Re: [asa] Expelled and ID

From: Dennis Venema <Dennis.Venema@twu.ca>
Date: Thu Apr 24 2008 - 00:53:20 EDT

Are you saying that short of outright fraud, all scientific data is
completely objective? That seems so naive that it is literally incredible.

No, I am not saying that ­ I am questioning what is meant by ³not
objective.²

Yes, bias in medicine is an issue largely because of a lack of ability to
completely control oneıs experiment, making these areas of research more
prone to bias. The way that this is dealt with is by repeating trials with
ever larger sample sizes, controlling for as many variables as possible, etc
­ i.e. the scientific method. But realize you are talking to a geneticist /
cell biologist. When I sequence a stretch of chromosome in a fruit fly,
(using the proper controls) pray tell how might my ³biases² influence the
results? The sequence is the sequence ­ unless I have made an error. Same
deal for the human and chimp genome projects ­ yet Iıve seen YECs waive away
the striking identity between our genomes with a vague ³well, that data was
produced by biased Darwinists.² The point Iım trying to make is that the
worldview of the person running the sequencing machine is irrelevant ­ the
data wonıt change if the experiment is done properly. If you disagree, and
think that a bias would change things, please explain why.

The facts are still the facts right? Not only was the data from the study
withheld from publication for a couple of years, (obviously Schering-Plough
had nothing to gain by publishing it), but there is substantial controversy
about what the results actually mean. To find out who says what, all you
need to do is follow the money. Bias is inevitable in science just like
anything else, scientists are not above this kind of thing.

Arenıt you making my point for me here? This sounds like a case of fraud ­
if this company withheld data (i.e. didnıt publish it, thus it couldnıt be
examined or repeated by others) but made skewed/misleading advertising
claims, then that hardly calls the objectivity of the scientific method into
question ­ this company was not following the scientific method.

Bias is inevitable in science just like anything else, scientists are not
above this kind of thing.

Yes, individual bias or corporate fraud is an issue ­ but the scientific
method is robust nonetheless because of the premium it places on
reproducibility ­ the data needs to come out the same in the hands of a
Christian, Mormon, or atheist, or whatever - or the staff researchers at
company A or at their competition ­ for it to be trusted. Interpretations
can change, mechanisms unknown at the time and thus not controlled for may
be revealed later, but data, properly collected, is the data.

dennis

On 4/23/08 7:06 PM, "Jack" <drsyme@cablespeed.com> wrote:

> Do you really believe this? I cant believe you would say something like this.
> The data is still the data? Are you saying that short of outright fraud, all
> scientific data is completely objective? That seems so naive that it is
> literally incredible. Yes you introduce bias into the results, why do you
> think that the standard of medical trials is double blinded studies? The
> scientists have to be blinded too so they dont introduce their bias. I doubt
> that even in "hard science" things are as simple as the "facts are still the
> facts", but it is far from the case in medicine.
>
> Are you familiar with the ENHANCE trial? This was a trial sponsored by
> Schering-Plough the makers of Vytorin. Vytorin is a combination of
> ezetimibe/simvastatin. Ezetimibe alone is Zetia. Vytorin is supposed to
> lower cholesterol, specifically LDL cholesterol through two different
> mechanisms of action (you have probably seen the commercials," two sources of
> cholesterol, fettucine alfredo, and your Uncle Alfredo"). The ENHANCE trial
> was a study to prove that the combination of ezetimibe/simvastatin was better
> than simvastatin alone in lowering cholesterol levels, and in slowing
> progression of athersclerotic lesions. But there was no significant
> difference between the two groups in lowering cholesterol, and in fact the
> progression of atherosclerotic lesions was greater in the group treated with
> the combination compared to simvastatin alone but not significantly.
>
> The facts are still the facts right? Not only was the data from the study
> withheld from publication for a couple of years, (obviously Schering-Plough
> had nothing to gain by publishing it), but there is substantial controversy
> about what the results actually mean. To find out who says what, all you need
> to do is follow the money. Bias is inevitable in science just like anything
> else, scientists are not above this kind of thing.
>>
>> ----- Original Message -----
>>
>> From: Dennis Venema <mailto:Dennis.Venema@twu.ca>
>>
>> To: David Opderbeck <mailto:dopderbeck@gmail.com>
>>
>> Cc: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <mailto:dfsiemensjr@juno.com> ;
>> georgecooper@sbcglobal.net ; asa@calvin.edu
>>
>> Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 8:26 PM
>>
>> Subject: Re: [asa] Expelled and ID
>>
>>
>> Hmm. I still donıt see your point. Yes, funding, etc can direct research ­
>> for example, I do work on diabetes / insulin signaling because I am funded
>> to do so ­ but does that mean you think that I introduce a bias into my
>> results because of my funding source? Yes, funding can direct the types of
>> experiments that are done, but the data is still the data if it can be
>> reproduced ­ the quality of the experiments should not be affected. In cases
>> where things were skewed/faked for an agenda the deception comes to light
>> when someone tries to repeat the experiments.
>>
>> dennis
>>
>>
>> On 4/23/08 5:16 PM, "David Opderbeck" <dopderbeck@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>
>>> At the risk of sounding anti-science, which I don't think I am, I don't see
>>> how you can gainsay that institutional science is skewed by agendas and
>>> viewpoints that aren't always objectively scientific. Institutional
>>> science is driven by funding. Funding is allocated by a relatively small,
>>> relatively non-diverse segment of both the general public and the
>>> scientific community, and the mechanisms and procedures of funding are
>>> truly accessible only to an equally small and non-diverse population.
>>>
>>> Moreover, in some areas, particularly public health and pharmaceuticals,
>>> funding mechanisms are heavily influenced by intellectual property rights,
>>> markets, and multinational corporate interests. The data is the data, but
>>> the question of which data gets developed -- which research programs get
>>> funded -- is heavily influenced by social, cultural and economic factors
>>> that may have little to do with scientific merit or the broader pursuit of
>>> truth.
>>>
>>> (I am not here suggesting that claims of peer review bias against ID
>>> advocates have merit. That in particular isn't my bailiwick, but I do
>>> believe that peer review is not as objective as it is often made out to
>>> be).
>>
>

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Received on Thu Apr 24 00:54:42 2008

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