How NOT to argue or do “research”

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/03/lynn_margulis_blog_tour.php

Note comment #163, which I wrote in reference to some earlier commenters.

(((Interesting comments, these three.

Let’s face it, no one who is not a dissident is going to read links to an HIV dissident site, especially when some of the papers are by Duesberg. People may read papers from mainstream scientists so long as they support their own arguments. Everyone here is interested in furthering their own arguments. Period.
Posted by: wayne | March 19, 2007 7:46 PM

“Not only have I read Duesberg’s articles but I have checked his claims with the ‘orthodox’ literature. It is only after this that I concluded that duesberg is full of crap.”
And therefore everyone reading this blog should take Chris Noble’s word for it. Just like everyone takes nature’s and Science’s “word for it” when they also say Duesberg is full of crap. My guess is that (unlike Chris Noble) 99% of people who take [fill in the blank]’s “word for it” have not actually taken time to examine the “dissident literature” (or even the “orthodox literature” which dissidents allegedly “cherry-pick” and “abuse”). My guess is, 99% of people who dismiss dissidents out of hand do so simply because “everyone else thinks so…”
And then everyone wonders why it’s NOT impossible for such a blunder to have happened…
Jake
Posted by: Jake | March 24, 2007 6:51 AM 

 DT said: “I dismiss dissidents because I have taken the trouble to look in detail at their claims, and found them wanting”.
DT, as with most of what you have to say, that statement of yours is not true at all!
DT dismisses the HIV dissidents because DT is a HIV drug rep to doctors for a pharmaceutical company! Doooohhhh!
Posted by: lincoln | April 1, 2007 12:06 AM

 This is an example of what happens when someone gets so fixated on an idea that they can’t stand to lose an argument over it.
Here’s a tip for the denialist fanatics: Just because a concept is acceptable to YOUR mind doesn’t mean it is actually true. You may be suffering from psychotic delusions.)))
 
 
 
 
 

Indeed, only people who are totally ignorant about how science actually works, as opposed to some lame conspiracy theory they choose to accept without evidence, would make such idiotic arguments as noted above.
 
Earlier in the comments, an actual scientist, Lynn Margulis, made a statement, listed as comment #16,  that indicated that even she was failing in the efforts scientists should make to verify claims.
 
 
 
 

(((What is an HIV/AIDS denier? Or HIV/AIDS denialist?
Peter Duesberg is a fine scientist, I have read his book and examined some of the scientific papers upon which it is based. From the CDC (Center for Disease Control) in Atlanta I have requested the scientific papers that prove the causal relationship between the HIV retrovirus and the IMMUNODEFICIENCY SYNDROME commonly known as AIDS. They have never sent even references to the peer-reviewed primary scientific literature that establishes the causal relationship because they can’t. Such papers do not exist.
 
 

 

I have seen all four of the films made by Coleman Jones and colleagues in Toronto. Film #3 in the series is most telling. Although no strong evidence exists for any simple causal relationship what is clear is that the HIV claim is erroneous by the standards of microbiology and virology.
 When I saw the glowing review of George Miklos, a colleague and a fiercely honest scientist, of Harvey Bialy’s book on the scientific life of Peter Duesberg I bought and read Harvey’s book. I have also read Celia Farber’s superb article in the Lewis Lapham “swansong” issue of Harper’s magazine, last March, I believe. Rebecca Culshaw’s paper on why she quit AIDS statistical research and Dr. Geschachter’s unpublished ms about African AIDS, accepted by the editor and then rejected both substantiated my reluctance to accept the glib “HIV/AIDS” term. I found all of these readings far more convincing than any literature proported to show a HIV-AIDS causal connection.  I heard a talk by a “medical scientist” from the Harvard Medical School at a meeting at Roger Williams Univ in Rhode Island from a supposed expert who attempts to design an HIV vaccine. He claimed the HIV virus mutates a billion times in 48hours. It became clear that the HIV virus has no clear identity. The HIV tests, nearly always positive for pregnant women, that vary significantly in the US, Europe and Australia are particularly disturbing. My son-in-law, James di Properzio spent several months researching this story for the Common Review (the Great Books Foundation in Chicago). His findings were consistent with Celia Farber’s and after encouragement from the editor the board reviewed and rejected his draft.
“Science is the search for truth” said David Bohm, “whether we like it [the truth] or not. From my readings, discussions with knowledgable scientists close to the story, I simply conclude, as does Kerry Mullis, the Nobel Lauriate who wrote a foreword to Duesberg’s classical work that there is no evidence that “HIV causes AIDS”. I have no special expertise. I simply seek the evidence for scientific claims, especially when they have dire consequences for the science itself and the treatment..not just medical..of so many people.
I have observed that the closer one comes to the study of humans the shoddier the quality of the scientific evidence. Maybe that is one of the reasons that I work with bacteria and protoctists (the eukaryotic microorganisms and their immediate descendants exclusive of plants, animals and fungi). The vast majority of these are harmless to human health.
Although I have written about the natural history of the anthrax bacterium, Beethoven’s and Nietzsche’s syphilis and the work of Hentry Taylor Ricketts with insect-borne pathgens (eg.g, ticks carrying Rocky Mt Spotted fever), in general I avoid the last 3 million years of evolution and any other studies thatrequire detailed knowledge of mammalian, including human, biology. Why? Because political bias, hearsay and gossip are inevitable whereas in the first part of the evolution story (from 3800 until 3 million years ago) politics intervenes far less obtrusively. In pursuit of the story of life and its effects on planet Earth one can be more honest if the earliest atages of evolution are the objects of study.
And this way I can lay low and not be “name-called” (i.e., “denialist”) because I ask hard questions and require solid evidence before I embrace a particular causal hypothesis. Indeed, is not my attitude of inquiry exactly what science is about?
Posted by: Margulis | March 12, 2007 10:21 AM )))

I read this and responded elsewhere.
http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2008/05/allen-macneill-3.html
 
 

Thanks for the link to Margulis proclaiming her HIV denialism, PvM.

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/[…]log_tour.php

I read comment #16, which says: “From the CDC (Center for Disease Control) in Atlanta I have requested the scientific papers that prove the causal relationship between the HIV retrovirus and the IMMUNODEFICIENCY SYNDROME commonly known as AIDS. They have never sent even references to the peer-reviewed primary scientific literature that establishes the causal relationship because they can’t. Such papers do not exist.” Maybe she should have looked up the papers herself in the relevant science journals instead of asking some bureaucrat to do her investigative work for her! Or does she even know how to do that? Sheesh!


“I heard a talk by a “medical scientist” from the Harvard Medical School at a meeting at Roger Williams Univ in Rhode Island from a supposed expert who attempts to design an HIV vaccine. He claimed the HIV virus mutates a billion times in 48hours. It became clear that the HIV virus has no clear identity.”

Well, if the virus reproduces a billion times in 48 hours, and each example of reproduction is accompanied by a point mutation, then that statement by the scientist is accurate. Point mutations also occur in humans and most other organisms, but that hardly means they have no clear identity!


“In pursuit of the story of life and its effects on planet Earth one can be more honest if the earliest atages of evolution are the objects of study. And this way I can lay low and not be “name-called” (i.e., “denialist”) because I ask hard questions and require solid evidence before I embrace a particular causal hypothesis. Indeed, is not my attitude of inquiry exactly what science is about?”


Maybe if Margulis would attempt to do some ACTUAL RESEARCH on AIDS/HIV instead of taking at face value the claims of certain people she happens to be fond of because of personal feelings that have nothing to do with either facts or methodologies, SHE WOULD INDEED BE DOING SCIENCE!!!
 
My regard for Margulis just plummeted! That she was Carl Sagan’s first wife and the mother of his first two children is no excuse for being a blind crackpot. Her days of being a competent scientist are OVER!)))
 
Remember that next time you hear some crackpot making a claim with no support or using that claim, even if well supported, to argue something the claim does not really address. Having a science degree, or even having done real science in the past, does not excuse abandoning scientific methods at any point to descend into delusions on any subject! 

 

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