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Real science is frustrating

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Did we miss this one? In “Scientists’ Elusive Goal: Reproducing Study Results” (Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2011), Gautam Naik explains,

Two years ago, a group of Boston researchers published a study describing how they had destroyed cancer tumors by targeting a protein called STK33. Scientists at biotechnology firm Amgen Inc. quickly pounced on the idea and assigned two dozen researchers to try to repeat the experiment with a goal of turning the findings into a drug.

They didn’t and the project was scrapped.

That’s the difference, of course, between real science and Dudgeon science like Darwinism, where any result works, and self-righteous posturing stands in for results.

Of course, real science can be heartbreaking, like life.

15 Replies to “Real science is frustrating

  1. 1
    paulmc says:

    It takes someone without any experience of the evolutionary biology literature to honestly believe scrutiny is not applied to results in this field (assuming that is indeed what you mean by the term ‘Darwinism’).

    Just one example, but on a grand scale: the neutralist-selectionist debate. Far from any result working, results are scrutinised closely, with both sides giving nothing away without solid evidence. Methods are constantly criticised and developed. The end result has been a massive move forward in our understanding of molecular evolution.

  2. 2
    Joe says:

    paulmc,

    How can something that cannot be tested be scrutinized?

    We cannot test the premise that eukaryotes evolved from prokaryotes.

    We cannot test any of the grand claims of the theory of evolution.

  3. 3
    inunison says:

    In evolutionary world theory is taken to be axiomatic and therefore it is never tested or scrutinized by its proponents. Scrutinizing and criticizing that paulmc mentions, happens exclusively on the level of its “flavor”.

  4. 4
    Mytheos says:

    And once results are scrutinised closely, with both sides giving nothing away without solid evidence. And once methods are constantly criticised and developed. And once the end result has been a massive move forward in our understanding of molecular evolution. We let the media blow everything out of proportion and tell the world that darwinian evolution is a fact.

  5. 5
    gpuccio says:

    Mytheos:

    The media? It’s scientists themselves who make that statemets, on scientific literature. (Please, don’t ask for references, I have not them available, but I have read that with my own eyes).

  6. 6
    Upright BiPed says:

    paulmc,

    Which one of the warring parties, neutralists or selections, has developed a hypothesis as to how material objects become instantiated with immaterial qualities? Since everything in the biological world is dependent upon it (given that it is the only way genetic information can be transfered) perhaps it is a material observation which should be given some extra thought. No?

  7. 7
    Joe says:

    Mmmmmmmmm, flavor….

    Oh wait, perhaps that evolved from flavorlessness-> D’oh….

  8. 8
    paulmc says:

    Inunison, on what grounds do you say that?

    Do you understand the neutralist-selectionist debate, and that it challenges the central core of “Darwinian” positive selection at the molecular level?

  9. 9
    paulmc says:

    It would be great to stay on topic: scrutiny and criticism of results in the evolutionary framework.

  10. 10
    gpuccio says:

    paulmc:

    The point is not that results are not scrutinized at all. The point is that if results do not support any of the known non design explanations, be them calssical neodarwinisms, neutralism or whatever, a forced interpretation is always given, and granted as compatible with the existing paradigm.

    All the many evodences against the existing paradigms, in all their forms, and in favor of ID, are not even admitted to discussion.

    Moreover, a strong cognitive bias favours those papers that seem to “demonstrate” that some ID thesis is wrong. Without even mentioning ID, they are automatically propelled to great importance, and accepted in spite of their flaws.

    We have seen that in the surge of research aimed to “demonstrate” that the bacterial flagellum is not irreducibly complex.

    I have explicitly critized here, in great detail, tha paper by Szostak that tries to demonstrate, without succeeding, that functional sequences are rather fequent in random protein libraries. I have very explicitly shown why the paper was methodologically flawed, and how it used wrong epistemological assumnptions and wrong procedures for what it attempted to demonstrate. I am absolutely sure that the paper is flawed, and yet it remains one of the main references of darwinist propaganda (well, maybe here at UD a little bit less, now).

    That is widespread cognitive bias. The attempts of some serious darwinists to demonstrate that there is no prejudice against ID in the academic world is ridiculous. Abyboy with a grain of common sense would immediately understand that there is a lot of prejudice.

    The result is, when you are forced to explain results exclusively according to existing, accepted or tolerated paradigms (I would say that neutralism and puncuated equilibrium are more tolerated than accepted), then science has serious problems.

  11. 11
    Joe says:

    If only that were so…

  12. 12
    paulmc says:

    The point I made was a response to this hysterical line in the OP:

    That’s the difference, of course, between real science and Dudgeon science like Darwinism, where any result works, and self-righteous posturing stands in for results.

    I do not find that comment to be accurate or fair. However, explanations outside of the current paradigms are given little mainstream exposure, as you say.

    All the many evodences against the existing paradigms, in all their forms, and in favor of ID, are not even admitted to discussion.

    I disagree – problems in the current paradigms are discussed all the time. You should recognise that there is also vast amounts of evidence in favour of those paradigms, which is why we do not simply reject them outright at the first hurdle. When new problematic results arise, we ask how all of the observations might work together. Usually, this is able to be done within the existing paradigm.

    I am absolutely sure that the paper is flawed, and yet it remains one of the main references of darwinist propaganda

    There are many papers that I find flawed. A good response is to write a technical comment, provided the publishing journal accepts such. Just don’t use phrases like ‘darwinist propaganda’ as, you are unlikely to find mainstream acceptance for your ideas writing like that 🙂

  13. 13
    gpuccio says:

    paulmc:

    Your observations are reasonable, but I believe that they vastly underestimate the problem.

    And obviously, I don’t agree aboy the “vast amounts of evidence”, as you may know if you have read some of my more technical posts here.

    I usually don’t write tchnical comments to the papers. I am an MDS, not abiologict, and I don’t belive that’s my personal role.

    I feel free, however, to discuss techinical aspects of papers here, where, even in the middle ov various difficulties, some serious confrontation about the paradigms is done. My choice.

    And I agree with you that, if I use the term “darwinist propaganda” in a comment to a biological review, my hopes of seeing it published are in the range of the peobabilities that a new protein domaind emerge in a random system (well they would be very low in all cases).

    This is the “arena” I have chosen. Here I have had many interesting confrontations with intelligent people from the other side, in a free and respectful context, and learned a lot.

    And reinforced all my convictions. 🙂

  14. 14
    Mytheos says:

    Yes I agree and have read the stuff too.
    But there are also many cases where the media will run amok despite an honest scientist’s report.
    The world is a poorer place for it.

  15. 15
    Mytheos says:

    My team could scrutinise closely, with both sides giving nothing away without solid evidence. And constantly criticise and develope methods. And find the end result has been a massive move forward in our understanding of molecular evolution. But if Darwinian evolution is not the reality of the past then we have just done good science on a false hypothesis.
    Whats wrong with fitting data into more than one framework at a time?
    You multiply your chances of getting right answers so why not?

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