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How do you analyze evidence? - Page 3

post #41 of 108
Quote:
What types of publications do you find helpful, do you mean textbooks & such or studies published in journals?
I'm talking about the sort of sources you would find with a google search that wont something like "demyelination pathogen frontal lobe neurology .edu ".
Web published educational material, journal articles, etc.
post #42 of 108
IMO

The only impartial information comes from real life experience.

Personal experience of one person might not matter that much, but the personal stories of many people experiencing the same thing carries a lot of weight.
post #43 of 108
A lot of responses seem to be explaining on what rationale their vax decisions have been based. But I think the original question was clearly stated: how do you evaluate the available information? If you make a faith-based decision or one based on some notion of personal common sense that can't be defined by the evidence, then the OP's question doesn't apply to you. If you've made your decision based on the available data, how do you analyze that evidence? Unless you're reading the primary information yourself, you're trusting someone else's interpretation. If you can't digest all the technical papers, how do you decide who to trust for those interpretations? I'd estimate that the links provided in this forum favor secondary sources over primary sources by at least ten to one. So an awful lot of people seem to be relying on others to interpret the data. And that's probably a necessary thing since we can't all be experts.

Because of this, IMO, I think the OP's question is critically important. There is a real danger in accepting the opinions of others less critically just because they seem to be on your side. As a perfect example: there were a couple of 'anti-vax' doctors mentioned recently who are pushing the pertussis vaccine because they think the incidence of pertussis recommends it. My worry is that mamas here might seriously consider the shots just because someone they trusted and who is on their side said they should.

If you've evaluated the information for yourself, and you understand the impact of aluminum on the immune system, and you understand that there's little or no information about aluminum's impact on a baby's immune system, and you understand that the majority of research detailing aluminum's damage to the body and brain has yet to be done - then you understand that the doctors who recommend the pertussis vaccine are ignorant and unreliable. JMO
post #44 of 108
Thread Starter 
Quote:
If you've made your decision based on the available data, how do you analyze that evidence? Unless you're reading the primary information yourself, you're trusting someone else's interpretation. If you can't digest all the technical papers, how do you decide who to trust for those interpretations? I'd estimate that the links provided in this forum favor secondary sources over primary sources by at least ten to one. So an awful lot of people seem to be relying on others to interpret the data. And that's probably a necessary thing since we can't all be experts.
That's really the whole reason I started this thread. I think my original title was perhaps confusing so I've changed it to reflect more directly what I meant.
post #45 of 108
Assuming the sources are reasonably reliable, I analyze the data in a way that's most easily compared to this type of thinking:
http://www.philosophypages.com/lg/e08a.htm
post #46 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamakay
Assuming the sources are reasonably reliable, I analyze the data in a way that's most easily compared to this type of thinking:
http://www.philosophypages.com/lg/e08a.htm
AKA, common sense.
post #47 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by amnesiac
Just kinda surfing through this forum there are links to all sorts of different websites, recommendations for various books & of course, individual interpretations of scientific publications. I'm talking both pro and anti vax stuff here.

So how do you go about deciding whether or not a source is presenting the information in an accurate way? What criteria do you personally use to evaluate information you're reading? How do you go about deciding what's worthy of repeating to others or applying to your own life so you aren't classified as 'just another anti-vax nutjob' or 'just another ignorant, pro-vax bully' ?

Well, if I read about a study I'd like to know the sample size before I make up my mind. A larger sample makes it more reliable. I don't think you can prove something with a sample of 30 people, but several thousand people is more convincing. I also like to learn things about the study, like was it a long term longitudinal study or just a study of past medical records or what? I don't always read the primary source, but if you read about a study from more than one secondary source, you can learn more and more about it over time. I also learn a lot from government websites like the CDC - they think they're convincing people to go ahead and vax but some stuff on there just makes me cringe.

And of course there are some reasons why I don't vax that have nothing to do with studies. I don't want to inject fermeldahyde into my baby, and no one disputes that there's fermeldahyde in there, so that's all there is to it.
post #48 of 108
Thread Starter 
Anybody ever read any of this? Any thoughts?

http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/collections/read.shtml
post #49 of 108
Quote:
Assuming the sources are reasonably reliable, I analyze the data in a way that's most easily compared to this type of thinking:
http://www.philosophypages.com/lg/e08a.htm
So you just assume all sources are reliable? (that's more akin to gullibility than common sense). I'm guessing you didn't mean it that way. I think the point is more along the lines of what makes a source reliable.
post #50 of 108
I'm confused...are we talking about what constitutes a reliable source of information, or are we talking about how we anaylze data? :
post #51 of 108
Thread Starter 
How you analyze information in order to determine it's reliability/validity.
post #52 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by amnesiac
How you analyze information in order to determine it's reliability/validity.
Ok. I consider information reliable and valid when it is logically indesputable.
post #53 of 108
While I agree that logically indisputable information is reliable, I wouldn't limit myself to accepting only data that is indisputably true. In the vaccne debate, there seems to be very little information that is indisputable (one way or the other). It's not logically indisputable that vaccines cause autism, nevertheless the numerous pieces of research linking autism to vaccines are indeed credible (and they are credible by scientific standards not just my personal common sense opinion). I think a lot of us have accepted the credibility of the idea that vaccines contribute to many longterm illnesses - yet there is a definite lack of 'indisputable' proof in almost all cases. I don't think the evidence that does exist should be dismissed out of hand because it does not reach the level of "indisputable".
post #54 of 108
This is an interesting thread, and I agree with a lot of what has been said. It is good to try to explain how you analyze evidence, so that you can be sure that what you tell yourself and others is credible.

That said, I use a bunch of criteria that evolved the more I researched the subject of vaccinations.

1)My intuition - it told me that all the garbage they put in vaccines should not be injected into the body of an infant - heck I'm an adult and I would not want it injected into me! And the argument that it is only miniscule amounts is hooey, because it adds up to a lot when you add up all the vaccinations on the schedule that they are using now.

2)Indisputable logic is my second criteria (i.e. if I was told to avoid fish because of mercury content while pregnant, how can it be alright to inject my infant with vaccines containing mercury after birth?).

3) Follow the $. If the information comes from someone like Dr. Offut who holds a Rotavirus vaccine patent and has done/is doing research paid for by Merck, I will not believe him when he says that vaccines are safe and effective.

4) Check the sources - books, papers, etc. Are they peer reviewed, credible, written by people who have no conflict of interest? You would not go to the tobbaco company when researching the dangers of smoking cigarettes - same holds true in investigating the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

5) If I read the stories of people who have vaccine damaged children (or whose children died,or who were damaged themselves), I tend to beleive them if after a while I can see a pattern forming that can only mean they are telling the truth vis-a-vis their stories.

Well, I think that about covers it, although I'm sure there is more. Thanks for making me think about this, it was a good mental exercise for me to try and explain the way I process these things!

Roxanne
Daniel 8/9/03 unvaxed and totally healthy
post #55 of 108
Thread Starter 
Quote:
You would not go to the tobbaco company when researching the dangers of smoking cigarettes - same holds true in investigating the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
I agree with you to a certain degree. Obviously a lot of information is proprietary stuff that nobody outside of the drug company will ever see & what you do see is likely to be 'niced' up. BUT, some things you can get from them. If you read the insert it tells you how it's made, ingredients it contains etc. And a lot of the adverse effects & such are listed right there in the insert. I don't think the insert should be your only resource but I think it is an important resource.
post #56 of 108
Yes, I agree that the inserts are an important resource. I guess I was not thinking of that in my pp. I was thinking more or less about the "studies" done on the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

Roxanne
post #57 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by amnesiac
Anybody ever read any of this? Any thoughts?

http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/collections/read.shtml
Thanks, that looks like a useful reference.

Back to library school. We had to take a class that was basically on how to analyze research. Since it was library school, it was social science research, but a lot of the rules and principles are identical whether you are analyzing the circulation of books or the incidence of a disease.

I've been shocked by some of the vaccine research I've read.

Small samples.
Short term tracking.
Comparing one vaccine to another vaccine.
Etc.

Nana
post #58 of 108
How to analyze evidence?

1. Get a good dictionary and USE IT!
2. When you read a study,
a. figure out who paid for it,
b. what the study set out to find out,
c. what the study did find out,
d. if a control group was used.
e. read between the lines for any variables as age, socioeconomic levels, season, educational levels, diet, pre-existing conditions, allergies.
3. if any follow up was done.
post #59 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deborah
I've been shocked by some of the vaccine research I've read.

Small samples.
Short term tracking.
Comparing one vaccine to another vaccine.
Etc.
Nana
I was shocked also when I realized what the FDA allows them to get away with in terms of deteriming a vaccine's safety.
post #60 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by xerxes
While I agree that logically indisputable information is reliable, I wouldn't limit myself to accepting only data that is indisputably true. In the vaccne debate, there seems to be very little information that is indisputable (one way or the other). It's not logically indisputable that vaccines cause autism, nevertheless the numerous pieces of research linking autism to vaccines are indeed credible (and they are credible by scientific standards not just my personal common sense opinion). I think a lot of us have accepted the credibility of the idea that vaccines contribute to many longterm illnesses - yet there is a definite lack of 'indisputable' proof in almost all cases. I don't think the evidence that does exist should be dismissed out of hand because it does not reach the level of "indisputable".
I think you're misunderstanding the whole nature of my method.
I, for example, find the "vaxes do not cause autism" argument logically disputable. There are huge holes in that assumption.
But also, I'm not entirely convinced vaxes do cause autism. They very well might. Probably do, even.
I can not, no matter how hard I try (and I did for a while) dispute the theory that vaxes *might* cause autism.
So there's a difference between something that can not be logically disputed and something that is indesputably true, kwim?
Am I making sense yet?...lol...
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