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March 31, 2012

Science - we've got a problem. [ArthurK]

Recent typical MSM story on how cavemen conservatives distrust science. (Fire burn!)

Fewer than 35 percent of conservatives say they have a "great deal" of trust in the scientific community now

...

The unspoken assumption in the article is that there is something wrong with those who don't have a great deal of trust in the scientific community... Uhhh, might I point out this story from this week?

During a decade as head of global cancer research at Amgen, C. Glenn Begley identified 53 "landmark" publications - papers in top journals, from reputable labs - for his team to reproduce. Begley sought to double-check the findings before trying to build on them for drug development.

Result: 47 of the 53 could not be replicated.

I've wondered why we keep hearing of new medical studies that reverse the findings of previous studies. Maybe it's because of the massive level of hackwork that passes itself off for science nowadays! Note that Begley has to earn his money. If his experiments can't be reproduced Amgen can't turn them into life-saving medicine. Which is how Amgen Earns The Big Bucks. The hacks Begley looked into may have only wanted to get their names in a big name journal.

A few more quotes from the article. This stuff truly shocks me.

As we tried to reproduce these papers we became convinced you can't take anything at face value.

...

The failure to win "the war on cancer" has been blamed on many factors, ... But recently a new culprit has emerged: too many basic scientific discoveries... are wrong.

...

Begley's experience echoes a report from scientists at Bayer AG last year. Neither group of researchers alleges fraud, nor would they identify the research they had tried to replicate.

Of 47 cancer projects at Bayer during 2011, less than one-quarter could reproduce previously reported findings, despite the efforts of three or four scientists working full time for up to a year.


...


But they and others fear the phenomenon is the product of a skewed system of incentives that has academics cutting corners to further their careers.


"It drives people in industry crazy. Why are we seeing a collapse of the pharma and biotech industries? One possibility is that academia is not providing accurate findings,"

I wonder if the all the govt. money has bad influence. Private money expects high standards. Govt money just wants to be spent.

Dr Ray Stantz (a Ghostbuster): Personally, I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities, we didn't have to produce anything! You've never been out of college! You don't know what it's like out there! I've *worked* in the private sector. They expect *results*.

Some authors required the Amgen scientists sign a confidentiality agreement barring them from disclosing data at odds with the original findings. "The world will never know" which 47 studies - many of them highly cited - are apparently wrong, Begley said.

...

Begley met ... with the lead scientist of one of the problematic studies.

"We went through the paper line by line, figure by figure," said Begley. "I explained that we re-did their experiment 50 times and never got their result. He said they'd done it six times and got this result once, but put it in the paper because it made the best story. It's very disillusioning."

Also, I tweet at @ComradeArthur


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posted by Open Blogger at 07:12 PM

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