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Has Science Become Corrupted?

Anonymous Coward writes | more than 6 years ago

Biotech 0

An anonymous reader writes "Has Science Become Corrupted?

An award winning science author, Gary Taubes has written a book that pans the medical community's treatment of the obesity epidemic. By itself, that isn't particularly worth our time. Diet books are a dime a dozen and we don't cover them on Slashdot anyway.

What is interesting is that it looks like the medical community is behaving in a very unscientific manner. Taubes points out that the current medical orthodoxy has no basis in research. In fact, all the available research points in quite another (more traditional) direction. Here is BoingBoing's take on the story. You can follow the link from there to an excellent podcast of an interview with Taubes on CBC's 'Quirks and Quarks'.

The medical community seems to defer unthinkingly to authority. For instance, when Britain's most respected paediatrician Sir Roy Meadow came up with a crackpot theory (which I thought we have covered on Slashdot but can't find) that sent innocent people to jail, the courts and the medical community bought it hook line and sinker. Of course, he isn't the only one in that boat. Pathologists all over the world have sent innocent people to jail. There's a case in Ontario, Canada right now of a pathologist who screwed up more than twenty cases and sent several people to jail.

People who study expert behavior have found that people need feedback to maintain their expertise. If they don't get the feedback by the nature of the system or because others are too intimidated/lazy to disagree with them, their behavior becomes non-expert. Ericsson points out that surgeons get better as they get older but mammographers don't. Surgeons get feedback immediately. The patient lives or dies. Mammographers may never find out if they are right or wrong.

So, has medicine become a non-science? Is it mostly a non-science? Somewhat? Can physicists feel smug with their repeatable experiments or do they have some 'splainin to do about string theory?"

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