Dr. Strangelove’s Secret Bacon Butty Weapon.

Those harbingers of misery, the clinical research laboratory technicians or “scientists” as they like to style themselves, The Dr. Stranglove’s of medical science are busy peddling their misinformation and disinformation, or “research results” as they like to call it, again. Having kept up their 100% record for talking utter arse dribble last month with warnings on hazardous drinking (actually moderate alcohol consumption which is good for us) and how even thinking about having a cheese sandwich increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer by ninety nine million percent, they are now directing their attention towards our bacon butties. Is no British institution safe from these people as they target our dietary habits.

Their five year mission (sorry, scrub that – I wouldn’t want to give the impression these people are sad obsessive geeks who spend all their time in laboratories molesting small furry animals and get together once a year to celebrate Mr. Spock’s birthday) their mission as they see it is to make everyone live forever. Their approach is to make life so boring we will not live forever but it will seem as if we have. If we heeded the warnings, everything that makes eating pleasurable would have been removed from our tables by now.

The problem with the Government’s letting these nerds off the leash is that because the warnings are general rather than selective, nobody takes any notice. We all know that what is going on is the manufacture by a government intent on privatising the National Health Service, of excuses for denying people treatment in publicly funded hospitals. Unfortunately due to this and to the ineptitude of civil servants in all aspects of PR, the warnings are going unheeded by the people who need to heed them. Instead of mumbling about obesity and the discredited Body Mass Index ( BMI – this is the method of measuring obesity that showed Lynford Christie and Lennox Lewis at the height of their careers were both clinically obese – yeah, right.) why not show pictures of a hugely overweight couple and their overweight kids and caption it “Mr & Mrs Too Fat To Wipe and their family.” That would bang the message home. Forget the effing Body Mass Index, check the mirror. Love handles are OK, saddle bags are a no – no.

The Strangelove boys will never get their heads round such effective ways of communicating, quite simply they cannot communicate with organisms more complex than lab rats. The idea that human beings are all individuals who think for ourselves and make our own decisions is beyond their understanding. And we understand that we all die of something and the choices we make may effect that.

But if the choice is between a couple of years extra tagged on to the incontinent, demented, non – ambulatory end of our lives or a tasty breakfast now, bring on the bacon butties.

No doubt the dull witted denizens of the Bad Science forum, followers of thick – boy science guru Ben Goldacre will be anxious to remind me that as I am not a scientist I cannot understand these things and merely react emotionally to the hysterical misrepresentations of the media. Well as usual I looked up the reports and they are written to give the impression that eating red meat three or more times a week is a critical factor in the development of intestinal cancers. The statistics used in the report however show that if there is any critical factor it is simply old age.

The key to writing these reports is to use language with such precision they cannot be spun. A high level of red meat and particularly processed meats in the diet, combined with other lifestyle and environmental factors may contribute to the development of certain cancers. There is a science to language you see. Unfortunately scientifically precise language is never going to be sensational and hysterical enough to attract any big fat research grants, which is the real purpose of all these reports.

Before I move on to politics, economics and corporate fascism, kudos to the guys who won the Nobel Physics prize this year for their work on giant magneto resistance. Absolutely fascinating stuff, bordering on the mystical in fact, and an evolution from a technology I helped develop during my career. Got that Bad Science Forum thick – boys. Science is a big church, we all have our specialities and only those who are wannabees would refer to themselves with characteristic lack of precision as “scientists.”

Colon Cancer Set To Increase say scientists

23 thoughts on “Dr. Strangelove’s Secret Bacon Butty Weapon.

  1. I will be giving up eating altogether as it obviously isn’t good for me.

    I am also concerned about dying of natural causes. Too many people are dying from natural causes and there seems to be no research being carried out on this.

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  2. I thought this was hilarious…especially as someone who lives on red meat, potatoes and er, quite alot of chocolate (hmm, like didn’t we evolve eating meat and er vegetation?) and takes huge amounts of abuse for having the supposedly socially desireable figure I now feel justified. I’m going to die early missing out on all that awful end of life stuff. Oh and I get to continue to be abused for being thin in the interim. Ain’t life grand. Bring on the bacon!!!

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  3. When you were reading the reports did you too spot the flaw in the way the story has been reported by the media? That the actual harmful components are the nitrates and other preservatives added during the process, and that it is not actually the meat which is harmful.
    This is why your grandparents were able to survive on a diet of bacon and beef with no ill effects – the harmful additions are the result of western demands for off the shelf goods. Were you to import your pig based goods from a farmer in Brussels then there would be no harmful effects.
    Furthermore the risk in the story was vastly overhyped as was discussed in the comment is free section of the Guardian.
    In short, the scientists on the bad science forum seem to agree that this story was a piece of crap and view it in the same light as you have done. This story is not Science and is poor Journalism that contributes to the visceral hatred of scientists in society and that you so clearly show in this article.

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    1. As we buy all our meats from the organic butcher in Downham I could not possibly comment.

      The flaw however was not in the way the findings were reported but in the way they were presented.

      “Visceral hatred of scientists” is a ridiculoous notion. I despise boy – scientists, immature young men who think that styling themseloves “scientists” places them above criticism. And I have a very low opinion of the R&D side of medicine to which most followers of the Bad Science Forum seem to belong.

      But in my caeers I had the privilege to work with some brilliant scientists; physicists, chemists, mathematicians, logicinans, engineers and statisticians.

      The reasons I and so many others go for the throats of the clinical reseach community are:
      The way they have hijacked the word scientists.
      The fact that they do not truly understand what a science is.
      The sloppy standards in the way information is presented.

      Had I or any of my former colleagues presented the toxic bacon project there would have ben no possibility of misrepresentation. It would have been quite clearly and unmisakably a denunciation of the food processing industry.

      But of course the big players in food processing are part of the big pharma conglomerates who fund so much clinical research.

      So if you Bad Science boys want people to stop attacking you, you must:
      Learn to read properly
      Develop a sense of humour
      Stop adopting such a patronising tone when “revealing” to your elders and betters stuff we have known for decades.
      Summon up enough integrity to bite the hands that feed you.

      Incidentally you are wrong. It is not the nitrates that do the damage though they don’t help, but too much meat and not enough fibre. Our grandparents ate much less meat (red or white) than most of us do, and filled up on potates, roots, pulses and grains and leaf vegetables.

      If you want to argue with me, do try to get the simple things right.

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  4. I agree, the guts of a human are not really evolved to eat large quantities of meat, unlike true carnivores. The villi in the human bowel protrude more and slow the passage of meat, to the point where it can actually decay rather than digest. It is likely to be this that releases carcinogens.

    There’s some highly emotive accusations in there though Ian, a lot of statements, which in themselves are not persuasive. Almost too many to quote. Why do you think your age qualifies you to say what science truly is?

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    1. I don’t think age qualifies us to do anything except die eventually. Its the emotional and intellectual immaturity of the boy – scientists that makes winding them up so rewarding.
      It is not necessary for these people to say they believe science is God for it to become clear that is the case.

      Why do I wind them up? Because some time ago when I asked quite simply why the medical establishment shouts down any attempt to open a sensible debate on the issue of a link between autism, these boys ganged up on me, yelling in unison about Wakefield’s failed research (which I had not mentioned) when in fact that is only a side issue.
      The boy scientists then tried to patronise me by saying that I “cannot understand scientific methodology” because I am “not as scientist.” Which only proved they don’t really know what science means. Or anything about me.

      Of course my age and the rather elitist education I had did give me a deep understanding of the English language. Thus I am equipped to instantly spot that the boy scientists are not very adept at expressing themselves in clear and precise terms. Pretty much an essential skill for scientists I would say.

      You mention emotive accusations. Yes, emotive is what I do. Like the other supporters of the boy scientist tendency who visit, you fail to understand this is a popular and populist blog written to appeal to its broad audience. Why to you all give the impression that you feel I am breaking the rules by ridiculing the follies of scientists in populist terms. Why should I effect an attitude of intellectual detachment to suit my targets. Why do scientists always seek to dicate the terms of the debate?

      But I only ridicule those who style themselves “scientists” when their main talent lies in a preternatural ability to state the obvious. The real scientists who pursue worthwhile projects, those seeking ways to combat climate change of otain energy from non polluting sources I am always ready to praise.

      Now you know my terms for debate here, if you want to debate please continue. But comments will only remain on the Little Nicky Machiavelli platform if they can be understood by recreational readers. It is not a scientific blog or forum.
      My blog, My Rules.

      best,
      Ian

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  5. I see, so this is mainly a way of letting off steam and righting the injustice of being ganged up on by a bunch of boys?

    Debate is such an ugly word, at least it has become so. The internet is a marvellous thing, but sometimes it seems that anything termed a “debate” in an online context is little more than spleen venting. I have no wish to “debate” with anybody.

    I think I can see where the animosity springs from, but nobody likes to be told their chosen field is an open pitch for any Tom, Dick or Harry to play upon. They say scientists make poor communicators – it is often so. Do those skilled in communicating make poor scientists? Not necessarily, but defining someone’s profession for them is sure to raise hackles. A tricky issue, however. I agree that those who practice science have a duty to inform others in a non-patronising way. In turn, we have a duty to try to understand what we are hearing, and not belittle the skills of those who would inform us.

    As far as I am aware, the autism debate has raged for several years, and the matter is all but closed (why I have the spontaneous urge to duck at this moment, I cannot say).

    Most scientists tend not to give a damn about so called Philosophy of Science, and get on with the practical side of things. All considered, this is for the best. I’m not sure I know what you mean about anyone assuming science is “God.” It is generally understood that all knowledge is inferred, not absolute, and there is much that science will not be able to touch.

    But then, I’m am not the practical kind of person that makes a good scientist, and I do dabble in ideals and philosophies.

    It worries me to see cardboard cut-outs of science being set up to be knocked down. I have no particular issue with emotive quips in particular, I just could not understand what impact these were supposed to have on the diffuse and multifarious body that is science in this modern age? Perhaps more about what science IS, rather than is not, would be enlightening. All these negatives are like punches thrown at the empty air.

    Still, this is indeed your blog, and as I said, I am not here to argue. I wish you the very best,
    GD

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    1. Ah, you’re not one of them. I should explain then that my anti – “scientists” posts here refer to “scientists” or boy-scientists and not scientists in general. A subtle distinction maybe, but important.

      It all stems from an orginginal post in which I raised the question of the MMR / Autism issue and the way the medical establisment try to quash all discussion. I made particular reference to someone who, under the name Ben Goldacre who writes the Bad Science column in The Guardian. In this, as well as setting himself up as a debunker of “Bad Science” (mostly transparent cons that have been around for years) he returns to the autism / MMR issue every time it hits the news, dismissing the people who are asking very reasonable questions as superstitious and victims of association fallacy.

      When I raised the question of Autism / MMR instead of posting a reasoned argument Goldacre (using another false name) loftily told me I should be aware that the latin phrase “post hoc ergo propter hoc” (before therefore because of) is the foundation of most fallacious thinking.

      Now it a long time since I learned Latin but I would say that what he was groping for was “post hoc non ergo propter hoc.” (after, not therefore because of) is a caveat againt jumping to conclusions.

      But had he not jumped to the conclusion that I was “not a scientist” because I questioned something he thought was proven beyond all doubt? And did he not also jump to a dangerous conclusion in asuming that a non scientist could not understand what he described as “the basis of scientific enquiry.” (I’m sure my former colleagues in the nuclear energy agencies and the computer industry would be surprised to hear that)To make much sense, Goldacre’s key phrase needs to be stated in English as “correlation does not necessarily prove causation.” Prove is the important word. When an event occurs after anothr there is no reason to suppose it is significant. When the two things repeatedly happen consequentially it is reasonable to ask if they are linked.

      Then of course there is the question of not confusing correlation with cause and effect. Its all too much for boy – scientists like young Ben so he just takes refuge in technical jargon and starts sneering at his critics.

      “Science is God” is a reference to Goldacre’s repeated assertions (inspired by an imperfect understanding of Dawkins I guess) that religious faith is superstition and any suggestion that there are still mysteries we are nowhere near solving are just “magical thinking.” He cannot see that his devotion to science, whatever science is in his mind, is as irrational as that of a religious fundamentalist to the dogmas of their faith. I feel Dawkins fails to make clear that he is writing about fundamentalist faith.
      I am not religious but do acknowledge the power of belief as self belief (OK, some would say arrogance) steered me back to a good quality of life after a brain haemorrhage that Doctors initially thought would leave me in a near vegetative state. I did learn from talking to very good medical scientists about my recovery which they describe as quite remarkable, that neurologists and related disciplines are coming to understand the human mind is the greatest unsolved mystery in our civilisation.

      I know the boys at the Bad Science Forum watch me to see what I am saying about them so my more immoderate posts are for their benefit and the amusement of my friends.

      BTW its a pleasure to come across somebody who appreciates the philosophical aspect of scientific enqiry. I reciprocate your good wishes and hope you understand now that I refer to “scientists” or boy-scientists to indicate I am not including in my criticism the many competent, dedicated and non – egomaniacal people whose work is in applying the various scientific disciplines.

      Best regards,
      Ian Thorpe

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  6. Ian,

    I have a passing familiarity with most of what you have spoken about. Not with ancient Latin, but I have encountered the terms used for those types of logical fallacy before. Looking them up again, to be certain, first on Encylopedia Britanica then Wikipedia (as I don’t have full access to EB) I noticed that, on this matter at least, Ben Goldacre appears not to have been groping. Post hoc ergo proptor hoc (essentially, what follows is caused by what comes before) is the term used when this logic is applied in error. That seems rather back-to-front, actually, but there we have it.

    The autism debate has passed in the background for me – as I understand it, the age of onset does happen to be at a similar age to when a child is typically vaccinated, making straightforward correlation hard to analyse. I assume the debate gets a good deal more complex than this, but on that matter at least, it would seem no conclusion can be drawn.

    As for Ben Goldacre, well, I’ve read his articles. I tend to check the BBC, the Guardian and the Times for news (not a complete cross-section, I know) so I’ve obviously come across him. I actually wrote him an e-mail once, to question some minor point he made, and his reply, though brief, was not particularly discourteous. Indeed, he directed me to some rather difficult scientific literature, without a hint that he would consider it above my abilities as a lay-person.

    One of my personal interests is in people who are making an effort to bring science closer to the public understanding, and make an effort to counterbalance its misrepresentation in the media. For this reason, I am an enthusiast of Feynman, Sagan, and more recently Dawkins, whom you mention. His science writing is fabulous, and the lecture he gave as part of the TED Talks series (available on-line), entitled “Queerer Than We Can Suppose” is absolutely inspiring. There is a scientist who understands the vast implications of the human quest for knowledge (and it’s limits, and some inkling of what lies beyond).

    I would have to disagree with you, about your contention that Dawkins only means to criticise fundamentalist faith. Truth be told, he is rather harsh towards religious faith in general, suggesting that even moderate faith is the slippery slope that leads to irrationality and extremism, to gullibility and “magical thinking.” This is one area I where I do not entirely approve of Dawkin’s take on things – as I am prepared to accept that a modest religious faith, held with a certain degree of willingness to re-examine one’s position, is probably harmless and even beneficial on a personal level.

    His latest documentaries, “The Enemies of Reason,” extend his efforts to overcome general misconceptions about the scientific quest for knowledge beyond religion and into other areas where less than rational attitudes are commonplace. There are some parallels between Dawkins and what Badscience seems to be about – the most notable being a shared incredulousness for homeopathy.

    As I say, I am but an interested lay-person, and I do not share your personal reasons for feeling embattled by any of these parties. I can only assume some past tragedy has left you with powerful emotions concerning the autism issue?

    Thank you for explaining the distinction you make between different kinds of attitudes to science – as a visitor to your site it was not immediately obvious and at first I was concerned by this apparent aggression toward scientific endeavour, which , so far as I am able to tell, is responsible for much that is admirable about this modern world and has played no small part in the humanising of our society, the transition from the once cloistered authority of feudal religious rule.

    I still worry that other casual readers of your blog may not immediately discern the subtle distinction you are making, and leave with an inappropriately negative sense of science in general.

    But you have been engaging and courteous with me, and made an effort to clear up that misunderstanding, so I am not overly concerned.

    Best regards,
    GD

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    1. As you say, the Wikipedia translation is rather garbled and an example od sloppy thinking as what follows is often caused by what happened before. Its a question of deciding what, of the many things that happen before an event, is connected.
      Fred, in the stand, bit into his pie and Rooney hammered the ball into the net. Obviously these events are not connected.
      Giggs passed the ball to Rooney, Rooney hammered it into the back of the net. This is an example of connected events.

      Anyone who learned programming in the 1970s when it was about logic rather than skills at cutting and pasting is very familiar with that kind of distinction.

      But as a couple of others have suggested I might be giving the wrong impression of my attitude to the sciences, I’ll write a post setting out exactly where I stand and showing that historically at least, interest in the arts or humanities and science are not mutually exclusive. It will also show why the narrow view of science promoted by the Ben Goldacre school of thought has resulted in us having a surfeit of graphic design and media studies grads and a shortage of engineers.

      best,
      Ian

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  7. I very much doubt that Ben has ever even read this blog let alone posted on it, his site is not hosted on blog.co.uk, but is instead hosted on a dedicated server to handle the thousands of hits per day. He is also not the sort to use ‘other names’.

    Let me get this straight, a boy scientist is somebody who tells you that you can’t understand a scientific report? One person did this (who may not even have been a professional scientist or have any experience in the field) but you write off 95% of biomedical researchers as morons, nice.

    There were a lot of people who came to your site after you posted in the guardian debate, some of them attempted to engage in a debate and try to persuade you, others were pratt’s, you get this everywhere on the internet. I think it is unfair to claim that every reader of Goldacres site is intellectually and emotionally imature because a lot of people followed a link from comment is free (which Ben doesn’t even post in – he only posts on Badscience!)

    regarding communication; it is incredibly difficult to convey 15 years of intense study to someone whose familiarity with biological science ended with a CSE 25 years ago (this is in regards to the public at large rather than you specifically). In my field there are a good deal of facets, caveats and a huge amount of accumulated knowledge which is necessary to even begin to discuss some of the simplest priciples involved, how can you even begin to communicate that to someone who barely cares in less than 5 minutes?
    Scientists are frequently excellent communicators, but in technical matters we are barely speaking the same language. As Terry Pratchett said, a language which evolved to talk about where the best fruit and berries are found is ill equipped to discuss the motions and effects of subatomic particles.

    The public refuse to accept ‘because we told you so’ (and rightly so) but simmilarly refuse to spend the time doing the background research to find out why, they want a quick easy to understand answer which is true and will never be changed. Science doesn’t work like this.

    I have for a long time been apalled at the refusal of the public to accept evidence no matter how well scientists explain it.
    Cancer clusters are one of the most often discussed examples, the public will frequently refuse to accept anything that statisticans tell them, choosing to believe gut instinct over science.
    Mobile phone masts are an emotive example of this; extensive well conducted studies confirm that there is no effect yet joe public knows better… 10 people get cancer in 5 years since a mast was installed, they are 10 different types of cancer, 6 of them were in their 80’s, 2 have previously been in remission 4 of them were heavy smokers. Hopefully you can see that there is not a real correlation between these people but the daily mail and its ilk whip it up into a huge story….Mast of death kills war hero… etc.

    The same thing basically happened with the Autism link, the overwhelming proponderence of evidence against a link means that most scientists (including BG) have got bored of it, many of us see little point in continuing to debate with people what has been established to a near certainty.

    In effect we as scientists have become cynical on this issue, believing that anybody who is not convinced is never going to be convinced and the best thing is to ignore those that continue to talk about it. The last time BG wrote about this was in regards to a scare story in the Observer which was found to be so innacurate that it was withdrawn.

    There are no reasonable questions left regarding the link, all that is left are a lot of tragic stories of children developing autism – yes this is harrowing, yes science doesn’t know why, but no, it has nothing to do with MMR, and continuing to spend money researching a link which does not exist is futile to the point that it is detracting from research into understanding and curing Autism.

    You mentioned industrial funding as an issue you have with scientists, it is one that scientists also take very seriously. David Colquhoun (professor of Pharmacology and a FRS – surely a scientist worthy of some respect) writes about this in his blog. http://dcscience.net/?p=193 . ‘Good’ scientists are all too happy to bite the hand that feeds, many of us (myself included) have turned down industrial funding simply to avoid being tarred with the same brush.
    It is the result of Tony Blairs insistance on Universities seeking industrial backing for projects that is partly to blame for all this, if we can’t get government grants then scientists are forced to find industrial sponsers. Indeed had Wakefield been more ready to bite the hand that feeds the entire Autism / MMR link would never have happened.

    Another side to this is that a Scientist could develop a drug to cure cancer but testing and other costs of bringing it to market are way beyond what a university can afford, once again it is necessary to turn to industry to actually cure the people of cancer.

    Final points:
    I wish that you would learn to recognise in others posts language devices you emply in yours, Of course I know about the food in the past, I have an excellent sense of humour and had great fun when you got so upset about being called a eugenicist – in both cases I was exagerating for the sake of making a point.

    I have read everything just fine thanks, I might occasionally do as you seem to do and intentionally mis-interpret what you write for fun…

    with respect to this bacon paper the fault lies with the press rep who translated a scientific paper into a press release for media consumption. Scientific journals are intended for other scientists – not lay people. This is not to say that a non-scientist couldn’t or shoudn’t read them (I would be delighted if non-scientists were reading my papers) but they may well struggle or mis-intepret the paper as the reader will not have the accumulated knowledege etc. This is a huge problem and is the cause of a considerable degree of tension between science and the public. A scientist might discover one thing but a press officer wants to grab headlines and turns it into something else, the reporter has no scientific training and publishes the press release without reading it.
    Scientists are trained (and paid by the tax payer) to think deeply about the mysteries of the universe, not to write press releases. If you would rather scientists were chosen not on their ability to do science but on their ability to write headline grabbing press relases….

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  8. Gotcha.

    Its little things that give people away William.

    But I wonder why would the Bad Science site need a dedicated server to handle thousands of hits per day. An entry level server (around £60 to 70 per month) would handle millions of hits an hour.

    The bottleneck is the communications interface and even so, an 8Mb/sec link running at around 60% capacity (on average the best that can really be hoped for on copper unless you are next door to the exchange) would deliver around 5 million page impressions (average based on typical loadings on UK servers, actual depends on page sizes) per day for a site that is mainly text and still images. Those calculation cannot not take account of variable conditions on the web so those figures are designed to give an indication of capacity only.

    Science is a big tent. I know you boys are all a tad obsessive but you should realise there are many fields each with their own areas of expertise.

    Actually I thought it was philosophers who thought deeply about the mysteries of the Universe. Astrophysicists study the nature of stars and astrologers study their bank balances.

    Back to your clinical research my lad and if you have any contact with Goldacre tell him not to stray into areas he does not understand, like WiFi networks; and to try and understand there is a world of difference between scientific evidence obtained under CONTROLLED conditions and stuff that happens in the real world.
    Homeopathy works, I have no idea how, but ALL the people who swear by it are not deluded, superstitious fools so their testimony IS evidence.

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  9. Gotcha what? you looked like you were on the verge of demonstrating a rational understanding of the world so I made one long post, compare that to the number (and length) you made crying about being a eugenicist.

    Or is it that you figured out that I’m a scientist, its not like I covered it up, in that last post there were hardly ‘little’ things to give me away so much as huge arrows.

    I have no idea about any of that stuff about networks, but Ben’s hosting told him that he was overloading them and that he had to go to a dedicated server. A company dedicated to promoting science on the internet hosted him.
    I have absolutely no contact with Ben, I read his blog but his forums are a pointless circle jerk.

    “Actually I thought it was philosophers who thought deeply about the mysteries of the Universe”

    Weren’t you arguing a few posts ago that science and philosophy were essentially the same thing?

    Also I don’t do ‘clinical’ research, I’m generally opposed to revealing information on the internet so I’m not going to say more than that, biomedical does not equal clinical.

    I think its pretty funny that in one paragraph you demonise astrology and in the next praise homeopathy. I know people who swear the earth is flat ( http://www.theflatearthsociety.org/forum// ) so their testimony IS evidence.

    If you are trying to wind me up with homeopathy you are onto a loser, I spend some time reading blogs and forums from people (practicing homeopaths) who are real ‘true believers’, if I’m gonna attempt to make anybody see the light on that issue its them.

    I am interested to read your ideas on why Ben’s view of science is narrow minded, please read this ( http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2005/10/the_appeal_to_b.html ) as it contains many of the arguments that the ‘boy scientists’ raise regarding their ‘view’ of science.

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    1. Actually the earth is flat. Its a physical sphere but a logical plane.

      If at this point you don’t slap your forehead and say “fuck me, of course” you aren’t really equipped to comment on my posts… but I knew that anyway and so did most oif my readers including a Physics PhD and a Maths M.A.

      I was aware of the flatearth website, its good fun but I think you take it too literally. The bloke who writes the skeptiko website suffers from the same kind of tunnel vision as Ben Goldacre.

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  10. Yes, very clever, not so much a slap on the forehead as a groan at the end of a bad joke. Though it might be fun to argue that with the flatearth deniers.

    Perhaps this ( http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/mick_hume/article2902866.ece ) goes some way to argue more eloquently than I can how science as portrayed by the media has essentially become a quick justification for restrictive governement policy.

    It is not tunnel visioned to reject a hypothesis which scientific investigation has shown to be invalid, I remain puzzled as to how Skeptico / BG are tunnel vissioned.

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    1. How are they tunnel visioned? Same way as you are William, none of you can see the big picture.
      And as you clearly do not understand that the earth is a physical sphere but a logical plane, you never will. Nor will you ever really know where you are. That means the earth is round in reality but flat in logical terms. Sorry I can’t make it simpler for you.

      As for skeptico I saw his argument against ID. But he had not troubled to find out what the intelligent design theory really is, he just took the US Fundamentalist version and argued against that because it is easy wheras arguing against the real theory is hard. Even Dawkins has admitted he cannot refute it, but similarly it can never be proved.

      There is less “evidence” for the big bang than for the book of Genesis.

      Nobody truly understands gravity or electricity or light, yet all of these defy the established laws of physics.

      See, you boy scientists just play with baby toys. And still you haven’t a clue.

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  11. I said that I got that ‘joke’ /point about the physical sphere / logical plane, yes welldone you are right about that. Congratulations on successully pointing out a completely irrelevant fact.

    Just out of interest I’d like to make the statement
    ‘White is not Black’.

    What big picture are we missing?

    As far as I can tell you are attempting 3 things at once:
    1) trying to wind me / us up
    2) seriously defending long since debunked ideas (why?)
    3) I think somewhere underneath all of this your actual argument is that you think mainstream science is too dismissive of ‘fringe’ ideas, such as homeopathy / ID etc.

    Incidently Dawkins is a hack, no _actual_ scientists like him – even so I very much doubt he said that he couldn’t disprove ID.

    Perhaps you use a different scientific method?

    The one I use is
    1) form a hypothesis,
    2) find a means to reliably test that hypothesis
    3) reject that hypothesis, modify it or write it up with evidence so others can consider the merits of the hypothesis.

    Perhaps you are using the other scientific method
    1) create a theory based on gut fealings, misunderstandings, prejudice and belief.
    2) write about that theory at length and when anybody points out the flaws in that theory insult them, claim they are being narrow minded and that belief is a valid form of scientific evidence.

    Both methods have merits though one of them is called science the other is actually called religion. Easy mistake to make though.

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    1. William or is it Ben, just stop it, You are embarrassing the profession. Its OK for Ian to mess around, everybody knows he is showboating and being retired he does not care about reputation, but unknown to you he is yanking your strings and people are laughing at you.
      I am a senior Doctor (and a VERY close friend of Ian) and for several years I have had no doubt homeopathy works. I read Ben Goldacre’s recent rants on the topic and wonder if he realised that his denunciation of homeopaths also explains exactly why your car’s catalytic converter is just a con, an expensive lump of useless metal. Hmm? Well we don’t know how know catalyzers work but we know they do because the reduced level of noxious gases in emissions can be measured. And by the same method we know homeopathy works, the improvement in people’s condition is very apparent. So think of a homeopathic medicine as a catalyst.
      The only difference is homeopathy deals with inconsistent, unpredictable humans, chemists deal with entirely consistent elements and compounds.

      Nobody knows how or why a catalyst, by its presence alone, effects a change in another element or compound. Without it however many of our technologies would not be so advanced. Why does the addition of a small amount of another substance (e.g. chrome, tungsten) cause the crystalline structure of iron to change thus altering its physical characteristics.

      As you are the all – knowing scientist who rejects all mysteries as delusion and superstition, perhaps you could tell me why women who work closely together will find their menstrual cycles synchronise. (If you dare to answer do tread carefully this is in my field) Nobody knows why this happens but that it does is well documented. The best theory is that pheromones pass hormonal messages but heck, that would go a long way to proving the case for aromatherapy as well.

      Do you begin to see how far out of your depth you are? Open your eyes, there are mysteries and magic all around us, and what is magic but that we cannot explain. My boy will run rings round you every time, you have too many testosterone issues.

      Now I am trying to help you here. You say you are not in a patient facing role at present. That is probably a good thing, with your talent for irritating people knows no bounds.

      I can’t wait for Ian to start posting on Quantum Physics. That should really confuse you, its does me and I have him to explain it. The universe is really weird.

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      1. Hi Sweetiepops,
        So the boy scientists annoyed you enough to get you online? Or have you simply not much work to do in your final few weeks there?

        I don’t think you point on catalysts will convince the boy scientists, they can make that stuff happen in a laboratory under “controlled” conditions.

        Do you get the feeling “control” is a major keyword for them?

        Anyway let’s take that up offline, then you can tell me stuff to wrong foot them.

        love
        Ian

        Like

  12. Religion William? Well I’ve been saying all along you guys cling to your prejudices like fundamentalists cling to their dogma.
    The simple fact is that a science (there is no such thing as science one cannot “do” science as one does woodwork or chemistry) means a formal and systemised body of knowledge. That’s all.

    I see you use the form of philosophical enquiry that starts from an answer and works backwards until you have found a question that fits.

    I, on the other hand, follow the wise advice of Marcus Aurelius and make sure I know what is going on around me. And I create no theories (except comedy conspiracy theories maybe) I deal in the practicalities of making things happen. I live in the real world.

    BTW the flat earth thing is not a joke, its the key to all marine navigation. The flat earth society, like me and my friends, are pisstakers. They love serious but not very bright people blundering in and pointing out their obvious folly.

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