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Archive: Open Parachute August 2012

Confirmation bias – we all suffer from it but how can we reduce its effect?

Ken Perrott Jan 10, 2018

Confirmation bias – we all suffer from it. It’s just part of being human. According to Psychology Today, Confirmation bias occurs from the direct influence of desire on beliefs. When people would like a certain idea/concept to be true, they end up believing it to be true. They are motivated by wishful thinking. This error leads the individual to … Read More

Anti-fluoridationists misrepresent New Zealand dental data – an annual event

Ken Perrott Dec 18, 2017

  Caught again! – NZ anti-fluoride campaigners tell their annual porky about the MoH statistics for the dental health of school children. This exercise in confirmation bias by New Zealand anti-fluoridation campaigners has become an annual tradition involving confirmation bias and cherry-picking. Every year the Ministry of Health (MoH) releases a spreadsheet containing the most recent data on school children’s dental health. And every … Read More

Fluoridation means money in the pocket

Ken Perrott Dec 07, 2017

The ordinary person – not the taxation-financed health system – is the main financial beneficiary of community water fluoridation, according to a new study from New Zealand researchers. Their research confirmed that community water fluoridation in New Zealand is highly cost-effective for all but the smallest communities. This study updates previous evaluations by including data for adults – previous studies were limited to … Read More

Anti-fluoridation campaigners often use statistical significance to confirm bias

Ken Perrott Dec 06, 2017

Frankly, these days I just get turned off by media reports of studies showing statistically significant relationships as evidence for or against the latest health or other fads. I was pleased to read this Nature article – Five ways to fix statistics – recently as it mirrors my concern at the way statistical analysis is sometimes used to justify or confirm a bias and not … Read More

NZ blogs sitemeter rankings – November ’17

Ken Perrott Dec 01, 2017

 Here are the rankings of New Zealand blogs with publicly available statistics for November 2017.  Of course, Statcounter has decided to change their format again and this has caused another headache this month. Every time this happens it screws up the existing methods for automatically downloading the statistics. I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the … Read More

The problem with scepticism

Ken Perrott Nov 30, 2017

Being a sceptic has its problems. On the one hand, a sceptical approach to information has never been more necessary. On the other hand labelling oneself a Sceptic (or Skeptic) can have negative results – encouraging arrogance and inability to accept criticism. I have been thinking about this a lot lately and have again and again found myself encouraging a … Read More

Is synthetic meat ethical?

Ken Perrott Nov 30, 2017

I am deeply ashamed of it now – but at the time it seemed like an experience I couldn’t afford to miss. It was so exotic – and I was travelling. Twenty years ago I ate at a restaurant in Johannesburg, the Republic of South Africa,  which specialised in meat dishes – from game animals. It was a real feast. Stews of … Read More

Anti-fluoride “expert” finds the real reason oral health has improved – and it’s not fluoride

Ken Perrott Nov 15, 2017

 Anti-fluoride campaigners always promote people like Geoff Pain as “renowned” or “world experts.” They aren’t. Pain has no credible scientific publications on fluoride. No, in fact, he claims lead is responsible for tooth decay and the improvement in oral health is a result of removing airborne lead contamination. And the “proof” is even in the title of his report – … Read More

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October ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking

Ken Perrott Nov 02, 2017

Here are the rankings of New Zealand blogs with publicly available statistics for October 2017. Of course, Statcounter has decided to change their format and this has caused a headache this month. Every time this happens it screws up the existing methods for automatically downloading the statistics. I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site … Read More

New fluoride debate falters

Ken Perrott Oct 26, 2017

What is it with these anti-fluoride campaigners – and particularly their leaders? They make a song and dance about having “science on their side.” They will heavily promote the latest research and papers if they can argue that they confirm their bias. And they will email politicians or make submissions to local bodies making scientific claims – often with citations and long lists of references. Read More

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