absolute risk reduction, All that matters is the evidence, bias, confirmation bias, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, empirical observation, explanatory theories, Groupthink, null hypothesis, refuted findings, review by peer researchers, statistically significant associations, the testing of hypotheses in experiments and trials, type I error
Source: Trial Site News
Old Lady Justice and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Note that views expressed in this opinion article are the writer’s personal views and not necessarily those of TrialSite.
Dr. Ron Brown – Opinion Editorial
July 23, 2021
A reader recently asked me the following questions about the research I’ve conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic: “Have any of your fellow researchers disagreed with your findings? Do you mean to tell me every one of your colleagues researching similar subjects are in total agreement with you? Be honest, has anyone raised questions about your research?” The reader asks very important questions. I have published over a dozen articles in the National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health, including three articles on the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Public Health Lessons Learned From Biases in Coronavirus Mortality Overestimation (cambridge.org)
- Medicina | Free Full-Text | Outcome Reporting Bias in COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Clinical Trials (mdpi.com)
- Medicina | Free Full-Text | Sodium Toxicity in the Nutritional Epidemiology and Nutritional Immunology of COVID-19 (mdpi.com)
All of my research has passed rigorous review by peer researchers, otherwise it wouldn’t be published in peer-reviewed journals and cited by other researchers. Even if people don’t agree with my point of view or interpretation, they haven’t been able to dispute my findings based on the evidence. In other words, people’s personal opinions and agendas don’t matter. All that matters is the evidence. When I publish my findings in peer-reviewed journals, you can be assured that the evidence supporting the findings is valid, until someone comes up with something better.
Moreover, if people can present better evidence and refute my findings, then I will go along with it, knowledge advances, and everyone benefits. That’s how scientific knowledge progresses. Think of it like a court case. When I present my case, there is always going to be an opposing side. But the lady wearing the blind fold (Justice) weighs the evidence on a scale, and determines the truth by comparing the weight of the evidence on each side. The blind fold on Old Lady Justice means she is unbiased about which side is true. All that matters is which evidence carries the most weight, beyond a reasonable doubt.
In reality, the system isn’t perfect, of course. Biases can corrupt the process. That is why the review process must remain transparent and open to critical appraisal. For example, see my peer-reviewed critical appraisal of bias in the clinical trials of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. Medicina | Free Full-Text | Outcome Reporting Bias in COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Clinical Trials (mdpi.com).
There is a natural flow of scientific information published in peer reviewed journals, from descriptions of empirical observations, to establishment of statistically significant associations, to development of explanatory theories, to testing hypotheses in experiments and trials—all of it evidence-based and presented in a process known as the scientific method. The evidence becomes stronger as information progresses from the observational stage to the experimental and trial stage. One cannot draw the same conclusions from observational evidence as from clinical trial or laboratory evidence, as often occurs during the pandemic when people make claims based on whether a person is vaccinated or not. These claims pay no attention to the clinical evidence showing that the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine absolute risk reduction is approximately 1%, having barely any clinical impact at all.
CDC’s biased undercount of COVID-19 breakthrough infections (trialsitenews.com);
AP analysis doesn’t prove COVID-19 vaccines prevent deaths (trialsitenews.com).
Null Hypothesis and Type I Error
If a researcher asserts that a new idea or hypothesis is true, the scientific method immediately posts a warning sign on it, known as the null hypothesis. The purpose of the null hypothesis is not just to annoy science students who must prove that their alternative hypothesis is true before they can reject the null hypothesis. After all, if you can prove your alternative hypothesis is true, why bother with the null hypothesis at all? Please understand that the purpose of the null hypothesis is to protect the truth! To reject the null hypothesis without sufficient proof is to reject the truth, known as a type I error.
Currently, the “fiasco” undermining the COVID-19 pandemic is based on one huge type I error, because, as epidemiologist John Ioannidis pointed out in his March 17, 2020 article, we are making decisions (rejecting the truth) based on incomplete information. A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data (statnews.com).
Confirmation Bias and Groupthink
Obviously, researching and writing valid evidence-based information for peer-review takes time and effort, compared to immediately forming opinions and arguments to support a personal agenda. The media is full of public health opinions and speculations that lack solid evidence. However, when it comes to rushing to judgement and compromising the truth, the spotlight shines on Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. See Public Health Lessons Learned From Biases in Coronavirus Mortality Overestimation (cambridge.org).
Fauci doesn’t appear to understand how scientific knowledge advances using the scientific method, even though he says he does. If he did, he would realize that there is an opposing view to everything that undergoes scientific investigation. Fauci doesn’t look at it that way. He picks his favorite side, based on his personal opinion and agenda, and dismisses everything else without examining the evidence. The only time he changes his mind is when is opinion is proven wrong. Then he goes onto the next wrong opinion that supports his agenda! He never appears to seek the truth.
Selecting information that supports one’s personal view and agenda, while rejecting contradictory evidence, is known as confirmation bias. Confirmation bias that affects the pandemic policy agenda of an entire group of public health administrators is known as groupthink.
Fauci is not a scientist. He doesn’t hold an advanced degree in scientific research. Neither do many public health administrators and government policy makers. He and they are bureaucrats. Fauci doesn’t understand how true science works. He needs to get better acquainted with Old Lady Justice!