The power and pitfalls of omics part 2: epigenomics, transcriptomics and ME/CFS
Simon McGrath concludes his blog about the remarkable Prof George Davey Smith's smart ideas for understanding diseases, which may soon be applied to ME/CFS.
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"The Unbearable Asymmetry of Bullsh*t" - article on manipulation/biases in science

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Kyla, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. Kyla

    Kyla ᴀɴɴɪᴇ ɢꜱᴀᴍᴩᴇʟ

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    http://blogs.bmj.com/medical-ethics/2016/02/16/the-unbearable-asymmetry-of-bullshit/

    Wow, this article is spot on.

    I am not sure what field the author had in mind, but I think you will find it applies astonishingly well to the methods of certain parties in ME & CFS research

    I think I will refer to Sir W. as "Lord Voldemort" from now on.

    Here is an excerpt:
     
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  2. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member

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    "Gish gallop" ...love it!
     
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  3. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    Nope. Still can't think who that could apply to ...

    :whistle:
     
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  4. JohnCB

    JohnCB Immoderate

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    Difficult to come up with a really good descriptive name of the problem described in the article , especially one that makes a good acronym but reading his description the words that seem prominent are partisan approach and controversial ethics.
     
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  5. CFS_for_19_years

    CFS_for_19_years Hoarder of biscuits

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    Makes sense to me.
     
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  6. Sean

    Sean Senior Member

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    A lie can be out the door and half way around the world, before the truth can even get its boots on.

    As con-artists and dictators have always known.
     
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  7. TiredSam

    TiredSam The wise nematode hibernates

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    Thankfully we can take some consolation in the story of the hare and the tortoise.
     
  8. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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    I don't know if it's harder to believe that this isn't White, or that there are other people that bad.
     
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  9. Sean

    Sean Senior Member

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    Indeed. The best long game will win this one.
     
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  10. Chrisb

    Chrisb Senior Member

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    To play the long game Queens will probably have to be off the board.
     
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  11. Sean

    Sean Senior Member

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    True, but she is a bit hemmed in at the moment, backed up against the edge of the board.
     
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  12. JohnCB

    JohnCB Immoderate

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    Some things are hard to believe, but just think about all the extraordinary stuff that Lord Voldemort and the Partisan Alliance believe. What you are being asked to believe is nothing in comparison to the stuff the PACE alliance think up before breakfast. Which one is actually Lord V. or do they take in in turns to wear the hat. Brian Earp is clear that he is not talking about a single individual and I think he means he is not talking about a single team either. There are quite a few such people around sadly and you see the tactics and controversial ethics employed in other fields too. It's depressing, isn't it.
     
  13. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

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    Yes it is. You start by really believing in science. It seems like a complete set of rules that allows evidence to triumph over speculation. Then the first time you see an example of the kind of stuff Earp is talking about, the gloss just goes off it, doesn't it?

    Probably every person here on this forum has had this very same feeling, the first time they saw how "science" could be used to perpetuate an incorrect and inappropriate model of our illness and its treatment.

    We know this happens in our illness - because we can see it - but the scary thing is that its probably happening everywhere else too, but we just can't see it there.
     
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  14. BurnA

    BurnA Senior Member

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    Did you read the comments by Mike Case and kcrca ? Would love if there was a way of exposing the PACE cheerleaders.
     
  15. A.B.

    A.B. Senior Member

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    It seems more and more apparent that the problem with science, at least in this area, isn't merely poor methodology. It's that science here is more akin to advertising, and it's driven by politics and greed. Promotion of CBT/GET is a business, and means to protect financial interests of interest groups.

    Criticizing methodology doesn't lead to improvement of the situation because the poor methodology is the way these people prove what they want to prove.

    Patient welfare is irrelevant, but these people will say they deeply care about patients as part of the game they're playing.

    The superficial appearance that all is well is, disturbingly, enough to keep this dysfunctional system from being dismantled by an angry mob.
     
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  16. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Its not just science either. Much of economics is unproven theory, and few are looking to find contrary evidence. Its a confidence game, where theory is taught to new economists as fact. Many wake up to this, but they are in the minority.

    Even in economics, evidence should trump theory.
     
  17. Art Vandelay

    Art Vandelay Senior Member

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    A lot of that is due to the fact that most economists (as, indeed, do most people) suffer from hubris. Macroeconomists in particular are way too over-confident in the reliability of their theories and models and are guilty of scientific pretensions.

    Yet, in my economics degree, we were taught the limitations of the theory and a few of my lecturers strongly put it to us that economics was an art rather than a hard science but I doubt much of this resonated with many students. (If you're interested in these sorts of philosophical questions, I enjoy Deirdre McCloskey's writings, particularly The Rhetoric of Economics.)

    On the subject of economics and hubris, one of my favourite quotes:

    "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design."

    F.A. Hayek​
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
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  18. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Yes, there are a good percentage of economists, and some who lecture, who are aware of the pitfalls. Yet they are in the distinct minority.

    Yet there are similarities with medicine. Doctors have long held authority by being gatekeepers to healing. Yet that is being severely eroded, and a hundred years from now we might have almost no doctors left in the world. Their power and authority is being eroded. Part of that is they have become too complaisant, and lack organization at a political level. There are AI systems that diagnose better. Robots (that are being constantly improved) do surgery. Central and insurance authorities use managerial methods and ideas to limit doctor options. Nurse practitioners are only the beginning of the issues with doctor replacement. Doctor training is also terribly inadequate. Why does Gigerenzer keep finding, repeatedly, that the vast majority of doctors lack the capacity to understand even basic statistics in scientific papers?

    Economics is different in that the power and authority typically rests with those who have power and money via other means ... government, large banks, and so on. Yet its that power and authority that supports economics. Its a bit like Zombie Science, and I have called it Zombie Economics before. It can be changed, it can be improved, but without wide engagement from economists its spiraling down to a gurgly grave.

    Some of this is economic ideology gone bad too. Economic rationalism, Thatcherism, Reagonism, all push for efficiency. On a short term case by case basis this is good. One doesn't want to waste money. On a strategic long term level its a disaster unfolding. We are crafting efficiency at the expense of robustness. I expect future global economic crashes will show a trend to worse and worse outcomes. One really bad one and the US will default on its debts, and things will crash even further.

    Doctors also need to engage with the wider problems.

    There needs to be better engagement with science, and better governance measures, if economics and medicine are to become what we need them to be. Psychiatry is in even worse shape than most of medicine. They need to decide what parts of psychiatry have a scientific basis, and what parts are babble. Until they do that they will continue to lose power and respect. Though of note, we see that the engagement in politics and public relations, not sound science, is what props up the psychobabble involved in ME, and this probably extends to other areas of psychiatry.
     
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  19. TiredSam

    TiredSam The wise nematode hibernates

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    BBC Radio 4's More or Less uses the phrase "Zombie statistic" for an urban-myth type statistic that although wrong, is commonly accepted and reappears in the uncritical media every few years, refusing to die. The do a nice sound effect when they mention one.
     
  20. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

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    Like how we only use 10% of our brain at any one time?
     

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