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Peer Review and the Scientific Process

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^@tomos - See my post just above yours. I think there was a disconnect between what I thought I was asking Ren, and what Ren thought I was inferring. If there was any confusion there, the fault was entirely mine.

And I agree. None of this is (or should be) about taking sides.  :)

Apologies if I wasn't clear and you felt offended.
-40hz (February 05, 2015, 12:50 PM)
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Me? Hell no! :) I just figure that you like to poke me a bit every now and then to see how I react (or, go off the rails as it were). ;D I'd be remiss if I didn't! 8)

I also think I see where some confusion enters into the picture. I wasn't responding to your post immediately above mine. It was a more general question - as in I don't know much about a lot of this, so do you have some good in-depth sources (like an online university level course or two) you'd care to share that puts you in a better position than me to say what's real when it comes to this stuff?
-40hz (February 05, 2015, 12:50 PM)
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There's not much that anyone needs to know. A guy blew the whistle.

Now, for the underlying issue, yes - we would need a good amount of additional information, e.g. university level courses, to comment on the "science". However, I don't think that this is one topic that we should get into as it is simply far too hot.

There are quite a few lectures (from experts in the field) that you can view online about the underlying issue. The range of opinions spans the full gambit from super-uber-pro-vaccine, down through the range of healthy skepticism, and way on over to rabidly-anti-vaccine.

Tomos hits exactly what we should be concerned about:

(FWIW I'm broadly pro-vaccine myself, but dubious about the methods used to force it on the populace, and dubious about relations between the FDA and the corporations developing the vaccines.)
-tomos (February 05, 2015, 02:13 PM)
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But, those issues are about 1) forced medication, and 2) corruption, which while a degree in philosophy or law is certainly an advantage in discussing them, there's enough wiggle room for input from others. :)

However, that's off topic. My original point in the post above was to point out a whistle blower in the scientific community. This goes to illustrate:

1) "Scientists" are human.
2) Humans are corruptible.

It is that bit of corruption that is a serious issue for those that claim "peer review" is some kind of holy cow in science.


...It is that bit of corruption that is a serious issue for those that claim "peer review" is some kind of holy cow in science.
-Renegade (February 05, 2015, 06:49 PM)
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Yes, that seems quite true - and of course there should be no "holy cows" in science. As Feynman and other scientists have pointed out, there should be just science that is transparent and open to the ultimate test of falsifiability, so that anyone can repeat the experiments with a view to seeing whether they can get the same consistently repeatable results. If they can't, then it is falsifiable, and the hypothesis is invalidated, so we have learned something that we might not have known before - it's a step forwards, not backwards. This is what Thomas Edison referred to regarding all his failures before he finally arrived at a working concept of the light bulb.

Though there is nothing in the scientific process itself that mentions or necessitates something called "peer review", I have occasionally read about people (who are presumably unfamiliar with the scientific process) saying dismissively about some scientific paper or other "Oh yes, that's all very well, but has it been peer reviewed? - because it's not scientifically verified until it has been.". That of course is quite incorrect.

My view is that, whereas peer review could be expected to be a process of considerable use in potentially improving the quality of science papers, it has unfortunately been so much abused (by now), and by so many unscrupulous individuals/groups, as a handy device to cover up the falsity of their preferred science outcomes (QED) - so as to substantiate some ulterior purpose or other - that one can no longer safely assume to have trust in either the peer review process or the scientists (where they are scientists) employing the process to verify some piece of science. You are obliged to to check it for yourself - "Nullius in verba". The reality is that you can't take someone's word for anything if you want to get at the uncorrupted truth (and that goes double for irrational pronouncements coming out of the mouths of ostensible representatives of the Royal Society).

As a case in point, I have coincidentally only just today posted this (below) about the apparently deliberate falsification of scientific data on what looks like a wholesale basis: Forensic analysis of stochastic chicanery in climate temp time series data
...Things are not always as people would have you see.
One of the greatest pleasures and what I have always enjoyed about statistics is that the data doesn't lie - it just is  - and I find that it is invariably "trying to tell us something". That is, there is some truth for us to discover.
I was making notes on an interesting report posted - what looks like genuine investigative journalism - on the Daily Telegraph website, about data tampering. Because the report provides quite a good summation of the scale of the apparent fraud(s), I have copied my notes below as an image, and copied the raw text to a spoiler below the image.
Everything in the article checks with "peer reviewed" research and can be independently verified (however, being skeptical, I have verified it myself anyway - "Nullius in verba").
What concerns me greatly about this is that, not only has this this scientific data fraud apparently been quite extensive and going on for years, peer reviewed and approved, but it has been done quite deliberately - and undisclosed/concealed.

The DT post URL is:

The DT post makes reference to the source of analysis of where some pretty significant data tampering has been going on which has only recently been discovered by forensic statistical analysis.
The source is Notalotofpeopleknowthat ( )
The specific source article and URL is:
Massive Tampering With Temperatures In South America
-IainB (February 05, 2015, 06:49 PM)
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On the topic of data fraud, Benford's law is extremely interesting. It has to do with the distribution of digits. Here's a nice explanation of it:

And the associated blog post:

Of course, if you already know this, you can still create fraudulent data that conforms to Benford's law; that merely indicates a higher level of sophistication on the part of the fraudster.

I've actually tried to apply Benford's law on an exercise in accountancy forensic auditing a while back, just out of interest. It did not add any/much value to the exercise at the time, as I recall, as it was not really applicable.
Was interesting though, as it could maybe detect the smoke, if not the gun.


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