Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Vaccination, Autism, Facts, Peer Review, Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos
What is a true "fact" in science?
As Peter Bowditch, Vice-President of the Australian Skeptics reports in Vaccination Link to Autism Retracted, 10 of 13 authors of a scientific article published in 1998 in the mainstream medical journal The Lancet "issued a statement saying that the paper was not evidence of a connection between MMR vaccine and autism".
The case is of interest for the LawPundit because of the role played by lawyers in selecting and sending autistic children for "scientific" testing of the alleged causal connection between the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella) and autism.
"Facts" can be the Product of Wishful Thinking
As it turns out, it was all a case of wishful thinking. The scientific "facts" were bent to prove "the theory", a theory being propogated by a group of people who were politically anti-vaccination proponents.
Schools of Thought and Established Paradigms
This case may seem to be an exception to the general rule, but we find that there are many similar cases in modern mainstream science, especially in the humanities, where "schools of thought" and "established paradigms" reign supreme over the - often contrary - probative evidence. See Kuhn - Popper - Lakatos. Lakatos is especially known for his idea that the "basic unit" of science is not scientific theory but the "research program", which propagates itself through increased funding over competition and through growing content (i.e. increased publication, which is a direct result of the CONTROLLED peer review publication process).
Peer Review as the Control Mechanism of a Particular Research Program
Some scientific monopolists ignorantly and gullibly continue to sing the praises of peer review, a process one could just as well call "the buddy system among related academic cronies", i.e. in Lakatonian terms, cohorts in the prevailing "research program".
Peer Review as Regulatory Obstructionism
Strangely, in government regulatory agencies, the lack of peer review has allegedly:
"failed to identify a single regulatory action in which the lack of peer review, or inadequate peer review, has produced bad science, poor decision-making by agencies, unlawful regulations, or had other adverse effects on the public."
Rather, peer review is there seen as regulatory obstructionism, something that an economist would call a "barrier to entry", and it is precisely this function which has made peer review popular in academia. It greatly limits the scope of publication about the "true" facts.
Peer Review and the Law
Only in one academic area is there no real "peer review" and that is in American law - where the editors at law reviews and law journals are still law students - and yet, these reviews and journals are probably better than anything found in any other discipline.
Beware of the Prevailing Research Program
So what is the lesson to be learned?
A peer-reviewed article by a Professor may just be selling you the Moon to finance not only HIS research program but also that of the reviewing Professor. After all, by definition, academic peers all sit in the same scientific "research program" boat.
Posted by Andis Kaulins at 7/07/2004 04:15:00 PM
Most Popular Posts All Time
- Samsung Digital Picture Frame 2006 is Clear Designer Prior Art to the Later "Design" of the iPhone and iPad
- How to Remove Disabled Greyed-Out Add-on Extensions in Firefox 4: e.g. the Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant (ClickOnce) Extension
- Week 1 2013 College Football FBS Game Predictions by SportPundit
- Legal Graphologists : A Query to You : What About the Christopher Marlowe - William Shakespeare - Controversy and The Signatures of These Two Authors? Are They By the Same Hand?
- PONG ! About that Ridiculously Granted Bounce-Back Scrolling Patent US 7469381 Which Is Anticipated by the Prior Art and Obviousness of the Old Atari Game of PONG
- Speaking of Mouse Trap Economics, What About that Yarn that Patents Stimulate Invention: Les Earnest Testifies Before the USPTO
- 2011 Preseason College Football Rankings
- "The Adobe Flash plugin has crashed" in Mozilla Firefox - A Solution for this Vexing Problem
- Oil & Gas Cartels and American Inertia on Energy Issues : Major Culprits for the Current Economic Situation in the World?
The ISandIS Network
Our Websites and Blogs: 3D Printing and More 99 is not 100 Aabecis AK Photo Blog Ancient Egypt Weblog Ancient Signs (the book) Ancient World Blog AndisKaulins.com Anthropomorphic Design Archaeology Travel Photos (blog) Archaeology Travel Photos (Flickr) Archaeo Pundit Arts Pundit Astrology and Birth Baltic Coachman Bible Pundit Biotechnology Pundit Book Pundit Chronology of the Ancient World Computer Pundit DVD Pundit Easter Island Script Echolat edu.edu Einstein’s Voice Energy Environment and Climate Blog Etruscan Bronze Liver of Piacenza EU Laws EU Legal EU Pundit FaceBook Pundit Gadget Pundit Garden Pundit Golf Pundit Google Pundit Gourmet Pundit Hand Proof HousePundit Human Migrations Idea Pundit Illyrian Language Indus Valley Script Infinity One : The Secret of the First Disk (the game) Jostandis Journal Pundit Kaulins Genealogy Blog Kaulinsium Kiel & Kieler Latvian Blog LawPundit.com Law Pundit Blog LexiLine.com LexiLine Group Lexiline Journal Library Pundit Lingwhizt LinkedIn Literary Pundit Magnifichess Make it Music Maps and Cartography Megalithic World Megaliths Blog) Megaliths.net Minoan Culture Mutatis Mutandis Nanotech Pundit Nostratic Languages Official Pundit Phaistos Disc Pharaonic Hieroglyphs Photo Blog of the World Pinterest Prehistoric Art Pundit Private Wealth Blog PunditMania Quanticalian Quick to Travel Quill Pundit Road Pundit Shelfari SlideShare (akaulins) Sport Pundit Star Pundit Stars Stones and Scholars (blog) Stars Stones and Scholars (book) Stonehenge Pundit The Enchanted Glass Twitter Pundit UbiquitousPundit Vision of Change VoicePundit WatchPundit Wine Pundit Word Pundit xistmz YahooPundit zistmz