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Is there any legitimate reason to prohibit research?

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  • #31
    Yah, hmmmm.... Vol_scouter, that would be an opinion, eh? Or perhaps a hypothesis.

    So let's test da hypothesis.

    I think what you'll find is that for da most part the research is more sound and informative than listening to either Feinstein or da NRA. Nobody will be making up history or moralizing about evil guns. That alone would be an improvement.

    I suspect you'd find that a lot of da research looked something like that study of 10 years of data out of Texas, eh? The one I shared earlier on CCW permit holders and crime. Responsible, thoughtful with the data they had, a bit of lookin' for effects of certain types one way or the other, but honest in the reporting. CCW permit holders are generally safe, much less likely to commit common crimes like burglary, slightly more likely to commit firearms felonies or sexual abuse, but the latter is a small subset and is probably related to demographic factors in most cases, not to carrying. If they had better data, they could have controlled for those demographic factors.

    Da bigger risk with any research is what da popular press and the lobbyists do with it after it's published. Often news media reports bear little resemblance to the actual work, and sometimes researchers get caught up in that glamour a bit and say things which make for inaccurate sound bites. And lobbyists just lie and spin, eh? But that's not da fault of research or researchers.

    We can always start by believin' all doctors are out to serve da medical/pharmaceutical industry, eh? And then choose to ignore doctors or not fund medical research because all it will lead to is more expensive treatment and higher medical costs. There's a kernel of truth there, to be sure. But it's still a silly conclusion.

    Beavah

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    • #32
      Vol_scouter, do you see any value in collecting this data into a dataset that could be analyzed by anyone? (This message has been edited by a staff member.)

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      • #33
        Beavah,

        I have read the clear bias in medical journals against guns over the past 25 years. I have read the editorials that praised poor research or touted conclusions that were not substantiated by the data.

        I have read the large studies over decades that studied the health of radiation workers. Those studies show that radiation workers at US nuclear facilities are more healthy than their age matched counterparts. They have LOWER cancer rates with the exception of lymphoma that is slightly increased though NOT STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT. Yet, the introduction to the rather large summary papers is that radiation work is dangerous and causes cancer - they just can't demonstrate it. They conclude with an anti-radiation theme. Conclusions that cannot be supported by the data but does match the world view of the left. Such conclusions in not politically charged areas of research would not be published until those things were corrected.

        Prestigious scientists have resigned from their professional organizations because they are no allowed to bring up any contrary view to AGW.

        The press is even worse because they do not understand science. So once again, save the taxpayers $10 million and declare guns to be evil. Fair research is not possible in this debate in the current climate in our research community in which I work and love. It is a sad time for science and America.

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        • #34
          You didn't answer my question. But you did post something that begs another: "Fair research is not possible in this debate in the current climate in our research community in which I work and love."
          Do you think perhaps the problems you write about really infest EVERY study and EVERY research community? They seem, by your words, to be confined to the "research community in which (you) work".

          As for your comments about radiation, thanks for reassuring the survivors of Fukushima and Chernobyl, they probably need some reason for optimism.

          Side note: In the heyday of nuclear power, I routinely listened as health physicists proclaimed that not only was low-level radiation harmless, it was GOOD for you. Kind of like daily exercise, it was supposed to be good for our nucleic acids to be blasted by high energy particles....in order to give our repair mechanisms continual good practice, or something along those lines. I like to remind my geneticist and cell biologist friends of this once in a while - I get a laugh out of their facial contortions.
          Of course, most of those health physicists were also chain smokers (and today, dead). The tobacco industry was proclaiming something similar about their business and products at about that same time.

          Would you be willing to illuminate the thread about the U.S. Radium Corporation and the clock dial painters? Can you see any similarity between claims made by these industries and claims being made by NRA?

          Was the research done with regard to radium and occupational health completely biased and wrong? Were we hoodwinked into erroneously thinking those girls were harmed by radiation when in fact, there was no such effect of radiation? And on that basis we should NOT gather information and do the research on guns, gun violence, and factors associated with gun deaths and injuries? Is that what you're saying?

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          • #35
            Would you be willing to illuminate the thread about the U.S. Radium Corporation and the clock dial painters? Can you see any similarity between claims made by these industries and claims being made by NRA?

            Packsaddle, you seem to be missing the key contention - that government funded research is no less prone to distortion than privately funded research.

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            • #36
              Packsaddle,

              Perhaps I was not specific enough. These are the rad workers in the US DOD facilities. So Hanford, Y-12, ORNL, LANL, LLNL, Savannah River, etc. Also, it is well know that a large doses, especially in a short period of time is different from low level that I mentioned. Sorry to burst your bubble, but the research does show that those radiation workers are healthier than their age matched cohorts.
              The dial painters were swallowing radium which has nothing to do with the rad workers that I mentioned. You know that is a red herring in the argument.
              In my one of my fields, there exists considerable bias as I mentioned and that is medicine. Try to get funding for some out of the box ideas in medicine. Won't happen from NIH. My other field has little issues and tends to have more definite and measurable data. Climate research is not physics though many physicists work in climate science now.
              JMHawkinsis correct. Politically charged research will have biased results.

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              • #37
                JMHawkins, in my experience there ARE forces which ATTEMPT to influence BOTH government and private research. However, if you can show me the job description for any government research scientist in which it states that they are compelled to submit to such influence, I'll eat that description. I can tell you from direct experience that in private research, the influence is more direct and much stronger if that's what it takes to achieve some business goal. I can also tell you from direct experience that if such influence is attempted in government research, a scientist has far greater means to resist or refuse such influence. In fact a publicly-funded scientist has every reason to make everything PUBLIC, thus making such influence, if it exists, apparent to skeptics like you or vol_scouter. For most public research, the FOIA is available to you if there is any reluctance to make that data public.
                I can tell you from direct experience that if private industry funds research, they consider the data and the results to be proprietary, and rightly so. They will use 'their' data any way they see fit and tell you that if you want to question their conclusions, do your own study and collect YOUR own data.

                Because public funding for research on guns, gun violence, and gun safety is banned, NRA doesn't even have to do its own research. As a lobbying organization they can make any claim they want and let their superior 'spin' cast greater weight on whatever biases are out there already. Substance is unnecessary (impossible, really) in the face of ignorance on that scale.

                So I ask you the same question that vol_scouter seems unable to answer: "Vol_scouter, do you see any value in collecting this data into a dataset that could be analyzed by anyone?"
                If not, there is no need for further thought.
                But if so, I'll follow up with another question: Who do you think would be the BEST organization to do that research and why?
                (This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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                • #38
                  I can also tell you from direct experience that if such influence is attempted in government research, a scientist has far greater means to resist or refuse such influence.

                  I tried to illustrate this with my example about the ecologists report - nobody has to try and influence the researchers, they just have to carefully choose who to fund and the pre-existing biases of the reserachers who got funded will produce the desired results. And if for some reason the results aren't what you wanted, well, just don't make much noise about them.

                  Have there been any recent NIH or CDC studies that concluded the Federal Government should play a smaller role in any aspect of health care? Have they, for instance, ever published a study that observed a connection between decades of government published dietary guidelines and a massive increase in obesity? Have any concluded by saying "hey, you guys who paid for this study, you really don't have a clue what you're doing and for the good of everybody you ought to give up your power and budget and just go home."? Or do they all pretty much blame Big Macs, Big Gulps, and transfats?

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                  • #39
                    I personally have produced studies in which I recommended essentially to "do nothing" as the most efficient response only to have a Congressman stick some earmark into the budget to do the work anyway. I'd really like for pork like that just to be handed to the states freely instead of masquerading as useful work.

                    JMHawkins, To respond to your question, I do know a few people in CDC. Yes, they are limited by the policy decisions as to what kinds of topics to study. Usually this is expressed by the 'center' or lower organizational unit they decide to work in (often focused on individual diseases). But the scientists themselves, the ones I know, are very careful to exclude bias in their studies. OTOH, the ones I know study things like malaria and dengue. I have no direct knowledge of studies of obesity and dietary 'rules'. If you know the statistics, why not just state them? DO you know the statistics on this? Can YOU name those studies you imply are out there? I may just need to 'get out' more.

                    The NIH research that I know of is mostly focused on basic science...in which the practical application is fairly obscure or a possibility in the distant future (cellular recognition proteins and enzymes associated with infection by certain virus groups, for instance). I guess it's possible that someone could submit a proposal which contains some kind of political bias with regard to obesity...and actually get it through peer review. Is this really a topic that has you 'on fire' right now? The research I know of is not some exercise in data mining and arcane statistics. Again, if you know, out of all the research done through NIH, that there are some which are flawed by a bias of some sort, why not just list the study and give the statistic?

                    And you know, it would have been great if you would have tried to answer MY questions before responding with yours.

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                    • #40
                      Frog with no legs is deaf. As an engineer, I get a kick out of medical research because very rarely, does it show cause and effect, just tendencies. For example, bald men age and eventually die and then someone (media, misguided doctors) or some corporation (Merck-propecia, Pfizer-rogaine) touts their new drug to prevent baldness and prolong our life!

                      Data, in and of itself, is not good nor bad. I think it would be wonderful to collect data on gun violence - the questions are who pays for database management, who enters the data, who has access to the data, etc.

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                      • #41
                        ...the scientists themselves, the ones I know, are very careful to exclude bias in their studies. OTOH, the ones I know study things like malaria and dengue. I have no direct knowledge of studies of obesity and dietary 'rules'.

                        But this gets back to my original point about CDC research. I'm fine with, approve of, happily support, research on non-policy issues, like malaria and dengue. There are limited opportunities for pork, or power grabs, over these subjects. Nobody is calling for a national dialog on dengue fever.

                        The same isn't true for guns, climate, or for that matter obesity. Those are all rife with public policy debate.

                        If the CDC wants to study the best treatment for gunshot wounds, great. If they want to study gun ownership, red flag.



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                        • #42
                          If guns or for that matter obesity, are major factors contributing to "ill-health" screw the controversy and study or gather the facts. I'd rather have the debate done with facts as opposed to ignorance.

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                          • #43
                            If guns or for that matter obesity, are major factors contributing to "ill-health" screw the controversy and study or gather the facts. I'd rather have the debate done with facts as opposed to ignorance.

                            Again, you're making the assumption you'll get facts. I'm saying you're at least as likely to get propaganda, or at the very least, cherry-picked stats.

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                            • #44
                              Thank you, ACCO40, for answering the first question. Yes, there is a question of cost but someone WILL eventually pay the cost, no matter what, if that work is done. So assuming someone will pay (I'm not so concerned about the source of the funding - see above), the second question asks who you think would be the best to DO the research?

                              BTW, I sympathize with your criticism regarding cause and effect. That is common in my field as well. You do have to admit, I hope, that something as complex as a living system is not as easy to identify cause and effect relationships as it is for machines?

                              Vol_scouter, JMHawkins, still waiting.......hello, hello, calling Rangoon!

                              OK, here's a suggestion: NRA pays for CDC to do the research. NOW where's the bias?

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                              • #45
                                Packsaddle, you seem to be missing the key contention - that government funded research is no less prone to distortion than privately funded research.

                                Even were that da case (which is unlikely given that there is no direct personal financial gain entailed, the way there is for private research), government-funded research would be preferable, because government-funded research is subject to clear protections for human subjects, has greater oversight by diverse stakeholders (typically includin' a mandate for an outside evaluation team), can compel participation as a means of evaluatin' government programs and therefore greatly reduce sampling bias, and the data is made available to everyone for verification/re-analysis.

                                What your concern seems to be is that da research is likely to begin with an assumption that there's a problem to be solved, and therefore tend to effects-hunt. Yah, sure, that's a genuine concern. Positive findings are published more often than negative findings, and some of those are spurious. That's an argument for strong peer review, open data, and replication, not an argument to restrict research.

                                Vol_scouter has offered da same critiques on medical research, eh? And yet, for all its flaws, medical research continues to advance da state of the art of medicine. Would yeh propose no federal funding or data collection on health care and medicine as well?

                                Beavah

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