Friday, February 26, 2016

When FUD and politics replace science

A good article at theArtsMechanical blog. about modern activists using pseudoscience, manipulating the scientific literature to do so (via peer review that disallows facts that go against the narrative or by citing themselves to support their argument).

What is FUD?

Fear, uncertainty and doubt (often shortened toFUD) is a disinformation strategy used in sales, marketing, public relations, politics andpropaganda. FUD is generally a strategy to influence perception by disseminating negative and dubious or false information and a manifestation of the appeal to fear.

so what is science?

Feynman, a Noble prize winner, is most famous for cutting through the fog on the cause of the Challenger disaster: that the evidence was ignored because they got away with it before.

For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations," Feynman wrote, "for nature cannot be fooled."

This is a big problem in medicine: Most of the disputes are about "Big pharma" but the presence of pseudo science that ignores evidence that suggests they are wrong has been a huge problem when medical journals push agendas, be it the NEJM claiming "euthanasia can be regulated" in early 1990's, ignoring the lack of data and the evidence of abuse in the lay literature and the Hastings Center Report (journal), to the "high death rate" in Iraqi civilians, published in a British journal in the month before the US election. (The fact that the researcher was a Sunni who worked for Saddam was ignored, as was that the data disagreed with other data by gov't and NGO's).

Similarly, using the word "Science" to shut up those trying to present alternative data is religion, not science.

And such activism in the medical field kills, be it the "vaccine" kerfuffle to the opposition to the use of pesticides, to GM food vs organic food which goes back to green activists opposing the green revolution: when I worked in Africa, their aim was to keep things simple for local farmers, not to feed people so they can eat enough and get rich, as was done in China.

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