"Cancer science" may be nothing of the sort

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technovelist
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"Cancer science" may be nothing of the sort

Post by technovelist » Wed May 13, 2015 10:04 pm

Another nod to the most beautiful equation: e + 1 = 0
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Benko
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Re: "Cancer science" may be nothing of the sort

Post by Benko » Wed May 13, 2015 11:55 pm

Yikes. 

While it is true that a huge percentage of all medical articles e.g. half of articles published even in New England Journal Of medicine (one of the most respected journals) are worthless, that piece reads like you're reading the national enquirer.
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WildAboutHarry
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Re: "Cancer science" may be nothing of the sort

Post by WildAboutHarry » Thu May 14, 2015 6:20 pm

This is true, to a certain degree, of science in general.  Nobody knows nothing.

For example, Linus Pauling blew it on figuring out DNA.  And went way overboard on Vitamin C.
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Benko
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Re: "Cancer science" may be nothing of the sort

Post by Benko » Thu May 14, 2015 7:36 pm

WildAboutHarry wrote: This is true, to a certain degree, of science in general.  Nobody knows nothing.

For example, Linus Pauling blew it on figuring out DNA.  And went way overboard on Vitamin C.
And much of what we think we know in all areas of science are wrong. 
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Re: "Cancer science" may be nothing of the sort

Post by WildAboutHarry » Thu May 14, 2015 9:08 pm

As Mark Twain is rumored to have said:

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."
It is the settled policy of America, that as peace is better than war, war is better than tribute.  The United States, while they wish for war with no nation, will buy peace with none"  James Madison
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Re: "Cancer science" may be nothing of the sort

Post by Pet Hog » Fri May 15, 2015 2:18 pm

Benko wrote: And much of what we think we know in all areas of science are wrong.
I think two distinctions should be made.  Between settled science and conjecture, and between hard science and soft science.  I would say that most of what we think we know in all areas of science is true.  Because, you know, we know it.  I agree that much of what we suspect or hope to be true (I think this is where Benko is going) will turn out be wrong, but we will have to do the experiments and see.

I was an academic research scientist once, a chemist, co-authoring about 25 papers.  I stand by the results in all of them.  But then chemistry is a hard physical science and it's almost impossible to argue that we didn't do what we claimed to have done.
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Benko
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Re: "Cancer science" may be nothing of the sort

Post by Benko » Fri May 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Pet,

There are different areas of chemistry, and chemistry (in many areas) is well flushed out and deals in many cases with small areas of concern.  For example if we talk about the chemistry of reacting A + B yields 82% C + contaminants.  Sure that is settled science.  We know  with 100% certainty what the inputs are.  But if we are talking medicine, cosmology, physics (e.g. string theory or whatever the latest is), climatology, we don't even know what all the inputs are.  String theory (or whatever the latest is) could turn out to be 100% false in 50 years. 

The closer you can get to checking reality i.e. chemistry experiments you can do e.g. in a beaker, the better off you are.
Last edited by Benko on Fri May 15, 2015 4:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Pet Hog
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Re: "Cancer science" may be nothing of the sort

Post by Pet Hog » Fri May 15, 2015 5:00 pm

I agree, Benko.  But I don't think any researchers of, say, string theory would claim to know it to be true (that's what piqued me about your earlier statement).  They might personally convince themselves that, by golly, it just has to be true, but if it were to be proven wrong then they would have to accept the fact.  A problem arises in a softer science, like climatology, where any real experiments would take decades or centuries to complete, so we have to rely on fuzzy computer simulations.  Also, these vaguer areas of science are much easier for the general public to have opinions about, and possibly be misled.
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Re: "Cancer science" may be nothing of the sort

Post by MachineGhost » Fri May 15, 2015 7:50 pm

Well, duh!  It's been that way for decades ever since the beginning of the three lettered non-profits.  But I guess people have short memories so what's old is new again.
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Benko
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Re: "Cancer science" may be nothing of the sort

Post by Benko » Fri May 15, 2015 9:25 pm

Pet Hog wrote: I agree, Benko.  But I don't think any researchers of, say, string theory would claim to know it to be true (that's what piqued me about your earlier statement).  They might personally convince themselves that, by golly, it just has to be true, but if it were to be proven wrong then they would have to accept the fact. 
Perhaps you know more humble scientists than I.  Have you seen the Max Planck quote:

"A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."

That fits in with my impression of more scientists than does modesty, than again I only know a few scientists first hand. 
Pet Hog wrote: A problem arises in a softer science, like climatology
  Agreed. 
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