prescriptions, making them more likely to get better. You can test a drug against a sugar-pill placebo, instead of the best current competitor. You can stop a trial early if it looks like it’s going well, or prolong it in the hope that the results will even out. You can find a fluke “clump” of encouraging results about one minor symptom and pretend that’s what the trial was going to measure all along.

Running alongside all of these practices – for which the researchers involved must take some responsibility – is the simple fact that the whole architecture of research publication is tilted towards new, exciting and positive results. There is currently no requirement for the results of every trial to be made public, so naturally academics only want to bother when they’ve found something interesting. Journal editors also worry that research which discovers a treatment has no benefit, or replicates a previous study, is boring. This flatters the drugs and helps their manufacturers reap billions from them.


But the real strength of Goldacre’s book is that he has answers. If poorly funded and easily swayed regulators can’t police the industry, then make the data available to everyone. Replace bewildering consent forms with shorter ones in plain English. Scrap the endless drug information labels that list every conceivable side effect (from heart attacks to bad breath) with simple checklists that show how common they are.


Alas, the book is not available in the US until January. Still, Goldacre is a very legitimate source. I can't wait to dig into this one.

October 4, 2012

Do We Want Obama To Win? If So, Then Let's Move Onward.

Let's spend our time pointing out Romney's lies, his bizarre behavior and his inconsistencies.

Let's spend our time pointing out Obama's plans, the fact that he has plans and specifics, etc...

And for an example, one can start by pointing out that Romney's attempt to scoot to the center is BS:

Romney on ‘Same Page’ With Ryan Budget Plan

October 3, 2012

Inside the Mind of Worry: Why Our Fears Donít Always Match the Facts



Researchers in neuroscience, psychology, economics and other disciplines have made a range of discoveries about why human beings sometimes fear more than the evidence warrants, and sometimes less than the evidence warns. That science is worth reviewing at length. But one current issue offers a crash course in the most significant of these findings: the fear of vaccines, particularly vaccines for children.

In a 2011 Thomson Reuters/NPR poll, nearly one parent in three with a child under 18 was worried about vaccines, and roughly one American in four was concerned about the value and safety of vaccines in general. In the same poll, roughly one out of every five college-educated respondents worried that childhood vaccination was connected with autism; 7 percent said they feared a link with Type 1 diabetes.

Based on the evidence, these and most other concerns about vaccines are unfounded. A comprehensive report last year from the Institute of Medicine is just one of many studies to report that vaccines do not cause autism, diabetes, asthma or other major afflictions listed by the anti-vaccination movement.


In this remarkable era of discovery about how our brains operate, we have discovered a great deal about why the gap occurs, and we can — and should — put our detailed knowledge of risk perception to use in narrowing the risk-perception gap and reducing its dangers. As the Italian philosopher Nicola Abbagnano advised, “Reason itself is fallible, and this fallibility must find a place in our logic.” Accepting that risk perception is not so much a process of pure reason, but rather a subjective combination of the facts and how those facts feel, might be just the step in the human learning curve we need to make. Then, maybe, we’ll start making smarter decisions about vaccines and other health matters."


A gentle read about fear.

October 3, 2012

Bzzt. Wrong.




Now, I could go on and on, but there is no point. You have a belief. It is not a rational belief. You will not let go of it, no matter what. We both know this.

Good day.
October 3, 2012

You're not waiting for anything.

You're choosing to ignore the reality.

Here's some more for you to ignore:

Joe Schwarcz: Debate over genetically modified food lacks reasoned arguments

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Schwarcz+Debate+over+genetically+modified+food+lacks+reasoned+arguments/7309263/story.html#ixzz28G9SaREC

Profile Information

Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 35,773

Journal Entries

Latest Discussions»HuckleB's Journal