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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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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
LineLineLineLineLineLineNew Reply Ok, you've got some interesting points mixed in with the other stuff.
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #47
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #19
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