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There is no such thing as a scientific 'proof'

Discussion in 'Diabetes Soapbox - Have Your Say' started by Brunneria, Jul 26, 2019.

  1. urbanracer

    urbanracer Type 1 · Moderator
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    I have been in engineering for almost 40 years and I can state categorically that any experiment may be considered a success if no more than 50% of the data has to be discarded in order to prove the theory.
     
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  2. Tipetoo

    Tipetoo Type 2 · Expert

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    It's not proper meat if does not have a leg at each corner when it's alive, that's scientific proof.
     
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  3. pixie1

    pixie1 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    The Parable of "3 blind men and an Elephant" springs to mind.
     
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  4. Tipetoo

    Tipetoo Type 2 · Expert

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    I have heard of three blind mice, the clock struck one and fataly injured the other two...
     
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  5. Caeseji

    Caeseji Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    "Remember kids, the only difference between science and screwing around is writing stuff down."

    Just made me think of this but I whole-heartedly agree @Brunneria and with everyone else! Science is supposed to be organic and ever changing just as the world does so. We are not the absolute arbiters of truth in this world and nor should we be, there are so many variables that can affect anything and mostly a lot of concepts are human creations to give a value to something that had nothing quantifiable before. There is no true universal truth other than things will change and evolve. We can never say with any true certaintly that we know the absolute maximum about anything at all but that's one of the wonders of being human is the discovery and trial and error. I feel people accept science 'facts' too readily without thinking of some other possibility that perhaps mitigates what proof they have brought forwards.

    To never seek an alternate truth or pathway to enlightenment than the established path means that you are never truly meant to be englightened.
     
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  6. pixie1

    pixie1 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Caesji, there you go, we've said the same thing. Exactly
     
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  7. WuTwo

    WuTwo Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I absolutely love this sentence! It is just so very perfect.
     
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  8. Caeseji

    Caeseji Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    What can I say? You’re a wonderful inspiration!

    Thank you! Apparently 3am me can be rather profound :cat:
     
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  9. kitedoc

    kitedoc Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Each theory starts as a guess, a hypothesis e.g. Blood sugar levels above X level over Y time causes eye blood vessel problems.
    In reality it is up to scientists to try to not only prove that the hypothesis is possibly valid but to try every way possible to see whether it can be invalidated.
    A theory stands over time for as long as it withstands all attempts to disprove it.
    The theory/hypothesis may need to be altered as more information or variability is found, as more orher factors may influence the result, or be abandoned altogether if an alterative hypothesis seems to better fit the facts as these become better known.

    Statistics though seems to me to be a mathematical attempt to rationalise things, make sense of results of an experiment to determine whether that ineffable thing called chance is playing a part in the results. There is a saying: there, is statistics, damn lies and statistics.
    There used to be a term bandied about called Evidence Based Medicine, EBM for short, EBM was supposed to epitomise the very best current and evolving theories about medical conditions etc. And statistics were considered a solid part of that functionng framework. Proof that this worked and that over there did not.
    Now there are multiple examples of research findings shown to be biased through things like conflict of interests, lack of being able to produce the same results with identical experiments, use of flawed statistics and poor research design and flawed collection of data techniques.
    If you can 'bend' the statistics rules you might be able to obtain the findings and conclusions you wish for rather than the results and findings as they fall out from proper research design, and correct application of statistics.
    For example, from one of Zoe Harcombe's blogs: research was suggesting that red meat consumption was associated with cancer. What she knew was that processed meat consumption had been found to be associated with cancer. Note asociated but not proven as a cause. But what did the researcher's do? They lumped red meat AND processed meat together and assumed that the increased rate in cancer was due to the red meat. How such a finding was allowed past the editor's desk is unbelievable.
    In another study the resaerchers found that women who consumed over a certain amount of gluten in their Diet during preganacy were twice as likely to have children who developed TID in the first ten years of life. This is reviewed and suggested acpretty strong case, not absolute for making some intervention. A 2x association finding is mentioned by @Mbaker above.
    But we have to remeber that vested interests may hold a share in the Journal in which this paper is published and so shoddy research might get through.
    Why should we then believe anything we read? Or what HCP's or NICE tell us.?
    The best seems to be a rating ofthe evidence. How well does this research paper meet the criteria for being exemlary in its design etc?
    NICE does this with its work to try to ensure the best studies are given precedence and the not so good given less or no credence.
    That should give us the best near proofs possible - provided the vetting process is sound, the conflict of interest exclusion practices robust and the resultant guidelines flexible and open to change. The translation from research to application to patients is deplorably long also - is that because the 'near proof'' is not sound or because services and clinicians are slow on the uptake ir economical factors intervene.?
    Good research is valuable, burt as others have said, its findings need to be applied carefully, with all proper precautions, unlike the medical device industry in USA ( see film, 'The Bleeding Edge' , a very powerful film.
    Two Final points:
    how often does some treatment, test etc work but not for the reason given, or not for the correct reason? Sometimes i gave heard of situations where something is found to work when not expected to work. There is no reason or clear idea for why it works, so does that mean that the 'magic cure' is not valid? It may only be later on that someone is able to connect the dots which provide the answer. Discoveries have been made in the past from this.
    What if someone in authority decides not to believe new research findings despite their being rigorously tested, and with statistically valid results or refuses to weigh up work that throws a past theory into great doubt and just seeks to confirm previous findings based on shonky statistics and findings?
    That could place a lot of patients in continuing jeopardy.
    This is very much the debate about cholesterol and statins where there is no association or definite proof of cause and effect. Yet doctor keep prescribing statins. Go figure!,
     
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  10. pdmjoker

    pdmjoker Prediabetes · Well-Known Member

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    Exactly!

    I would also like to add that it might be wiser for forum members to not engage too personally with someone who is essentially antagonistic and will most likely utterly reject the truth of what they say and be insulting to them ...
     
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  11. Muneeb

    Muneeb Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    All that's true, but we still have to analyse and make decisions in the present based on the most probable cause/effect. We can't simply say nothing is a fact and therefore not act upon it. If an opposing argument has more substance to it, we have to analyse and make a decision upon it.
     
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  12. Caeseji

    Caeseji Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    That is completely true you are right there but what I take umbrage to is that people will die upon their hills when it comes down to some science. The laws of the universe are not really the laws of the universe but the laws how we percieve them. But I do completely back what you're saying there, we have to act upon the information we have because if we keep on waiting then nothing will get done will it?
     
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  13. pdmjoker

    pdmjoker Prediabetes · Well-Known Member

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    Very true. And an essential part of science is knowing the scope and correct application of a scientific law.

    I gather that people used Einstein's General Theory of Relativity (Wiki: "explains the law of gravitation and its relation to other forces of nature") to assert their belief that morality is relative and that there is no such thing as absolute morality. Totally inappropriate use of Relativity, whatever the true nature of morality...
     
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  14. carol43

    carol43 Type 2 (in remission!) · Well-Known Member

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    Don't know if this is relevant to this discussion but a friend (now retired) was involved with drug trials. After doing a trial the outcome was very bad and his report was sent with this result. The report was returned to him with alterations which changed the outcome. He refused to alter his report and the company tried to get him fired. H was well respected in his field and carried on with his job. He has some horrible stories about drug trials
     
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  15. lucylocket61

    lucylocket61 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I know I have said this before but do you all remember the accepted wisdom, for decades, about stomach ulcers, their causes and treatments? The 'proof', the trials, the statistical 'evidence'

    then some doctors came up with the bacteria causing it, and had to fight the establishment to be heard and now its accepted practice to test for and treat with antibiotics? I bear that in mind when looking a scientific evidence.
     
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  16. pixie1

    pixie1 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    The thing with hypotheses and statistics, they are only what you want them to be.
     
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  17. pdmjoker

    pdmjoker Prediabetes · Well-Known Member

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    According to this link

    "Nearly 20 years ago, 2 Australian physician researchers made a discovery that initially was widely ridiculed in the medical community. In the January 1983 issue of the British medical journal The Lancet, Australian physicians Barry Marshall and Robin Warren claimed that stomach ulcers were caused by a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori and not by excessive acidity in the stomach."​

    https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/barry-marshall-md-and-robin-warren-md/2000-04

    Took them 10 years (I think) to convince the medical community, who had believed strong stomach acid would prevent a bacterial infection. The pair went on to win the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2005!
     
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  18. kevinfitzgerald

    kevinfitzgerald Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which can not fail to keep a person in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation" - Herbert Spencer

    Even facts require investigation. Otherwise our Earth would still be flat!!

    My best mates cat likes cheese.......... Or does he!!
     
  19. LooperCat

    LooperCat Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Cheese is like crack cocaine to my cats :cat::cat::cat:
     
  20. kevinfitzgerald

    kevinfitzgerald Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    It seems quite a few of the little beasts are cheese lovers.. Though this hasn't been scientifically proven!!

    I had one which loved peppermint!
     
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