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The big breaking news today is actually neither news nor breaking to many of us who have been following this story over the years. Andrew Wakefield had been determined to be a fraud for the misuse of patients--children, the breach of medical ethics, and the harmful assault on the wider public health. As most of you know, his paper in the late 1990s purportedly linking vaccines and autism is bunk, but had unfortunate influence on many susceptible parents. This caused vaccination rates to drop markedly in the UK and the US, and has lead to the deaths of children from diseases that should be preventable.

Today the BMJ, the British Medical Journal, released an editorial and the beginning of a series exploring this topic.

You can obtain the BMJ editorial in full here: Wakefield’s article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent.  You can get the expose by Brian Deer here: How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed.

I'm not going to argue about the issue of autism and vaccines. The data is there, and you can access the new items in full. This diary is about the dangerous strategy of running with conclusions. And what I mean by that is something we can actually learn from the Wakefield debacle.

From the BMJ editorial:

Is it possible that he was wrong, but not dishonest: that he was so incompetent that he was unable to fairly describe the project, or to report even one of the 12 children’s cases accurately? No. A great deal of thought and effort must have gone into drafting the paper to achieve the results he wanted: the discrepancies all led in one direction; misreporting was gross.

There was a conclusion that Wakefield wanted to assert. And he fit the data to that. This is wrong, it's unethical, and it's a really bad idea.

Also from BMJ:

Authored by Andrew Wakefield and 12 others, the paper’s scientific limitations were clear when it appeared in 1998. As the ensuing vaccine scare took off, critics quickly pointed out that the paper was a small case series with no controls, linked three common conditions, and relied on parental recall and beliefs.

This paper was published (but since retracted). Although we appreciate the process of peer review in science, it isn't perfect--it is possible to get well-constructed fakery through. But the thing about science is that we replicate. We scrutinize, critically. We expand to larger studies. We look at more data. And sometimes we find initial observations don't hold up. We will get to the facts. (However, it is generally not the next day--which is the timescale of the blogosphere....)

The warning flags for taking this paper and making sweeping conclusions were already up early on. This was a small study. There were no controls. There were parental anecdotes. Most of us who read a lot of science would recognize these issues. But this won't stop everyone. It went viral--to use an unfortunate pun.

This had real consequences. Parents stopped vaccinating at rates that endangered public health--and continues to do so today. It has created a whole range of CT the impairs the efforts of public health professionals today. I've seen it personally: The belly of the anti-science beast.

Here are some messages that I would like to draw from this.

  • You should NOT start with a conclusion and try to fit your evidence to it. It's a bad way to learn things.

  • If you do "fit" the data to match a conclusion, it will be found out. It won't last forever. You cannot stand on this.

  • Crap science and conspiracy theory has real consequences. In this case children are dying from infectious disease. It may not always be that dramatic, but running off on crank conclusions can be harmful in many ways. It distracts from finding real causes, and wastes time and energy.

  • People who are critical of your conclusions can make you stronger--if you have good data to stand on. If you have crap, you will be mocked. And you deserve it.

I just heard Wakefield on CNN in an interview with Anderson Cooper. He's claiming the journalist Deer is a "hit man" shill "bought to take me down" and is verbally HRing him for Deer's dogged attempts--and ultimately successful work--to set the record straight. Deer is the hero here. Luckily he has persisted despite the name-calling and threats by the forces of the anti-science cranks. It's not always welcomed. But it matters.

It's pretty clear that the reality-based wheels are largely off the orange bus these days. I almost didn't bother with this diary because I'm sure to be assaulted by people who will continue to HR me for challenging their preferred world view. But it was too good a learning opportunity to pass up.

This is a warning. Crap science will not stand. Don't stand on it yourself, and don't encourage others who do. It's ultimately bad for your case.

+++++++

turnover has a take on the issue here: Vaccines, Autism, Wakefield: "An elaborate fraud."

Originally posted to mem from somerville on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 06:42 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Science. (188+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sharoney, MRL, fladem, Ed in Montana, citizen k, DeminNewJ, aisling, Odysseus, taylormattd, PeterHug, surfbird007, Emerson, Shockwave, Ed Drone, cotterperson, kdub, expatjourno, silence, RubDMC, opinionated, highacidity, Xapulin, buckhorn okie, samddobermann, Mber, Cedwyn, wader, jdmorg, virginislandsguy, casperr, grannyhelen, texasmom, NYFM, rockhound, riverlover, alizard, Gator Keyfitz, Bluebirder, barbwires, frostieb, ybruti, tomjones, CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream, demandcaring, murrayewv, Gowrie Gal, Julie Gulden, Big Tex, vcmvo2, radarlady, NoMoreLies, DianeNYS, Unit Zero, m16eib, PsychoSavannah, basquebob, juliesie, cfk, LABobsterofAnaheim, Ice Blue, LucyandByron, Isara, turnover, dsteffen, the fan man, JanL, grapes, maryru, begone, alrdouglas, pico, juliewolf, Jennifer Clare, trashablanca, buddabelly, BachFan, New Deal democrat, sane, ferallike, BlueInARedState, Shutterbug, Ashaman, sceptical observer, myrealname, ER Doc, ebohlman, profh, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Statusquomustgo, kurious, ms badger, slksfca, Tempus Figits, GoldnI, pat of butter in a sea of grits, FoundingFatherDAR, marykk, bluicebank, khereva, dmh44, gloriana, gtghawaii, Shadowmage36, bnasley, Seneca Doane, bluehen96, ubertar, OIL GUY, pioneer111, yella dawg, LWelsch, cacamp, Terra Mystica, MKinTN, Justus, codeman38, dadadata, bythesea, Remembering Jello, skohayes, lineatus, beltane, pamelabrown, Cassandra Waites, happymisanthropy, bluesheep, SottoVoce, Seamus D, temptxan, glendaw271, petulans, SpamNunn, Issek, psilocynic, magicsister, Robobagpiper, palantir, Pris from LA, in2mixin, soarbird, snackdoodle, be the change you seek, shopkeeper, Carlo, allep10, Losty, jfromga, mahakali overdrive, Leftcandid, Sarbec, KroneckerD, TFinSF, stegro, Vacationland, amk for obama, UTvoter, fidellio, BFSkinner, pinkomommy, NY brit expat, sullivanst, Benintn, Egalitare, JRandomPoster, science nerd, indubitably, Onomastic, Jane Lew, al ajnabee, gobears2000, meralda, Lost Left Coaster, ban nock, bgblcklab1, Hopeful Skeptic, Aranfell, dle2GA, docmidwest, tardis10, Ezekial 23 20, StepLeftStepForward, T100R, erush1345, Only Needs a Beat, Susan G in MN, congenitalefty, DollyMadison, hardart

    La complessità dei viventi è un dato di fatto. --emmecola

    by mem from somerville on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 06:42:37 PM PST

  •  running w/scissors not terribly prudent either (8+ / 0-)
  •  Why did CNN even interview him? (29+ / 0-)

    "Your field has dismissed you outright, but we'll give you a chance to defend yourself"?

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 07:05:56 PM PST

  •  ScienceBlogs covered the antivax scare well (11+ / 0-)

    The study you refer to was nothing more and nothing less than fraud.

    Here's the latest from scienceblogs (PZ Myers)

    look for my DK Greenroots diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

    by FishOutofWater on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 07:42:58 PM PST

  •  This is somewhat timely, coming on the heels of (37+ / 0-)

    the birds-falling-out-of-the-sky diaries.  Lots of speculation there.

    We will get to the facts. (However, it is generally not the next day--which is the timescale of the blogosphere....)

    What was really driving me nuts was the fact that the local authorities said it might take as much as month to know what happened was being cited as proof that there was some sort of conspiracy to cover up.  WTF?  There's some crazy ass congitive dissonance going on out there when people are saying "There has to be an investigation!!!" while simultaneously saying "why won't they tell us what happened?!?!?! What are they trying to hide???!?"

    Believe me, I want to know what happened as much as the next person (assuming the next person is equally bird-obsessed), but I want good more than I want fast.

    They only call it Class War when we fight back.

    by lineatus on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 07:51:52 PM PST

  •  The difference between science and politics (13+ / 0-)

    People who are critical of your conclusions can make you stronger--if you have good data to stand on. If you have crap, you will be mocked. And you deserve it.

    This is true of science.  In politics, it is frequently the case that the people with the crap are made stronger, and those with the good facts and analysis are mocked--and the gatekeepers say, "They deserved it."

    Hegemony is always electable.

    by ActivistGuy on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 08:27:29 PM PST

  •  Mercury based preservatives go back to 1931 (0+ / 0-)

    I totally fail to connect Wakefield to vaccination rates droping.

    FromRollling Stone 2005, copied on infowars

    The CDC investigated this in 1996, Congressman Waxman got envolved 2 years before Wakefields paper came out.

    Eli Lilly did its own study in 1930, 22 patients, all of whom died.

    Eli Lillys own competitor Pittman Moore did a study on dogs, half died, and told  Lilly they were wrong.

    1967, a study in Applied Microbiology found vaccines with thimerosal killed mice.

    In 1977 a Russion. study Linked Thimerosal to Autism,

    Russia banned its use in 1985.

    1982 the FDA proposed a ban on over the counter products containing thimerosal.

    Your diary is spot on about bad science, but please... who the hell is Wakefield? Is he the cold Fusion of vaccines?

    FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 08:56:42 PM PST

  •  I've worked for too many people who did that, (5+ / 0-)
    ran with conclusions (they wanted) first instead of with the facts.  People who knew better, but had ulterior motives.  However, in those cases peoples' lives weren't at stake.  Though in some cases, peoples' livelihoods (like mine) were.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 09:00:06 PM PST

  •  Enjoy hypocrisy? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andhakari

    After the insulting and juvenile comments you posted inthis diary, clearly for no purpose except to disrupt intelligent discussion, you have some nerve posting a diary that complains about criticism and "namecalling" by others.  As for "conspiracy theories," your definition of that term apparently consists of "diaries that disagree with me."  Your behavior reveals you as a bully who believes he has a right to impose his views on others, by any means, the polar opposite of collegial scientific exploration and discussion, the basis of "good science."

    Help the Lakotah survive winter's storms.

    by Deep Harm on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 10:00:11 PM PST

    •  Can you remind me (7+ / 0-)

      what your views are on vaccination? I think I remember a previous conversation on that at some point.

      As I said in my diary, dataless crap deserves to be mocked.

      That said--that diary claimed to be a space to discuss anything at all--

      I assert no causation that can't be as wrong as anybody else's.

      So how come my discussion doesn't qualify? You aren't going all "mind-tyrant" on me, are you?  

      My favorite part was when the diarist bemoaned people who want to "To shut down discussion" and then proceeded to demand that I shut down discussion. Heh.

      But again--remind me of your position on vaccination.

      La complessità dei viventi è un dato di fatto. --emmecola

      by mem from somerville on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 10:26:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You just made my point nt (0+ / 0-)

        Help the Lakotah survive winter's storms.

        by Deep Harm on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:07:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You remember wrong...as usual nt (0+ / 0-)

        Help the Lakotah survive winter's storms.

        by Deep Harm on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:31:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sigh. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deep Harm

        Just a note to inform readers that the diary in contention in this sub-thread was mine (as is the quote above), which offered no conclusion. Rather it added the late-breaking news that yet another birdfall had occurred in Louisiana and LA officials weren't attempting to dismiss the occurrence.

        What happened was that 'mem from somerville' hijacked the tip jar with her strange agenda and proceeded to play at insults relentlessly to prevent discussion of the subject. I asked civilly three times for her to take her game out of my diary because I did not wish to play.

        She of course refused, and now entirely misrepresents the issue to make her trollish behavior seem 'scientific'. Standard operating procedure.

        That is all.

        Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

        by Joieau on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 07:06:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are lying. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          citizen k, ctami, TFinSF, DollyMadison

          I did not hijack your tip jar. And I merely engaged in the kind of open speculation that you encouraged that diary to be.

          You do not make the rules about which diaries I'm allowed to participate in.

          I'm delighted to know you've see this diary, though. You are one of the ones who needed it the most. I'd hypothesize that your foil-wrapped noggin will deflect it, though. I'll have to wait for more data to find out :)

          La complessità dei viventi è un dato di fatto. --emmecola

          by mem from somerville on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 07:11:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  indeed. no tip jar hijacking. that is a pet (3+ / 0-)

            peeve of mine so i went and checked. Mem did NOT hijack that tip jar.. sheesh.

            "You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan." final words of R Holbrooke

            by UTvoter on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 07:56:39 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  This is the user I was describing above (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            citizen k, mem from somerville

            Who, despite being told a day before, via a link to a news report, that residents reported hearing loud fireworks right before the birds left their nighttime roosts in a panic and killed themselves, claimed that no one in the town noticed the loud fireworks!

            We should be glad somebody finally remembered they set off fireworks nobody else in town noticed.

            •  Reports from residents (0+ / 0-)

              did not include loud fireworks at the time of the occurrence or when feds in hazmat suits showed up to collect the birds and tell the stunned people that there was "no danger to the general public." Nor were there eyewitness reports of hail or severe thunderstorms or tornadoes concurrent, even though 'official' speculations initially included all those things.

              It was not until 4 days later, when the 'official' speculations began to settle on startling from fireworks that an unidentified resident said there was an "industrial strength" firework exploded at 10pm (NOT midnight) on New Year's Eve. Something none of the identified residents cited in news reports mentioned.

              The bird and fish kills taking place in Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana this past week are still a mystery (no actually official reports yet) as well as interesting news being reported by media all over the world. Thus legitimate events to discuss, which has been the point of all the diaries on those subjects I have seen. No conclusions were offered, but questions have been asked and examination of extant speculations being floated, per their credibility. Several initial 'official' speculatory scenarios were found seriously deficient, those scenarios were dropped rather quickly when the same sort of occurrences were reported happening elsewhere - and not on New Year's Eve.

              I've seen no one claim to know what caused these wildlife kills, I have seen pretty good information introduced about USDA culls I didn't know about, about blackbird behaviors, the differences and similarities with starling behaviors, etc. All very interesting if one happens to be interested in such things and/or fascinated by these news stories. I saw absolutely nothing here on DKos in any diary that remotely resembles the vaccine-autism bad science. I did see this diarist make valiant attempts to derail discussions, start flamefests, and/or insult individuals for commenting. Despite the fact that there wasn't and still isn't a single or claimed to be authoritative 'official story'. Won't be for weeks at least.

              Mem is correct, she didn't hijack the tip jar (I also went back to look). Hers was the first comment, remained immediately beneath the tip jar until the hijack (of the diary) was well underway before a different grump with nothing to say actually did hijack the tip jar. Look at the time stamps.

              Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

              by Joieau on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 11:57:12 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You are as wrong as wrong can be - still! (0+ / 0-)

                Reports from residents did not include loud fireworks at the time of the occurrence or when feds in hazmat suits showed up to collect the birds and tell the stunned people that there was "no danger to the general public."

                You're wrong. They did too.

                Nor were there eyewitness reports of hail or severe thunderstorms or tornadoes concurrent, even though 'official' speculations initially included all those things.

                Yes, speculation was that storms could have caused this, because at first it wasn't clear to the general public and the news media exactly when the birds were seen falling.

                It was not until 4 days later, when the 'official' speculations began to settle on startling from fireworks that an unidentified resident said there was an "industrial strength" firework exploded at 10pm (NOT midnight) on New Year's Eve. Something none of the identified residents cited in news reports mentioned.

                Nope, you're lying again. And are you not aware that in southern states where fireworks are allowed, any time after dark is when people set them off? I've provided links to those news reports detailing that there were fireworks heard from almost immediately after the event - not 4 days later. Here's a link to a story from 1/3, with info gathered on 1/2. You just can't seem to force yourself to be honest, can you?

                Neighbors reported five to 12 booming noises in the eastern part of Beebe, a community of 5,000 northeast of Little Rock. "They reported it sounding like a cannon or transformer exploding."  The first calls about the incident came in at about 11 p.m. on New Year's Eve, according to Keith Stephens, with the Game and Fish Commission.

                "They told us there were birds falling out of the sky. After we verified that this wasn't some kind of prank, one of our wildlife officers went over there and sure enough, there were birds falling," he said.

                Here's another one from 8 am on Monday morning.

                Why are you still trying to defend the indefensible? Be an adult. Grow up, and admit to your errors. Even after having it explicitly explained to you with links, blockquotes and bolded words that residents reported hearing loud fireworks, you still wrote a post a day later that dismissed the idea that residents had heard loud fireworks! That's the behavior of an immature, irrational person who's not reasonably or fairly participating in a debate.

                •  So. Which 'official' speculation (0+ / 0-)

                  in lieu of actual scientific test results, are you promoting? What, exactly, do you want us to believe?

                  I don't get your whole game here (or there), Dolly. It makes no sense.

                  Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                  by Joieau on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 04:00:48 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No, it's your posts that make no sense (0+ / 0-)

                    You're the one who got confused about what happened to spook the birds versus what was happening when they were trying to find a roost again and were seen either crashing into the ground or heard flying into walls or seen walking around dazed and confused on the ground after nearly killing themselves.

                    It's you who stated that the fireworks had been unnoticed by residents a full day after you'd been provided a link and a bolded sentence showing you that residents were been saying that they'd heard loud fireworks.

                    Since we don't have a parallel universe, nor do we have instant replay cameras in Beebe, Arkansas, all we can do is reconstruct the night.

                    They've discovered that....

                    1. Someone shot off professional grade fireworks around 10:30 or so. (It wasn't the city doing a show at midnight - not sure why you ever jumped to that conclusion, that the city was doing the fireworks or that they would be at midnight)
                    1. Many residents heard those booms.
                    1. There is a large, resident population of blackbirds and other roosting, night-blind birds in the woods just outside of the main part of Beebe, Arkansas.
                    1. Immediately after the booms, people saw birds flying at rooftop level.
                    1. People saw and heard birds hitting the ground, hitting their walls and roofs, hitting a woman who was walking her dog, and hitting a police cruiser. People saw the birds falling from the sky!
                    1. Birds like this are frightened by these kinds of booms. If municipalities trying to get rid of swarms like this use the same booms repeatedly day after day, the birds get used to it. But used sporadically, they work very well to stop birds from roosting.
                    1. Birds like this, when panicked, do stupid things.
                    1. Birds like this, when panicked at nighttime, can't see very well.
                    1. Birds like this, when panicked, will try to settle back down as soon as possible. That's how they feel safe.

                    In doing so, they flew into trees and walls and the ground, killing themselves.

                    Their stomachs were empty. They had physical injuries that support this scenario. They were seen by witnesses to be behaving this way.

                    All that any of us want you to do is to acknowledge reality. If they were poisoned, then we wouldn't be seeing these results. That disproves the poisoning/toxin theory.

                    •  I'm sure this explanation (0+ / 0-)

                      makes you feel much more comfortable with mass bird kills in a podunk town in Western Arkansas on New Year's Eve. You might have really liked the "high level hail" explanation too. Or the one about getting sucked into a tornado. Or the one about adult redwing blackbirds being terrified of thunder storms (and/or fireworks). Six of one, half a dozen of the other, irrelevant to the widening story at this point in time.

                      What will you claim when those other birdfalls can't be blamed on New Year's Eve (pre-midnight, in a line of severe weather fireworks) human fireworks? That they just 'forgot' they'd been scared by past fireworks, so suddenly flew into the ground and power lines? Sorry. Don't want to upset your applecart.

                      You've got your conclusion, and you're running with it. By God (or somebodu). For your sake, I hope you've an inside line to the investigations in several states, so their conclusion ends up matching yours when all that sciencey stuff is done.

                      Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                      by Joieau on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 04:54:28 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Birds, when scared and panicked, do stupid things (0+ / 0-)

                        Duh. That's why there's the term "birdbrain", because they do stupid things.

                        And so some birds in Louisiana got scared by something and flew, panic-stricken into power lines and cars on the road and into the ground. It happens.

                        It's not a flaw in my argument that you don't understand coincidence, nor is it my flaw that you misread many articles and didn't read enough of others before you posted. It's not my fault that the facts match my supposition. See, that's what one is supposed to do - test one's suppositions to see if they fail or succeed. There's not a single supposition about the bird kill in Arkansas that stands up to that test besides that they were panicked by loud fireworks. Not one.

                        And the birds in Scandanavia? Also, stupid birds that behaved stupidly.

                        The other day I provided countless links to documentation of how birds behave like birdbrains.

                        Stop making a fool of yourself. Stop digging.

                        •  LOL!!! (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          gerrilea

                          Have YOU ever seen roosting birds commit mass suicide during a fireworks display? Have you ever seen roosting birds commit mass suicide during a thunderstorm? Oddly enough, since fireworks displays happen fairly regularly (nightly at Disney theme parks, in fact) and are almost always well-attended by human beings, and thunderstorms are a normal occurrence in the outdoor world, reports almost identical to these should have such ubiquity that not even a 5-year old would think kamikazi birds are anything out of the usual.

                          As for "birdbrain," you may wish to refresh yourself on the science. It is now known that birds are as smart or smarter than primates. Though I'm sure there's a range of IQ, just as there is everywhere else.

                          But whatever floats your boat, Dolly. I'm sure it'll help you sleep well.

                          Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                          by Joieau on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 09:46:28 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  They didn't commit "mass suicide", for one (0+ / 0-)

                            And yes, I've seen birds panicked after loud noises multiple times.

                            And the people who try to move birds from roosting in one area have seen it many times, as I already documented for you in a previous post!

                            I have seen birds scared by loud, close-by thunder.

                            And, as I have already explained to you, when birds get used to a loud noise, it becomes less frightening to them. I doubt that anyone had ever used professional-grade fireworks around them, and so it shouldn't surprise anyone that it panicked them.

                            Well, it shouldn't surprise any thinking, sentient, sane person, that is. I guess that's why it stuns you!

                            Birds are NOT as smart as primates. Man, you just keep throwing out shit, hoping some will stick, won't you?

                            There are a couple of specific birds, like parrots and pigeons, that are good at a couple of things, but even they aren't very "intelligent", nor are they anywhere close to being as smart as primates.

                            There are exceptions to the rule, and so parrots and pigeons are exceptions to the rule that birds are birdbrained! A couple of smart exceptions to a rule don't change the rule, you know - oops, that's right, you don't know simple, common sense things like this. It's not "now known that birds are as smart or smarter than primates." That's crazy talk.

                            Yet again, you're wrong.

                          •  You forgot ravens (0+ / 0-)

                            (smartest of all birds), crows (tool-users!), doves, cardinals, and, um... birds in general. The exception would be a dumb bird, but I'm sure that won't dent the conclusion you're running with one bit.

                            Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                            by Joieau on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 10:55:24 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  No, not "birds in general" (0+ / 0-)
                            A few birds are capable of a few things - learning to use tools, or memorizing things.

                            That doesn't make those birds some of the very smartest animals, nor does it make birds in general very smart.

                            These birds panic. Heck, even humans panic.

                            And when panicked birds or people act, they do so in stupid ways sometimes. But these birds behave in ways that kill themselves because they're bird-brains.

                            You're the one who's had their conclusions ripped to shreds, over and over again. I understand, you don't like that.

                            Too bad, so sad.

                          •  Open your eyes, use your (0+ / 0-)

                            brain, exercise your reading comprehension...

                            I have asserted no conclusions. Nada. Zero. Zip. Zilch. None whatsoever. I have pointed this out to you and your fellow hijackers repeatedly, and it's as true now as it has been all along.

                            Go ahead and tell me what I have concluded, and link to where I have concluded it. That would do more to convince ME (since I'm the only one here) than just spouting lies ever will.

                            Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                            by Joieau on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 01:10:49 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes, you sure did (0+ / 0-)

                            Denying it is denying reality.

                            You've come to the conclusion that it's too early and there's too little evidence to make a determination what happened.

                            You came to the conclusion that we don't know anything, when we sure do - I made a whole long list of things we "know", after you asserted that we didn't know anything!

                            This post by you is a prime example of that behavior on your part.

                            Here's one post on my part that details some of the conclusions that you and your cohorts came to.

                          •  You've been dogging (0+ / 0-)

                            me like a mongrel cur for "concluding" that conclusions should wait until the forensic investigation has been done and results reported? Hahahahaha!!!!! Oh, my. That's the dumbest thing I've heard since the fifth grade.

                            What a waste of brain cells.

                            And yes, you can have the last word. That's the instruction in bold right at the top of the tactic sheet in your troll training manual.

                            Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                            by Joieau on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 07:48:49 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  No, I've been replying to your posts (0+ / 0-)

                            That's not stalking or dogging someone.

                            I have been pointing out the invalid and unsupportable conclusions that you and your pals have come to, that's right.

                            No "results" have been concluded by the relevant people.

                            But reasonable, preliminary conclusions can be drawn. And they've refuted your nonsense over and over again.

                            You made incredibly basic errors in reading comprehension, for example, being confused about what happened moments after the birds panicked with what happened immediately before the birds panicked, and with claiming that local residents weren't aware of the loud fireworks a full day after a link to a news story about loud fireworks had been shoved in your face about 6 times!

                            I understand that since you can't refute what I've said, all you have left is personal attacks, baselessly claiming that I'm a troll.

                            Clearly you don't understand what a troll is, but your behavior is much more similar to what a troll wants to accomplish than anything that I've done.

    •  ha ha ha.... (5+ / 0-)

      just found this from you:

      If a diarist wants to quote an expert, that's fine.  But, it is unfair to readers to evaluate or add to the expert analysis.

      Sweeet! I don't remember you bringing that up in yesterday's diary though. Are you still of the belief that readers shouldn't be evaluating or adding to the expert analysis?

      Can you tell me more about your expertise? Is it in biology?

      La complessità dei viventi è un dato di fatto. --emmecola

      by mem from somerville on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:03:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Taken out of context (0+ / 0-)

        But, then, that's your MO, apparently.  My comment referred to people mixing lay views with those of experts so that other readers couldn't distinguish between the two. My expertise described in my diaries and is well known around here.  What's yours?

        Help the Lakotah survive winter's storms.

        by Deep Harm on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:26:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, gotcha-- (8+ / 0-)

          so it's only true in your field, which is geology--right? Or is it something else? I'm not really a fan of yours and haven't been keeping up.

          My degrees are in microbiology and immunology, plant biology, and mammalian cell/developmental/molecular biology. And I am active and practicing in those topics today.

          Tell me more about this hazard of mixing of lay views with those of experts--I'm confused on how that should work.

          La complessità dei viventi è un dato di fatto. --emmecola

          by mem from somerville on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:33:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nope...still wrong nt (0+ / 0-)

            Help the Lakotah survive winter's storms.

            by Deep Harm on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:40:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Add biological weapons expertise (0+ / 0-)

            chemical weapons expertise, radiological/nuclear weapons expertise, all involving assessment of situations like the recent mass deaths.  Also, geophysics, remote sensing, emergency response, public policy, computer mapping, and natural sciences including aquatic biology.

            Help the Lakotah survive winter's storms.

            by Deep Harm on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:48:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  And USDA? (7+ / 0-)

              The USDA revelations are a warning and, I assure you, are merely the tip of the iceberg, based on personal observations during my 13 years experience with USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

              http://www.dailykos.com/...

              How come you didn't have that in your list? You certainly get around. It's hard to imagine how deep your exposure could be when there's so many topics there.

              La complessità dei viventi è un dato di fatto. --emmecola

              by mem from somerville on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:57:46 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, more sweetness (8+ / 0-)

              However, it is important to be very clear and accurate in describing threats, to avoid the "cry wolf" response, whereupon the public becomes so jaded that they fail to take any warnings seriously.

              http://www.dailykos.com/...

              I'm so pleased to know that you wouldn't contribute to any wolf crying on these topics. That clarity and accuracy are so crucial to you.

              I don't know why I would have thought otherwise....

              Questions

              I have a lot of questions for which no one has provided an answer.  Why is it "routine" for government employees to take precautions, but not routine to order precautions for the public?  What if the drum fish in this case are canaries in the coal mine, indicating the presence of a dangerous chemical in the water; a chemical that might be accumulating in other wildlife that haven't yet succumbed to it?  Isn't it a little unusual for "disease" to abruptly kill 100,000 fish and 6,000 birds in a single day, over a very limited geographic area?  Wouldn't we expect to see other deaths among the same species in other areas?  

              I wonder, too, why testing should require a month to complete.  Is someone hoping this story will have faded by then, relegated to page 30?  But, what if such an incident was a terrorism dry run?  How many people could die in a month before authorities determined the cause?

              For someone with a extensive background in emergency preparedness and procedures, your dismay at these processes aren't really making any sense to me. And it looks quite a bit like crying wolfiness....

              It's like you've done a 180 on these things. Man, I better get some sleep. They just aren't fitting together in my head.

              La complessità dei viventi è un dato di fatto. --emmecola

              by mem from somerville on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 12:27:44 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  This description of you fits (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Deep Harm

                You've run into the queen of STFU (12+ / 0-)

                This one mocks, demeans, and patronizes anyone who questions anything, even if they do it in a sane and sensible manner.

                If you say something like, "maybe they shouldn't be dumping billions of gallons of benzene into our water supply"

                She would respond with pretty much the same response she gave you. Taking your argument to the ridiculous extreme of hyperbole to try to make you look stupid.

                I don't know what is happening with the birds, but you are right there is cause for concern and discussion. Thanks

                "... the Professional Left, that is simultaneously totally irrelevant and ruining everything" (Glenn Greenwald)

                by ranger995 on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 08:46:47 PM EST

                look for my DK Greenroots diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

                by FishOutofWater on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 04:09:41 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  "ha ha ha"? (0+ / 0-)

        How juvenile is that!

        Help the Lakotah survive winter's storms.

        by Deep Harm on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 11:16:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  More gold (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DollyMadison

        Here are my "big rock" suggestions, based on 16 years in emergency preparedness for federal agencies....

        That means a) stop threatening and harassing experts who give you good advice because it isn't what your political handlers want to hear, and b) actually use the advice they give you.

        http://www.dailykos.com/...

        La complessità dei viventi è un dato di fatto. --emmecola

        by mem from somerville on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 07:42:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  How come nobody (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      citizen k, DollyMadison

      is calling you "TROLL" or giving you HRs?

      Oh right, that's because we're sane and rational over here.

      Somewhere a senator sits behind a big wooden desk...he took his money just like all the rest- Neil Young

      by ctami on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:04:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why? (0+ / 0-)

        Because I don't troll.  That's why.

        Help the Lakotah survive winter's storms.

        by Deep Harm on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:10:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And neither were the people you called troll (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          citizen k, ctami, ecostar

          That's the point that the previous user was making.

          But it went right over your head.

          •  You need to read the Kossopedia then nt (0+ / 0-)

            Help the Lakotah survive winter's storms.

            by Deep Harm on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 11:16:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, I don't need to read anything (0+ / 0-)

              But you? You need to get a clue.

              There's nothing in anything that the posters you called trolls did that justified your labelling them as such. Nothing.

              And what are you - 11? When you make an assertion, it's your responsibility to cite the specific thing that you think backs you up, and then to cite the specific examples that document the claims that you've made.

              But, see, I know, and you know too, that you can't do that. Just like you couldn't do it when you claimed, without any evidence whatsoever, that I misquoted you. I didn't misquote you, and no one behaved like a troll.

              Repeatedly making a bogus allegation doesn't magically make it become factual. Reasonable people know this. You seemingly don't.

    •  I thout Mem's comments were appropriate. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      citizen k, grapes, DollyMadison

      I didn't read the diary or comments at the time, but I have now.

      "George Washington said I was beautiful"--Sarah Palin on Barbara Bush, as imagined by Mark Sumner

      by Rich in PA on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 06:07:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The hypocrite would be you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      citizen k, ctami

      You failed to update your diary with new information.

      You refused to acknowledge that we had the evidence on our side, evidence that turned out to be true.

      In the case of the birds in Arkansas, there truly was "nothing to see".

      You asserted that evidence of how fast the birds could fly was somehow evidence that they could have flown from Beebe to the Arkansas River 125 miles away. Except that these birds don't fly 125 miles for food, so they speed at which they could fly is wholly irrelevant!

      You fell into the trap that many CT'ers fall into, thinking that coincidence is correlation and correlation equals causation. We called on you on it, and you and your buddies freaked out.

      And then, in the post above, you pull out the argument that rightwingers and those who behave like rightwingers seem to love way too much - that we called your behavior CT because we disagree with your opinion.

      Didn't happen that way. Not at all. There's no evidence of that, yet you make that claim.

      •  Who is "our side"? (0+ / 0-)

        Are you admitting, then,  that you represent an organization?

        (1) No one have PROVEN a thing about the mass kills.  All that has been offered so far are "likely" causes, which is all they had when I wrote the diary, and even those explanations have been questioned by meteorologists, natural scientists and other sources.

        (2) There is NO EXPECTATION on this website that authors will update a diary after it rolls off the lists.

        (3) Your assumption that birds "don't fly 125 miles for food" is absurd because no one said that food was the motivation and food certainly is not the only motivation.  Moreover, you provided no cite for that claim.

        (3) I NEVER, EVER said there HAD to be a correlation between the two events.   Your repeated allegations that I did are LIES.  The point I mad in my diary is that it was too early for authorities to RULE OUT a connection. Definitely NOT Conspiracy Theorist unless your making up your own private definition of CT.

        (4) I REPEATEDLY stated in my diary that it was too early to draw a conclusion--and that applied to the authorities drawing conclusions before any testing had been done.  Again, definitely NOT conspiracy theorist by any accepted definition of CT.

        (5) Of course you were trying to silence a different opinion since, as I have pointed out, I DID NOT engage in CT, and because your comments fit the Kossopedia's definition of "troll," someone whose purpose is to shut down discussion.

        (6) Your feigned outrage, false accusations and trollish remarks suggest that you resent anyone suggesting that authorities get facts before throwing out theories.

        (7) I have seen no evidence that anyone "freaked out" except you and your pack members who engaged in abusive behaviors, ganging up on people who were trying to comment on the subject in a respectful manner.

        (8) Again, you intentionally fabricated 'quotes' in my diary and claimed those as your "evidence" of CT.  When I asked you to explain where you found them, you refused to do so.  In fact, the alleged statements were never made by me.

        (9)) A lot of reputable Kossacks, including Meteor Blades, recommended my diary.   I rest my case.

        Help the Lakotah survive winter's storms.

        by Deep Harm on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 11:15:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  More dishonesty (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Meteor Blades, ctami

          (1) No one have PROVEN a thing about the mass kills.  All that has been offered so far are "likely" causes, which is all they had when I wrote the diary, and even those explanations have been questioned by meteorologists, natural scientists and other sources.

          No legit scientist has disputed, not one bit, that loud fireworks, heard by the residents and confirmed by the cops to be professional grade, so louder than normal, would startle these birds out of their roosts and cause them to panic. No one has disputed that. You're not being honest here.

          (2) There is NO EXPECTATION on this website that authors will update a diary after it rolls off the lists.

          You refused to update your diary while you were still making posts in it, while it was still on the rec list. You were pwned several times, yet you never updated your diary. That's undeniable, and so you try to distract from that fact by alleging that I was asking for an unreasonable thing. I wasn't.

          (3) Your assumption that birds "don't fly 125 miles for food" is absurd because no one said that food was the motivation and food certainly is not the only motivation.  Moreover, you provided no cite for that claim.

          I did, actually, provide links that discussed how these birds behave. They have home ranges. They don't travel 125 miles for food. These birds live full time at this site, roosting in huge numbers on the outskirts of Beebe, Arkansas. Migrating birds from northern climes have already migrated for the winter. And so no birds that ate where the fish were would have ended up 125 miles away. This species only travels that far when they are migrating. Their ranges are in the thousands of square meters in size. Here's another link that suggests that a buffer of 200 meters around a breeding ground would be sufficient. Their home range might be upwards of 30-40 hectares. Not 125 miles!

          (8) Again, you intentionally fabricated 'quotes' in my diary and claimed those as your "evidence" of CT.  When I asked you to explain where you found them, you refused to do so.  In fact, the alleged statements were never made by me.

          Again, I did not ever fabricate a quote, and your failure to provide a link to a single one here is very telling! I never, ever, ever, ever, refused to "explain" where I found the things I alleged you said. Not once. And the reason you didn't provide a link to me doing so? Because it doesn't exist. You're telling a falsehood. I never misquoted you. Not once.

          (9) A lot of reputable Kossacks, including Meteor Blades, recommended my diary.   I rest my case.

          MB has explained that he recommends lots of diaries without suggesting that he supports the full content of the diaries nor should it be assumed that he's giving full support to everything that the diarist wrote. He is simply giving support to discussion. He easily could support the stances of those who opposed your diary! Your belief that he supported your position with his rec of the diary is bogus. And I don't dispute that many users recommended your diary. There are significant problems on this site with diaries that don't tell an honest story with all the known facts getting on the rec list.

  •  Thanks mem (5+ / 0-)

    Good diary, pretty good discussion (despite a few hijacks).
    Keep defending science, we need more voices like yours.

    How come the dove gets to be the peace symbol? How about the pillow? It has more feathers than the dove and doesn't have that dangerous beak. Jack Handey

    by skohayes on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 03:58:58 AM PST

  •  Experiments frequently start with a hypothesis (6+ / 0-)

    which many confuse as a conclusion. Fitting data to confirm the hypothesis has a long history, perhaps most famous is Mendel who not only fit data, but modified data to confirm his hypothesis.

    A key is repeatability. Mendel's hypothesis could be confirmed by repeating the experiments.

    Practice tolerance, kindness and charity.

    by LWelsch on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 04:21:11 AM PST

  •  Mem (4+ / 0-)

    You know that tax cuts for the rich result in more jobs and more tax revenue. That's a conclusion that near everyone believes from the days of Saint Ronnie Reagan.

    You have to take some of these things on faith and ignore those icky scientific-type facts!

    That's Countdown for the 2,082nd day since Mission Accomplished. You thought that would change? Are the troops home yet? Keith Olbermann January 20, 2009

    by Ed in Montana on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 04:55:12 AM PST

  •  I have noticed a distinct lack of science on some (8+ / 0-)

    science related diaries. Telling half the facts or using hyperbole to gin up emotion and an overall message of outrage.

    The diaries about the gulf oil spill stand out. Often more politics than science and more opinion than politics.

    Not to say there aren't terrific science diaries posted here, I just wish there were a way to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    "Don't fall or we both go." Derek Hersey 1957-1993

    by ban nock on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 05:05:30 AM PST

    •  To throw a wide net, I'd say what appears in (9+ / 0-)

      diaries here more than called for is speculation masquerading as conclusion in search of data. Example: bee CCD caused by pesticides, cell phone towers, GMOs; take your pick. Another example: spike in human allergies caused by GMOs, regardless of lack of evidence or data to back up that speculation.

      Dkos is not a PLoS, so I don't expect scientific peer review rigor, but I do expect more than a nod towards understanding causation, correlation and the difference between the two.

      "Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons."

      by the fan man on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 05:31:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have a friend who was going to take her (4+ / 0-)

    daughter to visit relatives in India with no vaccinations, because her husband was afraid of what they might do to her.   Unbelievable.   Tipped and rec'd.

    If you lose your disc or fail to follow commands, you will be subject to immediate de-resolution. That will be all.

    by SpamNunn on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 05:20:36 AM PST

  •  Scientific fraud is serious business. (2+ / 0-)

    You will be found out.  You will face the consequences.

    If anyone wants to read a good book on the subject, I recommend Plastic Fantastic: How the Biggest Fraud in Physics Shook the Scientific World.

    It's the story of an ambitious young Bell Labs physicist who falsifies his data by listening to what experts in the field predicted, then generates false data that reasonably fits with the expert's prediction.  Eventually, he gets caught when a researcher trying to replicate his data notices suspiciously similar error curves in many of his publications.

    If anyone's interested in reading about a case of major scientific fraud, I highly recommend this book.

    The play's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.

    by KroneckerD on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 05:26:25 AM PST

  •  Victoly (5+ / 0-)

    Fantastic. Wonderful. I have been desperatly trying to stomp out the fires started by this horrific rumor and this fraudulent writer for so long. my school's biology department still gets bitchy letters. (I live in the south x_X) Its really freaking difficult to tell anyone you are studying microbiology without listening to a copy-and-pasted rant. I dont tarnish those parents really.

    I mean, can you blame them? I have aspergers and that alone meant about an addition 5 years before i could really advance beyond high school. For those who have non-oddly-termed-spectrum disorders, its even worse. At least I can call people idiots to their face, even if i have to restart the sentence four or five times before it comes out. (I like the internet a LOT more. <3 delete key.) Its perfectly reasonable, their reaction:</p>

    Its sad and scary and you feel justifiably wronged to see this happen to a child so I cant really blame the parents. they desperatly want an agency to blame. And thats natural, thats so totally natural that I cant just toss them aside no matter how wrong they are.

    Thats always been the hardest part of this. I fully, totally feel for them (not easy given my condition) but it has to stop. I know how painful it is to watch this stuff happen to your child but...This just isnt causing it.

    Of course those of us interested know you receive far more dangerous heavy metals on a daily basis just from living in a metropolitain area but...they want agency to blame. And I still cant harp on them for that, just because its so natural to feel that way.

    But this isnt it. This isnt the cause. And those who promote fradulent anti-vaccine stories which have LOGN since been disproven..well we cant let them get away with it. The hardest part is destroying the lies without destroying the person who so understandably fell for those lies.

    Autism is tragic, a tragic result of us obliterating almost all infant-killing problems. Cancer is the same way. We have so completely obliterated most of our dangerous conditions, that ones that wouldve gone mostly unnoticed or in smal ldegrees have shot to the forefront.

    Imagine trying to tell parents that, technicly, its a GOOD thing that this many kids hauve autism. That it shows our testing has improved (if not our terminology) and that the things that 50 years ago were killibng huge numbers of infants who were too weak to support themselves, have now been destroyed to such an extent that things like autism and cancer are our biggest worries. Thats rather astoundingly good news, in the long run.

    But I understand. I especially understand their reluctance. But it only gets worse. You dont want to be forced to give up what youve devoted years of your life to, and itll be a hard sell. But we'll win this one, for truth, and for science!

    Now once we get rid of those pesky dragons, things should really start looking up.

    And When the Truth Finally Dawns: It dawns in fire! But, There's one they fear. In their tongue, he's Dovahkiin: Dragon Born!

    by kamrom on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 05:54:10 AM PST

    •  This para is stellar: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      T100R, DollyMadison

      Autism is tragic, a tragic result of us obliterating almost all infant-killing problems. Cancer is the same way. We have so completely obliterated most of our dangerous conditions, that ones that would've gone mostly unnoticed or in small degrees have shot to the forefront.

      Thank you. Your point about the improvement in diagnosis is likewise excellent. About some diagnoses I remain skeptical (I tend to think Asperger's is bullshit, but some would say that's because I have it; draw your own conclusions) but great comment all round.

      neca politicos omnes; deus nullos agnoscet.

      by khereva on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 06:00:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Corporate sponsorship of science (6+ / 0-)

    leads to just this kind of bogus science.  In this case, Wakefield's research was sponsored by lawyers representing families with autistic children.  They wanted to be able to sue vaccine producers.  And Wakefield gave them what they paid for.

    Similar results happened when tobacco companies funded research about the relationship between smoking and cancer.  Surprise, surprise, the scientists they hired found no relationship.

    I'm not saying no private foundations should fund scientific research.  But it should be done in such a a way that there is no communication either implicit or explicit of expectations of results.  

    "Right wing freak machine" General Wes Clark

    by Tracker on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 06:16:13 AM PST

    •  But this was the opposite (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mem from somerville, KroneckerD

      of corporate-funded science run amok, since it was parents suing the corporations who made these vaccines, not the other way around. I think this can happen both ways, calling for some formal and rigorous process by which either side's contentions can be confirmed or refuted. Like, oh, some sort of independant government organization to test such things. We could call it, oh, the Administration for Drug and Food Safety. Or, perhaps, the Food and Drug Administration. Just an idea.

      "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

      by kovie on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 07:31:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is a good point (5+ / 0-)

        It's fair to question the funding sources and influence. But you have to ask the same question on both sides. For example, if "Big Activist" funds a study that turns out to have the conclusion they want--it should be scrutinized the same way.  You can't just give "big activist" a pass because you agree with their position.

        La complessità dei viventi è un dato di fatto. --emmecola

        by mem from somerville on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 07:35:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Dishonesty and laziness (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mem from somerville, KroneckerD

          are not solely corporate/conservative practices. They may be far more prevalent with them, but certainly not exclusive to them. If anything, I hate it far more when people from "my" side are dishonest and/or lazy, because I expect it from the other side, not mine, and it only hurt our side's credibility in the end.

          "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

          by kovie on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 07:47:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  It's still the guy with the big bucks (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        indubitably

        dictating results.  The law firms, working for the parents, who are the "corporate" interests sponsoring the research.

        Yeah, it would be nice if FDA actually did its job.

        "Right wing freak machine" General Wes Clark

        by Tracker on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 07:41:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  FDA? What is this "FDA" of which you speak? (0+ / 0-)

          And you have to be careful here, because you're feeding into a classic conservative "tort reform" meme by suggesting that ambulance-chasinglaw firms invent phony cases to essentially extort large amounts of money from corporations and clients. Some surely do, but it's the exception, not the norm, I've got to believe, and far more often it's non-law firm corporations who are getting away with murder, figuratively if not literally. For every Sue, Scare & Settle LLP, there are probably ten or a hundred Union Carbides, Goldman Sachs and BP's. Law firms mostly skim. Corporations do the real plundering and destroying.

          "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

          by kovie on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 07:55:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Well, now we know where your loyalties lie (0+ / 0-)

        It's well known that FDA is in industry's pocket.

        Help the Lakotah survive winter's storms.

        by Deep Harm on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 08:11:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Boy, I will bookmark this diary (6+ / 0-)

    This happens here at DK all the time.

    We have people who leap to unsustainable conclusions all the time.

    We have people who pretend that they're victims, being unfairly attacked, when critics point out the horrible flaws in their arguments.

    Those of us who push a reality-based view get HR'd for no good reason by roaming gangs, it's true.

    •  And we have people like you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      House of Gin

      who deliberately misquote people and  use the misquotes to cry  "conspiracy theory" or make other outrageous accusations against the diarist, all with the clear intent of silencing people who don't blindly accept everything industry and the government tell us.  The vaccine case is unfortunate, but there are many, MANY more instances where industry or government officials lied to the people and eventually were caught red-handed.

      Help the Lakotah survive winter's storms.

      by Deep Harm on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 08:06:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have never deliberately misquoted anyone (0+ / 0-)

        And how unusual (not!) that you would make that asssertion without providing a smidgen of evidence to back you up.

        In your diary, you repeatedly claimed that you were being misquoted, but every time you made that claim, that claim was debunked. Every time.

        As Serpents Choice and others pointed out with specific references to your diary's comments, you posted conspiracy theory.

        You. Posted. Conspiracy. Theories.

        You implied that a month of testing was evidence of a cover-up, but I bet you don't have any idea what that testing entails, or why it might take that long.  You outright stated that cadaver collection being done in hazmat suits was a sign that the government was hiding a public health risk, which shows a significant lack of understanding of the collection process and risks it entails that may not be shared with a wider area.  You suggested that mass animal deaths -- even though such things are in fact relatively common -- might be a terrorist training attack.  You presented nothing resembling evidence for any of these claims or implications, instead arguing with exactly the same "isn't it curious that" strategy that we rightly mock Glenn Beck for employing.

        •  Anyone can read my diary for the truth (0+ / 0-)

          and for evidence of your lies, which I pointed out there.  I'm not going to repeat it all again just because someone who clearly is a troll demands it.

          Help the Lakotah survive winter's storms.

          by Deep Harm on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 08:55:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So, when pressed for evidence, you refuse (0+ / 0-)

            Great.

            I will, then, refute what you said by providing that evidence from your own diary, with links.

            See, I know that the reason you made that accusation, but then didn't back it up with evidence, is because the evidence doesn't exist. What you claim happened, that you were misquoted, didn't happen.

            Like in your diary, where I said

            And made claims that these birds would have flown 125 miles, when they don't fly that far to eat, solely because of the speed that these birds fly.

            And the claim that they could have eaten the fish, when they don't eat dead fish at this time of the year.

            And the claim that gov't officials are misbehaving, when there's no evidence that they're doing that in this case. Saying that you've seen it before isn't evidence that it's happening here.

            Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and you don't have even a little proof!

            You denied it, but your own diary refutes your denial. Your reply was

            Point out the part where you said I claimed the birds ate the fish.

            But I didn't say that you claimed that the birds ate the fish. You claimed that the birds could have eaten the fish. I said that you claimed that the birds could have eaten the fish, not that you said that they did eat the fish.

            I didn't "fabricate" anything. Neither did anyone else in that diary.

            Serpents Choice documented multiple times where you used theatrics and CT language. He/she called you irresponsible and said that he couldn't assume you posted in good faith, and provided examples of that behavior to back up his assertions!

            Here's another example of you falsely accusing me of misquoting you.

            AGAIN, you have accused me of saying things I never said.

            But I didn't do that, and in my reply to that post, I refute your assertion that I did do that.

            You wrote in your diary

            At this point, it's one of multiple possibilities.

            And what was "it"?

            they were recently present along the particular body of water (the Arkansas River) where the fish died

            So, you wrote that

            At this point, it's possible they (the birds) were recently present along the particular body of water (the Arkansas River) where the fish died.

            And so, when I said

            It's not possible that these birds ate those fish, then flew to Beebe.

            I wasn't misquoting you.

            This is all documented in your diary. Your claim that you were misquoted is bogus. Not only did I not deliberately misquote you, I didn't accidentally do it either.

    •  You went on the attack (0+ / 0-)

      against a heart attack victim.

      And I see I am not the only one to remember you.

      Why can't we all just get a blog? :)

      by cskendrick on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 08:22:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, I didn't go "on the attack" against her (0+ / 0-)

        That's just not an accurate or fair portrayal of what I did.

        I explained to her, as did others, that her depiction of what was done and what happened couldn't be factual and accurate.

        Not at all.

        She stated things that just can't be substantiated.

        I stated, categorically, that I was not calling her a liar.

        I don't think you're lying, and so you were either poorly informed by the last doctor and his staff, confused about what they told you, or mis-treated by that cardiologist!

        I asked what kind of tests were done in Manzanillo. The diarist never answered, by the way, despite the fact that it was the subject of that post. She pointedly avoided answering multiple questions from users, in fact.

        No one was trying to be mean to her. We were trying to explain to her that her understanding of what her condition was couldn't be accurate. She appeared determined to believe it, but it couldn't be true. Either she was lying, which I still don't think is the case, or she was misunderstanding what she'd been told, or she'd been horribly misdiagnosed/misinformed by the last doctor she'd seen.

        I didn't go on the attack, not in any way.

        Yet that's the way you describe it. How appropriate in a diary about people leaping to unsupportable conclusions without facts to back them up!

  •  This may be fairly rare in the sciences (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ScienceMom, FishOutofWater

    But it's par for the course in modern journalism, where finding and fitting facts to fit the predetermined narrative (which oddly alway seem to be either overly dramatic to get high ratings, or overly conservative and anti-liberal to fit media owners' preferred ideologies and political outcomes) is not just common, and not just pervasive, but how things are done, at least in the establishment or mass media.

    E.g.:

    "Both sides are equally crazy, extreme and partisan"

    "Dems have to move to the center to win over the public"

    "The surge worked"

    "Obama is too anti-business"

    In journalism, unlike science, there is no formal process for determining the truth of a given article, because it's so subjective and there are too many facts, many of them themselves subjective. But there is the bullshit detector, which most of us have, and when used properly sees so much of today's journalism as the propaganda and lies and distortion that it so clearly is. And we don't even get a film at 11 anymore.

    "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

    by kovie on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 07:40:48 AM PST

  •  tipped, recced. hopefully parents (3+ / 0-)

    and funding agencies will act accordingly. thanks MfS. nice diary.

    "You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan." final words of R Holbrooke

    by UTvoter on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 07:49:40 AM PST

  •  Thank you for this diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mem from somerville

    I  believe you missed one very important thing:

    One study is not conclusive.  It is one study. Any scientist or group of scientists who claim a breakthrough based on one study are to be viewed with extreme skepticism.

    •  Another thing (4+ / 0-)

      Another way to say "Running with conclusions" is Running with Suppositions; or  inductive reasoning.  A supposition is simply a temporary conclusion you play with to see where it takes you.

      Inductive reasoning has lead to many modern scientific breakthroughs, it is his how, for example, Watson and Crick broke the double helix structure for DNA. They imagined what it could have looked like and played with models to get their shape.  Of course, they needed the images of DNA produced by Franklin's plodding, careful, data driven research to prove themselves right.

      That is the key: running with suppositions and walking yourself back down to the data.  

      The problem with Wakefield is obvious: he and his team forced the data to confirm to their hypothesis. In science, this cheating will not fly.  Frauds will be exposed, as Wakefield had been.

      All this just my way of saying three cheers for science, for reasoning and for skepticism!

  •  Fine diary - and proudly rec'd :) (3+ / 0-)

    Why can't we all just get a blog? :)

    by cskendrick on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 08:24:05 AM PST

  •  GOPers do it all the time.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DollyMadison

    GOPer congress critters spew bizarre conclusions continually, citing pseudoscience sources. Unfortunately, they manage to get a too large segment of the population to hop on board their Ship of Fools.  

    What is so frustrating, IMHO, is that people are so eager to accept imaginative, irrational, unlikely conclusions and so reluctant to rely on--or to wait for confirmation--by scientific, multi-sourced proof. Speculation is fun, as long as we don't put our own or the others health and lives in jeopardy based mainly on someone else's fantasies.  

    One problem is that it takes time to check out and confirm theories. Meanwhile, it's easier to listen to the self-appointed "authorities" who all too often are motivated primarily by opinion rather than fact.

  •  Sounds like he worked in the Bush Administration. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citizen k

    Typical "W" cabinet level member mentality.  Mold the facts to fit the end result.  What an asshat and a criminal.

  •  MMR -- I have a question. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    i am quite sure i got an MMR shot as a child. but when i moved to another state and entered college, it was hard to find the records. when they finally got them from the health dept in my homestate, they determined i needed another MMR (maybe there are two you need?)

    anyhow, several years later, moved back to homestate. last year, i got the mumps. don't ask me how -- i have no idea. the doctor said he hadn't seen it, ever, in his practice. no one else seemed to have it. my cheek swelled up, i worried about it spreading.. but it went away with treatment. it was a really scary thing. does anyone know why i would have still got the illness after vaccination? i am still confused on the whole thing myself.

    •  With virtually all vaccines (3+ / 0-)

      Not everyone actually gets immunity, even with multiple doses.

      I think that with the MMR vaccine, about 95% percent are covered by the initial dose, and it goes up to closer to 99% with a repeated dose.

      Most vaccines are like this - what's supposed to happen when one is vaccinated is that one's immune system is supposed to recognize the inactivated virus, and create antibodies that fight against that virus. That way, when one is actually exposed to the virus, the body is already equipped with the right fighters to stop the virus before it can cause any symptoms.

      For some reason, your body never created those virus-specific antibodies after you were vaccinated.

      •  thank you so much, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Oh Mary Oh

        it is extremely weird that i'm in the 1% that failed to recognize it. i wonder is that a signal of a larger health issue? i hope not. anyhow, it was really scary. i am not against vaccines at all. i was just worried i got the wrong amount of doses, or a failed vial -- who knows, i didn't really know what happened. thanks for the explanation.

        •  Yeah, I don't know (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fivefouranonymous, Oh Mary Oh

          If this should be considered a larger symptom of a bigger problem - that your immune system doesn't do a good job - but I'd doubt it.

          Unless you are repeatedly ill, meaning that your body isn't protected against the viruses that it sees and you keep getting the same illnesses over and over again, I wouldn't worry about it.

          There may be posters here who know more about that than I do. Very, very few immunizations have been found to be inert or ineffective, but it has happened.

        •  No, it's not extremely weird (4+ / 0-)

          I got the measles in college, despite full vaccination. I was one of about 600 cases in the country that year.

          But there's a fraction of people who won't develop a response to a given vaccine. That's another reason that herd immunity is so important.

          La complessità dei viventi è un dato di fatto. --emmecola

          by mem from somerville on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 09:14:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  let's define "herd immunity" (3+ / 0-)

            There are two ways to avoid getting sick:

            1. be immune  - so get vaccinated.
            1. Don't get exposed to the bug. -so make sure everyone else is vaccinated so nobody around has the disease. This second idea is herd immunity.

            Since (1) is not guaranteed, (2) becomes really important. The more people are vaccinated the better herd immunity works. For example, say one person is sick. If everybody around the sick person is immune, the bug has nowhere to go and the bug dies without affected anyone else. People who don't vaccinate their children are responsible not only for the infection of their child, but everyone their child infects and everyone those people infect and everyone those people infect and on and on.

            There are some strong arguments that it's far more useful to vaccinate children and younger adults against flu than the elderly most likely to die from flu exposure. Why? Vaccinations are less effective in the elderly, you're better off just making sure they aren't encountering sick children.

            •  Thanks for your last paragraph (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Oh Mary Oh

              Although I'm afraid that most who really need that info won't read it and absorb it and use the information in it.

              It's still a great point.

              I'd hate to be the obstinate person who contracts a disease, passes it on before I even know I'm sick (one is the most contagious in the one or two days before one develops any symptoms), and cause a minor illness in myself yet cause a major illness or even death in someone who couldn't get vaccinated!

    •  I got the mumps twice, (3+ / 0-)

      yes twice,  after my MMR shot.  It can happen....

      The worst part was both times was at Halloween and I missed out on trick or treating.

      But OT, I'm so glad to see this garbage science debunked.

      Evolution is so obsolete, gotta stamp your hands and clap your feet! Gotta dance like a monkey, dance like a monkey, child.

      by espresso on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 09:01:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The lesson shouldn't be that people shouldn't (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater, Oh Mary Oh

    do thought experiments or form hypothesis which is what I'm hearing here. Nor should it be that you can't include information that hasn't been "proven" yet in ongoing decisions. That is rather the antithises of scientific enquiry because NOTHING is ever proven. Validly tested hypothesis simply haven't been disproven yet. The whole point of the scientific method is that there are no sacred cows and one can question anything. That doesn't mean you can't use the information gathered thus far as part of your decision making process.

    The only lesson should be that all scientific theories and hypothesis should be open to thoughtful questioning and replication. Not every experiment that hasn't been replicated should be dismissed. It depends entirely on why it hasn't been replicated...like a lack of funding in the field, or an inability to replicate the conditions at the time of the experiment for reasons beyond any researchers control (here I would refer you to think about the research that was ongoing on atmospheric nighttime temperatures which happened to be conducted during the grounding of all planes post 9-11).

    There are many rules to good science but one that isn't used often enough is follow the money. It doesn't guarantee that the results are bupkis but if a researcher is funded (on any project, not just the one in question) by the beneficiary of his results that should have to be stated at the top in the abstract.

    Also, the leap from one guy faking his data to saying that no one should wonder aloud if bird deaths and fish deaths are related is rediculous. There is a difference between wondering, which is the first step in forming a hypothesis which would then need to be tested, and CT. Here's a good example. During the 9-11 clean-up the EPA said the air was safe to breathe. We now know that wasn't correct and was done to assuage public panic. If no one had ever questioned that statement, hadn't wondered if the illnesses of firemen and others were related to the incident, then no research would have been done.

    Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. Wakefield's research was bad. But scientific method found it out. It doesn't mean if research shows that trans-fatty acids are bad for you, you can't decide to forego them until further evidence is available. It's all evidence that one should use in your arsenal but always remember that nothing is writ in stone.

    President Obama is the best moderate Republican president in my lifetime. kasandra.us

    by KS Rose on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 09:14:13 AM PST

  •  What I Find to Be Most Egregiously Vile (0+ / 0-)

    about the whole thing is the time it took for the scientific community to thoroughly debunk Wakefield, his pseudo-science, and rid him and his propaganda of credibility.

    Crap science, when it gets to have a rabid following of dupes becomes entangled in thorny political issues.  Scientists had less trouble with their scientific convictions when it came to debunking University of Utah's scientists' cold fusion in a test tube breakthrough.  Or putting their finger on the cracked seals in Challenger.

    Both those instances could have been, and to some extent were, fraught with political peril for scientists.  However, the gullible hordes with a stake in preserving falsehoods were absent.

    But scientists must insist on good science despite the politics involved.  Perhaps even more so when the potential for duping the believers in false prophets potential is highest.  

    "ingratiation and access . . . are not corruption." -- Justice Kennedy (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 2010)

    by Limelite on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 10:22:12 AM PST

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