A terrific success. That’s what the first public Broken Science event was in Phoenix last Saturday. Standing room only. A sell-out plus.
The talks aren’t online yet (as of Sunday afternoon), but I gather they’ll be up soon. When they are, I’ll feature them in a separate post.
Co-founder of the BSI Emily Kaplan organized the lot, and opened with a rousing speech proving the necessity of the movement. Regular readers already know this truth, and, judging from the reception the audience had, it’s a good bet they knew it, too. Or do now.
Co-founder Greg Glassman told us how his dad, who headed the research division of Hughes Aircraft (some of his old papers are online!), made Greg go into his room and measure with a caliper a box of nails. Greg cheated by making up numbers, which his dad was able to guess. I’ll let readers figure how.
My favorite part was his presentation of the many, many, many misinterpretation of P-values there are. Every meaning or definition that would make them useful, if they worked, is wrong. but believed. The actual interpretation nobody ever remembers. Abuse abounds in science.
Unusually, I was able to get through my talk without embarrassing myself. I remembered a good deal of what I was supposed to say, and spoke mostly in English. Only one lady fainted, a record.
Most importantly, I wore a tie. Take that, haters.
And there were two blog readers (one a long-time supporter) I at long last got to meet. (I neglected to ask permission to out them here.)
James Franklin gave us a review of the work of the late-great philosopher David Stove related to probability and induction. (Jim is Stove’s literary executor.) I believe this may be the first I’ve ever seen the statistical syllogism discussed in a talk—ever. Naturally I was thrilled.
Jim has two new (or new-ish) books I want you to get. What Science Knows: And How It Knows It. Self-explanatory. And The Worth of Persons: The Foundation of Ethics, an account of how ethics is objective and can be proven.
Both are published by Encounter Books, which is headed by Roger Kimball (author of many books himself, perhaps most famously Tenured Radicals). He’s also editor and publisher of New Criterion, which most of you know. Roger was at the talks, too.
Tom Seyfried presented a compelling lecture on Cancer as a Metabolic Disease (one interview, unrelated to the conference, is here). And he has a popular book on the subject: Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: On the Origin, Management, and Prevention of Cancer.
The gist, which I run the risk of misrepresenting, is that conventional treatments for cancers such as glioblastomas are too harsh, and too damaging, and anyway miss the causes of the disease. His idea is that starving cancers cells of their fuel (such as glucose) is a far superior treatment. That means cutting out crap food.
Malcolm Kendrick in a hilarious talk showed us how hidebound medicine can be, if we weren’t already aware. Let me quote, not from his talk which we’ll see later, but from the abstract of a paper of his (emphasis original):
The low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol level is a weak predictor of developing cardiovascular (CV) disease and can only explain a small proportion of CV risk. It is not used to determine CV risk on either the atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) calculator in the United States, or the Qrisk3 in the UK.
A study in JAMA in 2022 suggested that ‘the absolute benefits of statins are modest and may not be strongly mediated through the degree of LDL reduction’. Perhaps it is time to look beyond cholesterol to a different causal model – the ‘thrombogenic’ model of ASCVD.
And thus, and these are my words, get people off statins.
The reception put on by the Arizona Biltmore was fantastic. Prime rib, good wine, an excellent charcuterie board.
And then the attendees. My heart soared like a hawk to meet everybody. It’s great to learn that we are not alone in this.
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