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« More on the Soon review | Main | A Miller's tale - Josh 139 »

Science corked - Josh 140

Apparently the Doomsday clock has been moved to 5 minutes to midnight, so the story about falsifying the evidence that wine is good for you dubbed Winegate over at WUWT now makes perfect sense.

More Cartoons by Josh here

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Reader Comments (20)

This story is clearly fabricated by the lunatic, anti-science, big-temperance funded sceptic lobby.

The scientific consensus has been clear and accepted by 97% of absolutely everybody who matters for ever.

I'm suprised that this blog is allowing such antiscientific nonsense to be propagated

The health giving properties of red wine are beyond question.

The science is settled.

Jan 13, 2012 at 10:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

Coincidentally, I believe the entire diet debate over the last few decades shows a strong similarity to the climate debate over the last couple of decades. A very strong and vocal consensus with a very lacking amount of actual data to backup the strong consensus.

Just one example related to red wine which I believe people believe is an anti-oxidant. Even though there is a convincing theory of why anti-oxidants might be good for you there isn't actually any studies that prove that it is the case. Overall life expectancy is probably the main target to be studied. I believe most studies are neutral and even tend to show a slight trend to being harmful. I think this one is a study on people taking very high levels of beta-carotene, though I've not checked the reference.

Jan 13, 2012 at 10:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Talking about diets...this story reminds me of something, and somebody...

Does anything ever change?

Jan 13, 2012 at 10:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio Morabito

Darn. I found this 'evidence' most useful. The science told me to drink more wine, and my wife couldn't argue with that. In fact, she also accepted the theory.

So now what? Drinking wine merely for pleasure? Doesn't that involve guilt or something?

Jan 13, 2012 at 11:03 PM | Unregistered Commenteredward getty

Tried to post a link, the comment is now stuck in moderation

Jan 13, 2012 at 11:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio Morabito

Why haven't Acton and Boulton organized an inquiry (or two) for this wonderful potential climatologist?

Jan 13, 2012 at 11:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

Doom, I tell you. Doom ;-)

Jan 13, 2012 at 11:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Check this link out

Jan 14, 2012 at 12:11 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

PS Also check this link also

Should be a good where still here party on 1st January 2013

Jan 14, 2012 at 12:17 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

My totally unbiased research concludes that statistically the decade 2000-2010 yielded 4 top ranked (10) French claret (Red Bordeaux) vintages, while the 90's and 80's produced only one top ranking (10) vintage each.

But of course the bad news is that they must not be drunk. Only laid down.

Jan 14, 2012 at 12:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

In vino veritash.

Jan 14, 2012 at 12:43 AM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

edward getty,

So now what? Drinking wine merely for pleasure? Doesn't that involve guilt or something?

Yeah, but if you drink enough you get over it, or forget, or something... :)

Jan 14, 2012 at 12:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil R

I looked at the summary report (from the parent 60,000 report) and a letter from Dipak Das, the primary person involved in the misconduct case. This is a bizarre issue, with the investigation being conducted by the university by a non-independent party (as per the accused), accusations of racism, breaking and entering etc. Additionally, the ORI report is not entirely written in a professional fashion - that is my initial gut feeling.

The fabrications are mainly MS Powerpoint manipulations of Western blot lanes, and bands. As anyone who's ever run a gel knows, what you send in for publication is not the picture you take of your gel. There is always photo fiddling and cleaning done.

But there are clear do's and don'ts in such manipulation and every honest researcher should know these. The circumstantial evidence uncovered by the investigation, looks damning (see page 22, for example). (I can't understand why people do this kind of stuff if that's what's been done - totally stupid, and of course, completely dishonest).

But as Das points out, it is still circumstantial! Because, as the ORI report itself states:

Furthermore, during its interviews with the CRC staff, several of them testified that manipulations such as background erasure (which they refer to as clearing), splicing, and digitally altering the size, shape and/or intensity of bands were done, and that there was nothing wrong with such practices

Lots of researchers use Powerpoint to create composite images. Lots of medical researchers are scared of Photoshop and keep a safe distance (for the good, I guess).

What is needed would be someone to get hold of the original Western blots (images) and compare them to published versions.

Jan 14, 2012 at 3:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Mary Kate Danaher: "Could you use a little water in your whiskey"?
Michaleen Flynn: "When I drink whiskey, I drink whiskey; and when I drink water, I drink water"
The Quiet Man (John Wayne 1952)

Sod the wine, only good for cooking ;-) .

Jan 14, 2012 at 8:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

Great cartoon, Josh! On this subject, I feel that a great deal more research is needed. Off to Tesco! :o)

Jan 14, 2012 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Oz inner city environmentalists drink wine* by the bucket full, so it must be good for you.

*Only the best of course, not chateau cardboard like the great unwashed.

Jan 14, 2012 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrantB

Maurizio cites an article by Ben Goldacre and, apropos of that, did anyone see Goldacre on QI last night (a repeat from November)? I couldn't help liking the guy and I would certainly respect his knowledge of medicine. Chatting a bit with Professor David Colquhoun since the Index on Censorship openness in science debate at Imperial has raised the same question for me: why are medical or pharmaceutical experts like this so lacking in judgment when it comes to climate science?

As I said to Colquhoun, I take the conventional view that following the consensus in medical science, as a rule, saves lives. Tragically the opposite is true with the climate science and policy consensus (though it's also the case, Roger Pielke Jnr and others point out, that the consensus is frequently misrepresented).

That's the simplest explanation I can find for this phenomenon - of those who are exceedingly smart and of sound judgment in one area are, frankly, so dumb in the other.

Any thoughts from those wiser than me in both? :)

Jan 14, 2012 at 10:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard - rubbish science comes out of big pharmaceutical corporations, so the number of volunteer debunkers is always high. It's the myth of the swashbuckling hero fighting gallantly against the Giants.

Alas, climate garbage is mostly the realm of publicly funded "scientists" so investigative journalists are left confused. It's just the wrong myth...unable to criticise the State they innately worship as saviour of Humanity, they can't get their heads around the conundrum, so the garbage makers are simply able to run amok.

Jan 14, 2012 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio Morabito

@Richard Drake, perhaps there's something at work that is somewhat similar to the "Gell-Mann Amnesia effect", as defined here by Michael Crichton:

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray's case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the "wet streets cause rain" stories. Paper's full of them. In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

Jan 14, 2012 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Of course while the red wine is good for you thing might be bull, the government unit limits on drink are also bull. Look at the QI vid here and the comment I transferred from a poster called HeartAttackSurvivor:

Jan 14, 2012 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeal Asher

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