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Old 18-04-2012, 07:27 PM   #1
mszlazak
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Default Neurons Versus Free Will. Distorting Statistics Uncovered In Many Research Studies

Some quotes from NEURONS V FREE WILL:


Quote:
A team of psychologists at MIT and the University of California at San Diego, who were puzzled by the suspiciously definitive results of many brain-scan studies on these topics, asked the authors of 55 such papers how they had analysed their data. The team reported in 2009 that over half the studies used faulty methods that were guaranteed to shift the results in favour of the correlations they had been looking for between mental activity and blips in parts of the brain. It’s worth bearing this in mind the next time you read about a brain-scan study which purportedly reveals how and why we do what we do.
Quote:
As well as casting illumination in what is sometimes the wrong place, today’s scanners are still rather dim streetlights. Since they cannot see the activity of neurons, fMRI scanners make do with changes in blood oxygen levels, and PET scanners indirectly measure changes in blood flow, to spot where something is (or rather, was) going on. These techniques can detect the trails only of large bursts of neural activity, and will miss anything involving less than many millions of brain cells.
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Old 19-04-2012, 08:53 AM   #2
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A Sharp Rise in Retractions Prompts Calls for Reform



I suspect this is just the tip of an iceberg that has been going on for a lot longer than a decade. More significant amounts of fraud in science probably started after the second world war.


Quotes from the article:


Quote:
Dr. Casadevall, now editor in chief of the journal mBio, said he feared that science had turned into a winner-take-all game with perverse incentives that lead scientists to cut corners and, in some cases, commit acts of misconduct.
...
Members of the committee agreed with their assessment. “I think this is really coming to a head,” said Dr. Roberta B. Ness, dean of the University of Texas School of Public Health. And Dr. David Korn of Harvard Medical School agreed that “there are problems all through the system.”
...
In October 2011, for example, the journal Nature reported that published retractions had increased tenfold over the past decade, while the number of published papers had increased by just 44 percent. In 2010 The Journal of Medical Ethics published a study finding the new raft of recent retractions was a mix of misconduct and honest scientific mistakes.
...
But other forces are more pernicious. To survive professionally, scientists feel the need to publish as many papers as possible, and to get them into high-profile journals. And sometimes they cut corners or even commit misconduct to get there.

Dr. Fang and Dr. Casadevall looked at the rate of retractions in 17 journals from 2001 to 2010 and compared it with the journals’ “impact factor,” a score based on how often their papers are cited by scientists. The higher a journal’s impact factor, the two editors found, the higher its retraction rate.

The highest “retraction index” in the study went to one of the world’s leading medical journals, The New England Journal of Medicine.
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Old 19-04-2012, 01:00 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by mszlazak View Post
I suspect this is just the tip of an iceberg that has been going on for a lot longer than a decade. More significant amounts of fraud in science probably started after the second world war.
I am all for making sure that we keep scientific findings in perspective, but this article is a little disingenuous by not mentioning the raw numbers, is it not?

When we consider that there are over 5,500 journals, with each of them putting out multiple papers per year, it seems that retractions (approx 750 in total over 10 years), while admittedly too high, should be kept in context. If each journal only published 10 papers per year, we are still talking 550,000 papers with retractions accounting for .013% of the papers published...I would imagine that most journals are exceeding that output by a large margin, however.

An interesting read...hopefully, the iceberg is smaller beneath the surface than you fear. Thanks for sharing.

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Old 19-04-2012, 09:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keithp View Post
I am all for making sure that we keep scientific findings in perspective, but this article is a little disingenuous by not mentioning the raw numbers, is it not?

When we consider that there are over 5,500 journals, with each of them putting out multiple papers per year, it seems that retractions (approx 750 in total over 10 years), while admittedly too high, should be kept in context. If each journal only published 10 papers per year, we are still talking 550,000 papers with retractions accounting for .013% of the papers published...I would imagine that most journals are exceeding that output by a large margin, however.

An interesting read...hopefully, the iceberg is smaller beneath the surface than you fear. Thanks for sharing.

Respectfully,
Keith
One would hope that the iceberg is not but the problem started when science, big business and the government and military became much more intertwined after World War II.

This caused changes that made the difference between academic scientists and those working for industry vanish.

Your numbers also do not tell the story because nobody has checked those and I doubt anyone will. Organized science just like government or industry will bury the amounts of misdeeds if possible because the bigger issue is loss of credibility.

For more insider information about fraud in science, two former editors of the BMJ and N. Eng. J. Of medicine wrote whole books about it.

Since there probably never will be a systematic investigation of all of science, one has to see how incentives push people to this behavior. Also, working with scientists like I have, you will hear what can go on.

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Old 22-04-2012, 09:19 AM   #5
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Default Even more on “the neuro industry” and its pretensions and dangers.

Some more on “the neuro industry” and its pretensions and dangers:
Beware the Fausts of Neuroscience

Also, coming out in September:

Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False

By Thomas Nagel

Description
The modern materialist approach to life has utterly failed to explain such central features of our world as consciousness, intentionality, meaning, or value. This failure to account for something so integral to nature as mind, argues philosopher Thomas Nagel, is a major problem, threatening to unravel the entire naturalistic world picture, extending to biology, evolutionary theory, and cosmology.

In Mind and Cosmos, Nagel provides an insightful analysis of the Darwinian world view, offering a perspective quite different from that found in such books as Richard Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker. What we know about how mind and everything connected with it depends today on our ideas about the origin and spread of living organisms as a result of the universe's evolution. But Nagel states that "it is prima facie highly implausible that life as we know it is the result of a sequence of physical accidents together with the mechanism of natural selection." What is the likelihood that self-reproducing life forms should have come into existence spontaneously? What is the likelihood that, as a result of physical accident, a sequence of viable genetic mutations should have occurred that was sufficient to permit natural selection? Nagel's skepticism is not based on religious belief or on a belief in any definite alternative. He does suggest that if the materialist account is wrong, then principles of a different kind may also be at work in the history of nature, principles of the growth of order that are in their logical form teleological rather than mechanistic.

In spite of the great achievements of reductive materialism, it is a world view ripe for displacement. Nagel shows that to recognize its limits is the first step in looking for alternatives, or at least of being open to their possibility.

Features
  • Author is a renowned philosopher
  • Makes a controversial argument
  • Engages in the heated contemporary debate over whether materialism and neo-Darwinism can explain the mind-body problem

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Old 23-04-2012, 07:25 PM   #6
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Gossip on the streets says that Nagel will also be arguing for a form of panpsychism in this book as an alternative to materialism.

I have posted before on Process Philosophy which has a sophisticated version of panpsychism that is referred to as panexperientialism.
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Old 08-05-2012, 07:20 PM   #7
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Here is a case of how deniers use "debunking", patho-skepticism or pseudo-skepticism in dishonest or deceptive ways to maintain careers but more importantly this activity blocks intellectual progress.

Listen to this audio interview:

Interview with Cornell University Professor Emeritus Dr. Daryl Bem looks at the reaction to his groundbreaking parapsychology experiments.


"Buyer beware", so-called "skeptics" aren't what they seem to be.

----------------

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