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22 Comments

    1. “Some of these crooks, er “Scientists”, are up to 90 retractions.”

      And can you guess how these crooks were found out?

      Peer Review.

      It’s not infallible. It’s not always on the right track, such as when it ignores useful work and findings.

      But overall, it works well, and more than that, it is itself subject to Peer Review.

      “How uninteresting. Peer review is so irrelevant”

      And yet you cite *Retraction Watch*, which is now a public part of Peer Review.

      1. starvinglion’s trolling is part of a general attack on science.  He doesn’t have to be consistent to be effective.  Discrediting truth removes its constraints from those who wish to exercise power.  That is what the anti-science trolls are all about.

        1. EP, It might be a bit of a stretch to say the lion is effective, especially here; consistent yes. I often wonder if I were starving, would it make me bitter? But since I’m not starving, I tend to not dwell on it. Also I can’t quite see how bitterness leads to a path of nourishment, unless trolling is a paid endeavor. mjd.

      2. Retraction Watch only catches a tiny percentage of the fraud. Peer review is simply an appeal to authority which does not work well. >50% of the papers in *top* peer reviewed journals are rubbish.

        But of course if I make this simple point, I am accused of being anti-scientific.

        1. What is your source for your 50% claim?  Has it passed peer review?

          Our “skeptics” would be far more useful if they were right so much as 50% of the time.  Sturgeon’s Law is a better rule of thumb for them.

        2. @starvinglion : In some context, especially climate change, peer review has indeed been a bit improperly used. There’s a lot of “peer reviewed” science that’s actually completely false.

          But the correct understanding of this is that the threshold to get peer reviewed is so low, that there’s no reason to waste one’s time looking at something that couldn’t even get published in a peer reviewed journal.

          It’s not, and it should never have been described like that, that the conclusion of studies that appeared in a peer reviewed publication should be unconditionally trusted.

          1. There’s a lot of “peer reviewed” science that’s actually completely false.

            @jmdesp

            Peer review is more about maintaining standards than it is about authorizing results. If work is very prospective, and has weak foundations, it may still be published (if it has relevance to a particular field and can serve as a basis for engagement, discussion and subsequent new findings). Asking questions is just as important as obtaining results in many fields of science and knowledge. And lots of research becomes outdated with time, or subsequent research (this is the norm, not the exception).

            At a minimum, while journals run the gambit with respect to quality, peer review should be moderately successful at minimizing glaring errors or oversights related to problem formation, assumptions, data analysis, and summary of results (pertaining to original question). This typically isn’t that complicated to assess (even for casual readers). A more typical problem (as I have seen) is applying results from research incorrectly (particularly those who are unfamiliar with academic practices, standards for publications, peer review, etc.).

            In general, if you’re looking for absolutes in the peer reviewed literature (what is true and what is not), I would say you’re looking in the wrong place. And you may not be keyed in to the open-ended and critical nature of science (rooted in basic methods), and that most people are working on exceedingly narrow and small concerns (large thinkers are few and far in between).

            For those who may be critical of peer review … do you have any alternatives to suggest that you think might lead to a better or more reliable result?

    1. @Bob Applebaum

      It’s so nice to have you back in the slander saddle. Before dismissing this work by people with real credentials and professional accomplishment in field related to understanding the actual effects of radiation on human beings, would you care to disclose your own education and funding sources for the audience.

      Alternatively, would you like me to have the honors?

  1. Sorry, it’s not slander to recognize that science is about submitting research to peer reviewed journals. Scientific consensus bodies are established to perform meta-analyses of those studies. The consensus bodies distribute their finding to peer review prior to publication.

    This scientific methodology is important to ensure mistakes and biases are weeded out. Honest, objective scientists respect the methodology.

    Shortcutting the scientific method by forming a website is narcissistic, intellectually cowardly and unethical.

    The dishonor is yours and theirs.

    1. Rod: “… would you care to disclose your own education and funding sources for the audience?”

      Rod – I’d say that’s a definite no.

      Applebaum: “Shortcutting the scientific method by forming a website is narcissistic, intellectually cowardly and unethical.”

      Bob – You don’t say.

      1. No, Real Climate is in accords with the scientific consensus (IPCC for one). The hormesis cult not.

        1. @Applebaum

          Truth is not subject to a vote or to consensus agreement. Both voting and consensus are manipulable by people with money and power. Reality isn’t.

          Check the publication records of people like Weiner, Fienendegen and Cuttler before you dismiss their effort to directly inform the public without going through the Neal Nelson-controlled BEIR committees.

  2. Rod – Thanks for this! The Radiation Effects site has many PDFs of its posts, and is just what I need to help a young friend with his Science Fair project.

  3. I just forwarded the link for the “Twenty Tips for Interpreting Scientific Claims” to my son’s science teacher. The document may be aimed at politicos, but I have rarely, if ever, seen such a concise list of the ways that scientific claims can go wrong. With a little rewording, to be more understandable by middle schoolers, that list would be a great resource when teaching the philosophy of the scientific method.

    Actually, the advice to make it understandable by middle schoolers is probably good advice for the authors and the SARI. The document is meant to be read by politicians, after all. You should not assume that they have a better than middle school understanding of science.

  4. What’s astounding to me are the parallels which can be drawn between radiation and nutrition when it comes to abysmal science ruling the day.

    http://vimeo.com/45485034

    Pretty much an identical story as radiation.

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