catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

The cracks are widening

with 72 comments

Yesterday the Australian had a front page story on the IPCC’s reliance on peer-reviewed studies to inform its reports. As we now know, there was no such reliance – it was wishful thinking at best. Today the Australian has a follow-up feature.

It was a sweeping, bold and alarmist prediction by the IPCC, and one that raised eyebrows among many of the small group of experts who study the behaviour of the world’s glaciers.

But the IPCC defended its glacier claims vigorously, with IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri recently describing those who cast doubt upon them as practitioners of “voodoo science”.

Yet today it is the powerful IPCC that stands accused of practising voodoo science in relation to its sweeping claims about the melting of Himalayan glaciers following revelations its apocalyptic predictions were based on little more than “speculation”.

Even the Canberra Times is getting into the act.

Australia’s peak science agency, the CSIRO, has backed away from attributing a decade of drought in Tasmania to climate change, claiming ”the jury is still out” on the science.
The comments follow the issuing of a CSIRO report yesterday, revealing drought has cut water availability in northern Tasmania’s premier wine growing region by 24 per cent, with riverflows reaching record lows. One of the report’s co-authors, hydrologist David Post, told The Canberra Times there was ”no evidence” linking drought to climate change in eastern Australia, including the Murray-Darling Basin.

”At this stage, we’d prefer to say we’re talking about natural variability. The science is not sufficiently advanced to say it’s climate change, one way or the other. The jury is still out on that,” Dr Post said.

Advertisements

Written by Sinclair Davidson

January 19, 2010 at 11:19 am

Posted in Uncategorized

72 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. One reason those pricks at the CSIRO changed their opinion was because of the masterly work by people like those at Niche modeling who shamed them, otherwise they would have been quite content to allow the big lie to continue.

    jc

    January 19, 2010 at 11:27 am

  2. The whole thing’s collapsing. LOL. No wonder Kevin has latched onto a new “crisis” – his focus groups obviously yawned through the global warmening discussion.

    C.L.

    January 19, 2010 at 11:31 am

  3. Another interesting development is that the scientist who made this claim, Syed Iqbal Hasnain, is now heading a team investigating Himalayan glaciers:

    With the case for more research thus established, Pachauri’s institute, TERI, approached the wealthy Carnegie Corporation of New York through a consortium led by the Global Centre for funding to carry out precisely the work to which his own “independent” report had drawn attention.

    In November 2008, they were successful, being awarded a $500,000 grant for “research, analysis and training on water-related security and humanitarian challenges to South Asia posed by melting Himalaya glaciers.” This helped Dr Pachauri set up the TERI Glaciology team, putting at its head now professor Syed Iqbal Hasnain.

    What a disgraceful state of affairs.

    dover_beach

    January 19, 2010 at 11:50 am

  4. Dove I knew Doc. Pach had a hand in the glacier report. I can’t imagine how his position is any longer tenable as head of IPCC.

    A large I-bank recently had him on a phone conference question and answer with their clients and they wouldn’t let my question through…

    I asked him how he had any shred of credibility left after the recent exposure of his various conflicts of interest and how as a railway signal engineer he had any authority to speak on climate science.

    The bastards just skipped my question.

    jc

    January 19, 2010 at 12:00 pm

  5. Sorry, I should have added to the link to the source of the above quote:

    http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2010/01/pachauri-theres-money-in-them-glaciers.html

    I can’t imagine how his position is any longer tenable as head of IPCC.

    JC, neither can I.

    dover_beach

    January 19, 2010 at 12:10 pm

  6. Oh, and here is Pielke Jnr’s position re the conflict of interest:

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/01/sorry-but-this-stinks.html

    Has the ABC covered this fiasco yet? Does Faine think this is just a storm in a teacup? Is David Marr still reading his morning paper?

    dover_beach

    January 19, 2010 at 12:15 pm

  7. One extremely fascinating – and perhaps alarming – development highlighted by this reverse in public belief in catastrophic AGW and mitigation is the public’s considerable and growing cynicism towards scientists, per se.

    There is a significant, and also growing, disconnect between the self-importance and claims to knowledge held by scientists and how the rest of society sees science as the superior talisman of knowledge and truth. I sense that this is the real challenge.

    With every uptick in shrill demands that “the science is in”, the public’s sneers become more frequent.

    Maybe it is time for more focus on the anthropology of scientific knowledge creation and reception.

    Peter Patton

    January 19, 2010 at 12:21 pm

  8. It sounds like a storm in a tea cup. Obviously it shouldn’t have been included in the IPCC report and clearly the review process suffered a glitch but it also seems to have been a pretty obscure reference.

    TerjeP (say Tay-a)

    January 19, 2010 at 12:22 pm

  9. Or time for a change of PR agency. 😉

    Peter Patton

    January 19, 2010 at 12:22 pm

  10. Peter, they made a rod for their own backs. That was always going to be the result of their own exaggerated claims made with exaggerated certainty. It is also the result of always speaking of “the science” as if it were a singular entity. If I were a scientist working in a non-climate science field I would be very peeved. I’d also be rather disappointed with the activities of the various learned societies and National Academies who wanted to inflate their own self-importance by riding the climate change wave. Hopefully, the peer pressure from other fields will persuade them to clean-up their act.

    dover_beach

    January 19, 2010 at 12:29 pm

  11. Terje:

    You can’t simply gloss over stuff like this. It doesn’t of course change what climate science is telling us about the warming trends etc. However it does tell us that we really can’t trust anything by the senior people that headed the IPCC with Doc. Pach being the first one to get the proverbial bullet (fired).

    We shouldn’t tolerate any bullshit from these fuckers.

    That wasn’t a mistake it was an act of fraud pure and simple.

    jc

    January 19, 2010 at 12:31 pm

  12. Look at New scientists retraction of the glacier story and how they feel they were taken for a ride.

    jc

    January 19, 2010 at 12:32 pm

  13. It sounds like a storm in a tea cup. Obviously it shouldn’t have been included in the IPCC report and clearly the review process suffered a glitch but it also seems to have been a pretty obscure reference.

    It was trumpeted when the AR4 was published. The report referenced a non-peer reviewed comment that was published in New Scientist and then by the WWF. Its inclusion in the AR4 contravened the IPCC’s own guidelines. The claim was itself unphysical; i.e. sans the earth crashing into the sun or a large asteroid crashing into the earth the Himilayan glaciers could not melt away by 2035. The mthyical ‘2500’ scientists that compose the IPCC passed their eyes voer it and didn’t blink. And yet you’re asking that we trust the other claims made in this report following this obvious cock-up. And all the while Pachauri is defending this claim against other scientific reports that contradict it, he is seeking funds for glaciar research for TERI in the Himalayas. How much latitude are you going to give these individuals before you draw a line in the sand? If this is a ‘storm in a tea cup’ or no more than a ‘glitch’ then I’m a teapot.

    dover_beach

    January 19, 2010 at 12:41 pm

  14. db, no doubt that is correct, but the cynicism goes beyond climate science/tists. I think a lot of it might have started with medical science, particularly pharmaceuticals, and particularly psych issues, ADHD, etc.

    Peter Patton

    January 19, 2010 at 12:47 pm

  15. 4. Drs. Pachauri and Hasnain together seek to raise fund for TERI for work on Himalayan glaciers, justified by the work of the IPCC, according to Dr. Pachauri just last week:

    Scientific data assimilated by IPCC is very robust and it is universally acknowledged that glaciers are melting because of climate change. The Energy & Resources Institute (TERI) in its endeavor to facilitate the development of an effective policy framework and their strategic implementation for the adaptation and mitigation of climate change impacts on the local population is happy to collaborate with the University of Iceland, Ohio State University and the Carnegie Corporation of New York,

    5. When initially questioned about the scientific errors Dr. Pachauri calls such questions “voodoo science” in the days leading up to the announcement of TERI receiving funding on this subject. Earlier Dr. Pachauri criticized in the harshest terms the claims made by the Indian government that were contrary to those in the IPCC

    Pachauri said that such statements were reminiscent of “climate change deniers and school boy science”.

    6. Subsequent to the error being more fully and publicly recognized, when asked by a reporter about the IPCC’s false claims Dr. Pachauri says that he has no responsibility for what Dr. Hasnain may have said, and Dr. Hasnain says, rather cheekily, the IPCC had no business citing his comments:

    It is not proper for IPCC to include references from popular magazines or newspapers.

    I love Pielke’s time line… how Doc Pach tries to skewer the naysaysers just before the loot comes in and then when the evidence is irrefutable both these clowns try to throw each under a bus.

    jc

    January 19, 2010 at 12:47 pm

  16. I agree, Peter, some of those issues haven’t helped.

    dover_beach

    January 19, 2010 at 12:52 pm

  17. I think a lot of it might have started with medical science, particularly pharmaceuticals, and particularly psych issues, ADHD, etc.

    Yeah, I could rabbit on about this for days. A recent meta analysis found that for mild to moderate depression anti-depressants had no discernible value. Volkow, the ADHD maven, found no correlations between ADHD and the dopamine transporter, often believed to be the culprit. In fact the rise in ADHD can in part be explained by our markedly enhanced ability to keep pre terms alive and possibly even the huge rise in Cesarean births, not to mention spending so much time watching TV. The newer antipsychotics and antidepressants can cause weight gain and type 2 diabetes. Health advice has been contradicted so many times you may as well eat grasshoppers and hope for the best. Stem cell technology keeps promising but keeps failing and what is rarely mentioned in the news is that stem cells are very good at inducing cancer. Over the weekend a friend of mine who works in a dementia ward said she had to undertake action herself because so many patients were on multiple psychoactive drugs. That is pure shamanism, we don’t even know with any real precision why so many psychoactive drugs do work, in fact the first antipsychotics and antidepressants were accidental finds. Even the idea that cholesterol causes heart disease is problematic but that doesn’t stop the massive prescribing of statin drugs, some of which have been shown to induce cognitive decline and heart failure. Last year there was a study released which claimed that people over 70 were better off with slightly raised cholesterol values. Recent analyses even found that being a little overweight is no problem at all, that BMI stuff is just stupid, body types are different. A study released last week claimed that having fat on your buttocks, hips, and thighs is good for you. Analyses of supplement intake have on a number of occasions that taking vitamin E supplements in the alpha tocopherol form is bad for you, that vitamin A and betacarotene supplements increased overall mortality, and that there is no discernible longevity gain in popping so many pills, though selenium still appears useful and given Aus soils are very poor in selenium, and that it is an essential precursor for thyroid hormone function and the major antioxidant pathways, it is advisable for Aussies to be wary of selenium deficiency. Take a pill? No way, a few brazil nuts a day will be more than enough.

    John H.

    January 19, 2010 at 1:10 pm

  18. Yep, it’s a mess, no doubt about it.
    There are a lot of factors at work. One, much discussed lately, is the enshrinement of peer review. Less discussed is the enshrinement of significance tests. People are looking for neat ways of automating the truth-detection process; when really there’s no magic, it comes down to convincing evidence and reasoned debate, with those terms left deliberately fuzzy. Once you try to have a formula for truth, you’re stuffed.

    daddy dave

    January 19, 2010 at 1:18 pm

  19. “…a pretty obscure reference…”

    You’re kidding, aren’t you, Terge? The glacier thing was an iconic, front and centre part of the whole warmening sales pitch. Turns out it’s all crap.

    C.L.

    January 19, 2010 at 1:25 pm

  20. John H

    I have a friend who in a less BigPharma world would be described as being a drama queen, with a touch of the bunny-boiler, instead proudly hides behind the ‘scientific’ identity of “having bipolar disorder”, as though it were leukemia.

    This requires a never-ending Lazy Susan of really powerful anti-psychotic drugs, stabilizers, anti-depressants, and on and on. She rattles when she walks. Every time she flips out, it is ALWAYS “oh I’ve just changed stabilizer/anti-psychotic/anti-depressant meds’. By now, she must have tried 1,386,345 different types/brands of each. This is usually followed by “you have no idea what hell this disease is”.

    A few of us really want to slap her and say:

    no, you just acted appallingly; if you are going to continue to spend a fortune on doctors please redirect your spending to CBT, so you can admit it is your personality that is the issue, not some ‘chemical imbalance’. And PLEASE tell your doctor about your childhood abandonment, etc. etc. so that you might start realizing your occasional flip-outs and bad behavior have a basis and thus solution outside a pill factory!

    But of course, then you get the sarcastic, “oh, so now your the expert on genetics and neurophysiology are you. Funny I don’t remember those 12 years you spent in medical school and post-grad training”…. 😦

    Peter Patton

    January 19, 2010 at 1:26 pm

  21. John H – you have indeed rabbitted on about many issues there, some of which you seem to know something about but others on which you seem ignorant or misled.

    I won’t attempt line by line answers to the many claims you make.

    You bracket antipsychotics and antidepressants (twice) although they are quite different medications for quite different conditions. Almost all doctors with clinical experience of mental illnesses would vouch for the great value of both.

    The relationship between cholesterol and heart disease is considered “problematical” by some herbalists and naturopaths. Perhaps you are of one of those persuasions?

    ken nielsen

    January 19, 2010 at 1:31 pm

  22. Ken the space between prescribing SS/NRIs and anti-psychotics has now collapsed.

    Peter Patton

    January 19, 2010 at 1:44 pm

  23. PP: What does that mean?
    When you have explened what you mean, could you cite authority?

    ken nielsen

    January 19, 2010 at 1:46 pm

  24. Ken,

    I have previously advocated that these drugs have their use but the question is the extent of their use. They keep providing explanations for depression that moved from “chemical imbalance” to an amine issue and now it is a neurogenesis issue. The latter makes a certain sense but doesn’t go far enough, the collapse of neurogenesis itself needs to be addressed but that can be done through drugs – a study a few years ago asserted that the efficacy of antidepressants is contingent on inducing neurogenesis – or through other means, even exercise induces Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor, and in animal studies an infusion of BDNF into the hippocampus rapidly ameliorates depressive symptoms. Interesting because some years ago I noted that ECT also induced BDNF expression, this perhaps explaining why ECT so rapidly alleviates depressive symptoms.

    The relationship between cholesterol and heart disease is also disputed by cardiologists and other doctors. They have even formed a coalition to speak out against the irresponsible prescribing of statins. See The Heart Scan Blog. That cardiologist hates statins and carbs. Statins have their place but again too much indiscriminate usage of the same. What I am referring to here is the extent of use, and yes there was a study last year which asserted a relationship between statins and heart failure. It was issued as a specific warning.

    The point of this discussion is about the erosion of scientific credibility. In making so many unwarranted claims about the cause of this or that, in prescribing drugs so often when other options are available, in failing to adequately advise patients and the general public about the true nature of our understanding, we are eroding faith in modern medicine and I hate that.

    BTW: ever call me an alternative medicine type again and I’ll reach through the screen and rip your bloody arms off! The mere fact that I criticised pill popping so strenuously should have disavowed you of that belief.

    John H.

    January 19, 2010 at 1:48 pm

  25. Ken

    What I mean is that clinically, the “depressed” population is no longer seen as discrete from other psychiatrically-afflicted patient populations. Thus, there is no longer a separation of the drug types used on each. Every drug is now fair game for ever customer – er, I mean patient, shirley? 😉

    Peter Patton

    January 19, 2010 at 1:53 pm

  26. A few of us really want to slap her and say:
    .
    Peter, you have no fucking idea what you are talking about. You want to be an arch-sceptic on mental illness, fine, but at least have a coherent alternative. Slapping the mentally ill is not an alternative.
    .
    But of course, then you get the sarcastic, “oh, so now your the expert on genetics and neurophysiology are you. Funny I don’t remember those 12 years you spent in medical school and post-grad training”…. .
    .
    Exactly. Seems like it went in one ear and out the other.

    daddy dave

    January 19, 2010 at 1:55 pm

  27. John H – it was the reference to Brazil nuts that caused me to suspect that your background was not mainstream medicine. If it is, I apologise.

    I won’t try to reply to your comments – my knowledge is not sufficient to say whether you are talking nonsense or not and I should not rely on suspicions.

    I will say though that many (perhaps most) practising psychiatrists would say that although SSRIs are sometimes over prescribed (usually by GPs) they are also underprescribed in situations where they could be very helpful. Much depression is untreated or undertreated

    Of course, many psychologists disagree. Some of the anti SSRI meta analysis going on is part of a turf war between the medical profession and the psychologists.

    ken nielsen

    January 19, 2010 at 2:07 pm

  28. dd

    And yet you presume to provide diagnosis. As well as being an ace a neuropharmacolgist you also have telepathy!

    Peter Patton

    January 19, 2010 at 2:10 pm

  29. PP
    “A few of us really want to slap her and say…”
    I don’t believe that this is part of any recognised protocol for treatment of any illness.

    “What I mean is that clinically, the “depressed” population is no longer seen as discrete from other psychiatrically-afflicted patient populations.”
    Now, I know that is nonsense.

    ken nielsen

    January 19, 2010 at 2:11 pm

  30. ken, I am afraid, you can not know this is nonsense, as it is not. Where do you get this idea from? Journals? clinical and/or social experience with the psych-medicated? Psychiatrists? I have experience with each, and there is not even any ambiguity on this point.

    Peter Patton

    January 19, 2010 at 2:14 pm

  31. I have experience with each, and there is not even any ambiguity on this point.
    .
    I call BS.

    daddy dave

    January 19, 2010 at 2:17 pm

  32. Ken,

    The antidepressant issue is very complex and cannot be addressed here. Years ago I tried to investigate the dynamics in the hippocampus – dentate gyrus but only came up with an incredibly complex set of interactions involving il1, il6, tnfa, CORT, NMDA, NO, BDNF, NGF, Ach, Ache, blah blah blah sorry about the acronym stuff.

    The psychiatrists – psychologist antagonism is a fascinating thing. Coming from a sort of behaviorist perspective I’m very cynical about a lot of modern psychology but that’s another story. To provide some balance to my previous comments I’ll state what I tell many people: if it weren’t for modern psychiatric drugs we would have mental institutions all over the place.

    As to why humans experience so much mental illness, the neuroanatomist Terrance Deacon, in his book, The Symbolic Species, makes the observation. The rapid growth of the human neocortex was not paralleled by a corresponding rise in the nuclei that produce the modulatory transmitters dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, and norepinephrine, all of which are produced in brainstem nuclei and project long axons into the neocortex. Over evolutionary time the capacity of these nuclei to adequately provide these chemicals has been compromised because while the neocortex expanded these nuclei did not, or at least to a much lesser degree. Given that many psychiatric conditions can be treated by enhancing these modulators, there is some credence to his hypothesis.

    John H.

    January 19, 2010 at 2:18 pm

  33. PP: We are arguing about a subject on which each of us knows a bit but neither has any expert qualifications.
    So neither can convince the other and no-one else reading this should rely on what either of us say in any matter of seriousness.
    They should seek medical advice,

    ken nielsen

    January 19, 2010 at 2:20 pm

  34. John H
    “if it weren’t for modern psychiatric drugs we would have mental institutions all over the place”

    I knew there was something in all this that we could agree on.

    ken nielsen

    January 19, 2010 at 2:22 pm

  35. To provide some balance to my previous comments I’ll state what I tell many people: if it weren’t for modern psychiatric drugs we would have mental institutions all over the place.
    .
    That’s a very astute observation. After all, mental institutions pre-date modern medicine and modern psychiatry. ergo, it’s not a fabrication of Big Pharma. If only that were so! If it was, we could simply wish it away! Like magic!

    daddy dave

    January 19, 2010 at 2:25 pm

  36. They should seek medical advice,

    I deal with molecules not bodies, I do not give medical advice to individuals but I do warn them that taking a single doctor’s advice on a complex matter can be and too often is dangerous. For example, the increasingly prescribing of antipsychotics to children is alarming, particularly given the risk profile of these drugs and the increasing “off label” use.

    John H.

    January 19, 2010 at 2:27 pm

  37. Ken

    On doctors availing themselves of the full range of SSR/NIs, mood stabilizers, stimulants (basically speed), benzos, tricyclics, and anti-psychotics (especially the most recent, so-called atypical anti-psychotics) for any patient who falls within the DSM-IV guidelines (and even beyond with ‘off label’ prescriptions) for:

    mood disorder, sleep disorder, cognitive disorder, substance abuse, anxiety disorder, gender/sexual identity disorder, eating disorder, addictive disorder (yes including shopping, gambling, and Internet), personality disorder, schizophrenia, psychotic disorder, and on and on.

    Once you enter, the entire candy-store is open. A common attitude among doctors, including psychiatrists, is “suck it, and see”.

    I know psychiatrists, I have read the journals, and I know heaps of people who have been, and still are, slaves to the candy man. This is hardly a state secret. In the US, it is rampant.

    Peter Patton

    January 19, 2010 at 2:50 pm

  38. And how long have you had this urge to slap people, PP?

    ken nielsen

    January 19, 2010 at 2:53 pm

  39. That’s your response to just finding out your whole worldview of psychiatric medicine has been turned upside down? Jesus.

    Peter Patton

    January 19, 2010 at 2:59 pm

  40. NO, PP, you have not turned anything upside down and as neither of us is likely to or even to contribute to anyone’s understanding of a very serious subject, I’ll end it there

    ken nielsen

    January 19, 2010 at 3:02 pm

  41. ken. The point is you clearly do not have anything at all to add to this topic, and yet refuse to listen to those who do.

    Peter Patton

    January 19, 2010 at 3:04 pm

  42. A common attitude among doctors, including psychiatrists, is “suck it, and see”.
    .
    We already know all of that, Peter. We also know that the DSM is riddled with problems, that some illnesses are misdiagnosed and overdiagnosed and that some drugs are massively over-prescribed.
    None of that is new. Look through old threads here, it’s been discussed at great length.
    .
    That doesn’t mean that mental illness doesn’t exist. Some drugs do seem to work. And some people really do have bad childhoods. And by the way, people with mental illness do often have traumatic childhoods for two reasons: 1) they were mentally ill as children; and 2) due to the hereditary factors, they’re more likely to have had a mentally ill family member.
    So keep that in mind next time you’re mocking someone with mental illness and putting ‘chemical imbalance’ in scare quotes.

    daddy dave

    January 19, 2010 at 3:16 pm

  43. John H is basically correct, the more so as he underestimates the problem, if anything. Psychiatrists routinely see patients for 5 minutes or less and don’t hesitate to hand out scripts. The process of medicating is itself little better than guinea pig experimentation, with a kind of diagnosis by prescription occurring for many patients.

    And Peter, CBT does not actually deal with either ‘personality’ or childhood issues. CBT is itself part of the problem, as it’s an idiotic one-size-fits-all solution.

    THR

    January 19, 2010 at 3:22 pm

  44. dd. This tic you have for these bombastic posts denouncing things I have never said never ends, does it?

    Peter Patton

    January 19, 2010 at 3:22 pm

  45. THR. Ok, that is undoubtedly at least part right. I should have said a more generic “non-drug psychotherapeutic intervention/treatment”

    Peter Patton

    January 19, 2010 at 3:26 pm

  46. Getting back to the original subject, I must say I’m pretty close to TerjeP in that I believe this is not a huge issue.
    It does indicate unforgivably sloppy work but unless quite a few more significant errors are found, it does not weaken the IPCC conclusions, at least for us non scientists.
    Interesting though is JQ’s description of how peer review works:
    “The problem is unlikely to be picked up unless someone looks at the claim, thinks it is wrong,and checks back through the chain of citations. This isn’t part of the typical peer review process – if you check the intial citation, and it seems to check out, you rarely follow much further.”
    http://johnquiggin.com/index.php/archives/2010/01/18/beatup-of-the-century/#comment-253649

    So peer review is not much more than subediting the footnotes?

    Ken Nielsen

    January 19, 2010 at 3:32 pm

  47. In the US, it is rampant.

    Which is why N. Andreasen is kicking heads over there. There was a study of New York psychiatrists which found that drug prescribing was directly proportional to “gifts” and monies received from drug companies. There was the recent ruckus in Australia when it was found that 7 of the 10 doctors writing up the ADHD treatment guidelines had received funding from the drug companies and sure enough these guidelines strongly recommend the use of the drugs. If anyone can find an explanation as to why antipsychotics work I’d love to hear it and please don’t throw me the hyperdopaminergic hypothesis.

    I am amazed that mental health professionals believe that the receipt of gifts and monies from those promoting therapies will not influence their clinical practice. Anyone who believes that is suffering from the delusion that we are objective rational beings.

    In the USA polypharmacy has become far too common. Make no mistake about it, when doctors start prescribing multiple drugs to treat behavioral issues most of the time they are whistling in the dark. My friend told me of one patient on 6 different psychoactive drugs. That is ridiculous yet in the USA that is happening at an increasing rate. Or was until the FDA stepped in an issued a number of black box warnings.

    Psychiatry in particular and modern medicine in general has been far too exuberant in their claims about understanding what is going on. This is one big reason why all that shamanistic alternative crap has become very popular. Alarmingly popular. It is probably asking too much but I wish the medical profession would say much more often: look we don’t fully understand what is going on but we do know it helps. It may take some time to find the right treatment for you but we’ll do our best.

    John H.

    January 19, 2010 at 3:34 pm

  48. John H,

    What happens when patients on psychiatric drugs use legal and illegal stimulants/recreational drugs? Do people even know how some legal or illicit drugs actually do or work? Given the health concerns of some illicit drugs and aborted uses of some anti depressants, it seems like that we still don’t know a lot.

    I just think it’s interesting to know since you mentioned doctors prescribing six legal pharmaceuticals at once…and of course, what does that do exactly?

    With regards to the complex models – nerdy question – can you model that in a structural/simultaneous equation model?

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 19, 2010 at 3:40 pm

  49. This tic you have for these bombastic posts denouncing things I have never said never ends, does it?
    .
    I disagreed with your mockery of someone with mental illness; your light-hearted desire to slap sense into her; your rejection of mental illness as illness; and your dismissal of psychiatric care as being the “candy man” to which people are “slaves.”
    This is all based on things you said which can be found by scrolling upwards.

    daddy dave

    January 19, 2010 at 3:43 pm

  50. John H

    One of the most dangerous books around is about to published. It claims to be “science” but it is more voodoo. It’s name?

    Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) Volume V

    Peter Patton

    January 19, 2010 at 3:45 pm

  51. dd

    I’m sorry but we’ll just have to agree to avoid topics that involve anything to do with Science. Unfortunately your reading skills we’re probably stuck with.

    Peter Patton

    January 19, 2010 at 3:48 pm

  52. One of the most dangerous books around is about to published. It claims to be “science” but it is more voodoo. It’s name?
    .
    what did you do, google “DSM” after I mentioned it.

    daddy dave

    January 19, 2010 at 3:49 pm

  53. SRL

    Just about every illegal/illicit drug is perfectly legal once a psychiatrist signs a prescription.

    Peter Patton

    January 19, 2010 at 3:49 pm

  54. peter, you have a habit of over-reaching on topics about which you have passing knowledge, dropping clangers and making howlers, then when called on it, you pretend you were talking about something else entirely. However if other people want to take you seriously they’re welcome to.

    daddy dave

    January 19, 2010 at 3:52 pm

  55. With regards to the complex models – nerdy question – can you model that in a structural/simultaneous equation model?

    My standard answer to anyone who thinks we can model complex neural processes:

    Dreamer, silly little dreamer, can you put your hands in your head? Oh No!

    Dreamer, Supertramp.

    It took Kandel 40 years of study to work out the gill reflex response in the aplysia, a snail. Even the idea entertained by those in AI that our cognition is about neural transmission is up for grabs. Endocrine and immunological messengers play important roles in neural transmission. I know professors who will assert that even ideas like “the prefrontal cortex is where class X of decisions are made” or that “brains store information” is bunkum.

    If want an idea of how difficult it is to diagnose psychosis, google. “David Rosenhan” (hilarious) and “Thomas Szasz”. Famous experiments which showed how easy it is to fool a specialist.

    John H.

    January 19, 2010 at 4:52 pm

  56. “My standard answer to anyone who thinks we can model complex neural processes:”

    Yeah I get the point but neural processes don’t have their own volition do they? I mean, even if they are influenced by your volition, they are still bound by the rules/laws of biochemistry aren’t they?

    If no one could describe anything that went on, then psychiatric pharmacology would be no better than randomly taking any sort of drug, wouldn’t it?

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 19, 2010 at 5:05 pm

  57. If no one could describe anything that went on, then psychiatric pharmacology would be no better than randomly taking any sort of drug, wouldn’t it?
    .
    no, because there are multiple ways of arriving at solutions. For example, trial and error doesn’t require knowledge of the interaction of various neurochemicals, but can still make progress of sorts.
    Besides that, we have some knowledge of the neural system, and there are theories around about how all these drugs work; how close they are to the truth is another matter.

    daddy dave

    January 19, 2010 at 5:09 pm

  58. …enough trial and error would see you able to model some interactions, at least partially…

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 19, 2010 at 5:14 pm

  59. SRL,

    As I previously stated, the first psychiatric drugs were accidental finds, the psychosis drugs from rheumatic fever treatment and the antipsychotics from a tuberculosis drug. As I previously stated the hypotheses regarding depression are educated guesses and often bad ones at that. You can even induce depression through immunological agents (“sickness behavior”). You can induce psychosis through sleep deprivation, which is why it makes for good torture because psychosis is not fun, in fact schizophrenics have very high rates of suicide.

    It isn’t entirely random but it isn’t scientific and probably never will be. My behaviorist influences lead me to think that the understanding of behavior need not necessarily be a fully reductionist enterprise. That is why they talk about “the appropriate level of analysis”. It is conceivable that understanding behavior at the cellular level is computationally impossible. After all, only earlier this week some ANU scientists were receiving high praise for:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/quantum-leap-keeps-them-out-of-the-lab/story-e6frgcjx-1225818576424

    Quantum leap keeps them out of the lab

    The breakthrough, by chemists Pierre-Francois Loos and Peter Gill, comes as scientists increasingly use computers rather than laboratories to predict which substances will react, in research in fields ranging from drug design to materials science.

    The problem, which had been restraining theoretical chemistry for decades, centres on the Schrodinger wave equation, a central plank of quantum theory. Devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrodinger in 1926, the equation relates the position of a subatomic particle, such as an electron, to its mass and energy.
    ——–

    And that is nothing compared to the complexity of human behavior when trying to understand it at the cellular level, which I regard as the most complex thing in the known universe.

    Any model of behavior must exclude volition. Volition is a product of behavior not a cause of it.

    John H.

    January 19, 2010 at 5:14 pm

  60. Ah, now we see where daddy dave is coming from. He is a telepathic ‘suck it and see’ kinda neuropharmacologist. 😉

    Peter Patton

    January 19, 2010 at 5:17 pm

  61. Okay, I accept that there may be a limit as to what we can understand. So then is mixing drugs at the moment going to lead to fairly unpredictable neurological or behavioral consequences? (also, what are they?) If not yet, we will ever understand these things?

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 19, 2010 at 5:18 pm

  62. …given what those ANU guys did, and how the human genome was mapped, maybe predicting the path that neurochemistry will take is simply too difficult to predict. I suppose we may never know how a few basic interactions work or wwe may know how many work in a few decades time.

    I suppose anyone predicting either way will look like a “futurist” from the 1950s, with nuclear powered flying cars, etc.

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 19, 2010 at 5:21 pm

  63. SRL

    The economics of the Psychiatry-Pharmaceutical-Industrial Complex have long left the arenas of Science, Medicine, and Caring For The Sick. The appropriate economic model is now precisely that of drug dealing.

    Peter Patton

    January 19, 2010 at 5:21 pm

  64. So then is mixing drugs at the moment going to lead to fairly unpredictable neurological or behavioral consequences? (also, what are they?) If not yet, we will ever understand these things?

    Yes, and the results can be anything from death to tics. Even Ritalin the ADHD drug, in a very rare number of cases, is known to cause sudden death by cardiac arrest.

    John H.

    January 19, 2010 at 5:23 pm

  65. PP,

    There is a lot of abuse and poor conduct but I lay that at the feet of unethical firms and (mostly) GPs. I think that mainly occurs with children. Doctors can only rely on the information patients/guardians give them however.

    I’ve known people with depression and epilepsy. The drugs worked a charm. In the case of depression, the drugs got better as did their quality of life, with the bump of Serzone on the way. It’s saddening that Zoloft can have suicidal side effects, but maybe many more would have done so without the drug.

    As for ethics, Bristol Myers Squib discontinued Serzone before they were forced to. This doesn’t fit into the industrial complex you’ve described.

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 19, 2010 at 5:30 pm

  66. There might be global warming or cooling but the important issue is whether we, as a human race, can do anything about it.

    There are a host of porkies and not very much truth barraging us everyday so its difficult to know what to believe.

    I think I have simplified the issue in an entertaining way on my blog which includes some issues connected with climategate and “embarrassing” evidence.

    In the pipeline is an analysis of the economic effects of the proposed emission reductions. Watch this space or should I say Blog

    http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

    Please feel welcome to visit and leave a comment.

    Cheers

    Roger

    PS The term “porky” is listed in the Australian Dictionary of Slang.( So I’m told.)

    rogerthesurf

    January 19, 2010 at 8:49 pm

  67. Hilarious. The IPCC has declared that the IPCC will investigate Glaciergate.

    THE UN’s panel of climate scientists said it would probe claims its doomsday prediction for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers was wrong, as an expert said he had warned of the mistake.

    And guess who’s leading the way? That’s right – the embezzler running the joint:

    “We are looking into the issue of the Himalayan glaciers and will take a position on it in the next two or three days,” panel chairman Rajendra Pachauri said.

    Peer review put aside for this one.

    C.L.

    January 20, 2010 at 12:46 am

  68. Fme:

    At the weekend, Britain’s Sunday Times reported that this reference came from the green campaign group WWF, which in turn took it from a New Scientist magazine interview with an Indian glaciologist in 1999. There was no evidence the claim was published in a peer-reviewed journal, a cornerstone of scientific credibility, it said.

    So green groups assisted in the preparation of the IPCC report. WTF? Why?

    I thought it was based on findings from the scientific community and that it was pee’ reviewed.

    And now Doc. Pach is looking into it? Great. This is a freaking shambles.

    jc

    January 20, 2010 at 12:59 am

  69. EuroRef carries this amusing quote from the Telegraph.

    So, to recap: in the course of a garbled phone conversation a scientist accidentally invents a problem that doesn’t exist. This gets reported as if gospel in an influential science magazine and repeated by a NGO, before being lent the full authority of the IPCC’s fourth assessment report which, as we know, can’t be wrong because it is vetted by around 2,500 scientists. Then, on the back of this untrue story, the scientist gets a cushy job at the institution whose director is also in charge of the IPCC.

    Now that the evidence is irrefutable that the IPPC story was bullshit Doc Pach is going to investigate it himself.

    However, when it was first raised Doc Pach….

    he first tried to dismiss criticisms as “voodoo science” (the glaciers). Now, faced with overwhelming evidence that the report is wrong, he tries to walk away from the controversy, saying he has “absolutely no responsibility.” Amazingly, he asserts: “It’s the work of independent authors … they’re responsible.”

    Doc Pach has to be the most dishonorable man to ever hold such a position. He can’t even take responsibility as the Chairman of the IPCC. This guy is a complete and utter crook.

    You really don’t have to be for or against AGW to realize what a dishonorable crook he really is.

    jc

    January 20, 2010 at 1:11 am

  70. More on the crook…

    What The Sunday Times does not raise, however, is the singular fact that Pachauri has a direct vested interest in talking up the early demise of the Himalayan glaciers. As we reported in mid-December, the institute that pays his wages has a share in a lucrative €3 million EU research project called “High Noon”, aimed at assessing the effects of the Himalayan glaciers retreat, caused by climate change.

    On this project, Pachauri is remarkably silent, but it is unsurprising that he should launch so vehemently into the attack when his Armageddon scenario is challenged, given that his financial interests are at stake. And that is another characteristic of Pachauri – he is never so voluble as when protecting his own interests.

    and

    In a letter to the newspaper, Pachauri denies any wrongdoing – as you would expect – claiming that no part of the payments to his institute, TERI, is received by him, “either directly or indirectly.”

    In the same letter, however, Pachuari claims to be a “full-time, salaried employee” of TERI, yet does not seem to be able to make the connection between monies paid into his institute and the salary paid out to him, as if they were totally unrelated.

    And, having issued some figures for the turnover of the Institute – on an otherwise unmarked spreadsheet, which wholly lack credibility – Pachauri continues to be evasive about the amount of money he is paid, despite living the lifestyle of a multi-millionaire.

    This, therefore, is by no means the end of the matter, not least because Pachauri seems to be trying to pull of the same trick with TERI India accounts as he has with TERI Europe, under-declaring the income in the hope of evading scrutiny – and much else besides.

    Thus, although the man claims his actions are “not for reasons of tax evasion or money laundering,” he is going to have to do better than he has so far to convince us that his dealings are above board. They are certainly not “open”. A man who delights in lecturing on corporate “transparency” could benefit from listening to his own words.

    These people have really damaged an important area of science. It really is disgusting what they’ve done.

    jc

    January 20, 2010 at 1:27 am

  71. …being lent the full authority of the IPCC’s fourth assessment report which, as we know, can’t be wrong because it is vetted by around 2,500 scientists.

    Mmm. Yes. I have a faint recollection that the report was touted as infallible because of all that “peer review,” “consensus” and, well, just the sheer cerebral firepower of “2,500 scientists.” Now it turns out this storied firewall of intellectual rigor let through a bit of mindless chit-chat from a dodgy phone call. Thank heavens the IPCC didn’t get its telephonic wires crossed with any of those phone sex numbers or 2,500 scientists would be insisting they were very bad boys who needed to be spanked at public expense.

    C.L.

    January 20, 2010 at 1:58 am

  72. Interesting thought, who could sack Pachauri? The UN is a total failure at everything. Yet they have the audacity to set up a group to propagate lies and propaganda to coerce the ‘West’ to make huge donations to the cause. Then they label us ‘climate crims’.
    All this was a planned scam and is detailed in the UN publication “Africa Recovery, Vol.15#4, Dec 2001, p22 – Can the financing gap be closed?” The only ‘crims’ here are the Pachauri mob. They have lied unashamedly and brought discredit to the real scientists of the world.
    All those so called IPCC scientists should be sacked and blacklisted. None should be allowed to teach or having anything to do with academia. The institutions that propagated such disinformation also should be named and shamed – no exception.
    Peer review is now a meaningless term which simply means, “me closest mates agree”.

    Grrr

    January 23, 2010 at 4:18 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: