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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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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
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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
LineLineReply Yes! Do you think that valid points will stop being made because you express displeasure?
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
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TPaine7 Jun 2012 #47
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #19
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