Scientific credibility is difficult to obtain.  Biologic Science is, regrettably, a very inexact discipline.  I was taught in medical school that 50% of what they were teaching us was wrong.  They just didn't know at the time which 50% it was!  Yes, I can hear the shouts of protest!  However, let me give you my defense before you have me drawn and quartered.

In the medical field, the biologic sciences are at their finest, both in regards to research and practice.  For many years, there were fine articles published regarding open trials conducted by respected M.D.'s and Ph.D.'s which showed that giving replacement estrogen (especially with a progestin) to postmenopausal women was beneficial for their overall health and carried little risks for adverse side-effects.  However, publications over the last 10 years, particularly the massive Women's Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Trial--which you can personally read at the indicated link by entering in the site search engine "Women's Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Trial"1--these vigorously controlled studies found definite a definite risk for harm from such treatments.  Combined estrogen plus progesterone resulted in increased risk for breast cancer, heart problems, stroke, thromboembolic disease, and cognitive decline.2 

You see, the only way to get credible, reliable, accurate, and precise information was to blind the treating physicians and the patients, choose people for treatment versus placebo randomly, and use thousands of postmenopausal women as subjects for this study.  It was only then that we as physicians became convinced of these definite and clinically significant adverse side effects.  It cannot be stated too strongly that both the physician and the patient must be blinded (i.e., cannot neither can know if the medication is the treatment versus placebo).  Only with this kind of rigorous control can we come close to the truth.

Yet, even having this kind of rigorous trial may not be not enough.  For instance, there could be potential problems with the population used.  For example, if most of the women were white, then does this research apply to women of Asian or African descent?  Therefore, other such trials may be needed to confirm or deny even such a rigorous trial as is found in the Women's Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Trial.  Special "meta-analyses" can be done on similar studies following the same methodology.  If these meta-analyses confirm the same findings, then the results are more reliable.

But controlling investigator bias is not enough.  Money or ideology can so skew the collection and the interpretation of "scientific data" that it can become misleading.  For example, when a Pharmaceutical Company purposefully withholds disclosure of adverse effects for one of the medications it produces, and does this for the purpose of making more money, then the physician's knowledge of the medication is not only corrupted but also corrupted because of the manufacture's greed.

My point is this:  If accurate, precise, reliable and credible conclusions in medicine can only come by blinding the bias of both the physician/researcher and the patient and by randomizing the study population to either take the medication or a placebo, then how can we trust any scientific research which does not in some similar fashion strictly eliminate such investigator bias?  The field of biology, especially relating to the origin and development of life, has been, and still is, subject to gross investigator bias.  Ideology or financial considerations can completely blind both the scientist and those who trust that scientist's research.  The field of Medicine is not unique in this matter!

Efforts to document the Theory of Evolution ever since Darwin proposed it have been plagued by such problems.  Even the purposeful hoax that created a "missing link" was done with the idea that the end justifies the means.  Biologists who have honest doubts about Darwin's Theory of Evolution cannot voice those without the Evolution's De-Schutzstaffel (SS) Operatives destroying their careers.  This leaves those honest Biologists just like the man in the picture at the top of this page--lying prostrate on the beach, his trusted skiff broken to pieces.  As we look at him, we want to know--is there still life and breath, is there still hope?

Now it takes real bias to do that to another human.  Do you really expect me to believe the "research" of those who do such things?

  2. Rakel, RE. Textbook of Family Medicine, 7th edition, Saunders/Elsevier, Philadelphia, PA, ©2007, p 1063.