Anti-Science - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 05-07-2015, 09:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Anti-Science

I think this is one of the best articles on this issue that I've ever read. See what you think.

Anti-science: “You Keep Using That Word. I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.”

http://thinkingmomsrevolution.com/an...hink-it-means/
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#2 of 19 Old 05-07-2015, 06:14 PM
 
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I agree. Excellent analysis of how science plays today and in the past.
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#3 of 19 Old 05-08-2015, 07:38 AM
 
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#4 of 19 Old 05-08-2015, 07:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Serenity Now View Post
Yes? And? Who makes the better case? And why?

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.” - Marcia Angell, M.D., former NEJM Editor
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#5 of 19 Old 05-08-2015, 09:33 AM
 
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I don't even have to read both articles to know what you think, lol. I was just putting the other side out there so everyone has a chance to make up their own minds.
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#6 of 19 Old 05-08-2015, 10:34 AM
 
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One of the best reads! Very detail oriented, thorough,logical arguments.

As far as the rebuttal...its hard to take the author seriously when it's written in such a hateful way. Really,name calling in nearly every paragraph,poking fun,laughing at,etc. A scientific rebuttal that is strong in their reasoning doesn't need incessant child-like behavior to make their point. The author simply can't help themselves. Its like listening to an angry highschool breakup where all they do is bad mouth the other person while trying to piece together why they're mad. Yet,antivaxers are the emotional ones....riigght. To be fair,i don't prefer that type of writing even if the author is writing on a topic i agree with.
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#7 of 19 Old 05-08-2015, 11:02 AM
 
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I wouldn't mind reading the other side. Is it really that nasty? I'm not going to wade through muck to get to the point. I don't mind a bit of sarcasm.

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#8 of 19 Old 05-08-2015, 12:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Serenity Now View Post
It feels weird reading the comment section and seeing them reference threads in this forum.

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Any time scientists disagree, it's because we have insufficient data. Then we can agree on what kind of data to get; we get the data; and the data solves the problem. Either I'm right, or you're right, or we're both wrong. And we move on. That kind of conflict resolution does not exist in politics or religion.

-Neil deGrasse Tyson
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#9 of 19 Old 05-08-2015, 12:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamabear0314 View Post
It feels weird reading the comment section and seeing them reference threads in this forum.
Sometimes when it feels like you are being watched it is because you are being watched.
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#10 of 19 Old 05-08-2015, 12:58 PM
 
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It's kind of hard to read the other article, because any legitimate points the author may be making are buried in snark and ad-hominem, and he makes it the reader's job to tease them out (assuming you don't agree with his position in advance). Bad writing. I may try again later.
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#11 of 19 Old 05-08-2015, 01:29 PM
 
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I wouldn't mind reading the other side. Is it really that nasty? I'm not going to wade through muck to get to the point. I don't mind a bit of sarcasm.
Here is the second sentence. I can't tell you about the rest because that's as far as I could get But I bet you will just LOVE it, considering how it starts.

Quote:
Indeed, when they are called “antivaccine” (usually quite correctly, given their words and deeds), many of them will clutch their pearls in indignation, rear up in self-righteous anger, and retort that they are “not antivaccine” but rather “pro-vaccine safety,” “pro-health freedom,” “parental rights,” or some other antivaccine dog whistle that sounds superficially reasonable.
Oh, how dare thee? They "clutch their pearls," ranting about parental rights. The nerve of these "self-righteous" parents who are standing up for parental rights, asking for a choice in the matter of pharmaceuticals and ask not to be forced upon. Yes, pharmaceuticals, which carry risks. You know, the same type of drugs that have a crap load of side effects? Pharmaceuticals that people normally try to limit the use of, because they can cause a variety of other issues? Vaccines, pharmaceuticals, introduced in babies as soon as they are born? But I guess that's just an introduction to prepare for what's to come later and how many sticks they will actually get....a little sneak peek if you will. Can't let them come into a world of peacefulness, can we? If we do, we are called "anti-vaccine," "pearl-clutching" "ignorant," "anti-science" vaccine refusers. Sorry buddy, it just doesn't jive.
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#12 of 19 Old 05-08-2015, 01:51 PM
 
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I wouldn't mind reading the other side. Is it really that nasty? I'm not going to wade through muck to get to the point. I don't mind a bit of sarcasm.
It is kind of nasty in tone, but makes good points, particularly about Kuhn. I read Kuhn in college, and always found his ideas thought-provoking but wasn't sure they rang true, particularly for biology. I can't really speak intelligently about the ideas anymore, though. Some non-nasty bits, in case you are interested:

On Kuhn:

The Professor quotes extensively from the Wikipedia entry on Kuhn’s book, rather than from Kuhn himself. Kuhn’s main idea was that science doesn’t progress by the gradual accretion of knowledge but tends to be episodic in nature. According to Kuhn, observations challenging the existing “paradigm” in a field gradually accumulate until the paradigm itself can no longer stand, at which point a new paradigm is formed that completely replaces the old. Kuhn’s view of science is a fascinating topic in and of itself and I haven’t read that book in many years. However, most scientists tend to dismiss many of Kuhn’s views for several reasons, in particular because Kuhn tends to vastly exaggerate the concept of “paradigm shift.” Particularly galling is his concept of “normal science,” where in the interregnum between scientific revolutions he portrays scientists doing “normal science” (science that is not paradigm-changing) as essentially dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s of the previous revolution. (It’s a very dismissive attitude toward what the vast majority of scientists do.) Indeed, Kuhn’s characterization of the history of science has been referred to as a caricature, and I tend to agree. Certainly, at the very least he exaggerates how completely new paradigms place the old, when in reality when new theories supplant old theories the new must completely encompass the old and explain everything the old did plus the new observations that the old theory cannot. As Cormac O’Rafferty puts it, “The new can only replace the old if it explains all the old did, plus a whole lot more (because as new evidence is uncovered, old evidence also remains).” The best example for this idea that I like to cite is Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, which did not replace Newtonian physics, but rather expanded on Newtonian physics, which is what relativity simplifies down to when applied to velocities that are such a small fraction of the speed of light that relativistic contributions drop out of the equations because they are so close to zero that it is reasonable to approximate them as zero.

On the Time magazine/ butter is good for you now issue:

In any case, this is not the “paradigm shift” that The Professor seems to think it is. Rather it was a correction, which is what science does. The process is often messy, but science does correct itself with time.

On intuition:

Of course, the problem that The Professor overlooks is that in science intuition is nothing if it doesn’t lead to results that are supported by data. Moreover, I would argue that what we have here in those who fetishize “intuition” in science is a massive case of that most human of failures of reason: Confirmation bias. We as scientists remember the times when our intuition ended up being validated and forget the almost certainly much more numerous times when our intuition either led nowhere or even led us astray. Yes, even Albert Einstein and Jonas Salk.
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#13 of 19 Old 05-08-2015, 02:02 PM
 
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Thanks Jessica. Shame that they have to put in nonsense about "clutching pearls". It would be possible to actually have some interesting discussions if our opposition wasn't so hysterical

Not, of course, referring to anyone in the little enclave of Mothering.

Having studied a lot of the history of science as part of my study of history in general, plus digging through mountains of history just for fun, there definitely have been problems getting past paradigms, especially in medicine.

See for example the story of President Garfield, killed by his doctors who didn't believe in germ theory.

See for example the struggles in Panama, where, years after mosquitoes were demonstrated as the carriers of both Yellow Fever and Malaria, American authorities were still arguing for variations on the miasma theory and denying the doctor who was fighting the problem the manpower and materials needed. The doctor won in the end, but there were some unnecessary dead bodies along the way.

I think that because doctors are not scientists (some scientists are also doctors and some doctors are also scientists, but as a general category, doctors are not scientists), they do tend to be more devoted to their paradigms. And the general lay public even more devoted to the paradigms than the doctors in many cases. I bet long after the miasma theory was laid to rest, there were members of the public who were convinced that bad smells caused disease. That was what they were told when they were little kids and that was what must be true.

I'd just be relieved if we could all stop talking about vaccines as though they were all the same and all worked the same way and etc.

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#14 of 19 Old 05-08-2015, 02:16 PM
 
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I don't know. Kuhn makes a LOT more sense if your background is applied science vs research science. In college, almost no one has an applied science background.

I count physicians amongst the applied scientists. There is obviously a lot of variation in the way they practice. Recently, a throat bug was going around our city. Most people were getting the Rapid Strep test and it was negative. A few physicians were doing slow cultures in addition to the Rapid Strep tests, and the slow cultures were positive. It's a variation in practice, seen because the practitioners constrain themselves and ARE constrained in different ways. Careful applied study is possibly a luxury, but it can upend theory because of the commitment to acknowledging and dealing with what's in front of the practitioner; it can drive paradigm shifts that appear more gradual in the literature.
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#15 of 19 Old 05-08-2015, 02:58 PM
 
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Another factor massively affecting medical practice now are guidelines. Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical companies have gotten pretty good at "playing" the guidelines process. So even if a doctor is seeing problems (Suzanne Humphries with the flu vaccine reactions in kidney patients is a great example), they can be shut down and shut out because they are going against the practice guidelines or the government directives or the practice standards.

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#16 of 19 Old 05-08-2015, 03:06 PM
 
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I think the rebuttal was weak - not because of the tone or snark - although I think that is a huge weakness of skeptics in general. Here is how it went:

1. accusation of non-vax equals anti-science from skeptics and the like
2. "Professor" write an article on how this accusation is wrong
3. Skeptic write an article trying to debunk professors points.

Even if you think the skeptic in point 3 was successful, it does nothing to prove or disprove point 1, which is the accusation in the first place.

Moreover, I do not really believe the skeptic did a good job at rebutting the article.

Consider this:

"This, of course, is an excellent description of antivaccinationists, except that they no longer accept the precepts of science with respect to vaccines but cling to their “naive beliefs.” They rely on personal experience and anecdotes rather than statistics with respect to the question of whether vaccines cause autism, and no amount of science, seemingly, can persuade them otherwise."

Um - prove it. Many who do not vaccinate do not believe there is a connection. Does he have any stats to back up this point? In another instance he says those who disagree with the general concept of peer review are cranks....and then goes on to call The Professor a crank. Did she say that she disagrees with the general concept of peer review? She used some strong word and quotes, but she certainly did not suggest it should be dismantled. There are lots of assumptions made by the skeptic and connecting dots that really aren't there.

The professors study is strong on links discussing her points, the rebuttal has very few. He just says she is wrong and moves on.

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#17 of 19 Old 05-08-2015, 05:18 PM
 
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The generalizations--i.e. "antivaccinationists this" and "antivaccinationists that"--make his case pitifully weak. For example:

Quote:
This, of course, is an excellent description of antivaccinationists, except that they no longer accept the precepts of science with respect to vaccines but cling to their “naive beliefs.” They rely on personal experience and anecdotes rather than statistics with respect to the question of whether vaccines cause autism, and no amount of science, seemingly, can persuade them otherwise.
How does he know this? Anecdotes?
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“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.” - Marcia Angell, M.D., former NEJM Editor
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#18 of 19 Old 05-08-2015, 06:13 PM
 
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What I find continually startling is that the so-called skeptics, who are the intended audience for such articles, are incapable of spotting the gaps in reasoning and the lack of actual data to support many of the claims.

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#19 of 19 Old 05-09-2015, 03:55 PM
 
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What i find startling is that the people who are wrong got to hijack the meaning of science;

they replaced it with the meaning of profit, so i guess it wins.

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