Monday, September 17, 2007

Most Science Studies Appear To Be Tainted

About a year ago I was writing in this blog about the fact that we can not always trust what science says just because it is science. People put blind faith in "science", never questioning what they read or what they see on TV or what they are taught. The problem is science is done by people (scientists are people), and people are not perfect.

Last Friday's issue (September 14, 2007) of the Wall Street Journal had an article called "Most Science Studies Appear To Be Tainted By Sloppy Analysis." The opening paragraph states:

"We all make mistakes and, if you believe medical scholar John Ioannidis, scientists make more than their fair share. By his calculations, most published research findings are wrong."

Two paragraphs later the article explains:

"These flawed findings, for the most part, stem not from fraud or formal misconduct, but from more mundane misbehavior: miscalculation, poor study design or self-serving data analysis."

I'm not saying that all science is bad. I love science. I have an engineering degree and science is the foundation of engineering. There is a lot of good science being done and a lot of problems also. But as flawed as it may be, we need to trust science just to live our everyday lives. But when it comes to something as important as what happens to you after you die, don't blindly trust science, ask questions about what you are hearing and reading.

When someone says a fossil is 65 millions years old, find out why they said that. What evidence do they have and how reliable is that evidence? (The methods for dating fossils are full of holes.)

When someone claims to have found a missing link, find out why they claim that. What is the basis of their claim and how well does is stand up to the test of time? (Many "missing links" have been found, none have stood the test of time.)

When someone says evolution is true, ask "Why do you say that?" Then look at the evidence they claim. There has been no scientific evidence that supports evolution. There is over $250,000 in "prize" money available to anyone who can present evidence proving evolution. The money goes unclaimed.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be careful not to ask any questions here because that didn't work out so well the last time, but I just want to comment on a few things:

1 - you say People put blind faith in "science", never questioning what they read or what they see on TV or what they are taught. Anyone can see that the problem here is not science as such, but people who believe teachings and TV with 'blind faith'.

I doubt that you are familiar with the scientific process, because blind faith and belief do not come into it. The whole point is that any conclusion must be supported by data that can be reproduced. This allows people to dispute the conclusions reached in the study.

2 - Both the study reference in this post, and the one referenced in your earlier post are based on medical studies. You have extrapolated their findings in a way that is not supportable. i.e. you say that most medical studies are flawed therefore all studies are equally flawed and should not be believed.

The article talks about sloppy analysis, I'd suggest that you are guilty of some sloppiness too, making the jump from medical studies to all studies. I notice you didn't say 'many medical studies are flawed, so be careful about which medicines you take'. In my opinion that would be a supportable conclusion to reach, and also one which showed that you had some consideration for people's wellbeing.

However, you extrapolated the finding of one study and used it as an argument for one of your personal beliefs. It struck me when I read the article that this is very similar to the behaviour that leads to bad conclusions that you are talking about in the first place.

Finally: the $250000 prize that you mention in passing drew some attention when it was announced, but inspection of the 'fine print' showed that it was a classic case of a straw man argument.

Hovind, who offered the prize, declared bankruptcy in 96, and was convicted of federal charges last year, including tax-evasion. The question of whether he could actually pay up is a good one. I encourage you to read a critique of his prize offer here -->

Some of the more interesting things he has said:

-- Environmentalism and income taxes, are designed to destroy the United States and bring it under Communism.

-- Low cholesterol and its link to infertility. Keep in mind the big picture. Satan hates God. And Satan and God have been at war for 6,000 years. God's plan is fill the world with kids. [...] Satan, of course, wants the opposite. He wants to reduce the world's population to zero as soon as possible. And so Satan is going to work towards reduction of the population and lowering cholesterol is good way of doing that.

If you like these then there's lots more at

I hope that you use the arguments of a convicted criminal and an obvious crackpot to back up your point simply because you didn't know who/what he is.

If in fact you did know, but still think he is a man whose lead is worth following, then I can only hope that people who listen to you don't get similarly tainted guidance.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007 7:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Turns out this guy Hovind had his own regular radio show, here are some more gems:

This guy comes home from work, "Hi Honey, what's for supper?" "Whatever you're fixing." You know, she just got back from one of those meetings, those femi-nazi meetings. He said, "Honey, the house is kind of a mess, have you been busy today?" She said, "If you don't like it you clean it up." This went on for ten minutes. And finally he said, "How would you like to not see me for a week?" She said, "That would be fine with me." And sure enough on the the seventh day her left eye started to open just a little bit. [laughter]
Truth Radio 15 June 2006 @ 18:00 (Tape 2)

When women don't understand that men have this [sex] drive. It causes great frustration in marriages and relationships because, you know, women just don't understand - and men do of course. If you have an understanding wife who says, "Honey, this is something God gave to you and my job is to be your wife and fulfil your needs [.....]"
Source: Truth Radio 1 January 2004 @ 31:55

I've been to Costa Rica [....] absolutely gorgeous country. Most of the people are a bunch of thieves down there. You've got to lock everything up because they will steal you blind.
Source: Truth Radio 29 August 2003 @ 19:30

...... for those who say, "God is cruel by killing the infants of Sodom and Gomorrah," let's follow this through now. Suppose that God knows that city [sic] is full of diseases - including the children - because of their just horrible practices with all sorts of things they were doing. Incest and homosexuality and things filled that society with diseases. God's people are going to move into this area. God says, "I want you to kill the whole population for their own good and for your good so this disease is wiped out off the Earth." Then the guy is a smart god to command the execution. It's like me pulling weeds out of my flower garden.
Source: Presentation at University of West Florida @1:59:55 [August 2003]

Those are some serious issues :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007 8:05:00 PM  
Blogger BrickBalloon said...

1. Right! So why do you refuse to question what you've been taught, have read and have seen on TV? I've only suggested you ask one (the why question) of the six basic questions (how, what, where, who, when and why) and you have rejected that.

2> Please re-read the Wall Street Journal article, starting with the title of the article. Make a note of how many scientific papers have been identified has having problems (thousands), how many research claims were analyzed in the recently published study (432), and whether Dr. Ioannidis has published other studies with similar findings (he has). Then carefully re-read the post. Then tell everyone what is stated about scientinfic research in the post that is not stated in the article.

Or is it that you have a problem with my telling people to not blindly trust science when it comes to the ultimate important questions, did God create us as He states in the Bible and what happens after you die? Because if God created us and the universe, as described in the Bible, then He has the right to make the rules, and when you die you will face judgment based on God's standards (the Ten Commandments for example, summarizes those standards).

Finally: Have you gone to the source document for information, or are you relying on what other people have written? I'll give you a little more time on this one before I comment.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007 7:41:00 PM  
Blogger BrickBalloon said...

Have you read the original source material for the $250,000 offer? Since you do not like using anything other than material that is directly on the same topic as being discussed, I wonder why you brought up Dr. Hovind's legal problems. If you've read the offer you'll see that it is funded by a third party. Whether Dr. Hovind filed for bankrupcy in the past has no bearing at all on the offer.

You spend all you time attacking the character of Dr. Hovind, without once examining the offer. Why? Don't you care about the facts?

The $250,000 offer is impossible to win, because it is impossible for anyone to present the evidence necessary to earn this award. This is even stated in the description of the offer.

The point of the offer is to demonstrate that evolution is a faith, not a science. There is no empirical evidence (scientific proof) for evolution because you can not scientifically test history. Science requires repeatable experiments. You can not do experiments on history... it is out of reach.

That makes belief in evolution a faith.

All anyone can do is look at the evidence, and determine which model, evolution or creation--best fits the evidence. But neither can be empirically proven.

So why mention it in my blog post? Because evolution continues to be pushed on us as being a scientific fact, and this is not true. The $250,000 offer clearly demonstrates that.

Friday, September 21, 2007 8:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The $250,000 offer is impossible to win, because it is impossible for anyone to present the evidence necessary to earn this award. This is even stated in the description of the offer.

Do you see the circular reasoning? Even as I ask I know that you do not. By any reasonable standard of thinking there's little depth to what you say.

Which I guess is why you keep coming back to faith - if you could just get enough people to simply 'believe' what you say then it would actually mean something. But I don't think you're ever going to reach people who can think for themselves.

Monday, September 24, 2007 7:11:00 PM  

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