[ExI] The world of bullshit

spike spike66 at att.net
Sat Dec 18 01:22:12 UTC 2010

... On Behalf Of BillK
Subject: [ExI] The world of bullshit

>What a catalogue!


>The year in nonsense... It's been a marvelous year for bullshit. We saw
quantitative evidence showing that drug adverts aimed at doctors are
routinely factually inaccurate...And on, and on, and on...BillK

Thanks BillK, excellent.  I liked this one:


perhaps because it reinforces my prejudices.  {8-]  Now if someone tries to
disabuse me of my favorite prejudices, I can legitimately conclude that they
suffer from the same delusions that are in the minds of anyone who doesn't
see the plain truth.  {8^D  As an aside, I did note that Goldacre
specifically and conspicuously avoids any mention of climate science.

Regarding the caveat in scientific reporting by the popular press, I have
made a longstanding practice of finding that caveat paragraph second,
immediately after reading the headline and the first paragraph.  Often the
caveat is in either the second or third paragraph from the end of the
article, and is often a noticeably short paragraph.  In some cases, as the
one cited in badscience, the caveat completely torpedoes the central thesis
of the entire article. 

Good example of a caveat paragraph: the article is titled
Strict diet two days a week 'cuts risk of breast cancer by 40 per cent'
In the third paragraph from the end of the article with the above title, we
find the startling comment:
But Dr Julie Sharp, senior science information manager at Cancer Research
UK, said: 'This study is not about breast cancer, it's a study showing how
different diet patterns affect weight loss and it's misleading to draw any
conclusions about breast cancer from this research.'
OK, may I now sue to get those ten minutes back that I wasted reading the
article?  Some of you code jockeys should write a routine that can identify
the caveat paragraph and move it forward to right under the title.


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