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Dec 6, 2011               

Various updates: Cain, Paul, Mikovits, Hooper, Mitchell, Stapel


  "Science is the organized skepticism in the
reliability of expert opinion.
Richard Feynman  

This Nederlog only gives some documentation about subjects I wrote in Nederlog.


1. Herman Cain gives up
2. Rand Paul speeches on Sixth Amendment
3. Judy Mikovits being prepared for criminal trial
4. PACE Trial: Professor Hooper quashes its statistics
5. PACE Trial: Tate Mitchell quashes its methodology
6. More about Dutch psycho-professor doctor Diederik Stapel

1.  Herman Cain gives up

I wrote earlier about Herman Cain, a black man then trying to get the nomination of the Republican Party to run for president. I mentioned him briefly here and here, mostly because he is monumentally stupid and so are some of the other (former) candidates of the GOP, such as Bachmann, Perry, and Palin.

Besides, if one is evidently as monumentally stupid and ignorant as these (former) candidates are and one still wants to try to become President of the United Status, it seems a safe bet to this psychologist that one has issues and delusions, and these candidates each and all have these too.

In any case: Herman Cain gave up the race, it seems mostly because of a series of sex scandals he is involved in. Here is a report by The Young Turks that features the former candidate speeching, another thing he does not have any talent for, other than showing how not to do that:

     - Herman Cain Pokemon, Plan B & Endorsement (Drops Out) - YouTube

If you were to ask why I mention and link this: As "sign of the times", to show and document "the spirit of the age". And the problem is not so much that there may be monumentally stupid, ignorant and totally talentless candidates for political office, for that seems to be of all times and places, but that this type can find - like Palin did - great support through the media, tapping into the large segment of imbeciles with the right to vote: Hitler and Mussolini also were "democratically elected".

2. Rand Paul speeches on Sixth Amendment

Yesterday I wrote about the U.S. Senate's apparent majority desire to castrate the Sixth Amendment. Here are two articles about it, the first brief and the second more comprehensive, longer and considering possible implications:

    - Detainee Policy gone horribly awry (Washington Monthly)
    - Gitmo Law Could Someday Apply to American Citizens (Mother Jones)

And here is a speech by Rand Paul, the son of Ron Paul, about the subject. It takes 9 minutes:

    - Sen. Rand Paul Defends American Citizens Against Indefinite Detainment

My reasons for linking it are, first, that I liked the speech, though Rand Paul is not a great speaker, and is clearly reading from a prompter, but what he says makes sense, and second, not being American but European, that I find such persons as the Pauls, and such movements as the Tea Party and the Libertarians a bit strange, confusing and "typically American".

3. Judy Mikovits being prepared for criminal trial

Here is a link to a brief update by Jon Cohen in Science Magazine about Our Judy preparing for defense in a criminal trial, and a link to a Phoenix Rising thread where this is discussed (and quoted also):

- Criminal Attorney Speaks for Controversial CFS Researcher
- Phoenix Rising thread about it

I'll quote some in a moment, but first give some links to Nederlogs in which the case and background is discussed in more detail:

- Dr. Mikovits arrested
- Dr. Mikovits arrested - 2
- Dr. Mikovits and co-worker implicated in theft
- WPI vs Mikovits - documents in the case
- WPI vs Mikovits - documents in the case: update
- More on WPI vs Mikovits

There is considerably more in Nederlog (see the index 2011), and I refer you to the texts linked above or to the index in case you wish to know more - and I generally give references to others than myself, including to Jon Cohen's articles, who wrote rather a lot about and around Judy Mikovits, the WPI and XMRV for Science.

Here is Cohen in the above linked text:

(..) now she has a new attorney, Scott Freeman, and he has plenty to say about her case. "She maintains her innocence and we anticipate defending her aggressively," says Freeman, who is based in Reno, Nevada. "Obviously, she's not someone who is a criminal."

At least as obviously - and see the above links to documents in the case - the WPI, the courts and the police seem to incline the other way, but I agree that this has not been settled legally until a judge has given a verdict, and the verdict is not contested in a higher court.

Cohen gives a brief summary of the case against Mikovits I skip, but which sounds pretty strong and serious, and then arrives at attorney Freeman:

Bail was set at $100,000 cash. "The original warrant out was extremely dramatic to have a $100,000 cash-only bail for somebody who has no history of being a risk to the community or a risk of flight," says Freeman. "So those are the very significant issues that we're going to be investigating. Why is she not being treated like everybody else?"

Well... I would guess the size of the bail may have a lot to do with the fact that the dear dr. Mikovits had property stolen that the WPI, that she had it stolen from, considers very valuable. Also, it seems to be something like a little over half of her yearly salary when working for the WPI as Research Director. Finally, if dr. Mikovits is "not being treated like everybody else?" part of the reason must be that she has claimed herself, through her former lawyer, and is being claimed by some patients, to be a very special person indeed, both morally and intellectually, and another part of the reason must be that the whole story of XMRV, the WPI, the theft, the arrest and the court case is pretty extra-ordinary, though I would agree if Mr Freeman were to reply that this does not, itself, count as evidence of dr. Mikovits's guilt.

Then again, Mr. Freeman's line of defense - as rendered by Mr Cohen, to be sure - strikes me as odd and weak:

Freeman argues that, legally speaking, it's unimportant how she obtained the material in dispute. "The question is whether or not she had the criminal intent to permanently deprive the institute of property that belonged to them," he says, adding that he hopes to get the case dismissed.

Maybe he has no better, or can do no better, but the first statement is palpably false: It is claimed by the WPI that dr. Mikovits asked her assistant to steal various properties of the WPI, and they have provided strong evidence that she did. As to attorney Freeman's second statement: It would seem to me rather plain that she and her assistant Max Pfost did have "the criminal intent to permanently deprive the institute of property that belonged to them", and that the real question is rather why she and he did have that intent. Then again, if attorney Freeman's case is that dr. Mikovits had the lab books stolen, and tried to get various other things stolen, without criminal intent, so be it, though it seems to me to have little chance of success, because it seems plainly false to me.

But then that seems to be Mr Freeman's line:

"Part of the challenge in representing someone like her is essentially that we're taking a scientist with her extensive credentials and trying to educate her as a client on what it's like to be a defendant in a criminal case," says Freeman. "This is an area she never thought she'd be in in her life, and she's fighting for her life."

This I am quite willing to believe - but that is mostly because I cannot believe that dr. Mikovits did not know that what she asked Max Pfost to do - steal the lab books and various other things from the WPI - was criminal, in the sense of the U.S. laws that apply.

Indeed, if she really did not know - being the Principal Investigator and Research Director until just before she had the lab-books and other things stolen from the institution that had dismissed her - then he should plead insanity, temporary or permanent.

4. PACE Trial: Professor Hooper quashes its statistics

There has been rather a lot of attention of patients for the PACE Trial, which was sponsored by the British government and done under the aegis of professor Peter Denton White, that seems a clear fraud.

To start with, here is a long thread about it on Phoenix Rising:

     - PACE Trial and PACE Trial Protocol

And here is Professor Hooper on the statistics of it:

     - Statistics and ME

As usual with professor Hooper, this seems excellent, but I have on proviso, which is not his fault:

I have studied psychology, and if I had not been ill and done anything in it, it most probably would relate to methodology and philosophy of science, and for me the main problem with psychological studies in general is that the empirical data are far more often than not a matter of faith rather than anything else: It is only rarely outlined clearly what manner of folks entered into a psychological experiment, who selected them on the basis of what criterions, and how they were tested, for normally this is only very briefly and unclearly mentioned.

That means that even if the statistics used is used well, with understanding, without falsification or cheating or biasing, is mathematically correct, and used with the appropriate statistical tests, and all of these requirements tend to be rarely satisfied in psychology, then even so one does not have any guarantee the outcomes have any real relation with real facts, since it tends to be mostly unclear how experiments were performed and who they were performed on.

This also is the case with the PACE Trials and many "empirical" studies relating to ME/CFS, for which reasons I personally am rarely seriously interested in the statistics of them, although I'm interested in statistics as a scientific method: I am not interested, simply because I know that usually I do not know, for reasons of lack of sufficient specification, what the real empirical data are. And while you may be most meticulous and mathematically correct to six decimals in testing what precise proportion elves on the basis of which Mathematical Statistical Scientific Testing have nieces who are witches, given the data supplied by the honest professor Wessely on elves and witches among his patients, I still see no reason to believe in elves or witches. (Also see Lutus, below.)

5. PACE Trial: Tate Mitchell quashes its methodology

Here is a link to a study that criticizes the methodology of the PACE-Trial. I provide a link to a text-only version on Co-Cure:

     - Methodological Inconsistencies in the ‘PACE’ trial for ME/CFS

This seems to be well done (I only skimmed it as yet), and as I indicated in the previous section, this seems to be the main empirical and methodological weakness of the PACE trial and indeed many other "evidence-based" "science" texts (purportedly) relating to ME: The reader gets no clear, sufficient, adequate description of the empirical data on which the statistics are based (and the statistics are usually no good as statistics: wrong tests, wrong assumptions).

I'll probably return to this, for while I agree with professor Hooper that the statistics qua statistics in the PACE-Trial are bogus, my own objection to most "evidence-based" "scientific research" of ME/CFS, and of psychology and psychiatry, and indeed the social sciences in general, is that it is nearly always completely unclear, and therefore a matter of faith, what the real data are. And I have no faith in faith-based "evidence-based" "empirical psychiatric science".

And this is well supported by the final item of this Nederlog:

6. More about Dutch psycho-professor doctor Diederik Stapel

I wrote about the demise of Dutch "scientist" Diederik Stapel in the first days of november, starting here

     - The excellence of Dutch science & psychology: Diederik Stapel

This continues for four days, and is interesting about Dutch science, Dutch psychology, the "science" of social psychology, and what one can get away with - in Holland, at least - for many years, in the ways of fraud, deception, data-falsification, and plain careerist dishonesty.

And at least on the face of it, the case of professor doctor Diederik Stapel, who meanwhile is no more professor, and has given up the doctor title, and faces at least one court-case, is rather like that of dr. Judy Mikovits, although I would say, not only because I have ME/CFS, that her case is more serious (involving theft, many severely ill patients, and possibly scientific fraud).

In any case, here is an update in Science on Diederik Stapel: His paper in Science, to the effect that disorderly environments dispose to discrimination (as the Dutch Labour Party undoubtedly like to see "scientifically supported") has now been "fully retracted":

     - Dutch Researcher Retracts First Paper, Offers 'Apologies'

Science also reports that co-author Siegwart Lindenberg is unrepentant and pretends to come from Barcelona - "I know nothing!" - rather than Groningen, and indeed pretends, a bit surreptitiously so, but quite clearly, that it is the poor doctor Lindenberg who is to be pitied:

"There was no reason to be suspicious in any way about what he presented to me as the results of the experiments he conducted," Lindenberg noted in the e-mail sent soon after the university released its report.

Lindenberg insists on being a pseudo-scientific idiot, but then I have never met a Dutch social psychologist who did not seem to me to be severely cognitively challenged.

"I still believe that the possibility that disorder affects discrimination is an important idea and worthy of being tested in a way that is beyond suspicion. In fact, I believe that the series of experiments we planned also got to the heart of the possible mechanism. That this series seemingly has not been properly executed or (at least in part) even not executed at all, is therefore a doubly distressing fact."

Doctor Lindenberg meant well, did not know anything was wrong, and believes or pretends that his and Stapel's evident pseudo-science is for real.

Really now?!

May I suggest to the University of Groningen that there are many psychologists without work who are at least as qualified as doctor Lindenberg, and who are not tainted by association as he is, and also do not have his manner of half-crazed half-pretend bullshit notions on the human mind?!

And may I suggest - in these days of crisis and "urgently needed budget cuts" to help keep the bankmanagers and banks rich and prosperous, at the cost of the rest of the population, that it would be morally, scientifically, politically and financially profitable to simply terminate social psychology, much else of psychology, and all of philosophy in Holland, at Dutch universities? It would save hundreds of millions, perhaps several billions each year, and would save on "studies" that anyway are for the most part pseudo-science:

     - For Dutch psychology: Spiegeloog-columns
     - For Dutch philosophy and its moral norms: 39 Questions

And here are four relevant well-written essays by a real scientist on the lacks, shortcomings and prevailing delusions in "the science of psychology":

     - Paul Lutus: Is Psychology a Science?
     -               : The Myth of Mental Illness.
     -               : Why Science Needs Theories
     -               :  The Doubt Factory


Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.


As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):
1.  Anthony Komaroff Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)
3.  Hillary Johnson The Why
4.  Consensus of M.D.s Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5.  Eleanor Stein Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)
6.  William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7.  Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8.  Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
 Maarten Maartensz
ME in Amsterdam - surviving in Amsterdam with ME (Dutch)
 Maarten Maartensz Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Short descriptions of the above:                

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:

7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
9. I tell my story of surviving (so far) in Amsterdam/ with ME.
10. The directory on my site about ME.

See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources
The last has many files, all on my site to keep them accessible.

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