Over 100 fraudulent peer-reviewed papers discovered…

by accident.

And these were only cases of blatant cases of obvious fraud in one area.

When “science” is an industry that depends largely on “publish or perish” just to get government and corporate funding en masse, why is it crazy or “conspiracy-theorist” to think that reforms are needed and that there’s not much good reason for the public at large should trust something just because it’s from “Scientists” with a capital “S?”

This is, frequently, taxpayer money on the line, and I’m rather sick of hearing that the general public is out of line to even ask questions like this, or just trust that because someone’s a scientist, they know what they’re talking about and are telling the truth.

Question: if you had a few million dollars in funding on the line, and you discovered the hypotheses you were working on were failed and had reached a dead end, but you had your own career and those of many under you on the line, how likely would you be to do the noble thing and say “this is all wrong, we need to start over from scratch,” versus, trying to find every way you could to justify continuing to support a failed paradigm or hypothesis?

I think this incident goes to show what at least some would do.

And please don’t use “but they were found out!” as a defense. This crap got right past the reviewers, they were found by computer search. No one else even frickin’ noticed.

Putin’s New Russian Empire?

It appears that Vladimir Putin has decided Ukraine belongs to Russia, and if they don’t like it, too bad.

My bet would be that Putin wins this little gamble. Obama will indeed blink first, and so will the rest of the NATO powers. No one will use military force to counter Putin, and not much else will deter him either. A de facto Russian Empire will slowly become a reality.

This will serve to demonstrate, for some observers, why you can’t reason with dictators; what they ultimately understand and respect is force. This is how they rule, and the only thing that stops them is the same. Criticism, condemnation, and protests are merely an irritant to them.

Putin is a genuine dictator, and we are foolish not to recognize this.

The New Dean’s World

In case you haven’t noticed, the look of this blog has changed. After wrestling endlessly with trying to get the old archives working properly with proper author attributions and properly indexed and all that I threw in the towel, made a new blog, imported the last year or so’s content, and called it a wash. I’ve got an archive of all the old content, even if it is in somewhat mangled form, so that someday, hopefully for posterity, I can go through and salvage some of the better writing on it. But rather tha look to the past and keep endlessly trying to tinker with and repair something fundamentally broken, a clean start seemed like the best idea for now.

As a bonus you should find the site working faster now, plus, we’re using Disqus for comments, which is pretty cool I think.

I still probably won’t be writing here as regularly as I used to since most of my energy these days is focused on A Voice for Men, however, I’ll continue to post here now and then when I have something unrelated I feel an urge to write about (here and on The Moderate Voice, and any of you old-timers hanging around who’d still like working author account should let me know. :-)

One day I’d love to write the history of this place. It would be a hell of a story.

Self-driving cars to be held up by regulators?

As the reality of self-driving cars on our roads becomes imminent, the U.S. Department of Transportation is making noises about trying to slow up or stall their entry into the market, calling them “frightening.” The Wall Street Journal looks at why this is misguided.

This is a technology that is not only an inevitability, but will save money, reduce pollution, reduce energy consumption, and save countless lives, so of course Washington wants to slow it down. 😛

Dishonesty by the “Encyclopedia of American Loons”

I recently discovered that in random Google searches on my name, some obscure blog called the “Encyclopedia of American Loons” comes up with a posting about me full of half-truths and distortions and irrational ad hominems about public positions I’ve taken in years past.

There was a period 5-10 years ago where I was getting pretty incoherent in my blogging, while in the depths of a bad marriage and trying to soothe it with alcohol, and therefore occasionally ranting hyperbolically more than I should have. I was also regularly getting gang-slammed and trolled by people on the internet, mostly on other blogs, saying nasty things about me that probably (no, definitely) exacerbated my temper. Nevertheless almost none of those assertions in the “Encyclopedia of American Loons” are really true–and if the “Encyclopedia of American Loons” were linking the original articles I wrote, quoting me directly instead of what other people were saying about me, or what other people were quote-mining me on, or what other people were imputing to be my positions instead of just asking me what they were, it would be at least a lot more honest. I know I’ve said things in the past that embarrassed me, especially when speaking or writing in haste, but anyone who asked me to clarify my positions would know where I really stand.

In any case, yes 1) it’s true that I respect Peter Duesberg, Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology at the University of California at Berkeley, and believe he has been sorely mistreated by the scientific establishment, and that many (not all) so-called “AIDS Denialists” deserve more respect than they get, 2) I did at one time argue that running to court to throw silly Creationist literature and idiotic Creationist stickers out of the schools was more destructive than allowing their nonsense to be discussed in science classes–because banning it by force just feeds the Creationist paranoia that scientists are censoring them and leads to more parents pulling their kids out of the public schools and/or telling their children that their science teachers are lying to them (and that this essay by Michael Baltar is spot on, and 3) yes, I do indeed believe that in many (not all) areas of the sciences, the peer review process (which I know a great deal about actually) has been terribly corrupted by money. This, apparently, makes me a “loon” and a “crackpot” and a “conspiracy theorist.”

The fact that on #1 I talked to multiple fully credentialed scientists and mainstream journalists who supported Duesberg in whole or in part is not of course mentioned, the fact that on #2 I made it repeatedly clear that I think Creationism is stupid and that “Intelligent Design” is not a science, and the fact that on #3 my criticism about money polluting the peer review process merely echoes what a lot of other working scientists will tell you isn’t mentioned either. Neither do they mention my regular writing about how toxic conspiracy theories are, and my repeat explanation that “corruption” is not a “conspiracy,” it’s corruption.

But it’s clear that the “Encyclopedia of American Loons” isn’t really interested in being truthful. It’s interested in well-poisoning. I guess if you’re going to take public iconoclastic positions on the internet, you should get used to it. So in a way, I’m honored to be so important to them. I just wanted to mention, for the record, this “encyclopedia” entry is dishonest, and it would make me question anything written by or about anyone else on it. But hey, at least I’m honored to be noticeable and prominent enough in their eyes to merit an article.

*Update* You know, upon reflection, I’m a little surprised that the “Encyclopedia of American Loons” editors did not also note my frequent assertion that the overwhelming evidence from the peer reviewed scientific literature is that eating fewer calories and exercising more is not an effective cure for obesity — maybe because they know that’s not really refutable — or that I think Bjorn Lomborg has the most sensible attitude about Global Warming and that Watt’s Up With That and that Climate Audit are both important sites if you’re actually interested in rational skepticism about the subject of Global Warming. I imagine on the latter, they also almost certainly consider all of the above “crackpots” and “conspiracy theorists” too.

We’re back

Technical glitch over the holidays had this site down. Sorry ’bout that.

In the next few weeks I’ll be announcing an overhaul of this site, which will continue, although probably in the much-less-busy way than it was years ago.

Stay tuned, and have a happy new year!

To our Veterans: you honored us and you deserve better

Unlike my good friend Paul Elam, who is himself a US Army veteran, I do not believe the majority of wars America has fought in the last 75 or so years (the real ones, not the phony ones like the War On Drugs) have been fought for commerce or imperialism or any of those other things we commonly hear asserted in “liberal” and libertarian circles. Indeed, I find it incredibly naive to believe that any dictatorship anywhere in the world will not seize the first opportunity it has to create far more bloodshed than the US ever has if we cease most of our overseas operations. The world is filled with mass graves in places where great powers had the ability to do something and washed their hands and sighed and said these things were bad but did nothing but talk, and it is filled with hundreds of millions of people who lived because the USA acted instead of refusing to act.

There are those who disagree with me and draw a moral equivalence between what we do and what the likes of North Korea or Iran or China do and have done. They’ll tell you that World Communism was going to fix itself due to natural economic collapse–to which I can only say: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Right, and National Socialism would have also ended itself due to its own economic inefficiencies if no one had bothered to try to stop Hitler.

I will not argue this point further here, although I believe such beliefs dishonor those who actually have fought. The notion that the average American GI is an automaton indiscriminately slaughtering is misandrist garbage, and the notion that he has done no good with his service also dishonors him and his fellows, whether he says it of himself or not. There are hundreds of millions alive today who would not be thanks to GI Joe (the real one, not that goofy cartoon).

As a veteran on A Voice for Men recently commented:

I am not a warrior of imperialism nor were the family members who literally DID die in a war over freedom and evil in Europe and Asia.

I will simply celebrate the memory and wash the head stones of my sacred bretheren today.

Of course there are veterans who disagree with this. There are others who agree strongly, nowhere near as often heard from in our maintsream media, but many of them are men (and let’s face it, it’s virtually all men we’re talking about here, although some women have served with honor) who are rightly proud of their work. The right to such disagreement and debate as to the causes and justifications for war are woven into the fabric of a free society, which we still are–although at times I wonder how much longer that will be, as enemies domestic not foreign eat away at the civil and human rights that should be the very core of our nation’s values.

In any case, today we have reached an unprecedented level of suicide among America’s veterans. As Paul Elam notes and Forbes Magazine confirms, America’s veterans are now killing themselves at a rate of 22 per day. This is a horror we seem not to wish to face as a nation: at no time in our history has such an epidemic of suicides (virtually all of them male, as suicide in general is primarily a male problem, especially in the military) among those who have fought for their country. Yet there are fewer veterans in total number than previous generations of veterans and they have frequently never experienced horrors as great as seen in conflicts such as World War II or Korea; indeed, they are generally better educated, better housed, receive better medical care, and are less likely to be killed in action than any generation of veterans ever has been.

These suicides of our veterans cannot be due to “the horrors of combat.” To be blunt, not only is that a horrific and sexist stereotype about men who have served in combat, but most combat veterans of previous generations saw far more carnage that the vast majority of our Soldiers today ever will. They are killing themselves because they come home to find lives of devastation, not because the horrors of war are particularly worse today than ever.

The numbers tell the tale: 22 a day at home, 1 a day abroad. Something’s wrong when they get back here, and that is one of our great national failings.

IF you are a veteran who is homeless, destitute, despondent, alone, and/or being crushed by our horribly misandrist “criminal justice” and our sexist, abusive, civil-rights-trashing family court system, and our deeply male-hostile economy and male-hostile social safety net, please know I honor you for your service, and I am sorry for what has been done to you when you returned home.

And regardless of your situation, whether desperate or good, and regardless of whether we agree politically or not, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service and your sacrifice. And I pledge to continue to work to try to make it better for those of you who have been so ill-treated when you returned.

Obama about as unpopular as Bush

In fact, Bush did a little better (but not in a statistically significant way).

As someone who voted for both men (although I did not vote Obama in 2008, I did in 2012) I can only snicker. Most Presidents have sucky second terms. I will just enjoy watching the smug come off of some of the faces of the rabid Bush-haters. It will remain to be seen in the legacy of history of course; anyone who thinks they can really evaluate a President until he’s been out of office at least a few terms is fooling himself.

Defending the liberal tradition in history, science, and philosophy