Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tools for Critical Thinking in Biology - Stephen H. Jenkins

Dr. Marc-Alexander Fluks reports "Student textbook has section about XMRV-fraud and CFS"
Title: Tools for Critical Thinking in Biology
Author: Stephen H. Jenkins
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 978-0-19-998104-5
Date: April 28, 2015
Price: US$ 49.95


The full text about the XMRV-fraud and CFS is available online,
Chapter: Science as as Social Process
Section: Correction of Faulty Results after Publication
Pages: 219-226
URL: http://books.google.com/?id=CHDbBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA219
"Extreme cases of CFS are similar to end-stage AIDS."
"Until recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has emphasized the psychosomatic hypothesis in their research on CFS, although several scientists have looked for associations between CFS and infection with various viruses."
Then there's a description of the XMRV fiasco.  "This outcome doesn't mean absolute refutation of the hypothesis that CFS is caused by an infectious agent -- another virus or even another type of infectious agent could be responsible for the disease. ... the research that followed Mikovits's study and culminated in Lipkin's project has spurred greater scientific attention to CFS and may stimulate more research on various hypotheses about causes of the disease."
* * *
The good news is that students are now being taught the possibility that CFS is not just all in our heads, but caused by a virus.
Unfortunately, the whole XMRV mess is exposed to a wider audience in a way that could scare students off getting involved in controversial research like CFS.  Since this is a book about "critical thinking", it was a good description of something that was disproved by critical thinking (trying to replicate research and not just accepting it as true based on one study), so there is some benefit to it if you turn it on its head, the studies claiming IAIYH also cannot be replicated when using real CFS patients rather than "tired all the time" depressives.

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