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Science Idle

Why We Have So Much "Duh" Science 299

Posted by samzenpus
from the taking-nothing-for-granted dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Eryn Brown writes in the LA Times that accounts of 'duh' research abound as studies show that driving ability worsens in people with early Alzheimer's disease, that women who get epidurals experience less pain during childbirth than women who don't, that young men who are obese have lower odds of getting married than thinner peers, and that making exercise more fun might improve fitness among teens. But there's more to duh research than meets the eye writes Brown as experts say they have to prove the obvious again and again to influence perceptions and policy. 'Think about the number of studies that had to be published for people to realize smoking is bad for you,' says Ronald J. Iannotti, a psychologist at the National Institutes of Health. 'There are some subjects where it seems you can never publish enough.' Kyle Stanford, a professor of the philosophy of science at UC Irvine, thinks the professionalization of science has led researchers — who must win grants to pay their bills — to ask timid questions and research that hews to established theories is more likely to be funded, even if it contributes little to knowledge. Perhaps most important, sometimes a study that seems poised to affirm the conventional wisdom produces a surprise. 'Many have taken the value of popular programs like DARE — in which police warn kids about the dangers of drug use — as an article of faith,' writes Brown. 'But Dennis Rosenbaum of the University of Illinois at Chicago and other researchers have shown that the program has been ineffective and may even increase drug use in some cases.'"
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Why We Have So Much "Duh" Science

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  • by revlayle (964221) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @04:28PM (#36312878) Homepage

    duh

  • by mr1911 (1942298) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @04:29PM (#36312884)
    to justify "Duh" studies.

    Who would have thought?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's worse than that. If TFS is accurate, it's based on stupid logic.

      'Think about the number of studies that had to be published for people to realize smoking is bad for you,'

      No, jackass. These studies went on for, what, over half a century? People haven't kept on smoking because you haven't convinced them that it's unhealthy. They understand, just like they did 20 years ago when they started. It's because they start when they're young and they know they shouldn't, and then they're addicted. It's as simple as that.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CrazyDuke (529195)

        I think you may be attributing to deliberative action what is more frequently due to self-imposed incompetence. Seriously, the social psychology text I have OPENS with a pair of case studies done on people's reactions to differing results of studies into the health benefits of jogging. The chapter is on cognitive dissonance.

        People want to believe they are making the right choices. So, they tend to believe that those choices are still correct even in the face of contradictory evidence. They will ration

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          So, they tend to believe that those choices are still correct even in the face of contradictory evidence.

          The political system of the United States has become dependent on this simple fact.

          Despite the fact that most people are unhappy with the direction of the country, voters are likely to vote next time the same way they voted last time, and based on the same issues. They will continue to get their information regarding current affairs from the same sources, too. They will vote the way those sources tell

      • Smoking is a bad example since there was a well organised campaign by the tabacoo industry to discredit both the science and the scientists. The campaign ultimately failed but it caused a lot of confusion and doubt in the public for many years. The same propoganda-tanks are now using their skills to discredit the science and scientists behind AGW. That campaign will also fail in due course, but right now it's still causing a lot of confusion and doubt, particularly in the US where these propoganda-tanks are
      • Re:"Duh" Studies (Score:5, Interesting)

        by nbauman (624611) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @10:46PM (#36315986) Homepage Journal

        Hindsight is wonderful.

        But 50 years ago, people didn't know how dangerous cigarettes were. They "sort of" knew that cigarettes were bad for your health, but they didn't appreciate *how dangerous* they were. For example, they didn't know that lung cancer is almost always fatal (John Wayne unusually had lung cancer and survived). People had the idea that if they did get lung cancer, they would get it cured. They didn't know about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which kills off a *lot* of smokers, more than lung cancer itself. The increase in heart disease and stroke also kills more smokers than lung cancer.

        Probably the first definitive study was the Surgeon General's 1964 report, and in response, the cigarette industry went into overdrive to convince their customers -- particularly young teenagers who were just starting out -- that the Surgeon General's report was wrong, that cigarettes really weren't that harmful, that doctors smoked cigarettes and recommended different brands (Camels, Chesterfields, whatever) to their patients.

        Since cigarettes were one of the major advertisers for most newspapers and magazines (with a few notable exceptions like Good Housekeeping and the Readers Digest), you could read articles about every cancer except lung cancer. Some magazines commissioned stories "debunking" the Surgeon General's report, to suck up to their cigarette company advertisers.

        The cigarette industry kept coming up with new lies, and each lie required a well-designed study to refute it.

        One of the big debates was about whether nicotine was addicting, or whether smokers could stop whenever they felt like it. Teenagers thought they could start smoking for a while to be cool, and then stop later on when they felt like it. The tobacco executives literally swore under oath that nicotine wasn't addictive. It took a couple of "duh" studies to prove they were lying.

        Only recently we've had studies of personal networks that showed *why* people start smoking. Basically they follow the lead of certain friends. That may sound like a "duh" study but the details weren't obvious.

        Watch out who you're calling jackass, unless you want to demonstrate the Dunning-Kruger effect http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect [wikipedia.org]

    • And peer-reviewed reviews of peer reviews. Inception: the scientific version.
      • by jimpop (27817) *

        Often accomplished via public funds.

        • As opposed to what? The private funds which are typically used to find a new drug with exactly the same efficacy as an old drug that the patent is going to expire on?
          • by jimpop (27817) *

            Wasted "Duh!" research in either publicly or privately funded efforts is bad, no?

            • I'd argue that the wastes in private funding, to find drugs that have no benefit to the public, are more often just wastes, while the article points out several reasons why the "duh" studies using public funds are not as wasteful as you might think.
              • by jimpop (27817) *

                Waste is waste. In publicly funded research it is public money being wasted. I don't generally give a rats ass about waste in privately funded research if it's not my money being wasted. YMMV.

                • by riverat1 (1048260) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @09:07PM (#36315390)

                  The problem with that is in pure scientific research you often can't tell what is waste until after the research is done. For example, how much money has been "wasted" on fusion research? Maybe they'll never come up with a workable solution for fusion and you might consider all of it to have been wasted but we still have much better knowledge of the subject. If they ever do come up with something that works will it change to not wasted?

                  Sometimes you just have to make investments that don't have assured payouts. If you don't make those kind of investments then nothing advances.

  • Because... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    We have too much Duh the population.

    • Re:Because... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by noname444 (1182107) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @05:01PM (#36313238)

      The "duh" in the population are those who believe that "duh" science is "duh" though. More often than not the outcome of a study is the expected results. When it's not, however, it challenges our preconceptions and we have to adjust to the new facts (or do another study ;).

      Just because our intention tells us that something works a certain way it doesn't mean we can accept this as a scientific fact. This is a strength of the scientific method, rather than a weakness.

  • And its [Citation Needed].
  • by Anonymous Coward

    My undergrad is in psychology and I helped professors with research many time. One issue is what qualifies as "Duh" or "Everyone knows that".

    For example, studies have been done that show a group of people working together on a project instead of having one person in charge can make it better. "Duh" you say? Kinda like Open Source? Well studies have also shown having one person in power calling the shots can make, think Apple and Steve Jobs. Also a "Duh" you say

    They are both valid.

    Also I don't have the arti

    • That's not cut and dry though because it depends on the personalities of people within the group.

      If you have a bunch of motivated and intelligent people, each can voice his or her opinion on what they can bring to the table to get the project done. Another situation with a mixed bag of motivation and lazy would net you a few people(or maybe one) taking on leadership roles. A third group consists of a bunch of lazy morons, so no work gets done at all.

      see?
  • by rgmoore (133276) <glandauer@charter.net> on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @04:36PM (#36312960) Homepage

    The biggest reason to run "duh" studies is because you really do have to test the obvious. If you assume something is true without testing it, any theory you build on that assumption is on shaky ground. Showing that your basic assumptions is correct is a vital step before you can do anything more complicate.

    • by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @04:48PM (#36313122)
      Well, I guess that touches one of the main misconceptions when it comes to interpretation of scientific work. "Common sense" is not a scientific argument. It lacks rigor. And more often than not, common sense is just plain wrong.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Paradise Pete (33184)

        And more often than not, common sense is just plain wrong.

        Have you done a study or is that just common sense?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Jack9 (11421)

        > "Common sense" is not a scientific argument. It lacks rigor.
        > more often than not, common sense is just plain wrong.

        You seem to have it out for common sense. Either way, I'm not sure how you could believe that common sense* is more often wrong. The number of common sense affirmations that are correct are literally innumerable because they are simple reasoning about the world around us.

        *What you call common sense and I call common sense may be different things.

        A study is not required for me to tell m

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Don't eat things harder than your teeth, they aren't good for you.

          Do you allow your children to eat hard candy?

          People in the larger vehicle of a 2 vehicle crash, tend to have longer lifespans post-incident.

          Who will you say will have a longer lifespan: the hillbillies in the pickup truck that lightly bumped into the sports car or the occupants of the sports car?

          People who have lost 1 of 2 matching organs, tend to follow physician advice more closely.

          Do people who lost only one tonsil tend to follow physician advice more closely?

          Don't eat plants that a young animal ate, after which it immediately died.

          Do you drink coffee?

          Don't shit where you eat.

          Are you saying that using human feces as fertilizer is always harmful?

          Don't hit people you don't know.

          Will you make your children always obey that if they join the military?

          Wash your hands after handling garbage cans.

          Do you always wash your hands after handling clean garbage cans?

        • by Artifakt (700173) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @07:36PM (#36314800)

          A study is not required for me to tell my children...

          Don't eat things harder than your teeth, they aren't good for you.

          The American Dental Association has determined that chocolate covered manhole covers are bad for your teeth. (Thanks to Larry Niven for pointing this out).

          Your last example (wash hands), is a great example of what isn't common sense. It's good advice because of the Germ Theory of Disease. Before Louis Pasteur and a few others developed this, the prevailing 'common sense' observation was that bad smelling air caused diseases. Bad smells could be detected, bacteria and such couldn't (yet), and common sense told people that something you could observe was a real cause, and if you didn't observe anything, there was nothing there to cause anything else. Common sense made three generations of doctors reluctant to accept that they should wash their hands after handling garbage (or sick patients, used surgical instruments, and many other sources of infection).

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I could dissect most of your 'common sense' examples and find flaws. But let's not do that. Let's go for what the parent post 'actually' meant. That a lot (yes, not all) of what's considered 'good practice' based on 'common sense' invariably turns out to be wrong when scrutinized. And then, oddly enough, the new findings are then pronounced as common sense and self-evident all along. Until *they* are proven wrong in turn, etc.

          A classic case of this has been beta agonists in heart failure. The heart isn'
    • by mooingyak (720677)

      I do something similar when I'm trying to track down a bug in software. I'll check things that I don't actually think are part of the problem but I want to verify they behave the way I think they do before I move on to something that relies on that behavior.

  • you need to be constantly reminded of the facts because cigarette companies will start lying about it first chance they get. Google for 'T Zone'.

    Or, as I once read, Common sense isn't.
    • you need to be constantly reminded of the facts because cigarette companies will start lying about it first chance they get. Google for 'T Zone'.

      Oil companies do the same for anthropocentric global warming.

      Here's a suggestion for another "duh" research: when big business fear a drop in profits, they spread lies. Google for 'fear uncertainty doubt'

    • by JordanL (886154)
      As far as smoking goes, I agree to a surprising degree with the South Park episode "Butt Out". The medical problems associated with smoking are real, but that tells us nothing about the relative cost-benefit of an action, or about the effort spent by society to propagate the idea.
  • by ChromeAeonium (1026952) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @04:38PM (#36312976)

    Sometimes that can be useful to have a huge mass of data to fall back on. When some study comes out that says something unexpected, then you have a bunch of data to act as a buffer so that people have some context, because most people think the truth is the whatever study the media misrepresented last, not the body of evidence as a whole. The more info you've got, the harder it is to deny something when its convenient. It might be a waste of time if people were rational creatures, but if something is being done to add to a body of evidence that people are still questioning, then maybe it isn't such a waste after all. And I suppose having some study to back your case if you want to make a policy change or legal claim too, rather than just rely on what should be common sense, for example, saying that studies show tired people preform poorly is better than just saying that you're tired and have a hard time working when you're tired.

    • by pugugly (152978)

      Point.

      I also think it's highly useful to know when conventional wisdom is just flat out wrong. There's a lot of wasted energy going into things like Dare or Charter Schools that just don't actually score that well when you run the numbers. Nevermind people like Joe Arapaio.

      Pug

  • by cultiv8 (1660093) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @04:38PM (#36312978) Homepage
  • "they have to prove the obvious again and again to influence perceptions and policy. "

    They aren't doing science looking to further scientific knowledge, they're doing science in order to influence policy. Immediately, their entire body of work becomes suspect.

    • by dwandy (907337)
      I'm less concerned with the agenda than I am that the entire study be open. Including the raw data, methodology etc. In this way, if they try and misinterpret the results others can peer review and point out the flaws. At this point it doesn't matter as much if they had an agenda: either their 'agenda' happens to be beneficial, or they can't back their nefarious agenda.
  • If one schmoe's study says that drinking antifreeze will kill you, the Antifreeze For Children's Mopeds lobby will counter with their own study saying it's as safe as milk. Sometimes you need more studies from different angles/people to sink home the facts. How long did it take for people to accept cigarettes as a carcinogen? It was before my time, but I've recently seen some of the Congressional testimony from Tobacco execs and the shameless lying (seed of doubt!) is draw dropping in a modern context.

    • by obarel (670863)

      "Antifreeze For Children's Mopeds lobby"?!

      That's my LMAO of the day.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      The reason for that is that the tobacco execs are funding the people investigating them, so the people investigating them never drop the Perjury bomb.

  • by Sir_Sri (199544) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @04:39PM (#36312996)

    Real science is quantitative analysis of, for example, exactly how much worse drivers get with age. The specific mechanics of what things they get worse at, etc.

    The media takes that, and takes the conclusion: they get worse with age/disease, and leave out the details. The details are for, well, people who actually build cars, or systems or the like. The researcher usually isn't trying to prove a 'duh' point, they're trying to quantify a 'duh' point.

    Beautiful women are distracting. Ok. By how much? How do you quantify that? How do you study that? If the presence of beautiful women reduce men's productivity by 0.5% that's very different than 25% - the trend, and effect, may be the same (assuming you can quantify to that scale) to the media. But one is good science, one isn't (and no, you can't even express good science in 2 sentences).

    • by starfishsystems (834319) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @07:41PM (#36314834) Homepage
      Well said!

      And often something interesting emerges when we move from sweeping observation to detailed study. Before Galileo and Newton, it was obvious that things fell down if you dropped them. They just did. It was already obvious centuries before when Aristotle looked at the matter, so obvious that he didn't look at the process very closely and therefore missed a very critical detail.

      But even in his day, you couldn't draw a big crowd if all you did was proclaim that "PHILOSOPHER POINTS OUT THAT THINGS FALL WHEN DROPPED." You have to offer insight into how and why the process occurs, and then you can hope to attract, at least, those people within the population who are interested in questions of how and why. When Newton could predict the rate at which things fall, he also had a working equation for planetary motion.
      • by Sir_Sri (199544)

        Non linear relationships in things people presume are linear is a very interesting result. A still implies B, but not in the way we thought.

  • by quietwalker (969769) <pdughi@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @04:40PM (#36313010)

    Sometimes you need to state the obvious over and over again because it doesn't take much for a person to internalize a viewpoint that makes the obvious non-obvious. Like Lewis Caroll pointed out, 3 times seems to be enough.

    As simple examples, Snopes take on aspartame causing cancer & tumors [snopes.com] and as an ant poison [snopes.com] The FDA still ends up being inundated with this claim so many times a year that they end up retesting, just to humor the population.

    As a more loaded example, check out the belief systems of anyone who claims they are strongly religious. Or Truthers. Or Birthers.

    Sadly, it appears that the majority of the population needs to be told what is obvious over and over.

    • by hitmark (640295)

      There was a article over at arstechnica.com that mentioned people would continue to believe what they where first told, even when presented with evidence of the contrary. Sadly i can not find the url for the article right now.

  • It's Duh either way. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @04:41PM (#36313026)

    I took Psychology at University, where it seems they were particularly sensitive to the accusation. My instructor read a series of twenty-five research results that should have been obvious before experimenting. Many of them did seem obvious. Then she stated that she had just lied to us. All twenty-five experiments actually found the opposite. Then she read them with the true results, and, surely enough, they did sound obvious that way as well.

    In fact, about six to eight did sound dodgy the first way, but that still left far too many.

    ~Loyal

  • by PCM2 (4486) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @04:41PM (#36313036) Homepage

    From TFA:

    'Think about the number of studies that had to be published for people to realize smoking is bad for you,' says Ronald J. Iannotti, a psychologist at the National Institutes of Health. 'There are some subjects where it seems you can never publish enough.'

    This seems like a bad example, because it's not really "duh science" when you have an entire industry using its combined resources to silence your research. The tobacco industry spent decades flooding the journals with studies aimed at proving that smoking was harmless, or even beneficial. What's more, the tobacco industry was uniquely situated to get those results repeated in the press, while the studies that repeated the finding that smoking was harmful ended up sounding like "duh science" and went unreported. (If smoking is still bad for you, it's not news.)

    In many cases, the real problem is not the science, or the journals, but how to communicate the science to the lay public, who can only really comprehend what's actually told to them. If you can't guarantee that anybody will ever hear about your findings, the only way might be to repeat them over and over, as many times as you can -- because that's what industry will do.

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      In many cases, the real problem is not the science, or the journals, but how to communicate the science to the lay public, who can only really comprehend what's actually told to them.

      You're seriously claiming that the 'lay public' didn't realise that the 'coffin nails' they were smoking might be bad for their health until scientists told them they were?

      • by PCM2 (4486)

        You're seriously claiming that the 'lay public' didn't realise that the 'coffin nails' they were smoking might be bad for their health until scientists told them they were?

        No, I'm claiming that when people who had been told smoking was bad for them saw stories that had scientists claiming it really wasn't, many of them said, "Oh, that's a relief, then." Similarly, is there anybody on the planet who doesn't know what Coca-Cola is? Not really... and yet Coca-Cola keeps advertising.

      • by Sique (173459)

        See Ayn Rand as a prime example for a person who didn't believe into the scientific studies until she developed cancer from too much smoking.

        • seeing someone who hasn't already shown themselves to be an opportunistic nut job.
          • by Sique (173459)

            That's always the problem -- being outstanding enough to make a difference and not so extremist to still go along. No person on earth is able to correctly access all scientific papers affecting the own persuasions and beliefs, not even the most of it. Every single person on earth, as smart and educated she might be, is still completely ignorant and uneducated about most topics of science, and thus prone to act stupid on things she could know better. There are two ways to cope with it: one is to adhere to th

      • that the tobacco lobby spent millions in their own studies if they didn't think that people would believe them?
  • by Geurilla (759701) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @04:42PM (#36313046)

    Most "Duh" research isn't "Duh" at all. It only sounds that way because of the atrocious state of science reporting in the popular press. Challenging, technical research has to be translated into terms regular folks can understand, and that often means making ridiculous comparisons or analogies, or just giving an explanation of the research so dumbed down that the researchers themselves would hardly recognize it.

    Another contributing factor is the political motivations of people with large audiences who don't know better. For example, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) released a "report" [senate.gov] making fun of a number of studies supposedly representing wasting spending on stupid research. It turns out his examples [livescience.com] are actually pretty nuanced and important after all--hardly "duh" science.

    The general population just isn't equipped to judge which research is important and worth spending money on. That is exactly why we have organizations like the NSF to evaluate grant proposals for us.

  • by FatLittleMonkey (1341387) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @04:46PM (#36313090)

    The reason people do "Well, duh!" research is because of how interesting it is when the "Duh!" is wrong. Such as the research into DARE, or similar research showing the ineffectiveness of 12-step programs, or diets, or that losing weight doesn't increase your lifespan (although gaining it decreases it), or that modest alcohol consumption can have positive health effects, or...

    I mean, how interesting would it be if...

    Driving ability improved in people with early Alzheimer's disease.
    Or if women who get epidurals experienced more pain during childbirth than women who didn't.
    Or if young men who are obese have the higher odds of getting married than thinner peers.
    Or if trying to "make exercise more fun" lowers fitness rates among teens.

  • by wolfemi1 (765089) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @04:48PM (#36313124)
    I can say that I'm not surprised by the positive correlation with drug use. I personally caught the DARE officer in lies about the side effects of drugs, and all it really taught me was that police hold youth in enough contempt to lie to them "for their own good." That's really not a great thing to teach students.
    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @05:04PM (#36313270)

      Police lie to everyone, not just youth.

    • Given the the total failure of the War On Drugs, why would anyone assume that any component of it, including DARE, is a success?
      • by dynamo (6127)

        If they have gotten rich because of it, that's the only rational reason to consider DARE a success. Maybe the people who made DARE are less stupid than it seems, and it was an undercover thing to get people to do more drugs - by insulting their intelligence and then telling them not to. More drug use, more prisoners, more cops / guards, ... $$$. I don't think it was really a conspiracy, but mostly because people intelligent enough to think of that would have made better ads.

        • Most such "Cons" are made by 100% sincere people, who delude themselves into believing their simplistic solutions have value in addressing big and complex problems.

          The money can be a factor. But much less than you might think. Lucrative foolishness just happens to be guaranteed to spawn many, many imitators. That is not necessarily a sign of greed. It is at least as much a symptom of people who are often loathe to ever question apparent material success.

  • by NoSig (1919688) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @04:52PM (#36313160)
    We humans like to pretend that our assumptions are facts. So when our assumptions come closer to actually really being facts, we have to say that that is a worthless endeavor because otherwise our pretense would be disrupted. It is much nicer to feel superior to those stupid scientists than it is to realize how little we really know.
  • The more likely explanation is granting bodies. To apply for substantial funding you need to have a project that has clearly defined outcomes that have a high probability for success. The kind of project that has these properties is "the obvious". The short term is very important too. You need to have something you can publish and report in the first year of publication to ensure the grant bodies stay happy and don't become concerned they have wasted their money, again "the obvious" is a good one. Long term
  • I can credit DARE as the number one reason I took LSD for the first time. I wasn't really aware of hallucinogens prior to DARE and the whole "Just Say No" campaign. I found the idea of having a dream-like state while awake to be fascinating. It seemed like magic, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on some LSD or shrooms. It took me a few years (until my freshman year of high school), but I took acid as early as I was able to find it. I must say, DARE didn't disappoint at all!
  • by porges (58715) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @05:09PM (#36313324) Homepage

    For instance: arthroscopic knee surgery, a very common procedure, doesn't actually help. [washingtonpost.com]. If you were afraid of "duh" research, you'd never ask that question in the first place.

    • by starfishsystems (834319) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @08:28PM (#36315172) Homepage
      You've given a perfect example of the "duh" principle. By oversimplifying an already simplistic analysis, you've managed to pervert the original meaning beyond recognition.

      This is why it's so important to RTFA. You say that "arthroscopic knee surgery, a very common procedure, doesn't actually help." That's not, however, what the article says.

      The article cites two studies which report that certain specific arthroscopic procedures are not effective in treating osteoarthritis. The article then goes on to equate the specific procedures with arthroscopy in general, and osteoarthritis (a specific condition) with knee pain (a general symptom). The original research may be impeccable, but the article has summarized it falsely.

      Still, you've managed to make matters even worse. Thanks to your claim, arthroscopic knee surgery has been generalized as useless. Taking this foolishness to the next level, no doubt someone now is going to read your comment, turn to his wife and say. "Honey, it says here that all doctors are quacks. See, I knew it all along."

      The reason why arthroscopic surgery has become so commonplace is because it's an excellent refinement on traditional surgical procedure. If an open procedure was traditionally effective (take appendectomy for example) and it can be done arthroscopically, then it will still be as effective but will tend to be less invasive, have a lower risk of infection, and result in shorter hospitalization and faster recovery time. Knee surgery is absolutely not an exception.

      At least you linked to the article you misrepresented, which in turn cited the research it misrepresented. Still, just don't do that. You could hurt somebody.
  • by John Da' Baddest (1686670) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @05:11PM (#36313338)

    It's obvious the Earth is flat, why waste Isabell's gold "proving" someone can sail West and end up back home from the East? Duh.

    It's obvious that heavier objects fall faster than lighter ones, that guy in Pisa must be pulling a political stunt to get tax credits or something. Duh.

    It's obvious that Saddam has secret nukes, who needs UN institutional opinions? Duh.

    It's obvious that taxes cause job losses, cell phones cause cancer, and the world ended two Saturdays ago except for you heathen boogers, and everything worth inventing was already discovered years ago. Let's close the patent office. Duh.

    Cross-discipline value judgements are a slippery slope. Science is not Technology, and we techies look pretty ridiculous by other people's criteria if you haven't noticed already.

    "News for Nerds" indeed.
    Duh.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      It's obvious the Earth is flat, why waste Isabell's gold "proving" someone can sail West and end up back home from the East? Duh.

      That did not fucking happen!
      We have known the earth was round since the Greeks. The argument was over the distance. Simple math shows that Columbus would have starved before making it to India. He got lucky that the Americas were in his way. He was a bigger fool than you are being.

      Out Demons of Stupidity and Ignorance, OUT! rAmen
      Educate thyself!
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christo [wikipedia.org]

    • by Sique (173459)

      It's obvious the Earth is flat, why waste Isabell's gold "proving" someone can sail West and end up back home from the East? Duh.

      This is actually a case of a Non-Duh. Columbus' pretense was not to prove the Earth is round. That was common knowledge for the last 2000 years at the end of the 15th century, and no one actually doubted it in 1492. Columbus was trying to prove that the Earth's circumfence was about 17.000 mls and not 26.000 mls, as the portugese sailors and navigators claimed. As we know, he was wrong. And it took him two further expeditions to actually understand how wrong he was. Other people were faster on the uptake, e

  • This is very much in line with "normal science" as described in Kuhn's classic book "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions." Most of science is "filling in the holes" of widely-accepted theories and ideas. Because it's not paradigm-shifting, it seems obvious that much normal science can be interpreted as "duh science." It's inherent in the way that science and discovery work.

  • Sadly, the summary pretty much contains the entire TFA... All the links are nothing but the submitter's editorial commentary with sketchy connections to TFA at best.

    But there's another reason for 'duh!' science that he misses - quantification. Yeah, it's 'duh!' that driving ability worsens in the early stages of Alzheimer's. But can it be used as a diagnostic tool? Can the nature of the decrease (decreased cognition? slowed reflexes?) lead to further studies of what parts of the brain are affecte

  • "Many have taken the value of popular programs like DARE — in which police warn kids about the dangers of drug use — as an article of faith,' writes Brown. 'But Dennis Rosenbaum of the University of Illinois at Chicago and other researchers have shown that the program has been ineffective and may even increase drug use in some cases"

    Anyone who has actually sat through one of these would not be surprised that they increase drug use.

  • Flawed Premise (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bemopolis (698691) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @06:12PM (#36313984)
    In a country where 40% [gallup.com] of the population still doesn't accept the theory of evolution, there is no such thing as "duh" science.

    Fortunately, I expect that their inability to also grasp the reality of AGW will eventually remedy the situation in a manner suitable to please this childless, atheist misanthrope.
  • think what you will about animal research, i have no desire to argue the topic right now, but there are constant studies at universities testing drug addiction (ucla a major offender) and the affects on primates. in simple terms, "i want a grant to test psychological affects of meth on a primate."

    what do you *think* is going to happen? we already *know* ffs! ask a fucking tweeker to come in and lets have a chat. whats the point of all this and why are these people still getting money to document behaviours

  • A thousand years ago christians knew the world was flat and the sun/planets revolved around us. If we take anything on faith then we're no better than the religious extremists that plan their lives based on the written works of dead men that acted crazy by our standards.
  • Well, and it's worse. D.A.R.E. in particular is a rather cogent example, because it's an instance of the government pushing a particular policy opinion on children at a very young age in a focused program, something that they already have a vested interest in doing.

    Normally, I don't think we'd be inclined to allow the government to influence our children's ethics quite so blatantly; we allow the government to enforce law based on what we think now, but generally frown on it telling us what to think later (c

  • I considered working on automatic speech recognition in grad school, so I took a few courses in it. It drove me crazy for a lot of reasons. First, what they do isn't very linguistically sound because they throw away way too much of the original signal and use what I think are overly-simplistic statistical methods. But what REALLY drove me crazy was the impenetrable resistance to trying anything new. In computer vision, they do all kinda of cool new stuff all the time. But in ASR, it's all cepstral coef

  • those are totally "duh" as well

  • TFA is not being truthful about what the research is about. For example, the question of when to take the car keys away from an Alzheimer's patient is very critically important if you are a family member. Such research is attempting to find simple tests to determine if a neurologically impaired person is still fit to drive or not. It is not simply trying to find out if Alzheimer's patients drive worse than the general population.

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