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What eggs tell us about what’s wrong with science today

Instead of doing a study on religious affiliation and science beliefs (yawn), why not do one, with all the rumty-tumty and trappings, of who the suckers are who actually believe all that stuff uncritically? What else do they believe? Read More ›

Media are flabby from a diet of junk science

Should we believe them when they tell us that the drinking four cups of coffee daily lowers our risk of death people with spouses live longer? A statistician and a physician team up to explain why not: A subtler manifestation of dishonesty in research is what amounts to statistical cheating. Here is how it works… If you try to answer one question – by asking about levels of coffee consumption, for example, to test whether drinking certain amounts a day are associated with more or less cancer; or whether being married is associated with increased longevity — and test the results with appropriate statistical methods, there is a 5% chance of getting a (nominally) statistically significant result purely by chance Read More ›

Fruit fly study casts doubt on the “carbs are bad” neutral evolution theory

From ScienceDaily: Fruit fly research challenges neutral theory of molecular evolution and suggests one day we may be prescribed diets according to our genes. Fruit fly larvae with a noted mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutation showed a pronounced increase in development when eating high carbohydrate diet of banana, but stagnated on a high protein diet of passionfruit. Conversely, fruit fly larvae without the mtDNA mutation thrived on the high protein diet, but dropped in frequency when put on carbohydrates. UNSW School of Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences Professor Bill Ballard, who led the study, says the research is a rare demonstration of positive selection at work in evolution. “What is unique about this study is we’ve identified one mutation in the mitochondrial Read More ›

Another pop science great, the 100-calorie snack guy, fizzles

Behaviorist Brian Wansink whose “bottomless bowl” theory of why people eat too much – and other creative but problematic ideas hatched at Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab has fallen from grace: His lab informed food companies implementing the 100-calorie snack packs you see in stores, for example, under the idea that these smaller portions would get people to eat less. He led the national committee on dietary guidelines and worked to improve the food ecosystems in public schools, the U.S. Army, and Google, among others. On Thursday, Cornell’s provost, Michael Kotlikoff, issued a statement (touted by a university press release) that said a faculty committee had investigated Wansink and found that he had “committed academic misconduct in his research and Read More ›

Another well-earned jab at “nutrition science”

Alex Berezow sticks another fork in nutrition science, courtesy John Ioannidis: Dr. Ioannidis has gone on to show that the best scientists don’t always get funded, why neuroscience is unreliable, why most clinical research is useless, and that most economics studies are exaggerated. In other words, the process by which we acquire new knowledge is fundamentally flawed and much of what we think we know is wrong. Dr. Ioannidis is not just a bull in a china shop; he’s a bazooka in a china shop. … Here at ACSH, we have been saying for a long time that nutrition research is shoddy and mostly wrong. The reason is inherent to the way research is conducted in the field: Too much Read More ›