Saturday, September 29, 2012

420: The Aftermath of Neoliberalism: science and statistical significance

Yesterday I ran into an issue which is a small detour of our present project , but yet closely related. Living in a world dominated by the belief in the free market means living in a world dominated by money.

We also live in a world, which is no longer dominated by all kinds of religious convictions, but by the rational insights which science offers us. At least that is what we believe.

But suppose, that a lot of science is corrupt? I mean, that the higher value of finding the truth about facts is replaced by receiving money to produce only favorable information about facts?

In other words, must we conclude that a lot of information with those appealing headings like "Researchers of institute so and so have discovered…" or "Recently discovered scientific facts show…" are a fraud?

But the science I am talking about is not mathematics, but I mean the sciences which are based on statistics, especially psychology, sociology and medicines. I'll tell you why….

The most commonly used statistical method is the p-test, and its origin lies in the year 1904. Place of action: the Guinness factory in Dublin. 

Guinness wanted to approach brewing beer scientifically  and therefore appointed the young chemist and mathematician William Gosset . 

Gosset focused on the biological variation of brewing raw materials such as barley and hops. The content of resins in the hops determines the taste and the stability of the beer, too much resin makes the beer undrinkable, and too little, too.  

Each hop flower has a different resin content, and when Guinness wanted to buy a wagonload of hop, they could not take measurements of each flower. 

Gosset found a way to calculate how many  hop flowers you had to analyze to determine with a given confidence how much resin the whole wagonload hop contained. 

When he reported: "There is a chance of more than 5% on average this party has too little resin", the sale was not on. By the way, his last statement is just a guess. Guinness never revealed their secret of how they actually selected their hop.

This statistical method was adopted by many sciences. Biology, psychology, environmental and health sciences would be helpless without statistics, and economics and sociology are leaning heavily on it. 

Drugs are allowed, dangerous substances prohibited, defendants sentenced to prison on the basis of statistical calculations. 

These calculations have become far more complex since  Gosset and his hop flowers, and they are only feasible using computer programs.

But here comes the catch. The p-test shows whether there is less or more than 5% chance that something is the case. Below 5% means that it is STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT, which means not just a coincidence.

Flawed findings, however, with respect to this 5% test, 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.

 "There is an increasing concern that in modern research, false findings may be the majority or even the vast majority of published research claims," Dr. Ioannidis said. "A new claim about a research finding is more likely to be false than true."

Dr. Ioannidis is an epidemiologist who studies research methods at the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece and Tufts University in Medford, Mass. 

In a series of influential analytical reports, he has documented how, in thousands of peer-reviewed research papers published every year, there may be so much less than meets the eye.

 "People are messing around with the data to find anything that seems significant, to show they have found something that is new and unusual," Dr. Ioannidis said.

In the U. S., research is a $55-billion-a-year enterprise that stakes its credibility on the reliability of evidence and the work of Dr. Ioannidis strikes a raw nerve.

Yes, a raw nerve, moral values like honesty, integrity, truthfulness in exchange for money. Money for more research, more spectacular "findings", more personal prestige.

We recently had that in the Netherlands too. Just a quote from the Dutch Wikipedia!

-quote- End of August 2011 close colleagues of the research group of Professor Diederik Stapelto reported to the rector of the University of Tilburg, Philip Eijlander, the suspicion of fraudulent activity in their searches.

About a week later, Stapel admitted that in some publications he had used fictitious data. Almost immediately Stapel was  laid off. A collaboration of three committees, with professors from Amsterdam, Groningen and Tilburg, led by psychologist Willem Levelt was asked to investigate exactly which publications were based on fictitious data. 

The committee reported that "it is a large-scale, long-term fraud on data, causing people and especially young researchers entrusted to him at the beginning of their career, to be deeply affected. 

This is extremely reprehensible behavior that science and especially the field of Social Psychology is highly prejudiced. "

"Money is the root of all evil", sung by the Andrew Sisters comes to my mind now and on the other had the fierce argument of   Francisco d'Anconia against this view in "Atlas Shrugged" (1957) by Ayn Rand.

The Discussion

[13:27]  herman Bergson: Thank you ^_^
[13:27]  Qwark Allen: ::::::::: * E * X * C * E * L * L * E * N * T  * ::::::::::
[13:27]  Lizzy Pleides: Thank you
[13:27]  Kime Babenco: Fraud on evidence or proves, politicians know as well, remember how the war against Iraqi was started... a smoking gun which was never found
[13:27]  Debbie Dee (framdor): The golden rule of science: He who has the gold makes the rules!
[13:27]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): the best thing is that with the computer it is now easier to find flawed studies
[13:27]  Qwark Allen: in another part of science, we see the same things
[13:28]  Umae Ying: the Koch brothers have funded the fraudulent claims that climate change is not happening... why? money
[13:28]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): especially medicines
[13:28]  herman Bergson: that is true Gemma..:-)
[13:28]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:28]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:28]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): those guys
[13:28]  herman Bergson: and an other thing....
[13:28]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): own the world!!!!!!
[13:28]  Qwark Allen: seems the results of investigation about global warming, were changed to, so it could fit in the dominant paradigm of global warming
[13:28]  Debbie Dee (framdor): And... have you heard the term data mining? Imagine how much data there is to mine now?
[13:28]  herman Bergson: all researchers that show the opposite that was in the news never reach the media...
[13:29]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): well some do here now
[13:29]  Kime Babenco: Recently proves that rat eating genetically reforemed food was causing enormous cancers
[13:29]  Qwark Allen: the main scientist in a interview about said, some of the results were not included in the conclusion
[13:29]  Umae Ying: my friends are scientists in EPA... trust me... global warming is real...
[13:29]  Qwark Allen: means all the investigation is a non sense
[13:29]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Yes-ah!
[13:29]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): umae
[13:29]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): no question
[13:29]  Debbie Dee (framdor): I also know global warming is very real
[13:30]  Qwark Allen: i believe in global warming
[13:30]  Qwark Allen: just not made by humans
[13:30]  herman Bergson: yes Qwark I agree :-)
[13:30]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): not made but helped on by humans
[13:30]  Debbie Dee (framdor): There is a lot of evidence for global warming
[13:30]  Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:30]  Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:30]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): all the gasses
[13:30]  Umae Ying: yes... made by humans
[13:30]  Qwark Allen: thats what we can conclude by the results that were omited in the final conclusion
[13:30]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): we emit
[13:30]  Kime Babenco: Indeed, some results are not included in the publishingh... That sounds like not truth,
[13:30]  Qwark Allen: CO2 is a fake
[13:31]  andra Lyvette is Online
[13:31]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): you will see :-)
[13:31]  herman Bergson: Big bussiness Qwark..!
[13:31]  Umae Ying: is real
[13:31]  Bejiita Imako: i wonder more and more if what i hear in news ect are really true or fake
[13:31]  Qwark Allen: just another way for the same bankers to get more $ from our pockets without producing nothing
[13:31]  Debbie Dee (framdor): But there are many research reports that show the warming, polar ice is at its lowest
[13:31]  Qwark Allen: yes true
[13:31]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): *¨¨*<♥*''*BEJIITA!!! *''*<♥:*¨¨*
[13:31]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): that is why it is a good thing to look at many different sources
[13:31]  Qwark Allen: just not the CO2 is the respponsable
[13:31]  herman Bergson: hold on for a second....
[13:31]  herman Bergson: plz...
[13:32]  Debbie Dee (framdor): The CO2 is the main cause
[13:32]  Umae Ying: mixture of causes
[13:32]  Qwark Allen: npe
[13:32]  Qwark Allen: nope
[13:32]  Kime Babenco: There is of course a tend going on that everything has to go fast today... That leads to less observations and so to pre-judgments
[13:32]  herman Bergson: as I said HOLD ON for a second..:-)
[13:32]  Umae Ying: deforestation
[13:32]  Qwark Allen: you were made to believe in that by fake reports
[13:32]  Debbie Dee (framdor): qwark - read more. I've studied this for 10 years now
[13:32]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): thank you debbie
[13:32]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:32]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): you try
[13:32]  Qwark Allen: maybe you should read about in independent news source
[13:32]  herman Bergson: ok...
[13:33]  Debbie Dee (framdor): I do.
[13:33]  Bejiita Imako: also all these panic alarms, now recently thay said eggs were dangerous
[13:33]  herman Bergson: statistically proven results need to be new research...
[13:33]  Bejiita Imako: and not long ago eggs was really healthy
[13:33]  Bejiita Imako: i believe the last one
[13:33]  Kime Babenco: Next week you read the contrary
[13:34]  herman Bergson: a lot of what is reported by the media is research results of one investigation only...
[13:34]  Qwark Allen: in the romans time average temperatures of the planet, were 4ºC above, what they are today, for example
[13:34]  Qwark Allen: and by the way you know , most of planets in the solar system are having global warming to?!
[13:34]  Debbie Dee (framdor): Not true qwark. give me a reference
[13:34]  Qwark Allen: maybe polar ice at Mars is melting cause of the SUVs there
[13:34]  Qwark Allen: °͜° l ☺ ☻ ☺ l °͜°
[13:34]  Qwark Allen: lol
[13:34]  herman Bergson: Didnt I ask you to HOLD ON for a minute??? :-)
[13:35]  Qwark Allen: sry
[13:35]  Kime Babenco: As I tried tio say, the hunger for medai attention is so big that some resulyts are denied and hury to be the have an article in a famous magazine
[13:35]  herman Bergson: ok..let me try again...
[13:36]  herman Bergson: a lot of what is told in the media is based on one research....
[13:36]  herman Bergson: scientists so and so discovered this or that...
[13:36]  herman Bergson: that is nice but kind of nonsense...
[13:37]  herman Bergson: what you need is at least 10 reseachs projects using exactly the same parameters etc. to get to a real conclusion
[13:37]  herman Bergson: let me give you an example...
[13:37]  herman Bergson: that is how I got to this lecture...
[13:38]  herman Bergson: aspartame…a sweet substance...but a threat to the sugar industry...
[13:38]  herman Bergson: just do some research on it...
[13:39]  herman Bergson: I got the information that it damages the central nervous I did some research...
[13:39]  herman Bergson: because I consume products contianing aspartaam...
[13:39]  herman Bergson: what was the result?
[13:39]  Qwark Allen: o m g
[13:39]  herman Bergson: This lecture...
[13:39]  herman Bergson: all bogus...
[13:39]  Qwark Allen: aspartame, is another good example of misinformation
[13:40]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): that is true
[13:40]  Kime Babenco: 3d way of writing it
[13:40]  Qwark Allen: contains methanol, which is a poison for our body
[13:40]  herman Bergson: there is an institute in Italy that produced a report that aspartaam causes cancer...
[13:40]  herman Bergson: yes....Qwark...
[13:40]  herman Bergson: however...
[13:40]  Bejiita Imako: read u can use it as ant poison
[13:40]  herman Bergson: one...
[13:40]  Bejiita Imako: but wonder if thats true
[13:40]  Qwark Allen: all diet food and drinks have it
[13:41]  Qwark Allen: you know who as the patent of it, and who produces it?
[13:41]  herman Bergson: it is just  ONE research on a limited population of rats
[13:41]  herman Bergson: TWO...
[13:41]  Debbie Dee (framdor):  ✧✩**✩✧ G I G G L E S ✧✩**
[13:41]  Lizzy Pleides: if something is a poison is a question of the dose
[13:41]  herman Bergson: some amounts of aspartaam the rats consumed equals about a hundred kilo a day in sugar for a human
[13:42]  Qwark Allen: i`ll get you a link, so you know who wants you to buy food with it
[13:42]  Bejiita Imako: sure its a chemical but sugar also is even if aspartam is synthetic,,, cant think its dangerous
[13:42]  Lizzy Pleides: sugar is a poison too if you eat too much of it
[13:42]  Qwark Allen: aspartic acid is also another poison for us
[13:43]  herman Bergson: A Dutch scientist we have a new sweeteetener...Servia...I thik it is called...
[13:43]  Qwark Allen: all 3 ingredients there are bad for the human body
[13:43]  Kime Babenco: Toxic things was always about the dose... This atmosphere is 80 % nitorgen and 20 % oxygen... Less than 1 % toxical gasses
[13:43]  herman Bergson: pure natural..from a south american honey plant..
[13:43]  Kime Babenco: 40 % of oxygen would kill you
[13:43]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): stevia
[13:43]  .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Stevia
[13:43]  herman Bergson: yes Gemma..:-)
[13:43]  herman Bergson: He said…just wait and see...
[13:43]  Lizzy Pleides: stevia, ... ewwwww
[13:43]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): and now an other truvia
[13:43]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Truvia
[13:44]  herman Bergson: in a couple of years you'll find a website telling you that it causes cancer...
[13:44]  Bejiita Imako: salt too, we need it to survive but too much or too little is dangerois acuse our ion/water balance get wrong then
[13:44]  herman Bergson: time for a new sweetener on the market
[13:44]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): well we went through the egg issue
[13:44]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): is now proven bogus
[13:45]  Debbie Dee (framdor): PVC is the one I worry about. We are in very close contact with it.
[13:45]  herman Bergson: Science has become business is some areas..that is th eproblem...
[13:45]  herman Bergson: What we valued for sale now
[13:46]  Ewa Aska is Offline
[13:46]  bergfrau Apfelbaum: sorry I have to go! a tenant needs my help, .... ty herman and ty class, see u next week! cheers, with red wine ;-)
[13:46]  Kime Babenco: I would like to say this : To everyone living ... life is a present... We have a nice planet... Why do we let it make destroy by fanatics or people who never have enough and never worked one hour for real ?
[13:46]  Lizzy Pleides: TC Bergie
[13:46]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): well... i have to say truth has allways been for sale one way or another
[13:46]  Debbie Dee (framdor): Scientists do at least document stuff, so additional research adds to existing research.
[13:46]  .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): tc
[13:46]  herman Bergson: Yes KIme...good point!
[13:47]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): that is true
[13:47]  .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): I have the feeling our planet is not good enough as it is
[13:47]  herman Bergson: And believe me we do a lot of other people are fighting for the same cause
[13:48]  Kime Babenco: What would you change aboyut the planet if you were able to do so ?\
[13:48]  Qwark Allen:
[13:48]  Qwark Allen: this one about the temperatures in roman time
[13:48]  Lizzy Pleides: I have to go too, good night everybody!
[13:48]  .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): I don't want to change the way we live here.
[13:48]  Debbie Dee (framdor): bye lizzy
[13:48]  herman Bergson: OK QWark...and some other info about the statics and the Greek prof
[13:49]  Debbie Dee (framdor): Well, with 7 billion people, we do need to cut back a lot on consumption
[13:49]  herman Bergson:
[13:49]  herman Bergson: worth reading...
[13:49]  Kime Babenco: It's too much actually... to give everyone a decent life
[13:49]  Qwark Allen:
[13:49]  Qwark Allen: more about the same
[13:50]  herman Bergson: ok...
[13:50]  Qwark Allen: they lied , when they said we have now temperatures highest in the 100 000 years
[13:50]  Debbie Dee (framdor): qwark - 0.4 degrees is not significant.
[13:50]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): bookmarked
[13:50]  Qwark Allen: its a total lie
[13:50]  herman Bergson: Yes Qwark...I know...
[13:50]  Debbie Dee (framdor): you said 4 degrees. and it is a limited study,
[13:50]  Qwark Allen: if you read more reports you`ll see the variance goes from 1 ºC to 4 ºC
[13:51]  Rodney Handrick is Online
[13:51]  herman Bergson: Just keep in mind....
[13:51]  Debbie Dee (framdor): look at their graph and the averaged trend line
[13:51]  Qwark Allen: the point is, the temperatures by then were higher then now, and the CO2 levels were significantly less then today
[13:51]  herman Bergson: we need 10 equal studies of the same subject to come to e real conclusion..
[13:51]  herman Bergson: But there arent...
[13:52]  Debbie Dee (framdor): Yes. The more data the better. Right now the polar ice is failing quickly.
[13:52]  herman Bergson: besides that a lot of results are politically interesting for scertainparties
[13:52]  Jannah (jannahnura) is Online
[13:52]  Kime Babenco: Yes... Herman... 10 different (at least ) have to come to the same conclusion
[13:52]  herman Bergson: Yes Kime...and there aren't!!!
[13:52]  Debbie Dee (framdor): Also, any real chance of fixing the problems is bad for consumption, and business
[13:53]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:53]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:53]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): there is the point of his lecture
[13:53]  herman Bergson: smile
[13:53]  herman Bergson: yes Gemma :-)
[13:53]  Kime Babenco: You see the weather predictions ? 3 different systems only And not agrreing to each other some times
[13:53]  Qwark Allen: i know what i going to say before check those links --> back in 1952-1954 there was global cooling! in a time heavy industries were at their max
[13:53]  herman Bergson: Yes Kime....
[13:53]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): weather and climate are two different things
[13:53]  herman Bergson: and the most important thing in this is ...they are based on COMPUTER MODELS!
[13:54]  Kime Babenco: THat's true... climate is the average over 30 years
[13:54]  herman Bergson: all is based on computer models...
[13:54]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ah the class ghost
[13:54]  herman Bergson: what you put in you get out....that is the problem
[13:54]  JF (janfolkert.alter) is Online
[13:54]  Qwark Allen: one thing you have to realize, since co2 foot print is a business, and bankers are profiting with it. we should suspect of a scam
[13:54]  herman Bergson: TRUE Qwark !!!!
[13:55]  Kime Babenco: Therfore is the toilet invented ;-)
[13:55]  Qwark Allen: this goes in the corruption we were talking about in last class
[13:55]  Laila Schuman is Online
[13:55]  herman Bergson: Main point is that we are manipulated by the media and socalled scientific data and results...
[13:56]  Bejiita Imako: indeed
[13:56]  Bejiita Imako: what can u really believe is true today
[13:56]  Debbie Dee (framdor): absolutely. and if climate change was not linked to consumption, then big business can carry on, and we can consume :)))
[13:56]  Qwark Allen: who are the owners of main media?
[13:56]  Bejiita Imako: worrying for sure
[13:56]  Qwark Allen: the same bankers
[13:56]  herman Bergson: Who are you to say that it is bogus when some computer model of the climate calculates that in no time our planet is all sea
[13:56]  Qwark Allen: eheheh
[13:57]  herman Bergson: the model is science...
[13:57]  Kime Babenco: In some way the band that sung Birth-School-Work -Dead is what the richer ones like us to live like
[13:57]  herman Bergson: Well..
[13:57]  herman Bergson: ok..
[13:57]  Qwark Allen: i`m getting your point herman, statistics nowadays are used as propaganda , so it fits the agenda of some ones
[13:57]  herman Bergson: I think we are ready for the revolution agian...
[13:57]  herman Bergson: so..
[13:57]  herman Bergson: thank you all for your participation :-)
[13:58]  Qwark Allen: AAHH!!!
[13:58]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:58]  Qwark Allen:
[13:58]  herman Bergson: class dismissed ^_^
[13:58]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Bye, Bye   
[13:58]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): for now
[13:58]  Debbie Dee (framdor): Thanks herman. very thought provoking.
[13:58]  Kime Babenco: Only, the result of a revolution is not predictable
[13:58]  Qwark Allen: this video shows the most astonishing image of 2012
[13:58]  Rodney Handrick: thank you
[13:58]  Bejiita Imako: cu soon all
[13:58]  Qwark Allen: was taken by soho
[13:58]  Bejiita Imako: was really interesting as usual
[13:58]  Qwark Allen: check the time frame
[13:58]  Qwark Allen: its 3 days range of observation
[13:59]  Bejiita Imako:
[13:59]  Qwark Allen: ˜*•. ˜”*°•.˜”*°•  Bye !  •°*”˜.•°*”˜ .•*˜  
[13:59]  Qwark Allen: ¸¸.´ ¯¨.¸¸`** **´ ¸¸.¨¯` H E R MA N ´ ¯¨.¸¸`** **´ ¸¸.¨¯`
[13:59]  Qwark Allen: ty
[13:59]  herman Bergson: Bye Qwark :-)
[13:59]  Kime Babenco: Bye everyone
[14:00]  Kime Babenco: And bye Herman
[14:00]  Debbie Dee (framdor): bye herman...
[14:00]  herman Bergson: Bye Debbie

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