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Old Mon, Jun-21-21, 12:58
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Kristine Kristine is offline
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Default The Obesity Wars and the Education of a Researcher: A Personal Account

The obesity wars and the education of a researcher: A personal account

A scathing indictment of Willet and Hu, which got a lot of attention and support from the likes of Gary Taubes, Nina Teicholz, etc on twitter.

Quote:
Abstract
A nave researcher published a scientific article in a respectable journal. She thought her article was straightforward and defensible. It used only publicly available data, and her findings were consistent with much of the literature on the topic. Her coauthors included two distinguished statisticians. To her surprise her publication was met with unusual attacks from some unexpected sources within the research community. These attacks were by and large not pursued through normal channels of scientific discussion. Her research became the target of an aggressive campaign that included insults, errors, misinformation, social media posts, behind-the-scenes gossip and maneuvers, and complaints to her employer.


Quote:
At first, I was startled, but eventually I came to expect partisan attacks masquerading as scientific concerns. I had expected some modest interest in our findings, pursued through normal channels of scientific discussion. I had not expected an aggressive campaign that included insults, errors, misinformation, behind-the-scenes gossip and maneuvers, social media posts and even complaints to my employer many more instances than I have space to describe here. It seemed that some felt that our work should be judged not on its merits but rather on whether its findings supported the goals and objectives of the interlocutors. I saw first-hand the antagonism that can be provoked by inconvenient scientific findings.

Guidelines and recommendations should be based on objective and unbiased data. Development of public health policy and clinical recommendations is complex and needs to be evidence-based rather than belief-based.46, 47, 48, 49, 50. This can be challenging when a hot-button topic is involved. Scientific findings should be evaluated on their merits, not on the basis of whether they fit a desired narrative.
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