On the Limitations of Science

Most scientific papers are probably wrong,” by Kurt Kleiner, New Scientist, 30 August 2005, http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7915 (from Slashdot).

Quoted in full:

Most published scientific research papers are wrong, according to a new analysis. Assuming that the new paper is itself correct, problems with experimental and statistical methods mean that there is less than a 50% chance that the results of any randomly chosen scientific paper are true.

John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece, says that small sample sizes, poor study design, researcher bias, and selective reporting and other problems combine to make most research findings false. But even large, well-designed studies are not always right, meaning that scientists and the public have to be wary of reported findings.

“We should accept that most research findings will be refuted. Some will be replicated and validated. The replication process is more important than the first discovery,” Ioannidis says.

In the paper, Ioannidis does not show that any particular findings are false. Instead, he shows statistically how the many obstacles to getting research findings right combine to make most published research wrong.
Massaged conclusions

Traditionally a study is said to be “statistically significant” if the odds are only 1 in 20 that the result could be pure chance. But in a complicated field where there are many potential hypotheses to sift through – such as whether a particular gene influences a particular disease – it is easy to reach false conclusions using this standard. If you test 20 false hypotheses, one of them is likely to show up as true, on average.

Odds get even worse for studies that are too small, studies that find small effects (for example, a drug that works for only 10% of patients), or studies where the protocol and endpoints are poorly defined, allowing researchers to massage their conclusions after the fact.

Surprisingly, Ioannidis says another predictor of false findings is if a field is “hot”, with many teams feeling pressure to beat the others to statistically significant findings.

But Solomon Snyder, senior editor at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, US, says most working scientists understand the limitations of published research.

“When I read the literature, I’m not reading it to find proof like a textbook. I’m reading to get ideas. So even if something is wrong with the paper, if they have the kernel of a novel idea, that’s something to think about,” he says.

Now, if only some one would have already said this….

Ice Cream Pie Recipe

From mother-of-tdaxp

The receipe calls for you to melt 1/2 cup peanut butter with 1/4 cup brown sugar on stove top (keep stirring takes only a minute or two) and then you just stir that into about a quart of softening icecream – not runny soft though. Actually I have adapted and used much less of the concotion and it tastes just as good and is healthier – you could go the same amount of p. butter and brown suger to a whole half gallon of vanilla ice cream. Then pour it into a graham cracker pie shell and freeze hard – or just pour it into glasses and drink like a blizzard. After freezing the pie you drizzle on some fudge topping (might have to warm the fudge topping in microwave to make it soft enough)

An Unfinished Novel By a Rising New American Blogger-Novelist

An excerpt from chapter 23

Bree, Anthony, and Alby arrived at the hospital around ten o’clock in the morning, and they found Paul sitting by Lila’s bed. There were no parents, aunts, uncles, or cousins in the vicinity; it was just Paul and Lila, alone in the tiny private room.

She had deflated somewhat, but not all the way. Her hair was pulled back, and she looked older, almost her own age.

“I invited Alby for breakfast the other day,” Anthony said, anticipating Paul’s question. Except, that morning, Paul didn’t look like he wanted to ask anybody anything.

“How’s it going?” Anthony asked, moving closer to Lila’s bed.

“Tired,” she answered. “Lots of painkillers.”

“So let’s let you sleep,” Bree said.

“There is no sleeping.” She closed her eyes for moment as if she was trying to regain her sense of reality – although, Alby reminded herself, it wasn’t like she ever had one in the first place. “You should see the babies. They’re in incubators down the hall.”

“I’m amazed you can say ‘incubators’. What’d you name them?”

“The incubators?”

“Your children.”

“Aradia, Brigid, Cerridywn, and Diana. I’ll put that on the birth certificates when I’m feeling more sane tomorrow.”

Start from the beginning

Free Huskers Football Practice for Sunday, August 28

Fellow UNL Student,

The football team is fired up to kick off the 2005 season next Saturday against Maine at Memorial Stadium. We are looking forward to you and all of the student season ticket holders being at our home games throughout the year.

We have worked extremely hard in the off-season to make this a great year for the Huskers, and we are planning to have the type of season that our fellow students and all of Nebraska will be proud of.

The student section is the key to getting Memorial Stadium rocking on Saturdays. We need you to wear Red, get fired up and make it a little tougher on the opponent. Believe us, the home crowd at Memorial Stadium makes a difference and we know the students are the loudest people in the house.

Our team wanted to give the students a sneak preview of what to expect from your 2005 Huskers, so we decided to invite all UNL students to Memorial Stadium this Sunday night to check out our practice. The students who didn’t buy season tickets will get their invite tomorrow, but we wanted you to be the first to hear from us. Only UNL students will be there, so we hope you will come by and help us get ready for a great season.

The gates will be open at 6:45 p.m. There will be free hot dogs and Pepsi [free food is the definition of graduate school — tdaxp], and a chance to hang out with your friends while watching a little Sunday Night Football—Husker Style.

Make sure you have your student I.D. and come to Gate 24 on the Southeast corner of the stadium. For once you don’t have to drag your backpack around campus (they wouldn’t let you bring it in anyway). You might even get a chance to hear from the two of us and Coach Callahan.

The team is planning a few new things on game-day to get the student section even more involved, and we’ll let you see that on Sunday. See you Sunday night and Go Big Red!

Daniel Bullocks
Cory Ross
2005 Team Captains

Varieties of Catholicism from the Byzantine Rite Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Lincoln, Nebraska

Frequently Asked Questions,” St. George, St. Joseph & Assumption of the BVM UCCs, downloaded 20 August 2005, http://stgeorgemission.org/FAQs.html.

How many Eastern Catholic Churches and Rites are there?

There are eight rites in the Catholic Church and twenty-two Churches:

In the Roman Rite there is the Latin Church. Within the Latin Church there are sub-rites that include the Anglican Use, Ambrosian, Bragan, Carmelite, Carthusian, Dominican, Mozarabic and Tridentine.

In the Armenian Rite there is the Armenian Church.

In the Byzantine Rite there is the Italo-Albanian Church, Melkite Church, Ukrainian Church, Ruthenian Church, Romanian Church, Greek Church in Greece, Greek Church of Former Yugoslavia, Bulgarian Church, Slovak Church, Hungarian Church, Russian Church, Belarussian Church and the Albanian Church.

In the Alexandrian Rite there is the Coptic Church.

In the Maronite Rite there is the Maronite Church.

In the East Syrian Rite there is the Chaldean Church and Syro-Malabar Church.

In the West Syrian or Antiochene Rite there is the Malankar Church and the Syrian Church.

In the Abyssinian Rite there is the Ethiopian Church.