Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Daylight Is The Best Disinfectant

Brace yourself for some world class hypocrisy.

A remarkable essay turned up in a psychological science publication this month which is both hilarious and jaw-dropping in equal measure. Written in doom-laden hyperbolic terms, policy-led researchers in differing areas clubbed together to have a collective whinge. Its intro is dramatic.
Science denial kills. 
Instantly the climate change "denier" put-down is invoked, which is not surprising seeing as Michael Mann - yes, he of the much-challenged hockey stick graph fame - was one of the authors. Of the other four, two are Linda Bauld and Gerard Hastings (yes, them).

Say what? Hastings is a market researcher, and Bauld a sociologist. I thought this was about 'science'.

In fact, the whole article is a conspiracy theory of epic proportions (for which they get rightly trashed in the comments). The general message being "leave us alone to say what we want without debate or millions will die".
A common current attribute of denial is that it side-steps the peer-reviewed literature and relies on platforms such as internet blogs or tabloid newspapers to disseminate its dissent from the scientific mainstream.
By "side-steps the peer-reviewed literature", they presumably mean that we who object should do so by producing articles in the BMJ and getting them approved by Hastings and Bauld's chums, or not object at all. This stands alone as dictatorship of opinion, but is reduced to comedy when you consider that the BMJ only last month barred any input from those they don't want to listen to.

So how sciencey are these two? Well, they are part of a public health movement described neatly today thus.

That's not science at all, it is lobbying and should most definitely be challenged.

And what of peer review? Well, the editor of The Lancet, Richard Horton, described it well earlier this year.
Peer review and journals – I couldn’t agree with you more, absolutely. I mean peer review is an utterly corrupt, ignorant stupid, mad system that we’ve created it’s just that we haven’t come up with anything better.  
But let’s understand what peer review is: 
Peer review is not about checking the validity of data
Peer review is not about reproducibility of data
Peer review is a check on acceptability, acceptability in the scientific community
That's right. A scam to make sure that anything which is published is acceptable to people like Bauld and Hastings. How convenient.

So, for example, Bauld producing utter cockwaffle for a fee on the effects of the smoking ban on pubs is acceptable to Bauld's chums, but my pointing out what I think is wrong with it is not and should be silenced.

Not only that. Even if you were silly enough to play by their deliberately corrupt and impenetrable rules and attempt to be published, they don't want to reveal their workings and are crying like babies that anyone wants to try.
Another common tool of harassment involves FOI requests.
Harassment? No. It's just we jewel robbers asking valid questions, you precious flowers, you.
The third and fourth authors’ research center on tobacco control has been subject to a number of extensive FOI requests from a tobacco giant, Philip Morris International, for confidential interview records involving teenaged participants. Notably, the identity of Philip Morris was disguised during the first FOI request, which was launched with a law firm serving as a front group (Hastings, MacKintosh, & Bauld, 2011). The information requested included “all primary data,” “all questionnaires,” “all interviewers’ handbooks and/or instructions,” “all data files,” “all record descriptions,” and so on.
What bastards, eh? How dare they want to check that Bauld and Hastings aren't lying through their teeth? But then, if the 'third and fourth authors' had nothing to be ashamed of, why did they resist so much that they were rebuked by the Information Commissioner for breaking the law? Especially since their own BMJ reported that they should release the data in the interests of transparency.

Oddly enough, Bauld and Hastings didn't see fit to reference those links in their little tantrum. One could almost call that lazy and deliberately selective.

Which is ironic because they continue ...
Another tactic to discredit “inconvenient” peer-reviewed results involves publishing alternative versions of “the evidence” using different sources that proport (sic) to be equally legitimate. For example, the third author’s review of the impact of smoke-free legislation in England, published by the UK government (Bauld, 2011) was the subject of a report by Imperial Tobacco, the world’s fourth-largest tobacco company. Entitled “The Bauld Truth”* as a play on the third author’s name (Imperial Tobacco, 2011), it presented alternative, non peer-reviewed evidence as more viable and opened with the statement that the third author’s review was “lazy and deliberately selective”. Anyone familiar with climate disinformation on the internet will recognize those rhetorical tools as the standard fare of dismissal of inconvenient science.
Opposing views, you see, are not to be tolerated. Only evidence that Bauld and Hastings produce - peer-reviewed by their mates, natch - is the true scripture. Debate is so tiresome, isn't it?

In light of the above, it's clear that the entire point of this piece - entitled The Subterranean War on Science - is to persuade their friends in politics and the media to ignore any dissent. Yet here is the stunning finale.
How should the scientific community respond to the events just reviewed? As in most cases of intimidation and bullying, we believe that daylight is the best disinfectant. This article is a first step in this effort towards transparency.
Huh? After a one-sided exhortation for privacy; a plea for information to be denied to anyone outside of their acrid circle of bansturbators; and for bias and selective sourcing of evidence to be protected, these people are seriously talking about transparency?

You really can't make this type of stuff up.

Daylight is, indeed, the best disinfectant, which is precisely why light should be shone into the grimy, tax-sponging corners where the likes of Bauld and Hastings reside so we can see what garbage they are producing instead of what they'd prefer, which is:
Finally, this knowledge is particularly important for journal editors and professional organizations to muster the required resilience against illegitimate insertions into the scientific process.
Yep, you got it. For anything which challenges their junk science to be ignored.

Do go read the whole thing and be amazed at their chutzpah.

If you haven't read The Bauld Truth, by the way I highly recommend it. Do go have a gander by clicking here


Legiron said...

Smoking template to a tee, including the warnings. 'Denial kills'. 'Denial causes hardening of the opinions.' 'Denial is addictive, don't start'. 'Deniers have floppy willies'. And so on.

They really, really think nobody sees it.

Trouble is, the drones won't see it until it comes for them. Then they might come to smokers for help.


Klaus K said...

Brillant paper by Imperial Tobacco, The Bault Truth:

SteveW said...

Can't disagree, but I reckon Lewandowski deserves more scorn after his ridiculous paper attempting to equate CAGW sceptics with moon landing deniers, followed swiftly by a paper describing anyone who disagreed with his earlier paper as a conspiracy ideationist. The man is a grade A fruitloop and his papers are well worth a read for an idea of how not to do research.

For Heaven's Sake... said...

Oh People, behold your betters…. your superiors….. the knowers of all things – The Council of Truth®.

Pitiful! In this “Council” is a bunch of fifth-rate academicians posing as scholars. And there are plenty more like them in the universities around the world. They are “scholars” that don’t understand too much about anything but are utterly convinced that they have their finger on the pulse of the universe, such is their ignorance. At a time of greater scholarship, these buffoons probably would have found employment cleaning graffiti from walls.

Coherent critique is essentially non-existent in their highly protected/funded network – a closed, agenda-driven propaganda loop. So coherent critique has to come from outside this official, corrupt network. And this critique falls off these “superiors” like water off a duck’s back. They do not have the competence to understand critique; they don’t do “critique/criticism”. So, to justify their academic existence and maintain their comfortable, ill-gotten employment, they have to resort to relying on the support of their
incompetent buddies, i.e., peer review, and referring to outsiders/non-conformers as “deniers”. It never dawns on them – not the slightest hint, as evidenced by their latest sanctimonious rant, that their entire mode of thought might be severely amiss. Such is the arrogance of ignorance. And such is the arrogance of minds suffering a “god complex”.

The world is in trouble, and not from global warming and smoking. There has been a terrible loss of insight and depth of reasoning on a grand scale - a terminal shallowness, of which the “Council” members and their ilk are good examples. These incompetent, Narcissistic miscreants are stumbling
over each other for control of everyone’s activity, and they’ve been given
direct, “red carpet” access to equally incompetent policy/law makers. What but great folly can ensue. This is the danger of the time.

Kath Gillon said...

Oh my good God they look like every college lecturer i've ever seen, damp, moist, colourless, insipid individuals with no morals and no ethics but think themselves highly moral and ethical and whats even worse they consider themselves educated and 'in the know' the future thinking of the world is in the hands of these so called 'Educators' and the reason they do these jobs is to poison society from the roots (the young and impressionable) upwards. They want a little bit of power because they have no personalities no real lives and clearly as lefttards want to make everyone a pinko interferer, these are the sort of people who really p*ss me off to be honest you can hear there battle cry of "well of course they are all too stupid to think for themselves so we WILL educated them" BAHHHH it brings to mind the old saying " those who can do and those who can't teach" or in this case attempt to brainwash the hard of thinking.

prog said...

Totally independent response to the Bauld review of the smoking ban by Freedom2Choose .

truckerlyn said...

Nice one Dick. Thanks.

We all knew they were corrupt, but to be so blatantly obvious defied belief - they really are extremely stupid and amazingly arrogant! Definitely need to be shot down in flames - permanently!

We smokers have nothing on them when it comes to harming others.

For Heaven's Sake.. said...

A question recently posed to Michael Siegel.

Hey, Mik, I have [what I believe to be] a reasonable question.

The following is not intended to be disrespectful to Buddhism, but simply to make a point. One depiction (see below) of the Buddha is the happy, laughing/smiling Buddha.

Someone would need to be on the verge of blindness not to notice that in this depiction he is somewhat on the “well-rounded” side. Let’s not mince words. In contemporary Public Health terms, this Buddha would have to
be referred to as “obese”. And what would probably throw contemporary PH®ers into apoplexy is the combination of obesity and happy/laughing/smiling.

So, Mikiplopinstorf, do you think that this depiction of the Buddha is a bad role model for everyone, particularly The Children™? Should this depiction be censored for the sake of ….. as you would say…. the public’s health? Maybe we could have a marketing campaign where the happy Buddha finally comes to his senses and does some sessions with Jenny Craig or a stint on the Biggest Loser?

Awaiting your PH® edification, Mik.

P.S. As anticipated, an answer from Mik was not forthcoming.

JonathanBagley said...

I see the Bauld truth mentions the bmj heart attack paper. I linked to this in my comment under Bauld and Hastings' article, pointing out the lack of information provided contravened the bmj's own guidelines. The temperature data referenced in the bmj article is available only after making an application, with an unknown chance of success, to the Met Office.

Ivan_Denisovich said...

With the exception of Mann, the authors are not scientists. Psychology graduates are awarded a BA for reasons that are becoming oncreasingly apparent. Bauld has a degree in Politics.

moonrakin said...

Lewandowski skewered rather neatly here

This utter creep is being lavishly funded and provided with an academic sinecure at UWE (plus Royal Society funding!) - just down the road from your old chums at Bath...

sheesh! must be something in west country water.

Making statistical deductions from a population of zero - whole new branch of "science" there. This guy is just an academic bludger as the Aussies call 'em.