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BTD Forums  /  Journal Club and Literature Review  /  Is medical science built on shaky foundations? *
Posted by: paul clucas, Saturday, October 6, 2012, 7:39pm
Quoted Text
More than half of biomedical findings cannot be reproduced – we urgently need a way to ensure that discoveries are properly checked

REPRODUCIBILITY is the cornerstone of science. What we hold as definitive scientific fact has been tested over and over again. Even when a fact has been tested in this way, it may still be superseded by new knowledge. Newtonian mechanics became a special case of Einstein's general relativity; molecular biology's mantra "one gene, one protein" became a special case of DNA transcription and translation.

One goal of scientific publication is to share results in enough detail to allow other research teams to reproduce them and build on them. However, many recent reports have raised the alarm that a shocking amount of the published literature in fields ranging from cancer biology to psychology is not reproducible.

The answer I would give is to look though the lense of epi-genetic bio-individuality.  Although I suspect it could be expressed much better than that.
Posted by: Lola, Sunday, October 7, 2012, 12:45am; Reply: 1
worth taking a look
Posted by: Amazone I., Sunday, October 7, 2012, 8:22am; Reply: 2
remember medical science is also called *art work* ;) (evil)(smile)(sleeping)
Posted by: Goldie, Sunday, October 7, 2012, 10:54am; Reply: 3
and being 'practiced'.. seldom to be fully achieved..
Posted by: yaeli, Sunday, October 7, 2012, 12:45pm; Reply: 4
Quoted from Amazone I.
remember medical science is also called *art work* ;) (evil)(smile)(sleeping)
Like you say, exactamundo!  :D

The subject under discussion 1) brings to mind Dr. D's signature, and 2) uproots the demands for "scientific proofs" heard from time to time from people, who seem not to understand what it is that they are demanding in the first place.

Posted by: RedLilac, Sunday, October 7, 2012, 3:58pm; Reply: 5
I wish the Science Exchange success, it sounds like it is needed.
Posted by: shoulderblade, Sunday, October 7, 2012, 10:13pm; Reply: 6
Quoted from paul clucas

The answer I would give is to look though the lense of epi-genetic bio-individuality.  Although I suspect it could be expressed much better than that.

Quoted Text
The reasons for this are myriad. The natural world is complex, and experimental methods do not always capture all possible variables. Funding is limited and the need to publish quickly is increasing.

There are human factors, too. The pressure to cut corners, to see what one wants and believes to be true, to extract a positive outcome from months or years of hard work, and the impossibility of being an expert in all the experimental techniques required in a high-impact paper are all contributing factors.

I would add in one-of- a- kind research equipment and Corporate researchers who keep information secret as protection of their own products and processes.

I think there are more problems here than solutions. People may have to settle for "the consensus of the Scientific community" or :"as far as we know".

Posted by: Dr. D, Monday, October 8, 2012, 10:23am; Reply: 7
'A given fact is explained scientifically only if a new fact is predicted with it.' --Imre Lakatos
Posted by: yaeli, Sunday, October 14, 2012, 10:40am; Reply: 8
This is a photo of Prof. Imre Lakatos  ('os'  pronounced 'osh' in Hungarian), 9 Nov 1922 - 2 Feb 1974, a Hungarian philosopher of mathematics and science, who spent 3 of years of his short life in a Stalinist prison.

I'm posting Prof. Lakatos' photo because 1) I am very moved by Dr. D's post, 2) I am amazed at this humble personality, who was, I guess, one of the greatest thinkers who lived in the 20th century. His thoughts and ideas travel far, far high over my head. Also my understanding in Maths aims at zero. Still I get that he was absolutely committed and faithful to integrity of thinking. Wiki tells:
"Paul Feyerabend argued that Lakatos's methodology was not a methodology at all, but merely "words that sound like the elements of a methodology." He argued that Lakatos's methodology was no different in practice from epistemological anarchism, Feyerabend's own position.... Lakatos and Feyerabend planned to produce a joint work in which Lakatos would develop a rationalist description of science and Feyerabend would attack it."
This joint work didn't realize. At the age of 51 he died suddenly of a brain haemorrhage.

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