Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Start with your conclusion

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  • Russell Brown,

    Start ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18726 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    My local bookshop has this issue of Investigage on the shelf next to High Times.

    Presumably because they both have a big marijuana leaf on the cover.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    It's not the leaf, it's that both publications preach to the converted.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1145 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I've been continually disappointed by a local Paper+ that continually puts "Investigate" under "Science" but requires me search for "New Scientist" under "Paranormal ...."

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    The website left brain/right brain has been giving good coverage of the Wakefield case over the last few weeks. Unfortunately, there are going to be huge numbers of parents who just won't accept it and Wakefield's empire in Texas, and questionable 'treatments' for autistic children, will continue to grow.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2031 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I predict you will regret soiling your hands with Wishart again, Russell. How long until the threatening phone calls and the private dicks hanging around your pad waiting to make pronouncements about your life, your partner and your children?

    But that does not mean you shouldn't have done it. You're just a brave man.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8328 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I predict you will regret soiling your hands with Wishart again, Russell. How long until the threatening phone calls and the private dicks hanging around your pad waiting to make pronouncements about your life, your partner and your children?

    I doubt it'll go that far, but yes, I am well aware of what a nasty little bully Wishart can be. I expect there'll be a torrent of petulant abuse on his blog, and possibly his customary threats of legal action.

    On the other hand, I don't think he should be allowed to get away with the kind of defamatory comment that's packed into that article.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18726 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    Am I not the only one to detect a whiff of Elders of Zion in Wishart's comments about Soros?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4162 posts Report Reply

  • slarty,

    Frankly I just find it all a bit depressing... because dream of a Representative Democracy, where we elect someone to consider the evidence then take decisions on our behalf.

    But with this type of behaviour, they have to consider the opinion of the great unwashed who aren't simply ignorant, but have been actively misinformed.

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Just one of the outrageous things Wakefield did was take blood samples from children attending his son's 5th birthday party. Even though he had no prior ethical approval (as if anyone would give it), it was apparently OK with his supporters as each child was paid 5 pounds

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2031 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I doubt it'll go that far

    I certainly hope it doesn't. And you're a big boy, you can handle it. Soros has deep pockets :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8328 posts Report Reply

  • richard,

    Actually, New Scientist is a bit of a rag these days, and has been for a while, at least as far as a lot of their particle physics and cosmology coverage is concerned.

    But lumping it into paranormal does seem harsh.

    Not looking for New Engla… • Since Nov 2006 • 258 posts Report Reply

  • richard,

    Just one of the outrageous things Wakefield did was take blood samples from children attending his son's 5th birthday party. Even though he had no prior ethical approval (as if anyone would give it), it was apparently OK with his supporters as each child was paid 5 pounds

    Astonishing, eh. Apparently experimenting on children without parental consent or ethical approval is OK, but vaccination is the work of the devil.

    Not looking for New Engla… • Since Nov 2006 • 258 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Ben Goldacre, who devoted the last chapter of his book, Bad Science to the Wakefield debacle, concludes a new blog post on a gloomy note:

    Damn - much as I love Ben's work, I'm tempted to invoice him for a new desk, considering the sustained abuse its taken from my head after reading his blog and columns.

    I know this is opening a twenty gallon drum of worms, but wouldn't it be nice if, just once, the media standards bodies (both statutory and self-regulating) took junk science-driven scare mongering as seriously as bare tits and naughty words? There's a difference between "debating the science" and seriously dangerous shit like saying 'anti-depressants don't work' that has a real impact on real people.

    One side-effect is that it might free up people like Russell and Ben Goldacre to spend their time on more productive, and less depressing, activity than fisking the arse off b.s. that should never have seen print in the first place. And never would if the media actually valued statistical and scientific literacy, basic numeracy and a firm distinction between fact and fiction.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11877 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    DeepRed, oh yeah.

    Stabbing me in the eyes as I read it is Wisharts exclusive Americanisation and use of -ize instead of -ise. I know the Oxford Dic falls on that side too, but I've always preffered Cambridge.

    [edit - my mistake he uses both -ise and -ize for the same word "decriminlisation/decriminalization p30]

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1145 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    An interesting cover for that edition of Investigate.

    I haven't read the mag, but how exactly does Cameron Slater risk the clink? Did our name suppression laws change?

    Or is Wishart making stuff up again?

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 789 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    Damn you, Russell; I need to be working on this paper about the relationship between Rumours and conspiracy theories, not reading Wishart...

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 408 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    HORansome, surely that crap about Soros counts as research for you? Or are you in his pocket too? Who's paying for this paper of yours?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8328 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Kearney,

    Legalising narcotics worldwide worldwide would allow business financiers like Soros to control large chunks of the drug trade "legitimately". They could own the opium poppy field, pay poor peasants to harvest, control distribution and supply of drugs to market …

    Wow!

    Much better for the Highway61, Hells Angels, Black Power, Headhunters and other sundry gangs to control it, without paying tax.

    Just ask Millie.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 68 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    I need to be working on this paper about the relationship between Rumours and conspiracy theories

    I always suspected there was something iffy about that Fleetwood Mac album.

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 789 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    If anyone cares to read more I recommend Paul A Offit's Autism's false prophets: bad science, risky medicine, and the search for a cure Columbia University Press, 2008. He starts 'I get a lot of hate mail...'

    And re Wakefield, he didn't even front up in the court for the decision, but sent his supporters along while he and his wife waited in a hotel nearby.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2031 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    I always suspected there was something iffy about that Fleetwood Mac album

    If you play it backwards it promotes vaccinations, harm-minimisation drugs policy, and critical thought.
    But will the mainstream media report this attempt to influence our impressionable youth against community values? No!

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 857 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    fisking the arse off b.s. that should never have seen print in the first place

    Oh, like WMDs in Iraq or all manner of adverts about household "germs".

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16503 posts Report Reply

  • Pete Sime,

    I know this is opening a twenty gallon drum of worms, but wouldn't it be nice if, just once, the media standards bodies (both statutory and self-regulating) took junk science-driven scare mongering as seriously as bare tits and naughty words? There's a difference between "debating the science" and seriously dangerous shit like saying 'anti-depressants don't work' that has a real impact on real people.

    The concerning thing is that journalists just don't know the difference between quality science and snakeoil - and they don't even need to have a heavy education in the sciences to have alarm bells ringing. It can be as simple as knowing what the peer-review process is and therefore giving more credence to an article that has gone through peer-review. Another clue is considering whether the spokesman/scientist stands to profit from the statement (sure in the case of pharmaceuticals they do, but there's heavy regulation and complete dislosure in patent applications), whether there's a history behind the discovery before the press-release and lots of other cues that point to verifiable statements.

    Dunedin • Since Apr 2008 • 144 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    I tell high school students who want to work in science that English will be very important to their ability to do good science. It would be nice if The Media took a similar approach to maths for journalists.

    Simply put, n=12 for a human disease is nothing more than anecdote. It shouldn't get published anywhere and Lancet deserve the smacking they (belatedly) got. There is a really really good reason why clinical trials for new drugs require the use of such large numbers of participants - it's because drawing a conclusion from a small number can lead to deaths.

    And yet journalists are happy to draw conclusions from small numbers and they clearly don't care about the deaths to which their actions lead.

    I totally understand how hard it is to get the facts right especially if it is outside your field of expertise. And I understand that journalists will almost always be outside their field of expertise. It doesn't make me less grumpy about it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3269 posts Report Reply

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