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Sun Jun 3, 2012, 03:33 PM

 

Peer Review

How seriously should we take criminology studies focused on guns that are authored and peer reviewed by medical professionals?

Here are a couple of medical authorities talking about peer review, authorities who have experience that seems to be relevant, with two obscure little journals—JAMA and The Lancet:

Drummond Rennie, deputy editor of Journal of the American Medical Association is an organizer of the International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication, which has been held every four years since 1986.[26] He remarks,

There seems to be no study too fragmented, no hypothesis too trivial, no literature too biased or too egotistical, no design too warped, no methodology too bungled, no presentation of results too inaccurate, too obscure, and too contradictory, no analysis too self-serving, no argument too circular, no conclusions too trifling or too unjustified, and no grammar and syntax too offensive for a paper to end up in print.


Richard Horton, editor of the British medical journal The Lancet, has said that

The mistake, of course, is to have thought that peer review was any more than a crude means of discovering the acceptability—not the validity—of a new finding. Editors and scientists alike insist on the pivotal importance of peer review. We portray peer review to the public as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller. But we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_review


The quotes above are, at least apparently, talking about MEDICAL peer review.

Those who like to quote epidemiologists, professors of surgery and the like to maintain their criminological positions say things like "these papers are authored and peer reviewed by very smart people at famous universities. You cannot possibly challenge them."

Turnabout is fair play, so I will answer that appeal to authority with another. If medical peer review is this weak on matters of MEDICINE, what possible reason do you have for thinking it is better on CRIMINOLOGY?! Or, are you a better judge of the quality of medical peer review than the editor of The Lancet and the Deputy Editor of JAMA?

Please feel free to list your credentials and to compare and contrast them with those of the gentlemen above. Please feel free to tell us in detail why you feel more qualified than these men to teach us about the validity of medical peer review of MEDICINE. Only after you have addressed medical professionals' skills at MEDICAL peer review can you hope to address their skill at peer reviewing CRIMINOLOGY.

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Arrow 47 replies Author Time Post
Reply Peer Review (Original post)
TPaine7 Jun 2012 OP
gejohnston Jun 2012 #1
safeinOhio Jun 2012 #2
gejohnston Jun 2012 #3
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #4
safeinOhio Jun 2012 #5
gejohnston Jun 2012 #7
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #8
bongbong Jun 2012 #6
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #9
Tuesday Afternoon Jun 2012 #10
DanTex Jun 2012 #16
Progressive dog Jun 2012 #11
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #12
Progressive dog Jun 2012 #21
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #25
X_Digger Jun 2012 #32
gejohnston Jun 2012 #33
SGMRTDARMY Jun 2012 #13
gejohnston Jun 2012 #14
Progressive dog Jun 2012 #22
ellisonz Jun 2012 #24
friendly_iconoclast Jun 2012 #28
DanTex Jun 2012 #29
friendly_iconoclast Jun 2012 #36
DanTex Jun 2012 #37
friendly_iconoclast Jun 2012 #38
DanTex Jun 2012 #39
friendly_iconoclast Jun 2012 #40
DanTex Jun 2012 #42
gejohnston Jun 2012 #41
gejohnston Jun 2012 #26
friendly_iconoclast Jun 2012 #27
gejohnston Jun 2012 #34
beevul Jun 2012 #15
clffrdjk Jun 2012 #44
DanTex Jun 2012 #17
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #18
DanTex Jun 2012 #20
ellisonz Jun 2012 #23
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #31
Tuesday Afternoon Jun 2012 #45
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #30
DanTex Jun 2012 #35
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #43
DanTex Jun 2012 #46
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #47
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #19

Response to TPaine7 (Original post)

Sun Jun 3, 2012, 03:45 PM

1. Cool, dueling Texans

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Response to TPaine7 (Original post)

Sun Jun 3, 2012, 04:06 PM

2. No research is valid without data.

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2011/01/nra-asks-wheres-evidence
How the NRA Blocks Gun Research
How much firepower does the gun lobby have? Consider this: since the mid-90s, the NRA has "all but choked off" money for research on gun violence, according to a story today in the New York Times. "We've been stopped from answering the basic questions," said Mark Rosenberg, the former director of the National Center for Injury Control and Prevention, part of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which used to be the leading source of financing for firearms research. Thanks to the gun lobby's obstruction, questions like whether more guns actually make communities safer, whether the ready availability of high-capacity magazines increases the number of gun-related deaths, or whether more rigorous background checks of gun buyers make a difference, remain maddeningly unanswered.

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #2)

Sun Jun 3, 2012, 04:23 PM

3. why did they do that?

Well, this is the NRA's side of the story:
Dr. Mark Rosenberg, who was then director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the CDC, explained his aim was to make the public see firearms as “dirty, deadly—and banned.” (Quoted in William Raspberry, “Sick People With Guns,” The Washington Post, Oct. 19, 1994.)

A newspaper article on two other leading anti-gun propagandists, Dr. Katherine Christoffel and Dr. Robert Tanz of the Children’s Hospital in Chicago, explained their “plan to do to handguns what their profession has done to cigarettes … turn gun ownership from a personal-choice issue to a repulsive, anti-social health hazard.” (Harold Henderson, “Policy: Guns ‘n Poses,” Chicago Reader, Dec. 16, 1994.)


Not saying that is the truth, but it is their side of the story. That said, the OP demonstrates that MDs playing amateur criminologist does not mean good science be it at CDC or anywhere else.
http://www.gunsandcrime.org/suter-fa.html
http://www.nrapublications.org/index.php/9485/how-your-tax-dollars-demonize-your-guns/

Now if either one of us can find information that is not parroting one BS story or the other, but I'm not counting on that happening.

Thanks to the gun lobby's obstruction, questions like whether more guns actually make communities safer, whether the ready availability of high-capacity magazines increases the number of gun-related deaths, or whether more rigorous background checks of gun buyers make a difference, remain maddeningly unanswered.
CDC are not the people to do it as the OP points out. That is the job of real criminologists doing real science.

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #2)

Sun Jun 3, 2012, 04:23 PM

4. LOL! You need the rest of the story. Something else happened in the mid 90s...

 

I had to purchase this article years ago, so I cannot post a link. If I could, you'd probably have to pay for it.

Sick People With Guns
The Washington Post (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Washington, D.C. Author: William Raspberry Date: Oct 19, 1994 Start Page: a.23 Section: OP/ED Text Word Count: 703



My first thought was to recall Abraham Maslow's aphorism: "If the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems look like nails." Now I'm beginning to wonder if Mark Rosenberg's notion isn't worth a second thought.

Rosenberg's weird-sounding (at first) idea is that the way to combat criminal violence is to treat it the way we treat infectious diseases: as a public health problem amenable to causal research, therapy and prevention.

Well, of course. Rosenberg is director of the National Center for Injury Prevention, a division of the National Centers for Disease Control, and the infectious-disease approach may be the only tool he has.

...

"We need to revolutionize the way we look at guns, like what we did with cigarettes. It used to be that smoking was a glamour symbol - cool, sexy, macho. Now it is dirty, deadly - and banned." Rosenberg's thought is that if we could transform public attitudes toward guns the way we have transformed public attitudes toward cigarettes, we'd go a long way toward curbing our national epidemic of violence.


Rosenberg announced an unscientific war on gun rights. (In science, the data drives the conclusion; Rosenberg started out knowing the answer and wanting to use "science" to support it.)

After announcing his intent to use the CDC as a propaganda vehicle to treat guns like cigarettes—"dirty, deadly - and banned"—he was shocked and appalled that the NRA choked off his premeditated fraud.

Thanks to the gun lobby's obstruction, questions like whether more guns actually make communities safer, whether the ready availability of high-capacity magazines increases the number of gun-related deaths, or whether more rigorous background checks of gun buyers make a difference, remain maddeningly unanswered.


No, Rosenberg already knew the answers to these and similar questions. He already knew the solution and had a strategy to implement his solution. All he needed was "scientific" cover at taxpayer expense.

The NRA denied him that cover. This has nothing to do with legitimate science.

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Response to TPaine7 (Reply #4)

Sun Jun 3, 2012, 04:45 PM

5. Does the NRA support funds

for any unbiased research? Or, are they only supporting research that confirms their views?
6 of 1, half dozen of the other.
NRA research points to a super secret plan by Obama to take away grandpa's shotgun.

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #5)

Sun Jun 3, 2012, 04:49 PM

7. actually, they don't support any "research"

although they do take advantage of unbiased research when it serves their purpose.

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #5)

Sun Jun 3, 2012, 04:54 PM

8. I don't know, but that seems like the wrong question to me.

 

A better question would be

Does the NRA oppose funds for unbiased research?


Any research the NRA actively supported would be tainted, just as the research supported by the Joyce Foundation, MAIG and other groups with agendas is tainted. The NRA would taint legitimate science by supporting it.

A more pressing issue is that by politicizing this issue, Rosenberg has poisoned the well. The NRA will tend to distrust the motives of government health organizations investigating guns—and who can blame them? The NRA would only trust them if the President and the organization had a pro-gun stance. Obviously the Joyce Foundation, the MAIG, Brady and MMM would distrust that government agency and administration.

I don't see a solution. But the "blame the NRA" meme is based on false history.

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #2)

Sun Jun 3, 2012, 04:48 PM

6. Shut 'em down!

 

The NRA prefers to censor studies that prove their religious faith in guns & murder as a solution for all problems is unfounded.

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Response to bongbong (Reply #6)

Sun Jun 3, 2012, 04:55 PM

9. See post 4 and attempt to reply with substance, assuming that's not too much trouble. n/t

 

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Response to bongbong (Reply #6)

Sun Jun 3, 2012, 05:51 PM

10. shut down ALL Lobbyists using that same principle.

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #2)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 11:06 AM

16. Yup, that's how the NRA rolls.

 

It's really hilarious to see the "progressive" pro-gunners defending this kind of blatant political intervention into the scientific process. The NRA is hardly the first right-wing special interest lobby to turn to Republicans in congress in order to fight against research they don't like. The tobacco companies did it. The fundies did it on stem cell research. The auto industry even did it a ways back. The oil companies do it.

But it's OK when it's the NRA!

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Response to TPaine7 (Original post)

Sun Jun 3, 2012, 06:11 PM

11. Another straw man?

We do not need peer reviewed studies, but simply common sense, to know that gun deaths would not happen without guns.
We do not need peer reviewed studies to wonder why the NRA opposes things like restrictions on "cop killer bullets, super sized clips, assault rifles, etc.
We do not need peer reviewed studies to wonder why the NRA supports "stand your ground" laws.

Why would you cite the very authorities you are questioning?

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Response to Progressive dog (Reply #11)

Sun Jun 3, 2012, 06:20 PM

12. No thanks, you can stop with the first one.

 

We do not need peer reviewed studies, but simply common sense, to know that gun deaths would not happen without guns.


I concede. I am convinced "that gun deaths would not happen without guns." And it didn't take a peer reviewed study to convince me. In fact, I was convinced of that before I wrote the OP.

Pretending that this was at issue is indeed a straw man, but I'll have to answer "no thanks" to your kind offer of yet another straw man, and so I am ignoring the rest of your post

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Response to TPaine7 (Reply #12)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 07:57 PM

21. teflon coated-intended to penetrate kevlar vests-ban opposed by NRA

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Response to Progressive dog (Reply #21)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 11:38 PM

32. Ooh, how about all plastic guns, too?

Just as mythical as the tooth fairy.

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Response to Progressive dog (Reply #21)

Wed Jun 6, 2012, 12:04 AM

33. not even remotely true

the teflon coating only protects the riflings from wear because of the harder metal used in such bullets. The teflon in itself does not such thing. armor piercing rounds were banned in 1934.

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Response to Progressive dog (Reply #11)

Sun Jun 3, 2012, 06:23 PM

13. Seriously?

 

Cop killer bullets? Define cop killer bullets. Super sized clips? Assault rifles?
Straight from the Brady playbook.
At least try to post something original.

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Response to Progressive dog (Reply #11)

Sun Jun 3, 2012, 06:31 PM

14. one thing

We do not need peer reviewed studies to wonder why the NRA opposes things like restrictions on "cop killer bullets, super sized clips, assault rifles, etc.
What is a "cop killer bullet"? armor piercing rounds have been illegal for civilian use since 1934. Assault rifles, and other machine guns, have been tightly regulated since then.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Firearms_Act
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assault_rifle
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assault_weapon
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assault_weapon

We do not need peer reviewed studies to wonder why the NRA supports "stand your ground" laws.
We do need a peer review study to as why people oppose something that they know nothing about.

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Response to gejohnston (Reply #14)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 08:04 PM

22. cop killer bullets defined

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Response to Progressive dog (Reply #22)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 08:09 PM

24. He knows what you mean...

...he just doesn't care because that would put an end to the silly pretense that one needs to have perfect technical terms to know anything about the horrid nature of gun violence. It wouldn't happen without the gross availability of guns in this country to *anyone* who wants one.

Belated Welcome to DU!

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Response to ellisonz (Reply #24)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 08:56 PM

28. I know what he means, as well. Unfortunately for both of you- he's wrong. See post #27

You two sound like a pair of fetus fetishists complaining about contraception. Same mindset, different bugbear:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1014136657

Newer Findings Dispute View of Morning-After Pill as Abortion

Source: NY Times

Labels inside every box of morning-after pills, drugs widely used to prevent pregnancy after sex, say they may work by blocking fertilized eggs from implanting in a woman’s uterus. Respected medical authorities, including the National Institutes of Health and the Mayo Clinic, have said the same thing on their Web sites.

Such descriptions have become kindling in the fiery debate over abortion and contraception. Based on the belief that a fertilized egg is a person, some religious groups and conservative politicians say disrupting a fertilized egg’s ability to attach to the uterus is abortion, “the moral equivalent of homicide,” as Dr. Donna Harrison, who directs research for the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, put it. Mitt Romney recently called emergency contraceptives “abortive pills.” And two former Republican presidential candidates, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, have made similar statements....

...It turns out that the politically charged debate over morning-after pills and abortion, a divisive issue in this election year, is probably rooted in outdated or incorrect scientific guesses about how the pills work. Because they block creation of fertilized eggs, they would not meet abortion opponents’ definition of abortion-inducing drugs.


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Response to friendly_iconoclast (Reply #28)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 09:01 PM

29. Yeah ellisonz! You're wrong! It says so on guncite.com!!!!!

 

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Response to DanTex (Reply #29)

Wed Jun 6, 2012, 04:56 PM

36. The genetic fallacy again, eh? It doesn't matter where it was posted, he's still wrong.

Of course, if you'd cited a ballistics expert that could contradict one of the guys that actually invented teflon-coated bullets, you might have had something..

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Response to friendly_iconoclast (Reply #36)

Wed Jun 6, 2012, 05:47 PM

37. Of course it matters where information comes from. Guncite is a propaganda site.

 

Ellisonz may or may not be wrong, but you certainly haven't proven him wrong with your guncite link. To be honest, I don't know much about the physics of armor-piercing bullets, but the fact that something is written at guncite tells me nothing at all about whether it is true or not. In my experience, most of what passes for "common knowledge" inside the NRA bubble turns out to be a lie. Maybe this is a counterexample, who knows.

However, I did manage to google this article back from 1985 about the ban on armor-piercing bullets. Turns out the NRA was initially opposed, and they only changed their position to "neutral" after bowing to some political pressure and extracting some concessions to weaken the legislation.
Passage was eased by a compromise between the bill's sponsors and congressional supporters of the National Rifle Assn. on a provision banning willful sales of bullets on dealers' shelves.

Manufacture and importation--but not sale--of the bullets are already prohibited by voluntary agreements between the Treasury Department, manufacturers and importers.

The NRA originally opposed the sales ban on the bullets, defined in the bill as those made from seven specified metals.

Ban Only on 'Willful' Sales

But the gun owners' group agreed to remain neutral when language was added to ban only "willful" sales, thereby protecting dealers who might unknowingly sell the banned ammunition in unlabeled boxes.

Dealers violating the law would face a loss of their licenses rather than criminal penalties.

"Administration experts say several million rounds may be available," said chief sponsor Hughes.


http://articles.latimes.com/1985-12-17/news/mn-30290_1_armor-piercing-bullets

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Response to DanTex (Reply #37)

Wed Jun 6, 2012, 06:06 PM

38. And you've yet to prove me wrong. I admit Kopsch's testimony is hearsay...

but being as he's the closest thing to an expert I could find on short notice, it should carry some weight

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Response to friendly_iconoclast (Reply #38)

Wed Jun 6, 2012, 06:15 PM

39. And you've yet to prove yourself right...

 

So here we are!

The one thing we do know, thanks to the LA Times, is that the NRA did in fact oppose the ban on armor-piercing bullets, and only changed it's stance to "neutral" later on, after the bill was weakened. So that part of the story checks out -- the NRA is, in fact, an organization which lobbied against banning armor piercing bullets.

That story didn't say anything about teflon coatings. Honestly, I don't see why the physics matter that much. The fact of the matter is that there are some bullets (teflon or not) that are capable of piercing armored vests when fired from a handgun, and there was a bill to ban those bullets, and the NRA was opposed to the ban, until it changed its position to "neutral" as a political maneuver after winning concessions to get the bill weakened.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #39)

Wed Jun 6, 2012, 07:01 PM

40. There still are plenty of bullets available that will penetrate body armor- rifle bullets.

Biaggio's original bill would have banned those as well- iow, your Uncle Fred's 30-30 deer gun would have been effectively banned as almost every center-fire rifle round will also penetrate body armor. Then again, rifles aren't the problem.

BTW, I have no problem whatsover with a ban on civilian sales of AP handgun ammunition.

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Response to friendly_iconoclast (Reply #40)

Wed Jun 6, 2012, 10:33 PM

42. I don't know if what you are saying about the Biaggio bill is true.

 

I know that's what it says on NRA-ILA or guncite, but I've never seen it confirmed by any sort of credible source. I'll concede that just because guncite says something doesn't automatically mean it's a lie, and I haven't done the research myself to either prove or disprove this claim. But the fact that all the pro-gun propagandists agree on something doesn't hold much weight with me.

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Response to ellisonz (Reply #24)

Wed Jun 6, 2012, 07:05 PM

41. there is a bit difference between

needing to have perfect technical terms, and having a fucking clue what you are talking about. "cop killer bullet" and "gun show loophole" is like "death tax" and "socialized medicine" in buzz wordiness.

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Response to Progressive dog (Reply #22)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 08:45 PM

26. is a propaganda buzz word

newspeak.
The round in question could, in fact, penetrate a police vest. However, as Kopsch pointed out in a 1990 interview, "adding a teflon coating to the round added 20% penetration power on metal and glass. Critics kept complaining about teflon's ability to penetrate body armor... In fact, teflon cut down on the round's ability to cut through the nylon or kevlar of body armor."
It still does not change the fact that the National Firearms Act of 1934 banned non LE use of armor piercing rounds.

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Response to Progressive dog (Reply #22)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 08:46 PM

27. Unfortunately for you, that source directly contradicts your claims.

Didn't read it, did you?:

(Note: emphasis added)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teflon-coated_bullet

Teflon-coated bullets, sometimes erroneously referred to as "cop killer bullets", are bullets that have been covered with a coating of polytetrafluoroethylene....

...In the 1960s, Paul Kopsch (an Ohio coroner), Daniel Turcos (a police sergeant), and Donald Ward (Kopsch's special investigator), began experimenting with special purpose handgun ammunition. Their objective was to develop a law enforcement round capable of improved penetration against hard targets, such as windshield glass and automobile doors. Conventional bullets, made primarily from lead, often become deformed and less effective after striking hard targets, especially when fired at handgun velocities. The inventors named their company "KTW," after their initials.

After some experimentation with sintered tungsten-alloy rounds, which were eventually abandoned due to supply and cost concerns, the inventors settled on a bullet consisting mostly of hardened brass with a steel core. In testing, the bullets wore out barrels far more quickly than normal copper-jacketed lead rounds, since they did not deform to fit the rifling.[1] In an effort to reduce barrel wear, the bullets were then coated with a layer of Teflon. The inventors had also noted that the tips of canes were frequently covered with the relatively soft Teflon to help them grip surfaces. KTW stated that the addition of Teflon helped to prevent bullet deflection off of doors and windshields, reducing the risk of dangerous ricochets and improving penetration against these surfaces.[2][3]

The production of KTW-brand ammunition ceased in the 1990s. However, some manufacturers continue to coat their bullets with various compounds, notably molybdenum disulfide, as a protective layer against barrel wear, and to reduce the amount of lead given off as dust when shooting in indoor ranges....



http://www.guncite.com/ktwint.html

...We decided to go to the source, to track down the inventor of the original "cop-killer" bullet, originally marketed as the "KTW" bullet. We found the "K" of "KTW," Dr. Paul Kopsch told us that the bullet was made exclusively for police and military use. And had nothing to do with protective vests.

Kopsch: "There were a couple gunfights, police versus criminal, here in Lorraine County, [Ohio]. The ordinary .38 Special service bullet would not get through the car door. And with any degree of obliquity, it bounced off the windshield. [Police] Lieutenant Turcus, Don Ward and I thought maybe we could design a bullet which would get through the car door, and get through the windshield and get the crook out of the car ...

Kopsch explained that the teflon coating, which a host of media and lawmakers alleged was the key to penetrating body armor, served one purpose. It helped bullets go through smooth surfaces, like windshields and car doors, especially at oblique angles. The former Army medical officer likened it to the teflon tip of a walking stick. It simply grabs better.

Kopsch: "Adding a teflon coating to the round added 20% penetration power on metal and glass. Critics kept complaining about teflon's ability to penetrate body armor. That was nonsense typical of do-gooders. In fact, teflon cut down on the round's ability to cut through the nylon or kevlar of body armor."...


So long, and thanks for playing...

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Response to Progressive dog (Reply #22)

Wed Jun 6, 2012, 12:07 AM

34. one more thing

since I take it you didn't read the article
In 1982, NBC ran a television special on the bullets (against the requests of many police organizations) and argued that the bullets were a threat to police. Gun control organizations in the U.S. labeled Teflon-coated bullets "cop killers" because of the supposedly increased penetration the bullets offered against ballistic vests, a staple of the American police uniform. Many erroneously focused on the Teflon coating as the source of the bullets' supposedly increased penetration, rather than the hardness of the metals used. A common misconception, often perpetuated by films and television, is that coating normal bullets with Teflon will give them armor-piercing capabilities. In reality, Teflon and similar coatings were used primarily as a means to protect the gun barrel from the hardened bullet; the coating itself does not add any measurable armor-piercing abilities to otherwise normal ammunition.

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Response to Progressive dog (Reply #11)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 07:12 AM

15. If you think cop killer bullets are bad, look at these heat seekers...

 

&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PLEC2C040230632D6C


And thats not the worst of it...

BARREL SHROUDS!





Snork

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Response to Progressive dog (Reply #11)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 08:15 AM

44. Could you please define

 

Looks like this has been covered pretty well up stream and the answer is clear you don't have any idea what you are talking about.

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Response to TPaine7 (Original post)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 11:06 AM

17. This again?

 

It is easy to criticize peer review -- every group that has ever been up against the scientific consensus makes the same arguments. The intelligent design people do it. The global warming deniers do it. And the NRA crowd does it. But, despite the flaws, peer review is the best system currently available to distinguish legitimate science from quackery. And, 99 times out of 100, if you've got the consensus of peer reviewed studies on one side, and scientifically illiterate bloggers with a political agenda on the other, the scientists are going to be right.

And the criminology/medicine thing is just silly. Labeling of certain research areas "criminology" an not "medicine" is a very transparent attempt to distract from the fact that the bulk of the research -- both by criminologists and by epidemiologists -- doesn't go the way the NRA wants it to. The real question not whether "doctors should be doing criminology", but rather what set of techniques are most useful for investigating gun violence. And epidemiologists, who have extensive experience conducting various types of observational studies, examining statistical data, etc., without at doubt bring a lot of important tools to the table.

And this is why the people most concerned about public health researchers invading the turf of criminologists are not criminologists, but pro-gun advocates posting on gun blogs. These are people who do not understand any of the research well enough to mount any cogent criticism, but still want it to be "wrong" because it violates their political beliefs. Most mainstream criminologists have been receptive towards the infusion of new techniques and ideas from the public health community. In fact, there are many examples of successful collaborations between the public health and criminology communities, and there are interdisciplinary departments and graduate programs, so many scholars in the field now have graduate training in both criminology and public health.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #17)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 12:56 AM

18. Yes! Do you think that valid points will stop being made because you express displeasure?

 

What You Ignored

First let's address what you carefully ignored in the OP:

If medical peer review is this weak on matters of MEDICINE, what possible reason do you have for thinking it is better on CRIMINOLOGY?! Or, are you a better judge of the quality of medical peer review than the editor of The Lancet and the Deputy Editor of JAMA?

Please feel free to list your credentials and to compare and contrast them with those of the gentlemen above. Please feel free to tell us in detail why you feel more qualified than these men to teach us about the validity of medical peer review of MEDICINE. Only after you have addressed medical professionals' skills at MEDICAL peer review can you hope to address their skill at peer reviewing CRIMINOLOGY.


For some reason, you don't like to face inconvenient reality squarely. So I will make (tentative) factual statements, which you may feel free to correct:

1) You have no reason to believe that medical professionals are better at peer reviewing criminology than they are at peer reviewing medicine.

2) You are several leagues removed from being as qualified as the gentlemen I quoted on the subject of medical peer review as practiced in medical journals like JAMA and The Lancet.

3) You consciously chose to ignore the substance of these men's statements and the clear implications for reasons of convenience.

Now to your arguments:


Criticizing Peer Review

It is easy to criticize peer review -- every group that has ever been up against the scientific consensus makes the same arguments. The intelligent design people do it. The global warming deniers do it. And the NRA crowd does it.


Hmmm.... Let's see if I can apply this same style of argument:

Lots of very bad people accept that 2 + 2 = 4. Hitler did. Stalin did. Mao did. Bush does, as do Tom Delay and others.


What, you don't think that's a strong argument? Neither do I. Intelligent design, global warming denial and the NRA have about as much to do with the OP as Hitler, Stalin, and the rest have to do with first grade math.

But, despite the flaws, peer review is the best system currently available to distinguish legitimate science from quackery.


Someone who knows a lot more about the subject of medical peer review than you or I thinks that it is nothing more than "a crude means of discovering the acceptability—not the validity—of a new finding." Another similarly qualified person says that there is "no literature too biased or too egotistical, no design too warped, no methodology too bungled, no presentation of results too inaccurate, too obscure, and too contradictory, no analysis too self-serving, no argument too circular, no conclusions too trifling or too unjustified... for a paper to end up in print."

It's the Best We Have

Now the best available argument might even be correct.

So what? What if the only witnesses to a crime were the local drug dealer, a pimp and a box turtle? That would make the drug dealer and pimp the best witnesses, right? Would a reasonable DA say "OK, the drug dealer and pimp are the best witnesses, so we'll put them on the stand and prosecute"?

Maybe. And maybe he'd drop the case. "Best" is not necessarily good enough.

I think you will agree that a smart DA would go through a long thought process before prosecuting based on their testimony. Do they have any motivations to lie? Rivalries with the accused? Grudges? Turf issues? Desire to score points with a parole officer, etc.,... etc.

Then of course there is the issue of credibility. Will any reasonable jury believe the witnesses? How can the DA establish the witnesses are probably telling the truth?

(And for the non-abstract thinkers who may be reading this, no I am not saying that gun control activists/scientists are like drug dealers and pimps. They simply want to keep people from having the tools to stop home invasions, rapes, armed robberies, kidnappings, assaults, torture and the like.)


Scientifically Illiterate Bloggers

And, 99 times out of 100, if you've got the consensus of peer reviewed studies on one side, and scientifically illiterate bloggers with a political agenda on the other, the scientists are going to be right.


If you post the data and statistical analysis that led you to that conclusion, I'll be glad to read it.

I am curious as to why these "scientifically illiterate bloggers with a political agenda" and the like keep coming up. I'm pretty sure I didn't mention them in the OP. (Just to clarify, you don't regard the gentlemen I quoted—who are obviously much more qualified on the subject of medical peer review than you are—as "scientifically illiterate bloggers with a political agenda", do you?! I don't blog, so you couldn't—rationally at least—be talking about me.)

Who are these people who you keep diverting the conversation to talk about? As I recall, we had a conversation where I quoted or cited a Yale law professor, a UCLA law professor (and former clerk to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor), Alan Dershowitz and one of the Framers of the Fourteenth Amendment. And you wanted to talk about right wing internet guys or something similar. Why?!


I Don't Distract; I Don't Duck and Weave

And the criminology/medicine thing is just silly. Labeling of certain research areas "criminology" an not "medicine" is a very transparent attempt to distract from the fact that the bulk of the research -- both by criminologists and by epidemiologists -- doesn't go the way the NRA wants it to.


LOL!

I don't duck and weave. I don't avoid my opponents' strongest points and hope no one will notice. It's not my style.

I haven't read enough of the research or "research" especially recently, to agree or disagree with your statement from personal knowledge. But I will concede, for the sake of argument, that the bulk of the research by medical professionals supports the idea that guns are bad. How's that for not distracting?

But, I think you are making a mistake in interpreting the data. To very slightly modify the words of a real expert on this subject:

The mistake, of course, is to think that peer review is anything more than a crude means of discovering the acceptability of a finding.


Is the idea that guns are good for society acceptable to trauma surgeons, public health professionals and epidemiologists? Do we have any reasons to think that it would not be? If it isn't, peer review is nothing more than a crude means of insuring that the "guns are bad" message is ascendant. Not according to "pro-gun advocates posting on gun blogs" but according to a straightforward application of the logic of people who know much more than you do about medical peer review.


An Example of DU Peer Review

Let me pay you a compliment, at least from your POV. I think, from a motivational point of view, you would fit right in with lots of these peer reviewers. I think your review standards are similar to theirs. Let's consider a case in point:

1) As I explain in post 4, Rosenberg announced an unscientific war on gun rights, making crystal clear his intent to use the CDC as a propaganda vehicle to treat guns like cigarettes—"dirty, deadly - and banned."

2) The NRA and others rallied to stop the CDC from using public funds to achieve the "dirty, deadly - and banned" agenda.

3) Rosenberg whined to sympathetic, anti-gun publications, like Mother Jones and the New York Times.

4) The New York Times published a sympathetic article about the NRA obstructing "science." They did admit that the NRA claims bias, but mysteriously, Rosenberg's published statements proving his bias and premeditated intent to use the CDC for propaganda was not "news that's fit to print." Therefore, The Times left readers to conclude that the eeeeeevil NRA was just crying bias to stop the good scientists from finding "The Truth."

5) Our old friend, Dr. Arthur Kellermann, was called in as a reinforcement for the Times story. I'm sure he knows why the eeeeevil NRA wanted to stop the good scientists at the CDC, but somehow I doubt he brought it up.

6) You read a post quoting Mother Jones and agreed that the eeeeeevil NRA was back to its dastardly tricks again.

The thing that makes me angry is that while Rosenberg (and almost certainly the Times and the good Dr. Kellerman) know very well what this fight was about, innocent, well intentioned readers of the Times and Mother Jones didn't. They swallowed the propaganda hook, line and sinker.

You, on the other hand, are not as innocent. You eagerly agreed with the Mother Jones quoting post, though it had been clearly answered in my post 4. Nor was post 4 your first opportunity to learn better. I told you the relevant Rosenberg/CDC history long ago, IIRC in our first discussion. I also quoted Rosenberg. You studiously ignored the contrary data then, as I recall.

That DanTex, is peer review, illustrated. Your DU peer, safeinOhio, posted something you wanted to believe. So you agreed with it and mocked the other side. Yes, you had read (or had the opportunity to read) contrary evidence of very high caliber. But that contrary evidence was... well, contrary. I suspect you forgot all about it.

(I have to give safeinOhio his due. He at least tacitly acknowledged that he had been misled by Mother Jones.)

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Response to TPaine7 (Reply #18)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 09:24 AM

20. I get it. You're going ignore everything I said! Nice!

 

You: Peer review is flawed!
Me: Well, yes, but if you want to ignore a decades long record of peer-reviewed research by dozens of scientists in several different fields and from top research institutions, it's going to take a little more than just "peer-review is flawed"...
You: Peer review is flawed!

And then there's this part:
And the criminology/medicine thing is just silly. Labeling of certain research areas "criminology" an not "medicine" is a very transparent attempt to distract from the fact that the bulk of the research -- both by criminologists and by epidemiologists -- doesn't go the way the NRA wants it to. The real question not whether "doctors should be doing criminology", but rather what set of techniques are most useful for investigating gun violence. And epidemiologists, who have extensive experience conducting various types of observational studies, examining statistical data, etc., without at doubt bring a lot of important tools to the table.

... Most mainstream criminologists have been receptive towards the infusion of new techniques and ideas from the public health community. In fact, there are many examples of successful collaborations between the public health and criminology communities, and there are interdisciplinary departments and graduate programs, so many scholars in the field now have graduate training in both criminology and public health.


Did you miss that? Should I cut and paste it one more time? Will you ignore it again, and repeat the same silly rant about how DOCTORS are different from CRIMINOLOGISTS and only CRIMINOLOGISTS are qualified to research gun violence?

You seem completely unaware of the fact that interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research is not only common and widely accepted, but also is often very productive as people from different fields bring a unique perspective and a new set of techniques. And actually, it's a shame that your political blinders are so severe that you can't appreciate this point. Otherwise, you'd probably find this interesting: you'd google around and find plenty of examples of fruitful collaborations between scientists in different fields (mathematicians applying coding theory to DNA sequences, physicists using models for vibrating particles to study the movements of stock prices, etc.). But instead, your politics require you to stick to the "Me CRIMINOLOGIST! You DOCTOR!" script.


Criticizing Peer Review / It's the Best We Have / Scientifically Illiterate Bloggers / I Don't Distract; I Don't Duck and Weave

Yes, we get it, peer review is flawed? You win! I agree completely! You don't need to repeat it 37 different times.

But if you think the implications of this are thet we should ignore the peer-reviewed research on gun violence, which, I'll repeat yet again, and you'll ignore yet again, comes not only from epidemiologists but from criminologists, economists etc., then you're wrong. "Peer-review is flawed" is not enough of a reason to reject a whole field of scientific research. If it were, then we'd have to throw out the research, not just on "controversial" things like climate and evolution, but also on uncontroversial things like chemistry.

And there's a difference between just one peer-reviewed paper, and a decades-long record of peer-reviewed research. Kleck's DGU study was peer reviewed. So was Lott's study on shall-issue. But then what happened is several other scholars examined the results in more detail, refuted them, and now they're not credible outside of the gun blogs.

And, in our debate, peer review is particularly important since you (and the rest of the pro-gunners here) consistently fail to find any substantive flaws in the research that offends you so much. It's all "meta-criticism": _____ is not a criminologist, but a doctor! The CDC is biased! Joyce-funded studies are invalid! Well, when you're doing meta-criticism, the fact that, by and large, the evidence on one side is peer reviewed, and the evidence from the other is mostly from anonymous gun bloggers, that is a big deal.

An Example of DU Peer Review

Sorry, but Rosenberg did not "announce an anti-scientific war". Really, for someone whose hobby is denying peer-reviewed science, it's a bit surreal for you to claim that one sentence quoted in a news article constitutes "high caliber evidence". Do you think the American Cancer Society is waging and "anti-scientific war on smoking" because they also engage in both advocacy and science? How about the climate scientists who also engage in political advocacy?

And here's the thing. Thanks to the peer review system, one person can't actually corrupt the scientific process very easily, even if he wanted to. That's because in order to produce a record of peer-reviewed studies, you need a lot of other people in on the scam: the scientists doing the research, the journals where it gets published, and the anonymous referees doing the peer review. For example, the oil companies have for years been trying to get anti-global warming studies into peer-reviewed journals and mostly failed. Another example is NCCAM, which provides funding for studies on alternative medicine, things like homeopathy. There are plenty of people who would like to see peer-reviewed studies showing that homeopathy works, but homeopathy does not work, and the peer-reviewed science shows that very clearly.

The reality is that the NRA cutting off funding for political rather than scientific reasons is simply not justified. If bad science is being pushed, the scientific community should make this determination, not a right-wing lobby group with a political agenda. The fact that you are defending the NRA in this may be the best proof yet that you lack even a drop of scientific integrity, and are interested only in the politics here.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #20)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 08:06 PM

23. "I get it. You're going ignore everything I said!"

That's how the cookie crumbles...you can't spell ignorance without ignore.

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Response to ellisonz (Reply #23)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 10:35 PM

31. Yawn...

 

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Response to TPaine7 (Reply #31)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 08:45 AM

45. I wish he would ignore this whole group. He has already done me the favor of ignoring me and life

has been peaceful ever since.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #20)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 10:35 PM

30. I addressed your strongest points; I ignored your irrelevant points.

 

But just to humor you:

And the criminology/medicine thing is just silly. Labeling of certain research areas "criminology" an not "medicine" is a very transparent attempt to distract from the fact that the bulk of the research -- both by criminologists and by epidemiologists -- doesn't go the way the NRA wants it to.


See my prior post.

The real question not whether "doctors should be doing criminology", but rather what set of techniques are most useful for investigating gun violence. And epidemiologists, who have extensive experience conducting various types of observational studies, examining statistical data, etc., without at doubt bring a lot of important tools to the table.


I am well aware of interdisciplinary efforts. They have nothing to do with the OP. Whether epidemiologist are good at statistics and at observational studies of diseases is not relevant to the OP.

... Most mainstream criminologists have been receptive towards the infusion of new techniques and ideas from the public health community.


As well they should be. But since this is beside the point of the OP, I ignored it.

In fact, there are many examples of successful collaborations between the public health and criminology communities,


It would surprise me if there weren't. This is still beside the point.

...and there are interdisciplinary departments and graduate programs, so many scholars in the field now have graduate training in both criminology and public health.


You are explaining to me things I know quite well. The OP is not about collaborations between criminologists and doctors or studies by doctors who have PhD's or even graduate training in criminology.

Let's say a physicist, a mechanical engineer, an electrical engineer, a chemist and a designer collaborate with a team of cardiologists to make a revolutionary artificial heart. That should not surprise anyone. The problem would arise if mechanical engineers authored dozens of cardiology studies and peer reviewed them in Machine Design. With no cardiologist involvement.

The OP is asking about the validity of studies by people with qualifications like "head of the nursing department", "professor of surgery" and "cartographer" with no criminologist, economist, or even psychologist in sight.

Of course if there is a discovery in chemistry, physics, martial arts, music theory or even game theory that is useful for healing heart patients, cardiologists should take full advantage of it. Of course they can, should and even must collaborate with practitioners in those fields to advance the state of patient care. I have no issue with that and have never hinted that I did.

Will you ignore it again, and repeat the same silly rant about how DOCTORS are different from CRIMINOLOGISTS and only CRIMINOLOGISTS are qualified to research gun violence?


I have never said that only criminologist can research gun violence. For example, I fully admit that there are certain aspects of gun violence that criminologists are incompetent to address. Trauma surgeons and the like are uniquely qualified to research gunshot wounds and the best ways to treat them. If you were in the emergency room with a gunshot wound, I am willing to bet you would insist that a criminologist not treat you. You would insist on the right person for the job, with a "silly rant" remarkably like mine, only backwards.

More later, I have to do something else.

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Response to TPaine7 (Reply #30)

Wed Jun 6, 2012, 08:18 AM

35. Well, now you're just repeating yourself.

 

Incidentally, a discussion I'm having elsewhere on DU has reminded me that John Maynard Keynes's degree was not in economics, but in mathematics. I can just hear you now: "Who cares what MATHEMATICIANS say about ECONOMICS! MATHEMATICIANS might be good at ADDING and SUBTRACTING but ECONOMICS is about the ECONOMY and not about MATH!!!!"

One more point I'll address: yes, medical journals like JAMA are plenty qualified to peer review studies like the ones you object to -- public health researchers have been successfully studying things other than diseases for a long time now. In fact, you even find papers on gun violence written by criminologists published in medical or public health journals. One thing you may not know: the editorial board of a journal does not actually perform the peer review. What they do is they select scholars who have an appropriate background to do the refereeing. Which means that, given the extensive interplay between public health researchers and criminologists in this area, JAMA or whoever is obviously going to be able to find qualified people to do the peer review.

And, if you look at other areas where interdisciplinary collaborations are common, you will find papers from one field published in journals from another (e.g. papers on biology in math or computer science journals (or vice versa), papers on economics in psychology journals (or vice versa), and so on). I've seriously never heard of anyone complaining as much about this practice as you.

On top of all that, for certain kind of studies -- say trying to determine whether owning a gun increases or decreases one's risk of crime victimization -- arguably an epidemiologist would be better suited than a criminologist: despite the fact that the word "criminology" is rooted in the word "criminal", criminology is a subfield of sociology, and this type of large-scale observational study is further removed from the traditional sociology curriculum than it is from a public health curriculum. I say "arguably", though, because, as I keep pointing out, this whole discussion is silly -- what any scientist would do is judge the research by its content, rather than by what the PhD of the person performing the research says on it.


Finally, about your mischaracterization of the authors of the Branas study (i.e. "professor of surgery", "cartography", etc.). We've had this discussion before, and I already responded to this, and not surprisingly, you ignored everything I said back then too. Maybe you'll actually read it this time:
For starters, the "nurse" is actually a PhD whose research specialty is injury and violence. As far as the "mapmaker" Dennis Culhane, he's actually the head of something called the "Cartographic Modeling Laboratory" at UPenn. I guess you got the "mapmaker" thing from the word "cartography", but cartographic modeling actually involves building spacial models, and in this study it meant modeling the risk of gun assault based on location in Philly. I don't know if you really think calling Culhane a mapmaker helps your case in any way. To me, it illustrates your cartoonish misunderstanding of what goes on in research universities, and your tendency to want to pigeonhole people as pointy-headed specialists in order to dismiss what they have to say. It would have taken about 10 seconds on google to figure out what cartographic modeling meant, but instead you chose to go for the "mapmaker" knock.

Actually, a very good illustration of the interdisciplinary nature of gun violence research can be found in one of the co-authors of the Branas study, Douglas Wiebe. You'd surely dismiss him as just another epidemiologists straying outside his field, but let's take a look at a few key parts of his profile:
His individualized psychology track had brought him into contact with child victims of abuse, including those who had been removed from their homes and were living in institutional settings. Concerned about the violence that such kids had experienced and the fact that so many had become perpetrators themselves, he pursued a master's degree in criminology. Finding research to be a place that he could channel the energy that had once gone into volleyball, he enrolled in doctoral studies at the School of Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine, where he received a PhD in 2000. There he took advantage of an interdisciplinary program, and reframed his research interests on violence and injury to consider how these occur as a function of the way people interact within the constraints of a given environment.

His dissertation work involved a national case-control study of the role of the environment in violence, and found a gun in the home to be a primary risk factor for homicide. The homicide risk associated with in-home guns is especially high for women, which Dr. Wiebe attributes to the "singular danger faced by women in abusive relationships." He published his results in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, given the clinical relevance of the Emergency Department (ED) as one of the few places in which domestic violence victims have contact with the healthcare system. Viewed from a public health perspective, visits to the ED provide an opportunity to identify individuals at risk as well as modifiable risk factors such as a gun in the home. This finding garnered national attention with coverage by The New York Times, and won student paper awards from both the American Public Health Association and the American Society of Criminology. Dr. Wiebe then pursued additional training in epidemiology and public health in a post-doctoral fellowship in violence prevention at the UCLA School of Public Health.

If you read his bio without prejudice, I'd say that he sounds like almost an ideal person to be studying gun violence. He most certainly does have expertise in criminology, as well as victim psychology, victim-criminal interaction, etc. In fact if you look up the School of Social Ecology you find it involved departments of criminology, psychology, and public policy. So here we have another counterexample to your claims about public health people and specifically about the authors of the Branas study.


http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=118&topic_id=459674&mesg_id=464176

Edit: fixed link

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Response to DanTex (Reply #20)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 03:40 AM

43. "Scientific Integrity"

 

Peer Review is Flawed

You: Peer review is flawed!
Me: Well, yes, but if you want to ignore a decades long record of peer-reviewed research by dozens of scientists in several different fields and from top research institutions, it's going to take a little more than just "peer-review is flawed"...
You: Peer review is flawed!


Be serious.

First of all, I don't recall reading you admitting anything about peer review other than possibly a mild admission that "it might not be perfect" or the like. That's equivalent to acknowledging that it is done by humans--a far cry from what the experts I quoted said. You have never, as far as I know, admitted anything approaching the quotes in the OP.

More than that, your caricature of my argument reveals more about you than about my case. The issue you are carefully ignoring is that the flaws with peer review are particularly matched to the subject at hand. It is obviously not acceptable to many researchers that guns are good or even neutral to society. That applies to Hemmenway, Rosenberg and many others. According to a legitimate authority on medical peer review--as opposed to a guy with an axe to grind who I am talking to on the internet, that is to say you--peer review is simply a crude way to determine acceptability. Well 2 + 2 still equals 4, whether you want to admit it or not. The question of whether an idea (like the idea that guns may be positive or neutral) is acceptable to researchers is crucial to whether or not their peer review is worthwhile.

That argument is a far cry from your simpllistic caricature of my argument.


I Disagree, Therefore I Am Unaware

You seem completely unaware of the fact that interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research is not only common and widely accepted, but also is often very productive as people from different fields bring a unique perspective and a new set of techniques. And actually, it's a shame that your political blinders are so severe that you can't appreciate this point. Otherwise, you'd probably find this interesting: you'd google around and find plenty of examples of fruitful collaborations between scientists in different fields (mathematicians applying coding theory to DNA sequences, physicists using models for vibrating particles to study the movements of stock prices, etc.). But instead, your politics require you to stick to the "Me CRIMINOLOGIST! You DOCTOR!" script.


I disagree with you, so I must be unaware?

I gave the example or mechanical engineers collaborating with cardiologists on hearts. The engineers bring expertise in materials, structures, fluid flow, etc. And that's perfectly fine. But someone better bring expertise in hearts. There is nothing at all wrong with "mathematicians applying coding theory to DNA sequences" as long as there is someone on board who thoroughly understands DNA!

The OP isn't about legitimate collaborations; can you understand that?


Peer Review is Flawed, the Sequel

Yes, we get it, peer review is flawed? You win! I agree completely! You don't need to repeat it 37 different times.


It not simply that peer review is flawed. All human endeavors are flawed (with the possible near exception of certain branches of mathematics). Admissions that peer review is a human endeavor are worlds away from what real experts say. The point is not that it is flawed, it is HOW it is flawed and how those flaws fit the subject at hand. But keep pretending if it makes you feel better.

...anonymous gun bloggers,


Yawn... There’s an anonymous anti-gun poster I’d like to introduce you to. He’s a character.


An Anti-Scientific War, Explained

Sorry, but Rosenberg did not "announce an anti-scientific war".


Let's see. He announced that he wanted to start a campaign against guns. The idea was to use "science" to advance an anti-gun agenda. A little thought will show that this is anti-science. It starts with the goal and shoehorns the "science" into its service. Science doesn't work that way. And it is a war, because it is a calculated, preplanned attack on rights. Yes he did "announce an anti-scientific war" on gun rights. Your saying that he didn't cannot change reality.


“One Sentence”, “One Man”

Really, for someone whose hobby is denying peer-reviewed science, it's a bit surreal for you to claim that one sentence quoted in a news article constitutes "high caliber evidence".


Wow. Just wow.

1) A journalist interviewed a leader about a cause both leader and journalist believe in fervently.
2) The leader laid out a plan for advancing the cause they both believe in.
3) The journalist quoted a sentence to summarize the goal and the strategy of the leader.

Let's look at a parallel. Let's say Steve Jobs granted an interview to a reporter (while he was still alive) and revealed that he wanted to revolutionize the music industry. The journalist obviously supported Job’s goal. He laid out the strategy and goal he got from the interview and quoted Steve talking about his goal and how he intended to meet it.

Are you really so clueless that you would not regard that as high caliber evidence of Steve Job's intentions and plans? I think you're using special thinking that you wouldn't apply to any other subject.

Do you think the American Cancer Society is waging and "anti-scientific war on smoking" because they also engage in both advocacy and science? How about the climate scientists who also engage in political advocacy?


This is very elementary, and I can't help but think you're feigning convenient ignorance. If I study X and find that its presence in the water causes children to die from a disease, then advocate against X, that is legitimate. If I plan a campaign against X and want to use "science" in the service of propaganda to advance an agenda of "dirty, deadly - and banned" that is illegitimate. It is a declaration of war against X. It is anti-scientific. Can you see the difference?! Let's not pretend that these are equivalent situations.

And here's the thing. Thanks to the peer review system, one person can't actually corrupt the scientific process very easily, even if he wanted to. That's because in order to produce a record of peer-reviewed studies, you need a lot of other people in on the scam: the scientists doing the research, the journals where it gets published, and the anonymous referees doing the peer review.


One person? One person?!!

When Obama said he wanted to kill terrorists, I didn't think he was planning on going through Seal training. When Steve Jobs said he wanted to revolutionize music distribution, I didn't picture him writing the code for the iTunes store and uploading the songs. If a leader a vision to the press, that means, almost without exception, that he has

1) Talked to other people above and below him about the advisability of the goal and the strategy
2) Put his finger to the wind and seen how popular his proposal is likely to be with the target audience
3) Ensured that he has the support of his bosses or is likely to be well received by customers

Of course, Rosenberg is the exception. He woke up that morning and thought, "I am going to try to make guns 'dirty, deadly - and banned', I think I'll go talk to a reporter about my new idea!"

He didn't know that he had the support of his superiors at the CDC and possibly the President for his propaganda campaign. He had no idea whether he had the sympathy and support of people like Hemmenway and others. He didn't know whether researchers would line up for CDC money, researchers who shared his vision and would reach the proper results. He had no idea if gun control was popular among medical professionals. He had no idea if his employees were likely to revolt against his anti-science approach.

And no, I am not saying that Rosenberg, Hemmenway and others got together in a dark basement and formed a formal, classic conspiracy. No, these guys think "guns are bad, let's use science to prove just how bad." They don't even consider the idea that guns are positive or neutral, just like most people don't consider the possibility that cannibalism, child porn and slavery are neutral or good.

Rosenberg thought he was stating obvious TRUTH. The reason for his unforced error was his conviction that the TRUTH that guns should be "dirty, deadly - and banned" was self-evident.

You will never convince me that slavery is good. We may disagree on precisely how bad it is, what its negative effects are and are not, and how best to eliminate it, but belief that slavery is good is beyond the pale. To Rosenberg and many like him, guns are bad. The idea that they are positive or even neutral is beyond the pale. Science is only useful to back up the obvious TRUTH.


A Crude Means of Discovering Acceptability

For example, the oil companies have for years been trying to get anti-global warming studies into peer-reviewed journals and mostly failed. Another example is NCCAM, which provides funding for studies on alternative medicine, things like homeopathy. There are plenty of people who would like to see peer-reviewed studies showing that homeopathy works, but homeopathy does not work, and the peer-reviewed science shows that very clearly.


Are there plenty of people peer reviewing medical articles who "would like to see peer-reviewed studies showing that homeopathy works"? No, there are not.

Now think for a moment. What would happen to a young researcher who found an instance where it did work and tried to publish?

What would happen to a researcher who found evidence that smoking--once or twice a month for ceremonial purposes, let's say--actually tends to prevent certain diseases? I would not trust the medical establishment as far as I could throw it to evaluate such a claim. There are multiple layers of resistance. The idea that smoking, even very rarely, is positive is not acceptable to the medical community. Therefore, peer review by the medical community will reject that idea. Some reviewers
might even be able to see the reality, but will reject such papers for other reasons. What if children hear that smoking is healthy? What if people skip over the part about the tobacco being natural and only used bi-monthly? What effect will this have on anti-smoking campaigns that save lives? I oppose smoking in enclosed public places and around children in the home, but I can see that the medical establishment wouldn’t be a fair judge.


Scientific Integrity. And Irony.

The reality is that the NRA cutting off funding for political rather than scientific reasons is simply not justified. If bad science is being pushed, the scientific community should make this determination, not a right-wing lobby group with a political agenda. The fact that you are defending the NRA in this may be the best proof yet that you lack even a drop of scientific integrity, and are interested only in the politics here.


This if funny. I "defend the NRA" because the facts support their position in this case. If you show me the right evidence, I will "support" my worst enemy. And your "IF" is telling. In the face of proof, you cannot bring yourself to concede that false, agenda-driven science was being pushed.

"We're right because we're us and they're wrong because they're them" is one of, if not the, most terrifying of human delusions. It lead to the worst atrocities of history.

The NRA is not wrong when it is the NRA, it is wrong when it deviates from correct principles.

The Republicans were right when they opposed slavery and fought for civil rights (including the individual RKBA). The Democrats were wrong when they supported slavery and Jim Crow.

Republicans are wrong today as they use racial division for political gain. Democrats are right to oppose it. See how the side that deserves to be "defended" is based in principle, and isn't based on the name of the group?

The fact that you are defending the NRA in this may be the best proof yet that you lack even a drop of scientific integrity, and are interested only in the politics here.


No person who even understands what science is could have honestly written that sentence. Science is about discovering truth, not ensuring that one is against the NRA. I defend the truth as I see it. Anyone who that happens to help gets the benefit. The scientific method does not consist, to the tiniest degree, in ensuring that one is opposing the NRA.

Unfortunately, your view is probably the prevalent one among too many gun researchers today. You would fit right in as a peer reviewer where scientific integrity = opposition to the NRA.

And you dare lecture me about scientific integrity--or integrity of any sort whatsoever? Wow.

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Response to TPaine7 (Reply #43)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 02:23 PM

46. The less you know...

 

I have to address this first:
Me:
The fact that you are defending the NRA in this may be the best proof yet that you lack even a drop of scientific integrity, and are interested only in the politics here.

You:
No person who even understands what science is could have honestly written that sentence. Science is about discovering truth, not ensuring that one is against the NRA. I defend the truth as I see it. Anyone who that happens to help gets the benefit. The scientific method does not consist, to the tiniest degree, in ensuring that one is opposing the NRA.

Unfortunately, your view is probably the prevalent one among too many gun researchers today. You would fit right in as a peer reviewer where scientific integrity = opposition to the NRA.


I very clearly criticized you for defending the NRA in this -- meaning defending the NRA's use of political influence to defund research it didn't like. That if the gun violence research is bad science, then scientists should be the ones to make this determination -- not lobbying groups. And your support of the NRA in this is evidence of your lack of scientific integrity.

But you ignored the words "in this", insisting that I somehow claimed that anyone who criticizes the NRA is unscientific. Why are you resorting to blatantly misrepresenting my words?


OK, moving on. I think we've mostly exhausted the discussion about the flaws peer review -- yes, it's flawed, but, like Democracy, all the alternatives are much worse, so if you want to deny the bulk of the peer reviewed evidence in favor of what it says on gun blogs, you're going to have to do better than "anti-gun bias" and "peer review is flawed".

And also, I think we've covered your silly caricature of scientific knowledge as divided into isolated subfields. This may come as a shock to you, but mathematicians (and physicists, and computer scientists) working on DNA actually do understand DNA thoroughly -- there are other ways to learn about DNA besides going to graduate school in biology, particularly if you are already a working professional scientist. As I pointed out in my last post (and you ignored), Keynes -- the most influential economist since Adam Smith -- did not have a degree in economics.

I could go on and on with examples of people doing important research outside of their original field. How about Herbert Simon, who get a PhD in political science, and won not just a Nobel Prize in Economics, but also a Turing award (the Nobel-equivalent in computer science). But, but... how could a political scientist possibly know anything about computers!!!!! Maybe he hired a "real computer scientist" who understood computers "thoroughly" to babysit him so that his research would qualify as "legitimate"... LOL


OK, on to the conspiracy theory..

This is very elementary, and I can't help but think you're feigning convenient ignorance. If I study X and find that its presence in the water causes children to die from a disease, then advocate against X, that is legitimate. If I plan a campaign against X and want to use "science" in the service of propaganda to advance an agenda of "dirty, deadly - and banned" that is illegitimate. It is a declaration of war against X. It is anti-scientific. Can you see the difference?! Let's not pretend that these are equivalent situations.


LOL. So the timing is the thing, right? As long as the study comes first, its OK? OK, then. Well, the first widely cited study on gun violence that I know about comes from 1968, from (criminologist) Frank Zimring. So Rosenberg had over twenty five years of research evidence to work with by the time he spoke that sentence in 1994. Even public health research into gun violence had been going on for about a decade by then. By 1994, the majority of researchers in both criminology and public health already believed that gun control would reduce homicide and save lives.

One person? One person?!!

When Obama said he wanted to kill terrorists, I didn't think he was planning on going through Seal training. When Steve Jobs said he wanted to revolutionize music distribution, I didn't picture him writing the code for the iTunes store and uploading the songs. If a leader a vision to the press, that means, almost without exception, that he has

1) Talked to other people above and below him about the advisability of the goal and the strategy
2) Put his finger to the wind and seen how popular his proposal is likely to be with the target audience
3) Ensured that he has the support of his bosses or is likely to be well received by customers

Of course, Rosenberg is the exception. He woke up that morning and thought, "I am going to try to make guns 'dirty, deadly - and banned', I think I'll go talk to a reporter about my new idea!"

He didn't know that he had the support of his superiors at the CDC and possibly the President for his propaganda campaign. He had no idea whether he had the sympathy and support of people like Hemmenway and others. He didn't know whether researchers would line up for CDC money, researchers who shared his vision and would reach the proper results. He had no idea if gun control was popular among medical professionals. He had no idea if his employees were likely to revolt against his anti-science approach.

And no, I am not saying that Rosenberg, Hemmenway and others got together in a dark basement and formed a formal, classic conspiracy. No, these guys think "guns are bad, let's use science to prove just how bad." They don't even consider the idea that guns are positive or neutral, just like most people don't consider the possibility that cannibalism, child porn and slavery are neutral or good.

Rosenberg thought he was stating obvious TRUTH. The reason for his unforced error was his conviction that the TRUTH that guns should be "dirty, deadly - and banned" was self-evident.

You will never convince me that slavery is good. We may disagree on precisely how bad it is, what its negative effects are and are not, and how best to eliminate it, but belief that slavery is good is beyond the pale. To Rosenberg and many like him, guns are bad. The idea that they are positive or even neutral is beyond the pale. Science is only useful to back up the obvious TRUTH.


This is a wild fantasy, plain and simple. Unlike the president, who is the commander and chief of the military, or Steve Jobs, who was CEO of Apple, Rosenberg didn't come anywhere close to having the authority to dictate what gets published in peer-reviewed journals. Which is why, starting from a one sentence from a bureaucrat, you concoct a vast group of co-conspirators that includes his superiors, scientists, and maybe even the president.

And notice that your "Rosenberg sentence" actually compares guns to cigarettes. Not slavery or child porn, but cigarettes. It's only in your fantasy world that he, or anyone, really, "hates" guns with the same moral passion that you hate slavery. And not just Rosenberg, but also everyone else who is part of the "silent conspiracy". Of course! And all from one sentence that was spoken after gun violence research had already been going on for decades!

Here's a scientific concept for you: Occam's razor. It suggests that the simplest explanation of observable evidence is likely to be the correct one. It's usually a good one to keep in mind when contemplating conspiracy theories. Yes, it's possible that the "Rosenberg sentence" is the tip of a huge iceberg of anti-scientific gun hatred among scientists and government officials, all of whom have the goal of imposing strict gun laws because they, umm, hate guns so much "just because". But it's more likely that these are just scientists doing their science, and Rosenberg is just one bureaucrat who thinks that he could combat gun violence in the same way as smoking.

And, really, for a one-sentence pitch, the analogy that Rosenberg draws with smoking is actually pretty good. After the first decades of studies, the evidence pretty strongly showed a link between smoking and cancer, but it was necessary to do more, both on the scientific front, to study the link in more detail and address shortcomings in the original round of studies, and then also on the publicity front, informing people that smoking does in fact kill, and changing the image of smoking from James Dean in a leather jacket to something that's dangerous and now outlawed in many public places.

Are there plenty of people peer reviewing medical articles who "would like to see peer-reviewed studies showing that homeopathy works"? No, there are not.

Umm... no, you're missing the point here. The analogy is to Rosenberg, who is not a peer reviewer but a bureaucrat. Yes, there are plenty of bureaucrats that would like to see peer-reviewed studies showing that homeopathy works. Peer-reviewers are simply scientists, and while most scientists don't believe homeopathy works, this is not because they hate homeopathy the way you hate slavery, but rather because that's what the evidence says.

And, really, I think most scientists, including the ones peer-reviewing the papers, actually would like to see more peer-reviewed studies showing that homeopathy works. Because, if it did, it would be an earth-shattering result that would require us to revise some very fundamental principles of physics. It would be a fascinating scientific discovery, the kind of thing that scientists live for.

Now think for a moment. What would happen to a young researcher who found an instance where it did work and tried to publish?

Actually, this has already occurred many times. What happens, contrary to what your conspiracy theory predicts, is that the paper gets published, as it should be. It's pretty easy to google up some examples, like this study, which found that homeopathic treatment significantly decreased the duration of diarrhea in children. A certain percentage of clinical trials will positive results just by chance. But then people try to replicate the result and fail, and the fact that most RCTs find no effect for homeopathy (as do meta-analyses), combined with the fact that there is no plausible mechanism for it to work, means that very few people in the scientific community believe that it is anything more than placebo.

In reality, a lot more money has gone into researching homeopathy than is scientifically justifiable. It's sort of the opposite of what happens in gun violence. Most scientists think that the grant money would be better spent on things that might possibly work. So homeopathy is actually an example of the resilience of the scientific process (including but not limited to peer review) -- the influx of funding for homeopathy studies has not swayed the scientific consensus.

What would happen to a researcher who found evidence that smoking--once or twice a month for ceremonial purposes, let's say--actually tends to prevent certain diseases? I would not trust the medical establishment as far as I could throw it to evaluate such a claim. There are multiple layers of resistance. The idea that smoking, even very rarely, is positive is not acceptable to the medical community. Therefore, peer review by the medical community will reject that idea. Some reviewers
might even be able to see the reality, but will reject such papers for other reasons. What if children hear that smoking is healthy? What if people skip over the part about the tobacco being natural and only used bi-monthly? What effect will this have on anti-smoking campaigns that save lives? I oppose smoking in enclosed public places and around children in the home, but I can see that the medical establishment wouldn’t be a fair judge.


So not only do you not trust the scientific establishment to be a fair judge of gun violence research, you also don't trust them to be a fair judge of research on smoking or homeopathy.

I have another scientific principle for you that might be helpful. If a theory makes false predictions over and over, then you throw out the theory. For example, based on your posts, I had a theory about you that predicted that your disregard for scientific results would spill over from gun violence to other areas -- since you care a lot about gun control, your denialism in that area would be particularly strong, but even on "neutral" topics like homeopathy or tobacco, your judgement would be based more on conspiracy theories and political suspicions than on scientific facts. Looks like my theory is doing pretty well!

On the other hand, your conspiracy theory of science has already made one false prediction, which is that studies finding homeopathy to be effective wouldn't get published in peer reviewed journals. And now you've just made another one. I'm referring, of course, to the extensive literature in peer-reviewed medical journals about the beneficial effects of nicotine, and the potential for treatment of cognitive disorders such as ADHD, Alzheimers, schizophrenia. The problem is that nicotine is highly addictive and has negative side effects, but that doesn't mean scientists haven't found out and published papers on it's beneficial effects.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC526783/pdf/pbio.0020404.pdf
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014299999008857
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166432800002072
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301008299000453

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Response to DanTex (Reply #46)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 10:08 PM

47. Ok, you've got some interesting points mixed in with the other stuff.

 

I very clearly criticized you for defending the NRA in this -- meaning defending the NRA's use of political influence to defund research it didn't like. That if the gun violence research is bad science, then scientists should be the ones to make this determination -- not lobbying groups. And your support of the NRA in this is evidence of your lack of scientific integrity.

But you ignored the words "in this", insisting that I somehow claimed that anyone who {defends} the NRA is unscientific. Why are you resorting to blatantly misrepresenting my words?


I apologize. I misrepresented your words because I misinterpreted them. It was not intentional.

However, I still have to disagree with your take. The NRA didn't use political influence to defund research it didn't like, it used political influence to defund propaganda masquerading as science and payed for by tax dollars. There is a huge difference; a fact you refuse to face squarely.

That if the gun violence research is bad science, then scientists should be the ones to make this determination -- not lobbying groups.


No, not if it is publicly announced that taxpayer money is going to be used, not to discover the facts but to foist a predetermined "dirty, deadly - and banned" agenda on America in the face of the Constitution. That is a political threat, and it is perfectly appropriate that it be met with political resistance.

And also, I think we've covered your silly caricature of scientific knowledge as divided into isolated subfields. This may come as a shock to you, but mathematicians (and physicists, and computer scientists) working on DNA actually do understand DNA thoroughly -- there are other ways to learn about DNA besides going to graduate school in biology, particularly if you are already a working professional scientist. As I pointed out in my last post (and you ignored), Keynes -- the most influential economist since Adam Smith -- did not have a degree in economics.

I could go on and on with examples of people doing important research outside of their original field. How about Herbert Simon, who get a PhD in political science, and won not just a Nobel Prize in Economics, but also a Turing award (the Nobel-equivalent in computer science). But, but... how could a political scientist possibly know anything about computers!!!!! Maybe he hired a "real computer scientist" who understood computers "thoroughly" to babysit him so that his research would qualify as "legitimate"... LOL


Yes, I know that, for instance, the eminent physicist Stephen Hawking, is a mathematician. Your examples are well taken, but--at least I thought--rare. If you could go on and on, then perhaps I need to recalibrate my thinking. I would appreciate some more examples.

This is a wild fantasy, plain and simple. Unlike the president, who is the commander and chief of the military, or Steve Jobs, who was CEO of Apple, Rosenberg didn't come anywhere close to having the authority to dictate what gets published in peer-reviewed journals. Which is why, starting from a one sentence from a bureaucrat, you concoct a vast group of co-conspirators that includes his superiors, scientists, and maybe even the president.


No, now you are misrepresenting. I specifically said it wasn't a classic conspiracy. Do you doubt that President Clinton would have supported this effort? Neither would Rosenberg. Talking to your boss about your plans is not a conspiracy; or there are trillions of "conspiracies" every year in America. None of this...

1) Talked to other people above and below him about the advisability of the goal and the strategy
2) Put his finger to the wind and seen how popular his proposal is likely to be with the target audience
3) Ensured that he has the support of his bosses or is likely to be well received by customers


...is conspiracy. But you like that word, false as it is, because it paints a picture you enjoy.

Yes, I know that Rosenberg didn't command troops or run a company (and Jobs himself lacked the authority to revolutionize the music industry without lots of cooperation from music companies and musicians). Nor was that the parallel. The point was that leaders don't accomplish their goals in isolation, as you pretend to think Rosenberg would have needed to.

No, Rosenberg couldn't dictate what got published. But correct me if I'm wrong, a funding agency can dictate what gets funded, right? That's power enough. Read what I wrote again:

He didn't know that he had the support of his superiors at the CDC and possibly the President for his propaganda campaign. He had no idea whether he had the sympathy and support of people like Hemmenway and others. He didn't know whether researchers would line up for CDC money, researchers who shared his vision and would reach the proper results. He had no idea if gun control was popular among medical professionals. He had no idea if his employees were likely to revolt against his anti-science approach.


Money is power.

And notice that your "Rosenberg sentence" actually compares guns to cigarettes. Not slavery or child porn, but cigarettes.


As I recall, JAMA also had an article that talked about the intentions of the CDC--that the CDC disavowed after the heat was on. It's been a long time, and I'm not planning on running it down (and I'm sure it wouldn't make any difference in this discussion.)

You keep trying to minimize the importance of the article by referring to the Rosenberg "sentence." I am sure Rosenberg spoke a lot of sentences in his interview. The sympathetic reporter quoted several. Since you're having trouble counting, I'll repeat:

We need to revolutionize the way we look at guns, like what we did with cigarettes. It used to be that smoking was a glamour symbol - cool, sexy, macho. Now it is dirty, deadly - and banned.


That's three sentences. And they make Rosenberg's intent perfectly clear, to everyone but you.

And let's not pretend that a single sentence of a few words can't carry a lot of meaning:

"We find the defendant not guilty."
"I confess, I killed him."
"Japan just surrendered."
"You have the winning lottery ticket."

It's only in your fantasy world that he, or anyone, really, "hates" guns with the same moral passion that you hate slavery.


I've always thought that Wolfgang, while he might have been as strong as they come was certainly not alone:

I am as strong a gun-control advocate as can be found among the criminologists in this country. If I were Mustapha Mond of Brave New World, I would eliminate all guns from the civilian population and maybe even from the police. I hate guns--ugly, nasty instruments designed to kill people…


And not just Rosenberg, but also everyone else who is part of the "silent conspiracy". Of course! And all from one sentence that was spoken after gun violence research had already been going on for decades!


Still having trouble counting? Good luck with that.

Gun violence research may have been going on for decades. There was even some defensive gun usage research too. But IIRC it was well after 2000 when the CDC admitted that they couldn't show that gun laws had affected gun crime, one way or another. How did Rosenberg know, back in 1994, that his "dirty, deadly - and banned" scheme would do any good, except by faith?

And, really, I think most scientists, including the ones peer-reviewing the papers, actually would like to see more peer-reviewed studies showing that homeopathy works. Because, if it did, it would be an earth-shattering result that would require us to revise some very fundamental principles of physics. It would be a fascinating scientific discovery, the kind of thing that scientists live for.


Fair point. I am not a scientist, but I would have loved to see the late, great "faster-than-light" scare pan out, just to watch it shake up physics.

Actually, this has already occurred many times. What happens, contrary to what your conspiracy theory predicts, is that the paper gets published, as it should be. It's pretty easy to google up some examples, like this study, which found that homeopathic treatment significantly decreased the duration of diarrhea in children.


Conspiracy is a dishonest word to describe my thinking on homeopathy, and you know that by now. Multiple people sharing the same motivations and beliefs is not "conspiracy." Look it up. And I was actually talking present tense, not about 18 years ago, though I am even surprised by that.

On the other hand, your conspiracy theory of science has already made one false prediction, which is that studies finding homeopathy to be effective wouldn't get published in peer reviewed journals. And now you've just made another one. I'm referring, of course, to the extensive literature in peer-reviewed medical journals about the beneficial effects of nicotine, and the potential for treatment of cognitive disorders such as ADHD, Alzheimers, schizophrenia. The problem is that nicotine is highly addictive and has negative side effects, but that doesn't mean scientists haven't found out and published papers on it's beneficial effects.


Whether homeopathy would get published today in a reputable journal hasn't been addressed, though I am surprised to find it was published 18 years ago. And nicotine does not equal smoking. Nevertheless, you have given me some things to think about, even if you didn't hit those nails precisely on the head. Thanks for that.

Edited to add this from your first source at the bottom of your post:

Yet few of the horrendous health effects of smoking are traceable to nicotine itself—cigarettes contain nearly 4,000 other compounds that play a role.


I was talking about smoking being good, not one of its thousands of substances in isolation being good.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #17)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 01:18 AM

19. Oh, I almost forgot. Here is the link to the Times Story

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/26/us/26guns.html?_r=1&ref=us&pagewanted=all

And one more thing. Many posters here insist that only good, right thinking sources like the New York Times and Mother Jones are acceptable for stories on gun issues. And since those sources are sure to slant their stories the right way, there is no danger of those closed minds being opened, is there?

It's so beautiful it's frightening.

And no, I don't think that the Times, Mother Jones and some of the anti-gun posters here got together in a dark room somewhere to plot this. If they had, it wouldn't work as well as it does. Alignment of interests is better than conspiracy. Far better.

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