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Comment Re:Not proper experiments. (Score 2) 474

In my own defense, I read that article in print a few months ago, so I may have forgotten that bit about Pfizer. While I wouldn't call myself a cynic about drug companies, their track record for doing quality science is less than impressive. Mind telling me what was emotional about my comment?

I'm decently well read in philosophy of science, actually. I don't believe in a deterministic universe, nor do I believe that any question can be answered using the scientific method. So you aren't stinging me, because you are totally wrong about what I believe (minus the fact that I don't think we have souls and am not a dualist, but that is not relevant to the questions at hand). But, I do understand the difference between a well controlled experiment and a correlational study. Although "correlation is different than causation" is somewhat of a misleading phrase, one technique is far more rigorous than the other. If we just assume that correlation is good enough, we'd be blaming the navies for killing all the pirates, resulting in global warming! This article could be about error, but it uses really really sloppy examples of error. And basically, the crappy research examples cited here (or rather, crappy interpretations of good research, depending on your viewpoint or the specific study in question) do just that. And don't get me started about medical doctors who have no training in understanding research or science as a process, but rather know a lot of scientific facts, which I also think this article carried a healthy dose of but failed to discuss in depth. If you want a failing of science, is that many people who should understand how it really works do not, and think it is just a collection of facts collected with test tubes or [science-y device of your choosing]. If they were going to make a point about error, determinism, etc, they could have chosen a better way to do it, starting with better examples.

Also, what makes you think I am a man? I am, but if we are going to talk about idiots lets start with people that make assumptions about who they are talking to (in addition to your comments about what I believe). And don't tell me that you actually clicked on my profile, homepage, etc, and took the time to figure it out before you flippantly wrote "and trust me sir, you ARE an idiot." Anyway, I'm only replying for the interest of other readers who may be interested in the bigger picture. You can go crawl back under your bridge.

Comment Not proper experiments. (Score 4, Insightful) 474

Science is not failing us. Apparently, the pharmaceutical companies and their correlational studies are. Science - whether behavioral, biological, or physical - does not necessarily depend on correlations. Manipulating an independent variable and comparing it to other conditions (a control group, for example) is what makes an experiment more than just a correlational study. This is what allows us to make causal relationships clearer, even if we don't perfectly understand the pathways that lead A to cause B. By failing to make this distinction, the article makes it sound as if scientists are merely fumbling around in the dark without a clue as to how anything works. Really this article just provides many fine examples of how correlational information used by medical doctors is failing us - not scientists doing actual experiments.

Comment Re:MIT (Score 1) 79

Fair enough, the summary presented on the MIT news website was quite misleading. Your abstract clearly indicates that this is not the case. However, having read some of your other work (FFA/FFG debate, a PNAS review from a year or so ago about functional specificity) I wasn't prone to question the summary as it fits with the view of brain functioning that I read about in said articles, and a view that I disagree with in a more general sense. My apologies if my previous criticism came across as ad hominem, I don't give slashdot posts the same kind of attention (tone, etc) that I would give an email or other communication because they are, as you would say, idle.

Comment MIT (Score 1) 79

There is something odd about research out of MIT. They seem to really like the idea that there are parts of the brain that innately do one specific thing (well, at least Nancy Kanwisher does, and she is on this paper). It is pretty much ridiculous to argue that we have have a unique reading area of the brain since it is something the human race hasn't been doing that long. It wouldn't surprise me if the same brain regions are used in most people to read, but it is very odd to assume that one brain region would basically be useless or taken over by other regions for a large number of humans. Functional specificity makes sense for motor cortex and primary sensory receiving areas, but not something as high level as reading.

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