Ecology News

Ecology explains less and less?

Spread the love

From an article in Science:

The average number of P values per paper has been steadily rising, they found. A typical paper now reports 10 P values, double the number from the 1980s. This suggests that researchers are conducting more experiments than before or exploring more variables. In other words, ecological research is getting more complex. A scientist trying to predict algal blooms probably has an equation that considers not just phosphorus levels, but also temperature, water clarity, and many other factors.

But the proliferation of P values (which is happening in many fields) concerns statisticians, because the value by itself doesn’t say anything about the size of the effect or its biological significance. “You can get quite trivial findings” that have robust P values, Low-Décarie says. Nearly half of all papers in the database that reported a P value, for example, did not appear to include other statistics that would clarify for readers whether the result had a major ecological impact. In addition, the more P values that are calculated, the higher the odds that any given result will appear to be significant even if it’s just the result of chance.

The researchers were more surprised and dismayed to discover that R2—a more informative statistical indicator—has been on the decline. In 1980, the average R2 reported in papers was about 0.7. By 2010, it had fallen to just under 0.5, they report online this month in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. “That was really surprising to me,” says Brian McGill, an ecologist at the University of Maine, Orono, who was not involved in the research. The average R2 should be increasing, he says, because more variables are being included in ecological models, which ought to make them more accurate. More.

We’ll keep an eye on this one. Follow UD News at Twitter!

One Reply to “Ecology explains less and less?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    as to the reliability of p-values in general,,, A few years ago there was a battle over Douglas Theobald’s claim that he had (finally) found a high degree of ‘statistical significance’ for common ancestry. Theobald’s claim was somewhat surprising since it is fairly well extablished in the technical literature that morphology and molecular sequences fail to conform to Darwin’s predicted tree of life:

    Molecular Data Wreak Havoc on the Tree of Life – Casey Luskin – February 7, 2014
    Excerpt: Douglas Theobald claims in his “29+ Evidences for Macroevolution” that “well-determined phylogenetic trees inferred from the independent evidence of morphology and molecular sequences match with an extremely high degree of statistical significance.”
    In reality, however, the technical literature tells a different story. Studies of molecular homologies often fail to confirm evolutionary trees depicting the history of the animal phyla derived from studies of comparative anatomy. Instead, during the 1990s, early into the revolution in molecular genetics, many studies began to show that phylogenetic trees derived from anatomy and those derived from molecules often contradicted each other.
    Stephen Meyer – Darwin’s Doubt – (pp. 122-123)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....81981.html

    It turns out that Theobald relied on P-values in order to (finally) establish ‘statistical significance’ for common ancestry. The trouble with using P-values is that P-values can be misinterpreted. even manipulated, to give you any desired conclusion you want and were never meant to replace the actual empirical evidence.

    Scientific method: Statistical errors – P values, the ‘gold standard’ of statistical validity, are not as reliable as many scientists assume. – Regina Nuzzo – 12 February 2014
    Excerpt: “P values are not doing their job, because they can’t,” says Stephen Ziliak, an economist at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois, and a frequent critic of the way statistics are used.,,,
    “Change your statistical philosophy and all of a sudden different things become important,” says Steven Goodman, a physician and statistician at Stanford. “Then ‘laws’ handed down from God are no longer handed down from God. They’re actually handed down to us by ourselves, through the methodology we adopt.”,,
    One researcher suggested rechristening the methodology “statistical hypothesis inference testing”3, presumably for the acronym it would yield.,,
    The irony is that when UK statistician Ronald Fisher introduced the P value in the 1920s, he did not mean it to be a definitive test. He intended it simply as an informal way to judge whether evidence was significant in the old-fashioned sense: worthy of a second look. The idea was to run an experiment, then see if the results were consistent with what random chance might produce.,,,
    Neyman called some of Fisher’s work mathematically “worse than useless”,,,
    “The P value was never meant to be used the way it’s used today,” says Goodman.,,,
    The more implausible the hypothesis — telepathy, aliens, homeopathy — the greater the chance that an exciting finding is a false alarm, no matter what the P value is.,,,
    “It is almost impossible to drag authors away from their p-values, and the more zeroes after the decimal point, the harder people cling to them”11,,
    http://www.nature.com/news/sci.....E-20140213

    a few related notes on Darwinism’s lack of a mathematical foundation:

    The main reason why Darwinian evolution is more properly thought of as a pseudo-science instead of a proper science is because Darwinian evolution has no rigid mathematical basis, like other overarching physical theories of science do. A rigid mathematical basis in order to potentially falsify it (in fact math, in so far as math can be applied to Darwinian claims, constantly shows us that Darwinian evolution is astronomically unlikely),,

    “On the other hand, I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as `solid as any explanation in science.; Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?”
    (Berlinski, D., “A Scientific Scandal?: David Berlinski & Critics,” Commentary, July 8, 2003)

    Dr. David Berlinski: Head Scratching Mathematicians – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEDYr_fgcP8
    quote from preceding video:
    “John Von Neumann, one of the great mathematicians of the twentieth century, just laughed at Darwinian theory, he hooted at it!,,,There is a consistent group of people, among mathematicians, among physicists, among some very good speculative biologists, who simply don’t accept it (Darwin’s theory). (They) don’t even regard it as a scientific theory in any reasonable sense.”
    Dr. David Berlinski

    Darwin and the Mathematicians – David Berlinski
    “The formation within geological time of a human body by the laws of physics (or any other laws of similar nature), starting from a random distribution of elementary particles and the field, is as unlikely as the separation by chance of the atmosphere into its components.”
    Kurt Gödel, was a preeminent logician who is considered one of the greatest to have ever lived. Of Note: Godel was a Christian Theist!
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....cians.html

    Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Wolfgang Pauli on the Empirical Problems with Neo-Darwinism – Casey Luskin – February 27, 2012
    Excerpt: “In discussions with biologists I met large difficulties when they apply the concept of ‘natural selection’ in a rather wide field, without being able to estimate the probability of the occurrence in a empirically given time of just those events, which have been important for the biological evolution. Treating the empirical time scale of the evolution theoretically as infinity they have then an easy game, apparently to avoid the concept of purposesiveness. While they pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.'”
    Wolfgang Pauli (pp. 27-28) –
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....56771.html

    “It is our contention that if ‘random’ is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws—physical, physico-chemical, and biological.”
    Murray Eden, “Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory,” Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, editors Paul S. Moorhead and Martin M. Kaplan, June 1967, p. 109.

    WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? Evolution is True – Roger Highfield – January 2014
    Excerpt:,,, Whatever the case, those universal truths—’laws’—that physicists and chemists all rely upon appear relatively absent from biology.
    Little seems to have changed from a decade ago when the late and great John Maynard Smith wrote a chapter on evolutionary game theory for a book on the most powerful equations of science: his contribution did not include a single equation.
    http://www.edge.org/response-detail/25468

    “For many years I thought that it is a mathematical scandal that we do not have a proof that Darwinian evolution works.”
    Gregory Chaitin – Proving Darwin 2012 – Highly Respected Mathematician

    Active Information in Metabiology – Winston Ewert, William A. Dembski, Robert J. Marks II – 2013
    Except page 9: Chaitin states [3], “For many years I have thought that it is a mathematical scandal that we do not have proof that Darwinian evolution works.” In fact, mathematics has consistently demonstrated that undirected Darwinian evolution does not work.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2013.4

    HISTORY OF EVOLUTIONARY THEORY – WISTAR DESTROYS EVOLUTION
    Excerpt: A number of mathematicians, familiar with the biological problems, spoke at that 1966 Wistar Institute,, For example, Murray Eden showed that it would be impossible for even a single ordered pair of genes to be produced by DNA mutations in the bacteria, E. coli,—with 5 billion years in which to produce it! His estimate was based on 5 trillion tons of the bacteria covering the planet to a depth of nearly an inch during that 5 billion years. He then explained that,, E. coli contain(s) over a trillion (10^12) bits of data. That is the number 10 followed by 12 zeros. *Eden then showed the mathematical impossibility of protein forming by chance.
    http://www.pathlights.com/ce_e.....hist12.htm

    Darwin’s Doubt – Chapter 12 – Complex Adaptations and the Neo-Darwinian Math – Dr. Paul Giem – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....38;index=7

    See also Mendel’s Accountant and Haldane’s Ratchet: John Sanford, Walter Remine

Leave a Reply