Dr. Reese’s Bits and Pieces
February 2015 Newsletter
Thankfully, February is a fast month and each day gets us closer to spring. On Jan1 2015, we had 9hours, 25 minutes and 1 second of daylight. By Feb, 28, 2015 it will be 11 hours, 15 minutes and 54 secs of daylight according to http://www.timeanddate.com. The longer days seem to make the colder days easier to handle.
Science Doesn’t Lie!!!
A few days after the Broncos lost their final game this season, I heard this line uttered by a talking head on ESPN while I was getting dressed at the gym. It was in regards to Peyton Manning’s ability to play next season and his age. “Everyone knows that he is just going to get worse each year as he gets older…science doesn’t lie!”, he said.
Last I checked, “Science” doesn’t have the ability to talk, write or communicate. Scientists do the talking and we have seen many cases over the last few decades where they did lie, whether intentional or not:
The problem, to a great extent, can be traced back to industry-based and industry-funded research, which has overtaken most scientific fields of inquiry. Independent research, where funding is unrelated to findings, has become a rarity, and the end result is a dramatic deterioration of credible science.
Chemical technology companies like Monsanto also fund colleges and universities, thereby gaining control over research, science, policy, and public opinion.
As an example of the quick deterioration of reputable science, consider the following: between 1966 and 1997, 37 percent of scientific retractions were due to scientific misconduct,1 which includes data falsification or fabrication, questionable veracity, unethical author conduct, or plagiarism.
Fast-forward a little more than a decade and that number skyrockets to 72 percent!2 The highest number of incidents of scientific misconduct occurred in the drug literature, where nearly 75 percent of the drug studies retracted between 2000 and 2011 were attributed to misconduct. Gone are the days when bad research was primarily due to honest human error, it seems.
In recent years, a number of individuals have taken it upon themselves to prove just how easily the system can be fooled by fake science. One "sting operation" was concocted by a science journalist at Harvard University who wanted to test how likely it would be for bad research to be published in Open Access journals.
The bogus paper described a simple experiment supposedly showing that lichens can slow cancer cell growth.3 More than half the journals—157 of the 304—accepted the fake paper for publication. The other half rejected it. The result of his "experiment" was published in Sciencemagazine.4
However, traditional pay-for-access journals are not immune to publishing flawed studies. Most are also beholden to drug companies in one way or another. Investigations have repeatedly shown that studies funded by drug companies favor drugs 80 percent of the time.
This makes such conflicts of interest between Big Pharma and medical journals a major hurdle when it comes to upholding scientific excellence. Earlier this year, a study was published that showed nearly ONE MILLION Europeans were killed over a five-year span through the inappropriate prescription of beta blockers for non-cardiac surgery.
The research serving as the basis for this deadly prescription guideline was published in prestigious peer reviewed journals.
It's also important to realize that all research is NOT published. And it should come as no surprise that drug studies funded by a pharmaceutical company that reaches a negative conclusion will rarely ever see the light of day. This is equally, if not more, detrimental to science-based medicine.
But it actually gets worse. The featured article in Slatemagazine,5 headlined "How Gobbledygook Ended Up in Respected Scientific Journals," is an ominous warning of what is happening to the scientific field as a whole.
"In 2005, a group of MIT graduate students decided to goof off in a very MIT graduate student way: they created a program called SCIgen that randomly generated fake scientific papers. Thanks to SCIgen, for the last several years, computer-written gobbledygook has been routinely published in scientific journals and conference proceedings," Slatemagazine reports.
"According toNature News,Cyril Labbé, a French computer scientist, recently informed Springer and the IEEE, two major scientific publishers, that between them, they had published more than 120 algorithmically-generated articles.6
In 2012, Labbé had told the IEEE of another batch of 85 fake articles. He's been playing with SCIgen for a few years—in 2010 a fake researcher he created, Ike Antkare, briefly became the 21st most highly cited scientist in Google Scholar's database."
So, just how many papers containing computer generated nonsense have been published? It appears no one knows. The creators of SCIgen made the program available by free download, and other people, besides its three creators, have been using it, too.7 (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/12/30/fake-scientific-journals.aspx)
Every century that man has been documenting history, we’ve had to re-write many of the tenants we “know” to be true in science. I have found that arguments, “like science doesn’t lie” or “it hasn’t been scientifically proven” or my favorite, “not FDA approved”, is just a person’s way to try and end an argument by stating some “indisputable” fact that “everyone knows”. I’ve found that most of the things that “everybody knows” are usually wrong.
We All Know:
*The US has the best healthcare in the world…
Truth: the US has the most expensive health care in the world.In fact, the US spends more on health care than the next 10 biggest spenders combined: Japan, Germany, France, China, the U.K., Italy, Canada, Brazil, Spain and Australia. If the US health care system was a country, it would be the 6th largest economy on the entire planet. Despite that, the US ranks last in health and mortality when compared with 17 other developed nations.
*FDA approved prescription drugs are safe and supplements are dangerous…
Truth: The FDA approved drugs kill over 100,000 people a year and the unapproved supplements cause 0 deaths in 2010.
So if you find yourself in a heated discussion on any subject with someone who keeps throwing in all of these “everybody knows” arguments, save yourself a lot of frustration and change the subject to the weather or movie gossip. You can’t enlighten someone who “knows” they have all the right answers but never bothered to really look into it.
We will be open our normal office hours this month. No President’s Day closure for us!