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JackDole
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03 Dec 2019 21:52

Watsisname wrote:
Source of the post Any scientist who says what you just did has ceased to be a scientist.

This attitude is in one of my unwritten science fiction novels the reason why one day all scientists will be burned or hanged.
(I've written a short story that plays some years after this event, unfortunately only in German and unpublished, and of course I'm not saying that's okay. It's the uncontrolled mob that does this! :evil:)

Scientists first need to do comprehensive research before they do anything. If they do anything at all.

But if uncontrolled toxic waste is dumped into the environment, it has an impact on the environment and on the health of local residents. I do not need to know what kind of illnesses are the result.  And it does not have to be dozens or hundreds of victims before something is done.

Basically, of course, I'm in favor of scientists doing accurate research.
For example, what kind of effect which substances can have before they are released into the environment.

But such investigations are of course difficult to make. Without guinea pigs.
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midtskogen
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04 Dec 2019 08:14

Watsisname wrote:
Source of the post  "Correlation = causation" is one of the most pervasive fallacies in science and human psychology, and it is absolutely important to understand it, the meaning of statistical significance, and how hypothesis and model testing actually works.

Indeed.  Scientists use statistics all the time to back up their research, yet few have any academic background in statistics to speak of.  This may be a serious problem (I have to say "may be", as I never did statistics at university myself and I regret it, so I can't really back up that claim :).  I wouldn't be surprised if it got much harder to publish anything if scientific articles were not reviewed just by peers, but rather by peers and statisticians.
P-hacking happens all the time, mostly unconsciously.
The human mind looks for connections continuously and find it even if there is none.  It's simply how the mind is wired and how we organise sensory input.
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A-L-E-X
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06 Dec 2019 04:53

midtskogen wrote:
Watsisname wrote:
Source of the post  "Correlation = causation" is one of the most pervasive fallacies in science and human psychology, and it is absolutely important to understand it, the meaning of statistical significance, and how hypothesis and model testing actually works.

Indeed.  Scientists use statistics all the time to back up their research, yet few have any academic background in statistics to speak of.  This may be a serious problem (I have to say "may be", as I never did statistics at university myself and I regret it, so I can't really back up that claim :).  I wouldn't be surprised if it got much harder to publish anything if scientific articles were not reviewed just by peers, but rather by peers and statisticians.
P-hacking happens all the time, mostly unconsciously.
The human mind looks for connections continuously and find it even if there is none.  It's simply how the mind is wired and how we organise sensory input.

Yes, but when there are comprehensive studies done by multiple universities, that is plenty.  Statistics need to be viewed with severe skepticism, I've seen industry spin numbers their own way (like the Tobacco industry did with nicotine.)  Statistics isn't a science.  I've taken statistics, it's a very simple and basic kind of math.   Nothing like calculus!  I've seen the same statistics spun in multiple ways- basically you can make numbers look the way you want them to.  When you find a causative agent and a mechanism for how it works (like blocking of a neurotransmitter in the above cases) and the numbers to back it up, thats all you need.  Statistics has its uses (and all four universities I quoted from are highly reputable and used them, unlike industry sources which covered up their research) but finding a mechanism that causes the action is more important, because that's actual science.  I'm not one who likes to wait around to do the right thing.  Especially when industry did the same research and covered up the results until they were sued.
Last edited by A-L-E-X on 06 Dec 2019 07:11, edited 6 times in total.
 
A-L-E-X
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06 Dec 2019 04:56

JackDole wrote:
Watsisname wrote:
Source of the post Any scientist who says what you just did has ceased to be a scientist.

This attitude is in one of my unwritten science fiction novels the reason why one day all scientists will be burned or hanged.
(I've written a short story that plays some years after this event, unfortunately only in German and unpublished, and of course I'm not saying that's okay. It's the uncontrolled mob that does this! :evil:)

Scientists first need to do comprehensive research before they do anything. If they do anything at all.

But if uncontrolled toxic waste is dumped into the environment, it has an impact on the environment and on the health of local residents. I do not need to know what kind of illnesses are the result.  And it does not have to be dozens or hundreds of victims before something is done.

Basically, of course, I'm in favor of scientists doing accurate research.
For example, what kind of effect which substances can have before they are released into the environment.

But such investigations are of course difficult to make. Without guinea pigs.

JD and Wat, did you read about the research from the four universities (Columbia, Harvard, UC-Berkeley, UC-Davis)?  It's pretty damning.  They are in a fight with the Trump EPA now because the industry insiders he hired ignored the research and the Obama EPA's own work, but eventually the court system stepped in and banned them anyway.  It's also noteworthy that the industry did the same research and came to the same conclusions decades earlier but chose not to report them.

We have the guinea pigs already- they are the people living there and exposed to the toxins.
 
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06 Dec 2019 07:26

midtskogen wrote:
Source of the post Scientists use statistics all the time to back up their research, yet few have any academic background in statistics to speak of.  This may be a serious problem (I have to say "may be", as I never did statistics at university myself and I regret it, so I can't really back up that claim. :)

If you like, consider checking out the text Introduction to Error Analysis by John Taylor, which is written at the undergraduate level to explain principles of statistics and their application to data collection and model testing.  It's quite compact and readable for a textbook, and I still reference it frequently.

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post Statistics need to be viewed with severe skepticism.  ... Statistics has its uses but finding a mechanism that causes the action is more important, because that's actual science.

Statistics is not the problem. :)  Statistics is a tool, and all science depends on it.  Demonstrating causation requires it!   You take some model describing "how A causes B", make predictions with it, compare them to the data, and show that they fit the data while other sensible models or the null hypothesis do not.  Showing that the model fits the data means plotting data points and showing they are consistent with the model predictions within error.  Being even more rigorous, we'd then do a chi-square test or something similar to say, using statistics, how well does the model fit the data.  What is the probability that the agreement is not a statistical artifact?  

What must be looked at carefully are not the principles of statistics, but rather the methods, assumptions, and the presentation of the data.  Usually "lying with statistics" means being sly about how you present your case.  The earlier example of p-hacking is a good example.

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post JD and Wat, did you read about the research from the four universities (Columbia, Harvard, UC-Berkeley, UC-Davis)?  It's pretty damning.

Of course.  I think you mistake me for thinking these companies treatment of waste disposal is not disgusting.  I'm not saying anything of the sort.  I'm not advocating that anyone ignore it or pass it off as "probably not a problem."  What I'm advocating is caution about what specific conclusions we reach from various studies, or how strongly we believe them.
 
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06 Dec 2019 08:01

Watsisname wrote:
midtskogen wrote:
Source of the post Scientists use statistics all the time to back up their research, yet few have any academic background in statistics to speak of.  This may be a serious problem (I have to say "may be", as I never did statistics at university myself and I regret it, so I can't really back up that claim. :)

If you like, consider checking out the text Introduction to Error Analysis by John Taylor, which is written at the undergraduate level to explain principles of statistics and their application to data collection and model testing.  It's quite compact and readable for a textbook, and I still reference it frequently.

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post Statistics need to be viewed with severe skepticism.  ... Statistics has its uses but finding a mechanism that causes the action is more important, because that's actual science.

Statistics is not the problem. :)  Statistics is a tool, and all science depends on it.  Demonstrating causation requires it!   You take some model describing "how A causes B", make predictions with it, compare them to the data, and show that they fit the data while other sensible models or the null hypothesis do not.  Showing that the model fits the data means plotting data points and showing they are consistent with the model predictions within error.  Being even more rigorous, we'd then do a chi-square test or something similar to say, using statistics, how well does the model fit the data.  What is the probability that the agreement is not a statistical artifact?  

What must be looked at carefully are not the principles of statistics, but rather the methods, assumptions, and the presentation of the data.  Usually "lying with statistics" means being sly about how you present your case.  The earlier example of p-hacking is a good example.

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post JD and Wat, did you read about the research from the four universities (Columbia, Harvard, UC-Berkeley, UC-Davis)?  It's pretty damning.

Of course.  I think you mistake me for thinking these companies treatment of waste disposal is not disgusting.  I'm not saying anything of the sort.  I'm not advocating that anyone ignore it or pass it off as "probably not a problem."  What I'm advocating is caution about what specific conclusions we reach from various studies, or how strongly we believe them.

I actually used to love statistics and started studying it on my own in high school and even bought myself a statistics calculator (a Texas Instruments machine) back then to ease the process.  When I saw some of the tainting being done in some industries to skew the numbers, thats what got me down on statistics.
I also saw some "scientists" use it to defame minorities; intelligence "The IQ Cult"- which still seems to be going on in some circles, unfortunately, it was a throwback to "The Bell Curve."  The reason I got so interested in that is that my middle school back then had a gifted program for which everyone was tested to get into.  I somehow didn't make it in and yet I saw many of my friends were in that program, and yet I KNEW I was smarter than most of them (I was tutoring many of them in science and math.)  So I asked my mother to call the school and was told my score was "131" and that I had missed the mark by one point.  I knew something was fishy here because NO IQ test is sufficiently accurate to be able to dismiss someone based on 1 IQ point.  I convinced my mother to pay $20 or so to get the official Mensa test (even though it was for adults) and I took that and scored a 158 on it.  We photocopied the results and sent them to the school but they said they wouldn't accept the results of an "adult intelligence test" LOL, they only used the results of their CAT test.  That's how I knew that statistics have been used by white "scientists" to discriminate against minorities just like they are used by polluting industries to discriminate against the people who suffer from the toxins they dump.  Looking back at history, the whole neonazi movement actually began in America, and that is where Hitler got his inspiration from.

PS to this- on every IQ test I've since taken, I've scored 142 or higher, and averaged around 149 (including the Mega Test, which was made for "one in a million"), which is what got me into Triple Nine Society.  I dont care much for such societies, but I guess I was always a bit miffed at what happened to me when I was in middle school.  It just made me very skeptical of statistics as prejudiced people use them to further their prejudices.

PPS I LOVE the chi square test, it is both simple and yet elegant.  We used that in genetics all the time!

PPPS Sadly, there is still IQ-based bias going on in the world today, I saw a world map earlier with the "average IQ" of people in each nation, and some nations supposedly have an "average IQ" of under 70?!  If that were actually true, those nations would be nonfunctional.....

PPPPS you're completely right about individual studies, which is why we need meta-analyses using multiple studies.
 
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06 Dec 2019 12:59

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post Statistics need to be viewed with severe skepticism, I've seen industry spin numbers their own way (like the Tobacco industry did with nicotine.)  Statistics isn't a science.  I've taken statistics, it's a very simple and basic kind of math.   Nothing like calculus!  I've seen the same statistics spun in multiple ways- basically you can make numbers look the way you want them to. 

I think you're confusing theory with data presentation.  The maths of statistics is not very advanced, but it's difficult to use correctly.  The pitfalls are many.  
I intended to do statistics.  I bought the textbook, but I did too many courses at the same time and I had to drop some.
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06 Dec 2019 13:18

midtskogen wrote:
A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post Statistics need to be viewed with severe skepticism, I've seen industry spin numbers their own way (like the Tobacco industry did with nicotine.)  Statistics isn't a science.  I've taken statistics, it's a very simple and basic kind of math.   Nothing like calculus!  I've seen the same statistics spun in multiple ways- basically you can make numbers look the way you want them to. 

I think you're confusing theory with data presentation.  The maths of statistics is not very advanced, but it's difficult to use correctly.  The pitfalls are many.  
I intended to do statistics.  I bought the textbook, but I did too many courses at the same time and I had to drop some.

You're right.  Data presentation is what can be spun in different ways, but used correctly, statistics helps find associations.  In the "IQ Cult" I referenced earlier, psychologists and psychometrists of a prior era (and some even today) were improperly using statistics to try and prove their conjecture that ethnic background had something to do with IQ. 
 
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Watsisname
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06 Dec 2019 13:48

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post When I saw some of the tainting being done in some industries to skew the numbers, thats what got me down on statistics.

Your comment and story reminds of people who dislike or even reject evolutionary theory because of atrocities with eugenics.  But evolution is not inherently good or bad, it's simply a fact of nature.  If crazy people call upon it as a justification for their craziness, they are at fault, not the theory.  Likewise, statistics is simply a tool. A tool is not inherently good or bad, it depends on how it is used.  Or misused.  

I use it on an almost daily basis to improve my understanding of nature.  Astrophotographers use it (many perhaps without realizing it) in the sense that they care a lot about the signal-to-noise ratio, which arises from Poisson statistics.  That is, "counting statistics", for individual photons strikes on the sensor.  So understanding it is very useful.  And it is absolutely crucial for professional CCD-based astronomy.  

The entire field of statistical mechanics applies it to physics at the microscopic scale in order to understand and predict macroscopic behavior.  You can derive things like the ideal gas law, 2nd law of thermodynamics, Bose Einstein condensation, blackbody radiation, chemical reaction rates, and on and on, just from using statistics and some simple physical laws.

But I digress.  What of IQ?  I think most scientists pay little to no attention to it.  There is nothing wrong with the statistics of the IQ test per se.  A person answers some set of questions and their score is tallied up and compared to a large number of others.  Naturally this yields something like a normal distribution.  Does that distribution or where an individual's score lies in it say anything important about them?  Probably not.  The test is a measure of a very specific kind of intelligence, and intelligence in general is something that is extremely hard to define, let alone make some sort of standardized test for.
 
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06 Dec 2019 14:57

Watsisname wrote:
A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post When I saw some of the tainting being done in some industries to skew the numbers, thats what got me down on statistics.

Your comment and story reminds of people who dislike or even reject evolutionary theory because of atrocities with eugenics.  But evolution is not inherently good or bad, it's simply a fact of nature.  If crazy people call upon it as a justification for their craziness, they are at fault, not the theory.  Likewise, statistics is simply a tool. A tool is not inherently good or bad, it depends on how it is used.  Or misused.  

I use it on an almost daily basis to improve my understanding of nature.  Astrophotographers use it (many perhaps without realizing it) in the sense that they care a lot about the signal-to-noise ratio, which arises from Poisson statistics.  That is, "counting statistics", for individual photons strikes on the sensor.  So understanding it is very useful.  And it is absolutely crucial for professional CCD-based astronomy.  

The entire field of statistical mechanics applies it to physics at the microscopic scale in order to understand and predict macroscopic behavior.  You can derive things like the ideal gas law, 2nd law of thermodynamics, Bose Einstein condensation, blackbody radiation, chemical reaction rates, and on and on, just from using statistics and some simple physical laws.

But I digress.  What of IQ?  I think most scientists pay little to no attention to it.  There is nothing wrong with the statistics of the IQ test per se.  A person answers some set of questions and their score is tallied up and compared to a large number of others.  Naturally this yields something like a normal distribution.  Does that distribution or where an individual's score lies in it say anything important about them?  Probably not.  The test is a measure of a very specific kind of intelligence, and intelligence in general is something that is extremely hard to define, let alone make some sort of standardized test for.

Yes, and like most things, it's a combination of genetics and environment.  The CAT test was heavily reliant on memory, specifically auditory memory (as opposed to visual memory.)  And my hearing, even at that age wasn't the best (midtones sound like murmurs to me so people have to speak clearly for me to hear them.)  The Mensa and other tests I took were more into pattern recognition and geometric and arithmetic patterns, which I absolutely adore, because I love graphics and love numbers (even trying to visualize what shapes in higher dimensions would look like and what kind of shadows they would cast.)
I dont have a problem with evolutionary theory at all, because I can separate the way nature blindly works from how human beings seek to use science for their own selfish ends (eugenics.)  It's like separating the science behind nuclear power from those who want to make more nuclear weapons.
Yes, I forgot to mention that.  Statistics is used in the different types of stacking used to reveal data that would hitherto be invisible in astrophotography!  As a matter of fact when I chose what camera to buy, I analyzed sensor data like quantum efficiency- something which can only be obtained from statistics.  It's also used to discover particles in collider data.  That is one of the type of statistics that I like.  Quantum mechanics itself is a branch of statistics that shows a mathematical basis that underlies the "solid" macroscopic reality that we all think we perceive.  Like predicting where an electron might be located within an atom.

My disgust is more towards the manipulation of data which I've seen from companies like the ones we've discussed earlier.  It's also overused in sports because it doesn't take into account human psychology and anatomical limits (but I digress too lol.)

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