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"it is legitimate to hold scientists to account" (Guardian news article)

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Bob, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. snowathlete

    snowathlete

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    True in my case.
    There was not good evidence for me to have been prescribed this, and yet I was, and the person who prescribed it is not accountable for it. But they should be because it was recklessly prescribed despite the lack of good evidence and the conflicting evidence at the time.
    I think thats pretty scary, because you dont know whether a health preofesional is prescribing for you bassed on real evidence or something without foundation. Same with these scientists, from what i have read of the case (and it may be inaccurate) they made assurances, but they werent in a position to make them as there was not enough evidence to back them up. That is why they are in trouble, but i feel sorry for them, to a point, because it is a very new thing to get in trouble in this way. Usually, as a scientist, same as with medicine, you can say what you like usually and stand behind the fact that it is your personal medical opinion. Which i dont think is acceptable when these decisions cost lives.
    Bob likes this.
  2. urbantravels

    urbantravels disjecta membra

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    I think we know better than most about how stupid most journalism about science is. Of course the headline "Scientists jailed for failing to predict earthquake" is totally wrong and misleading, but it's shocking and attention-grabbing, which is generally what matters to media outlets.

    I think this article gives a good overview of what actually happened:

    http://www.thestar.com/news/insight...rthquake-convictions-about-poor-communication

    It seems to me that what the scientists and the official (de Bernardis) did was highly unethical and unprofessional. Lots of blame to go around. I'd say somewhat more blame attaches to the public officials, who decided in advance that "reassuring the public" was the highest priority. The scientists, by playing along with this staged press conference, were in serious breach of professional ethics. They didn't get convicted of "not predicting an earthquake" but of "pretending they knew the risks when in fact they did not."

    However, it still seems strange that this led to criminal charges against the individual scientists and de Bernardis. I don't know enough about the law in the US and certainly nothing about Italian law, but it seems like in the US this would have been a very hard criminal case to make...but there could have been civil suits galore. Not to mention, of course, all these guys getting fired from their jobs, stripped of their professional credentials, etc.
    Little Bluestem and Bob like this.
  3. Jarod

    Jarod Senior Member

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    I would want to discourage any punishment that prevents scientists from speaking anytime they see fit.

    I see the potential for this type of punishment from preventing free speech. That is the key point for me.

    There is a point when good judgement must come in to play. I think simply firing them for incompetance may make more sense than jail time.

    Possible slippery slope here.
  4. Bob

    Bob

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    Thanks for the link, Urban.

    The article suggests that the Italian case revolves around the public officials putting out a purposely misleading public statement that was intended to calm the public. It says that's why they were prosecuted. Nothing to do with honest scientific opinions, or making a scientific error, etc.
  5. Jarod

    Jarod Senior Member

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    I'd give you a like Bob, But looks like you just hit a 1000 likes! THat's a nice round number. Congrats!

    This would really be great if it shows accountability of government officials for misleading public opinion. That's what it seems like at the moment.

    Be interesting to see if it turns in to a positive trend. :)
    Bob likes this.
  6. Bob

    Bob

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    Yes, a little accountability seems like a good thing, doesn't it!
  7. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    The CDC has just stated in an interview with Mindy Kitei that they believe the CFS toolkit is accurate and will not be removing it: http://forums.phoenixrising.me/index.php?threads/cdc-interview-on-the-cfs-toolkit.20092/

    They are in the process of modifying it, but I don't hold much hope it will be fit for purpose afterward. Given that the probable consequence of their toolkit is poor medical practice with poor outcomes for patients, how is it they are not accountable? What can be done to change this? They too have a requirement to accurately provide information to prevent harm and help people.
    Little Bluestem, Valentijn and merylg like this.
  8. urbantravels

    urbantravels disjecta membra

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    Here's a bit of a development: new information released from a wiretap on someone higher up, i.e., De Bernardinis' boss.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22439-bugged-phone-deepens-controversy-over-italian-quake.html

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