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  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renn View Post
    On the publishing of results...unless something is pure pseudoscience, it will (or should) be published. This is part of good science, that results must be published. The point is that it adds to the body of knowledge. It can then be picked apart and repeated, to see what value there really is in its results. The fact that something is published in a reputable scientific journal does not so much mean that knowledgable people think that it was a great study with believable results, but that they want to acknowledge and analyze ANY information which might be relevant.
    That't not the case. A flawed study should not get past peer review. That is the whole point of having independent scientists review a paper before it gets published.

  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meg2 View Post
    That't not the case. A flawed study should not get past peer review. That is the whole point of having independent scientists review a paper before it gets published.
    It depends. If there are major flaws, or if there's obvious misuse of data, yes.

    I'm not trying to suggest that anything and everything will end up in print, only that peer-review doesn't mean that because something is published that its conclusions are valid. It's more about "could this be the case? Is there possibly something interesting here" than "do we think this is fact?".

    Reviewers should not be determining what becomes part of the scientific discussion (athough certainly sometimes they do), provided that there aren't major flaws in data collection or analysis.

    ETA: It's also up to the people choosing to publish, not just the referees.
    Last edited by Renn; 29-10-2013 at 08:43.

  3. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by beebs View Post
    Re the alternate medicines for minor illness, I have absolutely no problem with that. But when it comes to important things like Homeopathic "vaccines", then that is when it gets worrying.
    I tend to feel the same with you on this one, although I don't like the idea that our bodies are owed to western medicine. I really believe that people should be able to make their own health decisions no matter how major they are or how much others disagree. A lot turn to Eastern or alternative medicine after being let down by conventional.

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    Western medicine is by no means perfect, and some medicines have worse side effects that the symptoms of the illness you are treating. I am by no means a Western only medicine type person. I've tried so many different things myself. I remember this one where they have a little machine with cups and it pulses tiny electronic currents where your injury is, I can't even remember what it is called.

    I have no problems with people choosing to do what they want re their own treatment. I never have believed in forced anything, vaccinations, pregnancies etc

    The only problem I have is when I see people spreading false & inflammatory information on the net about things to do with health care. Like "vaccines contain embalming fluid", or homeopathic vaccines work as well as normal vaccines but without the side effects.

    Other than that, I have no problem with people taking charge of their own health.

    Quote Originally Posted by Benji View Post
    I tend to feel the same with you on this one, although I don't like the idea that our bodies are owed to western medicine. I really believe that people should be able to make their own health decisions no matter how major they are or how much others disagree. A lot turn to Eastern or alternative medicine after being let down by conventional.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Atropos View Post
    This is more current than that one study- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20402610
    "CONCLUSIONS:
    The findings of currently available Cochrane reviews of studies of homeopathy do not show that homeopathic medicines have effects beyond placebo."
    Sorry for all these posts, I'm just catching up on this thread from yesterday. This review looks at 6 studies of homeopathy... 6!! Now I'd hardly call that a reasonable sample size. If these are the only valid studies of homeopathy done to date then it looks like it is a topic that has had very little research done on it, and certainly has not been wholeheartedly disproved by scientific research.

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    As a scientist, do you believe that non scientists should go with the scientific consensus on certain things, like climate change and vaccines. Or try and come to their own conclusions - keeping in mind that we are not trained and have not studied in the scientific field. Genuinely interested from a scientific point of view.


    Quote Originally Posted by Meg2 View Post
    ETA. Just thought I'd disclose that I am a scientist, so have a reasonable insight to how science works in reality (as opposed to how it is taught at uni). When it comes to the 'hard' sciences like physics and chemistry I'm pretty happy to believe whatever the experts tell me. But when it comes to disciplines where there is natural variation in the populations (eg any biological) there is a lot of room for error, and a lot of room for subjective interpretation of ambiguous data, and also a lot of 'group think' (where people tend to believe whatever other researchers believe). Therefore, when someone points out what 'science says' about a topic like this, I tend to be a bit more skeptical.

  7. #87
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    Can I suggest instead of calling it "Western Medicine" and "Eastern Medicine" how about we call it "empirical-based" medicine or "scientifically based medicine" and "not scientifically based medicine"? (Admittedly the latter is a bit of a mouthful.) I really don't care what part of the world my medicine comes from, so long as it has scientifically proven merit.

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    Atropos  (29-10-2013),beebs  (29-10-2013),Renn  (29-10-2013)

  9. #88
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    @Benji

    Ok, I've now read the article you linked to. It's definitely an interesting read.
    There's certainly some scope for error in the underlying assumptions (eg. the extent to which initial differences in POMS ratings between the groups might affect findings). Of course, that's the case with any of the "soft" sciences as some previous posters have mentioned.

    I'd be highly inclined to believe those kinds of assumptions would account for their results (given the lack of conceivable mechanism etc.), but will be interested to see what happens if the study does continue past the pilot stage. If their results are confirmed, then I'll be fascinated to see how it unfolds. I'll admit I find this about as likely as significant evidence being found that dogs can speak English... but if the evidence is there, then (in the words of Tim Minchin):

    Edit: had to expand on what I quoted cause I love it so much :P

    "Science adjusts its beliefs based on what's observed
    Faith is the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved.
    If you show me
    That, say, homeopathy works,
    Then I will change my mind
    I'll spin on a ****ing dime
    I'll be embarrassed as hell,
    But I will run through the streets yelling
    It's a miracle! Take physics and bin it!
    Water has memory!
    And while its memory of a long lost drop of onion juice is Infinite
    It somehow forgets all the poo it's had in it!

    You show me that it works and how it works
    And when I've recovered from the shock
    I will take a compass and carve Fancy That on the side of my ****.”"
    Last edited by Renn; 29-10-2013 at 10:38.

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  11. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meg2 View Post
    Sorry for all these posts, I'm just catching up on this thread from yesterday. This review looks at 6 studies of homeopathy... 6!! Now I'd hardly call that a reasonable sample size. If these are the only valid studies of homeopathy done to date then it looks like it is a topic that has had very little research done on it, and certainly has not been wholeheartedly disproved by scientific research.
    Benji posted one study, I posted a review of 6 studies. That's five more studies than Benji posted And the conclusion for those 6 is that homeopathy is ineffective. There are loads more. As a scientist I imagine you'd have more access to such information than us "non scientists" Homeopathy has been studied quite a lot. I posted another link to a review which actually included the study posted by Benji that described it as seriously flawed. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that the quality of studies in any area can vary!

  12. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by beebs View Post
    As a scientist, do you believe that non scientists should go with the scientific consensus on certain things, like climate change and vaccines. Or try and come to their own conclusions - keeping in mind that we are not trained and have not studied in the scientific field. Genuinely interested from a scientific point of view.
    If you are confident that you know what the scientific consensus is, then sure, go with that. If you are prepared to read a lot of different research papers (not just articles in New Scientist or the like) then you probably have a pretty good handle on the issue. But this is a pretty big ask and most people don't have the time or inclination to wade through heaps of dry scientific papers in their spare time (if it's not related to my work or something very important to me then I certainly don't), which is why I don't really trust non-specialists telling me what the scientific consensus on an issue is. I intuitively don't believe in homeopathy, as I think is probably the case with most scientifically inclined people. But, I would be reluctant to tell people that science has shown it to be false unless I had done a thorough review of the literature myself (picking out a couple of studies then saying 'there are heaps more like this' isn't convincing).

    It's a tricky one, because we all want to know what the best information out there is, but it is very difficult to find without putting a lot of time in. I guess my stance is that if you read a paper or information that makes sense to you and you think it provides good scientific facts, then you will be likely to believe it. I just wouldn't tell other people that you know what 'science' says on the issue unless you have done a lot of work.
    Last edited by Meg2; 29-10-2013 at 12:05.

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