everything there is a season...
is good news, and today the good news is that the British Medical
Journal's editor has decided that it wants the raw data for its
reviewers, rather than trust their honest faces and kind assurances
that the summaries they offer are really real, and not faked,
manipulated, biased, or selective... real reviewing reinstuted, one
1. To everything there is a season...
had reasons to
write a lot about corruption in modern medicine, psychiatry and
psychology the last few years.
Most of what I wrote about these corruptions was related to ME/CFS,
of it was more comprehensiive and touched upon or dealt with psychiatry and
the DSM-5, and
some of it also touched upon philosophy
of science and psychology, the
last - for example - november last year, when the Dutch
Diederik Stapel was shown to be a
scientific fraud on a very large scale, who cooked his own -
raw data, and then used these cooked, completely made up, imaginary
data to "support" politically
correct fashionable nonsense, such as e.g. the Dutch Labour
love to hear, love to read and especially love to use to support their
policies and to subsidize
Most of that writing about pseudoscience and the abuse of science thatI
did was not really what I like to do, but then I
do know a lot about philosophy of
probability theory and statistics (*)
have been, next to
philosophy and mathematical logic and what relates to that, such as
programming, my own dominant interests since over 40 years,
and it also did touch on my own interests and illness
Anyway... I've explained these things several times, and now there is a
time for rejoicing, or so 1
Boring Old Man thinks, and I think he is
right, though I do, perhaps, not rejoice as much as he does. (See
for part of
1 Boring Old Man is a
psychiatrist in his seventies - mostly retired, I
understood - who wrote and writes sensibly about the DSM-5,
which is a
pleasure to read for me, because I have read so many psychiatrists who
wrote far from sensibly, indeed also about many things.
His reason to rejoice is that Fiona Godlee, who is the editor
of the British
Medical Journal, which is an important medical journal, has
decided that, in 1 Boring Old Man's summary
Clinical Trials that have
patient-level datasets available
Immediately under it he quotes Ms Godlee, and shows her picture:
clinical trial data routinely available for independent scrutiny once a
regulatory decision has been made? How have commercial companies been
allowed to evaluate their own products and then to keep large and
unknown amounts of the data secret even from the regulators? Why should
it be up to the companies to decide who looks at the data and for what
purpose? Why should it take legal action (as in the case of
GlaxoSmithKline’s paroxetine and rosiglitazone), strong arm tactics by
national licensing bodies (Pfizer’s reboxetine), and the exceptional
tenacity of individual researchers and investigative journalists
(Roche’s oseltamivir) to try to piece together the evidence on
Quite so - and
see my two
Nederlogs written in June
Medicine is a very
sick business in the US
Medicine is a very
sick business in the US - 2
also for explanations about GlaxoSmithKline (and with a really
instructive video about medical morality).
What it means is that the BMJ wants
the raw statistical data for their peer reviewers, instead of the
pre-cooked stew they seem to have to take on faith and have been taking
on faith for decades, or so it seems. (How much rot that may
introduced?! No one will ever know, I fear.)
This is A Good Thing, at least for those who want real science,
real medicine, and real rational and empirically based peer reviews.
But it does not solve all
problems, since the Dutch psychological fraud Stapel cooked his own raw
data, as I explained in a series of Nederlogs that started a year ago:
of Dutch science & psychology: Diederik Stapel
This was directly followed by 3 more on the same subject, such as this
one from exactly a year ago,
in which I also provided 7 links to the opinions of others:
of Dutch science &
psychology: Diederik Stapel - 2
I also explained
all about raw data, and that in real science researchers
and reviewers one should have access to these, and should not
take them on faith or on trust, as Stapels demanded from his colleagues
of Massive Scientific Fraud - The Scientist
Diederik Stapel: Another World Class Psychology Fraud - Science 2.0
Five Questions about: Diederik Stapel - DutchNews.nl
Diederik Stapel: The Lying Dutchman - Washington Post
Massive Fraud Uncovered (..) - Scientific American
finds massive fraud at Dutch universities - Nature
Report: Dutch 'Lord of the Data' Forged Dozens of Studies - Science
I even quoted Edmund Burke:
thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
There are good
and Fiona Godlee
has done the right thing, and it is much to be hoped that other
leading scientific journals follow her lead, and indeed not only in
medicine, but in general: Show the real data to the reviewer of a
reputable and serious scientific journal, or take
your unprovable moonshine elsewhere.
It's a good and important step forward but one should realize that it
does not solve all problems:
If you know how to program, it is remarkably easy, given a good programming
language with a
decent random number generator, to cook data that support any
hypothesis to any desired extent, and if programmed well this is then
very hard to prove, other than by (i) the intrinsic idiocy of what the
- cleverly cooked - data are supporting, which is one part of what
destroyed Diederik Stapel's fraudulent career, or (ii) by a sort of
forensic proof: Diederik
Stapel got into real problems because he could not prove that the data
he had cooked up - that supported his papers, although these argued for
intrinsically incredible though politically correct fashionable
bullshit - were
actually gathered empirically, and indeed they were not:
Professor doctor Diederik Stapel had made them all up. And
forensic step was the other part, that definitely finished him as a
scientist, as a professor, and as a doctor of science.
So this certainly
is a good
idea and a good step in the right direction. In fact, the major
scientifical journals must set good policies for the sort of papers
+ data they get and might want to publish, if good enough - at least if
their editors do want to publish real science. (If they
want to get paid
and play "let's pretend", then of course they need not change anything.)
So if this decision by the BMJ does start a fashion, as I hope it will,
it will at least improve something about medicine, and it will
make falsified data more difficult to produce, though it still can be
done, and then needs a sort of forensic investigation to be proved.
With the raw data made available, as they should be, the reviewers can,
in principle, judge how good the paper really is, statistically
speaking, and indeed what it really is worth methodologically, and
whether the experimenters should not have rather taken another test,
statistic, or whatever.
And these kinds of judgments in turn are necessary to do good
"peer reviewing", so 1 Boring Old Man is justified in being glad: It is
good step forward on the part of the BMJ.
To quote some from my favorite Book in the Bible, Ecclesiastes:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose
under the heaven:
In fact, I saw
1boringoldman writes about a French site, called stop-dsm.org that I
meanwhile took a
brief look at and
found interesting and worthwile but very French.
4. A time to weep,
and a time to
laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
16. And moreover I
saw under the sun
the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and
the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.
22. Wherefore I
perceive that there
is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works;
for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what
shall be after him?
As it happens, I can read the language, and so can 1 Boring Old Man,
his tastes in French literature is quite unlike mine:
mentioned that I
was an anglophile, but I’m a closet francophile too. I love reading
Sartre, Camus, Foucault, Derida, Lacan.
read some of all of
these, and like Camus best of those mentioned - but my tastes
in French literature are quite different: Montaigne, La
Rochefoucauld, Lafontaine, Voltaire, Diderot, Chamfortthat
is really great French literature, for me at least, and indeed it
is no accident most of it is from the 18th Century, and in fact I think
that out of one Montaigne or Diderot, one can carve a thousand Sartres
and De Beauvoirs, apat from at
a million Derridas.
Indeed, I should write some about Diderot, finding him so rarely
There is a fine English collection, entitled "The Amazing Diderot",
that I have somewhere - but I can't locate it in my library nor on the
P.S. My eye
leave the text on my eye problems for the moment as a P.S., to
clarify why I
use such colors as I do, and why I have, for the time being, mostly
stopped editing my site.
October 15, 2012: My eye problems
are the reason this page has the colors it does have: It is very
difficult to look at white and light backgrounds with such eyes as I
presently have. See also: Why
colors as they are?
The diagnosis is keratoconjunctivitis
sicca (possibly as a part of Sjoegren's
syndrome). It is less than it was, for months, but not as I should
like it to be.
settings of NOTEBOOK aka NB seem the best compromise between what my
eyes can handle, and what most readers like to see.
they have been
changed repeatedly, as have the links below to
change the background (but not the color of the text box).
of October 13,
2012, the standard setting for the text box is white
text on a
darkslategrey background while the standard background is maroon.
Version October 28, 2012:
Black text on #339999.
Version November 8, 2012: Changed background
(Background colors work no more.) I may changes this again, depending
on my eyes. I may even return to Nederlog!
November 10, 2012: Black text on #CCCCFF, changed background
fact, most of what is read in Nederlog is written in Dutch and - as far
as I can see - most of that got selected because I wrote about
something my readers are interested in, which means, as is indeed true,
that quite a lot of old Nederlogs are being read daily.
[**] Probably it will not
be a constant background, but it is a nice view and a nice memory for me, and indeed I do
intend to write some more about Dovre
and Norway, and in such contexts it will probably reappear.
necessary corrections have to be made later.