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Dec 23, 2011               

Retraction update + Stapel update + Spiegeloog columns

This is just a brief Nederlog with a few updates relating to the withdrawal by Science of the 2009 Lombardi, Mikovits et al paper on XMRV and CFS and the case of Diederik Stapel, the Dutch professor doctor social psychology, who faked his data in many publications.

1. David Tuller in the New York Times
2. Abbie Smith on ERV Blog
3. Diederik Stapel in Vrij Nederland

4. Spiegeloog columns

I am mostly only documenting in this Nederlog.

1. David Tuller in the New York Times

There is a good article by David Tuller in the NYT:

        - Fatigue Syndrome Study Is Retracted by Journal

Mr Tuller spoke with dr Mikovits:

Dr. Mikovits said in a telephone interview that she remained confident of retroviral involvement in chronic fatigue syndrome and believed that any retraction should have waited until the N.I.H. study was completed.

“That will be the definitive answer,” she said. “If we’re wrong and we can’t reproduce it, then we’ll be wrong, and that’s how science works.”

She declined to comment on her legal difficulties.

Clearly, many other qualified scientists, and the chief-editor of Science, think differently about "how science works", and indeed the chief-editor of Science is convinced the Blood Work Group's article already has shown she "can’t reproduce it". 

Mr Tuller quotes Mrs Whittemore:

In a statement, Annette Whittemore, president of the Whittemore Peterson Institute, said that Thursday’s retraction “is just one chapter in a very important process of scientific discovery.”

“We remain focused on the patients who have been underserved and look forward to the rigorous review of our scientific research,” she said.

And he quotes Dr. Lipkin:

Dr. Lipkin, who is also the director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia, said he believed the retraction was premature.

“In my view, the investigation should be allowed to proceed while we sort out what’s real and not real,” Dr. Lipkin said. Those with the illness, he added, are “a group of people who have had their hopes dashed more than once, and they deserve a full hearing of the data.”

The chief-editor of Science clearly did not believe "he retraction was premature". Besides, Lipkin's study does proceed. What dr. Lipkin means by "deserve a full hearing of the data" is not really clear to me, but then I think dr. Lipkin is a diplomatic man.

2. Abbie Smith on ERV Blog

Ms. Smith, who was one of the first to doubt and criticize the science of the now retracted paper in Science wrote another blog about it:

- XMRV and chronic fatigue syndrome: RETRACTED

She opens thus - and Bruce Alberts is the chief-editor of Science, while I reproduce her footnote including the link, that indeed helps clarify things:

Thank you to Bruce Alberts for taking the initiative to do this*. I would also like to thank all of the hard working scientists, from all over the world, who did real research to help resolve this issue. It restores my faith in science. It really does.

* Though it would have been pretty damn sweet to have a blog article linked to in an official retraction in Science, I will take a link via Cohens article ;)

She also says, and that link to is well worth reading:

[Another great Cohen article-- I am *incredibly* impressed with the statements Alberts has made on this. Again, thank you, sir.]

3. Diederik Stapel in Vrij Nederland

Then there is the Dutch data faker professor doctor Diederik Stapel, the fraudulent Dutch social psychologist, fallen from considerable local fame to considerable shame.

I wrote last about his case on December 6, when the news arrived that his paper in Science had been "fully retracted", by himself indeed:

         - Dutch Researcher Retracts First Paper, Offers 'Apologies'

When I first wrote about his case

     - The excellence of Dutch science & psychology: Diederik Stapel

I gave a series of reasons why I was interested in that case, and qualified to judge and ended thus

Sixth and last, I may return to this, in Dutch, because the Dutch interim-report is quite interesting, and not quite honest:

The pretense is that it is all Stapel's fault, and everybody else is not to blame, since they all are, as the Dutch universities themselves, falsely, advertise their staff to be: "excellent scientists"; while the truth is that there has been a sick, degenerate, corrupt, political and unscientific climate in very much of the Dutch universities since decades, if only because ALL Dutch universities have been explicitly run - by law, also! - as if they were democratized Soviets from 1971-1995, thereby enabling for some 25 years the careerists from the Dutch leftist parties to be nominated in positions of power or as "scientific staff" in the Dutch universities. (*)

And apart from the few studies that really require talent, these were nearly all political nominations of people with little or no interest in real science, and with strong personal and political interests in pseudoscience, bullshit, fake "science", and politicized "science".

They were and are truly excellent - as frauds, as liars, as deceivers, as parasites, as whores of reason, as political pseudoscientists, as fakers, as bullshitters and as very willing betrayers of civilization, of science, of truth and of morality.

Well, there now is considerable support for this in a long article in Vrij Nederland, a well-know Dutch weekly. It is in Dutch, in what seems to be a series entitled "The web around Stapel":

- Meeliften met een meesterbedrieger

Hitchhiking with a master conman, say: How the Dutch data faker professor doctor Diederik Stapel could get as far as he could, namely because his colleagues and superiors looked the other way or were glad to cooperate with such an eminent scientist.

Here are some backgrounds:

4. Spiegeloog columns

There is rather a lot more on Dutch science and psychology in my Spiegeloog-columns in both Dutch and English. These were published in 1988-1989 in the faculty paper of the faculty of psychology of the University of Amsterdam, and may well have shown the Dutch data faker professor doctor Diederik Stapel, who then studied there, what was possible in Dutch universities and and why that was so.

These must be by far the most sarcastic and satirical criticism of the University of Amsterdam that has ever been published. I was just one individual then, and have learned what that means, in Holland. Even so, it seems - to me - that, long after the fact, I was right: The academic "education" has become even more lousy than it was, and definitely is no longer university-level.

English translations (from Nederlog 2010)
Columns published in "Spiegeloog" 1988-89

EN:   Whores of Reason
EN:   Mandarins with an IQ of 115
EN:   Real Science and real psychology = joy
EN:   Yahooism and Democracy
EN:   I want to be read
EN:   Truth and Value
EN:   Body AND mind?
EN:   The ideological ape

The main reason to remove me from the UvA
EN:   39 Questions (public speech, May 1988)

And readers of Dutch may also derive some education and enjoyment - "lering & vermaak" - from "How do I become a Dutch top bureaucrat?" :

-  Hoe word ik een Nederlands Topambtenaar? (P.S.)

Have fun!


Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.
- Dec 24, 2011: Forgot yesterday to insert the link for
David Tuller's article in the NYT:

        - Fatigue Syndrome Study Is Retracted by Journal



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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