MAY 2014. This is a tough blog for me to write. I believe that science has been one of the only forms of thought process that allows us as a civilization to move forward. Over the centuries persons with creative and scientific minds have shown that the earth revolves around the sun, that microbes to exist, and that applying a “method” to situations allows us to better understand our physical world.
One of the best science papers I read while in graduate school came from one of my own professors. In this 1986 sports medicine report called “The Burden of Disproof”, Dr. Victor Katch details the simple principle that science doesn’t “prove” anything, because 100 papers can conclude something, but it only takes one paper to refute those findings, thus “disproving” that hypothesis. It became clear to me that science is the process of adding specific items of knowledge to an argument, and when enough of those items are in order, people can make an intelligent decision about what those results are, and mean to society as a whole. It reminds me of a very interesting letter to the editor in 1963 by Dr. Bernard Forscher in Science Journal – where he compares scientific inquiry to “bricks in the brickyard” He thought that these brick would ultimately be used to build an edifice – if they were constructed in the proper manner and with care. What he surmised – even back in the early 1960s – is that due to the amount of publication – there were no edifices being built, but random bricks scattered across the brickyard. Many would consider the 1960s to be one of the glowing decades of scientific inquiry in the 20th century. Forscher knew even then there was trouble brewing in terms of pure science and how people were shaping it to be in their own interests.
The reason I write this is that I am seeing a war against persons who are interested in the scientific method and interested in science in general being blatantly ostracized by the mainstream media and journalists for their views. These areas include:
· the use of complimentary and alternative therapies in cancer treatment
· the anti-vaccine movement of parents and scientists concerned about the growing incidence rate of autism and other chronic diseases
· the backlash against global warming by government and private agencies
· big pharma companies that falsify data to “prove” the benefits of drugs that actually cause more harm than good. Here is one example:
Dr. Beatrice Golomb from UC San Diego has written extensively on the fraud of drugs such as statins – she states that the results of published papers didn’t coop the actual data that is published vs. what the discussion and results state. She states that the drug companies who sponsor these studies may in fact have a hand at play regarding their results. The FDA even has a hand at looking at clinical data from studies before they’re published (as they are on drug registry portals for review). This may allow the FDA to cherry-pick studies that they feel show positive results for a particular drug, and drop or not publish any trials that show negative results or excessive side effects. Many of these negative reports may even be published as to twist their results to be favorable even though the results did not state this.
The benefits vs. the truth may have things to do with patient selection (those who would allow the results to be good), cost efficiency, and length of treatment. In fact – doctors in medical school are almost brainwashed to believing that drugs are the answer to all of the medical ills in our society.
Leading CAM doctors have been able to break away from drug culture, and these practitioners may even follow the scientific method BETTER than those who are from conventional medical schools and follow the drug culture and the conflict of interest via the big pharma and how they sponsor drug trials.
One of the biggest scams may be in the area of statin drugs – as one drug trial points out The PROSPER trial in statins in elderly (vs. non elderly) and heart disease and other risk factors. The rate of death was similar with two groups – statins vs. other groups. Mortality data was equal across all groups (no benefit of drugs) and 25% increase in cancers in statin group. However – the abstracts put out by the drug companies state that “this trial extends to the elderly the treatment strategy of the middle age (which is not the case).
While concerned doctors and scientists such as Beatrice Golomb and Health Ranger Mike Adams work hard to expose these issues, as pointed out in my previous blog – The War on (Rx) Drugs – part I statins, the industry publishes a report that says MORE Americans should be considered for statins, not less!
Mike Adams may be another example of a pure independent scientist. Through his own self-funded research lab in Arizona, he reports on many health issues through his own scientific method. He usually reports on the improprieties of the agriculture and medical industries. He states that science in the US is not a pure study anymore, but a method to support the interest of big business. We see this in medicine, and environmental science – where recently the Bush Administration told government scientists they could not report on the results of progression of global warming. They go out of their way to sensor data, and attack those with dissenting viewpoints. Adams points out that it has gotten so bad that one agency, NASA, crashed a $300 million satellite into Mars, because their scientists failed to convert English to metrics. The cancer industry has become a joke, that after 60 years and close to a trillion dollars – there is no “cure” for cancer, and probably never will be. There may never be a cure for many other diseases, as well.
I could go on – but we as a society have fallen hook-line-and sinker for pseudo science over the past few decades, to the point where school children don’t even know the real meaning of science, and college students and grad assistants blindly go about their work in laboratories without really even questioning the methods of their work in the first place.
Katch, VL. The Burden of Disproof* Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 18:5pg. 593-95. October, 1986.
Ioannidis, JP. Why most published research findings are false. PLOS Medicine. 10:1371/journal/pmed/002124. August 30, 2005.
Popper, K. Strong inference. Science. 146:3642:pg 347-53, October 1964.
Forscher, BK. Chaos in the brickyard. Letter to the editor. Science. 142:3590:pg339, October, 1963.