TWO KINDS OF SCIENCE
Which One Does Your Government Favor?
Science often provides a good basis for decisions, but not every kind of science is reliable. The Dutch online dictionary Van Dale defines ‘science’ as ‘the totality of knowledge and the ways of acquiring it.’ That definition does not specify the quality of knowledge, and that is exactly where the rub is. The quality of the science, the design and analyses of studies, and what outcomes are emphasized are matters related to what the principal wants to achieve. In recent years, politicians have been hiding behind what ‘science’ has dictated to them. Dissenters were portrayed as unscientific. But what exactly about that science?
By C.F. van der Horst
July 5, 2022
Academic Versus Commercial Science
Whoever pays, decides. This is certainly true of scientific research. The book Deadly Lies: How Doctors and Patients Are Deceived describes in detail how the government withdrew from university in the 1980s and what impact this has had on the quality of research. Academic science has given way to commercial science. Instead of pure and independent research where the result does not matter as long as it follows the rules of science, there is a stakeholder who benefits and pays for a favorable outcome.
Today, the pharmaceutical industry funds the bulk of biomedical research. This industry therefore largely determines the study, such as the design, the composition of the experimental and control groups, the protocol followed, what outcome data are used, and their statistical analysis. The Hidden Horrors of Psychiatry: Infiltrating the School System, Businesses and Your Home further discusses the differences between academic and commercial science. Study 329 is a typical example discussed in this book.
Study 329: Rigged Science
The results of scientific research are sometimes downright manipulated by portraying risks much lower and effectiveness greater than actual reality. Take Study 329, for example. This was a study that showed that the antidepressants paroxetine (Paxil in the US; Seroxat in the UK) and imipramine would be safe and effective in children and adolescents. However, this finding, which manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) widely advertised, turned out to be far from the truth. In reality, the use of antidepressants such as paroxetine seriously harmed thousands of North American children and adolescents. Many of them died.
And it was not as if GSK did not know the risks when it launched the drugs with much fanfare, an independent investigation found. As a result of a lawsuit, the raw data from Study 329 entered the public domain. When autonomous scientists studied these, they found: “Using the same data (obtained through an arduous process), it is a reanalysis and rebuttal of the original Study 329, coming to exactly the opposite conclusion — namely that, ‘Neither paroxetine nor high-dose imipramine demonstrated efficacy for major depression in adolescents, and there was an increase in harms with both drugs.'”
Such misuse has turned science into a marketing tool. This development is only really dangerous the moment a government sides with commercial science and portrays information from dissenters as ‘unscientific’ and ‘disinformation.’
Government Censorship of Science
Ronald Meester, professor of probability theory at VU University in Amsterdam, expressed concern about how the government had aligned itself with certain scientific views that were not necessarily correct. In an interview on June 30, 2022 at blckbx tv he said of corona vaccinations and their potential dangers, “To a certain extent, messages have gone out to the public that I did not always think were wise. In doing so, caution has been lost from sight. I think it’s the job of scientists to warn about that and bring things back a little bit to normal proportions where you can just talk again about hypotheses that are contradictory and about which you can have a normal conversation and where you are not immediately suspect if you do. In other words, we just have to get back to normal scientific debate.”
Meester was critical of the Dutch government’s attitude: “The government is not making things easier at the moment with, for example, the current cabinet’s intention to establish a center for science communication. That worries me. If the government sets that up, then the government is also going to determine who is going to run it and who pays for it, determines it. That means that soon the government is going to determine what kind of science should or should not be communicated. You just have to leave that to the scientists themselves. They can do that very well. So the government should also stop interfering too emphatically and supporting a certain scientific point of view. The government should not do that. That is something I find worrisome.”
Why Most Published Research Findings Are False
One of the most widely cited scientists is physician and epidemiologist John Ioannidis. In an article titled Why Most Published Research Findings Are False, this Stanford University professor wrote about the growing concern that most currently published research findings are false.
He observed a dozen variables that determine whether scientific research and its findings are accurate. Key among these are
- the size of a study: with few participants, reliability is lower
- how strong the effect of an action is—low effect makes the research result less likely
- a greater financial or other interest and bias
- greater flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and methods of analysis. The less strict and rigorous these are, the less reliable a scientific study is.
- The method of statistical processing to exclude chance from the findings.
What Research Is Valid?
Findings from another study also reveal facts that only suggest the illusion of credible research. In other words, scientific research can look imposing, but practically mean little or nothing. Chances are, if a government is guided by such research, it will make incomprehensible decisions that put groups at an economic disadvantage, isolate people, cause health risks, get into trouble with ‘disinformation,’ and throw huge sums of money down the drain. Does that seem familiar to you?
If the government wants to follow scientific advice, it should make sure it is based on purely academic and not commercial science. And even then, it would have to take a considerable leap of faith, because scientific views are subject to change. Medical history has taught us that what is the guideline today may be very different 10 years later.
Spreading hatred by dismissing well-documented information from dissenters as ‘unscientific’ or ‘disinformation’ is a practice that belongs in a totalitarian system and not in a democratic society.
Want to Know More?
Why did the government pull out of funding universities? What percentage of biomedical research is funded by the pharmaceutical industry? How is scientific research rigged? What is the part played by conflicts of interest?
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Copyright © 2022 C.F. van der Horst, Per Veritatem Vis. All rights reserved.
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