Observed on 18th Street NW, between Swann and T, Dupont Circle, D.C.:
Drugmonkey does a fine deconstruction of the latest Amgen/Nature paper, so I won’t rehash the whole thing here (go read it; the comments really blow up the details of the replications). But a key point is best summarized by Drugmonkey:
…I have long suspected many of these alleged replication failures claimed by Amgen are of the lack-of-generalization variety. A drug company of course wishes they can take a single hot basic science result and turn that into a human medication. The fact this doesn’t work out is not a failure of the original paper to replicate. And ffs the overblown translational claims of your typical Glam authors doesn’t change this reality.
It raises some real questions about what the reproducibility crisis is about. While there are some obvious cases, such as the ESP studies, where this is a statistical assessment issue, that seems to be conflated with ‘generalizability’–that is, if I change my study system slightly (different organisms or strains, slightly different methods, etc.) and I don’t observe the ‘same’ result (or a much weaker result), did the study fail to reproduce? Given real constraints of time and money, it’s often not feasible to replicate a previous experiment and conduct your own follow-on experiment as well.
I’ve spent much of my career in an open-data field–and the grunt work of my day job, in part, consists of trying to replicate other people’s results using their data (pipeline development, etc.). Even using the same data, slightly different processing and analysis steps can yield different results (though what ‘different’ means is open to discussion). Reproducibility isn’t a trivial thing to assess, since the real issue is how much irreproducibility is tolerable.
What bothers me about the reproducibility discussion is that, for the most part, we’re not discussing what reproducibility would and should mean, but rather it’s more along the lines of ALL TEH SCIENTISMZ ARE BROKEN! Which makes for great pundity thinky-pieces, but doesn’t really help us do science within the real-world constraints that scientists experience.
I will now go outside and yell at clouds.
Amber A’Lee Frost (boldface mine):
And isn’t that the simpler explanation of left dissent from Team Clinton? It’s not that critics of Hillary are largely misogynist or even that they’re obsessed with political purity. It’s that she’s a proven neoliberal warhawk, a Wall Street sycophant, and a consistent enemy of the poor.
It’s a strange sort of “misogynist” who condemns Clinton for her endorsement of “welfare reform,” which eviscerated a social safety net that primarily benefited women and children. And who are these misogynists who question Clinton’s time on the board of Walmart, a company known for its mass exploitation, particularly of women? What a misogyny that decrees the women of Iraq deserve lives free of American war! There’s a misogyny that advocates for childcare, healthcare, free university parental leave? O brave new world, that has such misogynists in it!
I’ve made this point before, but Clinton partisans have made a really big mistake in two ways. First, they act as if opposition to Clinton is largely ‘BernieBro driven’, as opposed to based on serious criticism. Second, the condescending hectoring about electability (more about that in a future post) does nothing to address legitimate concerns about her history, including her full-bore advocacy for welfare reform. Which is to say, deadbeats. Who, if the unofficial house organ of the Clinton administration, The New Republic, was to be believed, looked like this:
The U.N. made a statement (boldface mine):
The United Nations on Friday urged countries hit by the dangerous Zika virus to let women have access to contraception and abortion…
“How can they ask these women not to become pregnant, but not offer… the possibility to stop their pregnancies?” spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told reporters…
But UN human rights chief UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said this warning meant little in countries that ban or heavily restrict access to reproductive health services like contraception and abortion.
“The advice of some governments to women to delay getting pregnant ignores the reality that many women and girls simply cannot exercise control over whether or when or under what circumstances they become pregnant, especially in an environment where sexual violence is so common,” Zeid said in a statement.
“In situations where sexual violence is rampant, and sexual and reproductive health services are criminalised, or simply unavailable, efforts to halt this crisis will not be enhanced by placing the focus on advising women and girls not to become pregnant,” he said.
Instead, he insisted that governments must “ensure women, men and adolescents have access to comprehensive and affordable quality sexual and reproductive health services and information, without discrimination.”
This, his office pointed out, includes contraception — including emergency contraception — maternal healthcare and safe abortion services.
This is like catnip for wingnuts. The only thing missing are black helicopters piloted by Planned Parenthood workers.
I told you this would be a social problem (whether it’s actually a significant medical problem is unclear).