Sunday, 24 June 2012

Pseudoscience stuff from the week 18-24/6/12

'Are smart people really stupid?'
Yet again, it's the stupid journalists being stupid.
The evidence does not show that greater 'intellectual sophistication' means greater susceptibility to blind-spot bias, like the articles claim.
It showed no correlation i.e. more intelligent people are just as susceptible to self-assessment bias as anyone else - but not more susceptible!

Oooooooh, dear!
This report, much-replicated across the net, is totally bogus!
Kids of older dads have longer telomeres, but this does not automatically translate to longer life expectancy, because they have a higher risk of polymorphisms, mutations, etc. (same for mothers)
There is a large body of evidence that shows kids of older parents actually have lower life expectancies!

Guess what! -- what??
A vascular specialist has overturned the scientific consensus to prove that multiple sclerosis is not an immune problem, but is in fact vascular, and that he happens to have found a treatment for it, using techniques already known to him!
OK, you got me - no, he hasn't.
MS is immune - not vascular - his research is weak and unreplicated - and he's probably only done it because his wife has it, and he feels obliged to work extra hard to find her a cure.
The awful thing about pseudoscience is that it is often motivated by 'the best intentions' but still does a massive amount of damage, because...
"Nobody can do the right the thing unless they know what the right thing is" - Thomas Royston

'Proposed testosterone testing of some female Olympians challenged by Stanford scientists'
The trouble with this paradigm, is that the sexes are stereotypes - there is not clear-cut way to distinguish between 'men' and 'women'.
Transsexual and intersex people are real, and are often just 'born that way'.
Anyway, testosterone alone is not a good indicator of sexual category - many women have high testosterone, and men low testosterone - but they're clearly not not-women and not-men, because of everything else about them!
Athletic events will always have this problem because the very idea of having separate competitions for people who are more and less able, is intrinsically flawed.
The only reason women have separate competitions, is because they're not as good as men at just about every one of them!
The female athletes who've condemned Caster Semenya for "being a man" are just being spiteful, because wanted to win their category, and she happens to be better than them.

'Lifeline Screening advert withdrawn. Hurrah. But what will they replace it with…'
Lifeline, a pseudoscientific medical screening scam, has been forced to remove one of its ads (or at least change them). But the movement's not dead, yet.
"the GMC need evidence of harm to act. So if anyone has been harmed by these adverts or the screening tests, you might want to let the GMC know."

Neanderthal: Profile of a super-predator!
"Danny Vendramini is a man with a vision… but absolutely no knowledge or competence."

A bit of fun to finish the section:
Deepak Chopra is obsolete - he has been replaced by a ‘bot. And it’s amazing how well it captures the true spirit of Chopra!

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