The Trouble with Science

Science is the new religion. And the new heretics are those who don’t hew to the accepted scientific dogma. It’s becoming more and more apparent, to folks who still insist on thinking for themselves, that establishment science isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And now we even have the gatekeepers of contemporary science dogma — Editors of esteemed scientific journals –casting serious doubt on the veracity of what is published in their magazines. The implications of this go far beyond raw milk, or even vaccination, for that matter:

From Jon Rappoport:

“One: Richard Horton, editor-in-chief, The Lancet, in The Lancet, 11 April, 2015, Vol 385,“Offline: What is medicine’s 5 sigma?”:

“The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness…

“The apparent endemicity of bad research behaviour is alarming. In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world. Or they retrofit hypotheses to fit their data. Journal editors deserve their fair share of criticism too. We aid and abet the worst behaviours. Our acquiescence to the impact factor fuels an unhealthy competition to win a place in a select few journals. Our love of ‘significance’ pollutes the literature with many a statistical fairy-tale…Journals are not the only miscreants. Universities are in a perpetual struggle for money and talent…”

Two: Marcia Angell, former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine, in the NY Review of Books, January 15, 2009, “Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption”:

“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. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”

Three: John PA Ioannidis, Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, University of Ioannina School of Medicine, Ioannina, Greece, and Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies, Department of Medicine, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, in PLoS Medicine, August 30, 2005, “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False”:

“There is increasing concern that most current published research findings [in all scientific fields] are false… a research finding is less likely to be true when the studies conducted in a field are smaller; when effect sizes are smaller…when there is greater financial and other interest and prejudice; and when more teams are involved in a scientific field in chase of statistical significance. Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias…There is increasing concern that in modern research, false findings may be the majority or even the vast majority of published research claims. However, this should not be surprising. It can be proven that most claimed research findings are false.”

Four: Back to Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet. In the same editorial quoted above, Horton makes reference to a recent symposium he attended at the Wellcome Trust in London. The subject of the meeting was the reliability of published biomedical research. His following quote carries additional force because he and other attendees were told to obey Chatham House rules—meaning no one would reveal who made any given comment during the conference.

Horton: “‘A lot of what is published is incorrect.’ I’m not allowed to say who made this remark [at the conference] because we were asked to observe Chatham House rules. We were also asked not to take photographs of slides. Those who worked for government agencies pleaded that their comments especially remain unquoted, since the forthcoming UK election meant they were living in ‘purdah’—a chilling state where severe restrictions on freedom of speech are placed on anyone on the government’s payroll. Why the paranoid concern for secrecy and non-attribution? Because this symposium—on the reproducibility and reliability of biomedical research, held at the Wellcome Trust in London last week—touched on one of the most sensitive issues in science today: the idea that something has gone fundamentally wrong with one of our greatest human creations [biomedical science]”….”

More on Jon Rappoport’s blog

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