Tagged: Science

More Wellcome reading - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Feb 09, 2018

I know many of my readers are, well, readers. (Ha!) I like book prize longlists, as they give you a selection to browse, all of which will be great efforts. (I’d also encourage browsing around the booksellers’ and publishers’ websites, and bookstores: there are excellent books not on any prize shortlist.*) The Wellcome Trust, one of largest medical research … Read More

Yet another fluoride-IQ study - Open Parachute

Ken Perrott Jan 31, 2018

As with most of these fluoride-IQ studies this one is only relevant to areas of endemic fluorosis (This is from a UNESCO paper and has been corrected for New Zealand. Identification of fluorosis in a country does not imply the whole country is high fluoride). Yes, it’s a bit like groundhog day. Another fluoride-IQ study – and we expect this to … Read More

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

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

Science woes - Mind Matters

Michael Corballis Dec 18, 2017

The following is a slightly amended extract from an address I gave to the Science Graduation ceremony at the University of Otago, on 16 December, 2017: I think science is in some trouble these days. Many still see it as inaccessible and remote, and at the same time immoral and dangerous. Even our own Ernest Rutherford is wrongly blamed for … Read More

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

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 - Open Parachute

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 - Open Parachute

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

Catty lives, scientific and viral (Book review) - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Dec 02, 2017

Book review: Cat Zero. This book purrs. It does that thing that cats do, “playing” with their toy, gently poking at it, softly lobbing it in the air, then, eventually, lunging. I’d recommend it for those who’d like the interplay of scientific lives, permeated with motives and mystery. Jennifer Rohn’s strength is her characters, their changing foibles—sometimes more … Read More

The problem with scepticism - Open Parachute

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