I struggled with RSI for a couple of years until I read John Sarno's "The Mind-Body Connection" on the recommendation of someone from HN. Sarno's thesis is that many chronic pain conditions (those without a clear physical mechanism, such as RSI or chronic back pain) are psychosomatic.
A lot of people struggle with this idea, and take it, as they did in the article, as "my pain isn't real". Sarno's book very clearly lays out that the pain is real, it's just caused by processes in your brain, not the rest of your body.
Societally it's all very strange. We accept a "mind-body" connection for certain types of disorders, but, not for others. Anxiety sufferers can fool themselves into thinking they're having a heart attack and hyperventilate. Why is it crazy or anti-scientific to think that the same can cause other symptoms? We've searched for decades for body-based mechanisms for these chronic pain conditions, why not consider causes in the brain?
I haven't had this happen for at least a year or so now, and it's quite likely this is linked to various major changes that have happened in my life since then.
But yes, I totally agree with you about your conclusion.
I tend to get them when I'm way too relaxed as that makes me "stretch out" during sleep, which I kinda notice in half-sleep as feeling great, until I seemingly "overstretch" and get fully woken up to a painful calf cramp.
Tho that whole problem kinda fixed itself once I started taking Magnesium supplements before going to bed, to help with teeth gnashing/neck pains.
I might have an absorption issue though. Magnesium salt topical spray (less costly than pills) helps intantly unclench my neck/shoulders, and theres extant literature on that being an effective method of administration.
I only take it when I feel a twinge in my calf. I figure I'm probably deficient in magnesium or something. Even if it is a placebo, it seems to work.
This was the same for me with RSI. It was simply the act of realizing it was psychosomatic and caused by stress that made it disappear completely.
A friend's wife died, and he got sick afterwards. Grief? Illness went away when he stopped eating badly (his wife had prepared most meals for him).
Of course, he had switched to a pretty bad diet, and he was older, more likely to be affected by diet.
Cramps, for example, can be often be prevented with potassium, which is in plants. Some people don't eat plants as much when they are stressed, leading to cramps.
I'm not saying that RSI doesn't exist, but I'm now positive that in my case all those RSI-like symptoms were all in my head -- some kind of a nocebo (an anti-placebo) effect. When I was 27 I had to do an MRI of my hand for an unrelated reason (boxing injury), so naturally I asked them to do an MRI of my wrist since they'll be immobilizing my hand anyway . So either my wrist was healed in those 6 years, or it was fine all along -- can't tell because I didn't have a "before" picture. Just in case, I explicitly double checked with another doctor if he was sure about my wrist and he said that my MRI could be used as a textbook example of a healthy wrist joint.
I am now wondering if all those "mental-health awareness" things could have an adverse effect. I wonder how many hypochondriacs self-suggested themselves an OCD or an ADHD, and while marinating in those thoughts they somehow turned those thoughts into an actual condition (self-fulfilling prophecy?). Like ... you guys already have tidy people joking about having an OCD, and people who like to wash hands are joking about being a germaphobs.
edit: I think I've seen an article "willpower is limited only if you believe so" posted somewhere here on HN, but I can't find it now. Anyway here's another link: , and here's the Stanford study they cite . This can be another example of people self-suggesting themselves a handicap.
 There are a lot of posts on HN talking about healthcare costs in the US, so I'll share my anecdote too. I did an MRI in Ukraine and the whole thing was like $80: $50 for the hand and extra $30 for the wrist. The machine was 1.5 Tesla one, but there are other clinics that have 3 Tesla machines too (a little bit more expensive). Scheduling an appointment was done by a phone a couple of days in advance and didn't require any doctor referral. There are many small private clinics offering imaging services (MRI/CT/Ultrasound/...), and all of them are very easy to Google and all of the prices are available online, for example: . After the procedure they give you a CD with the info, a print-out on some largish transparent plastic, and their staff doctor's conclusion. You usually take those results to your specialist doctor of choice.
 For example: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&u=https... all prices in UAH, to get rough USD estimate divide those numbers by 25 (or 26.75 to get exact number as of 2019-03-13 if you're OCD).
But RSI has a clear physical mechanism. I don't know as much about chronic back pain, but considering how much physical stuff there is in our back, I'd assume it's similar.
Or does "physical mechanism" mean something other than it seems to mean?
He was also clear that this is not always the case, and that direct physical causes should be looked for by a specialist before pursuing psychological remedies.
The idea is the pain is very, very real, and very, very painful. But that the cause is psychological.
The reason why RSI and back pain type issues persist is because psychologically they are very easy to justify. Of course we put load on our backs! Of course we do repetitive things! So it's easy to draw the conclusion that this is the cause, especially for your brain. This prevents people from exploring a root cause.
It's interesting material, but I think you have to be pretty open minded to consider it.
Imagine that RSI is not caused by bad posture, lack of exercise, and repetitive motions alone. For example, there are many people with bad posture, who don't exercise, who use repetitive motions and do not have RSI (me, for example ;-) ). Imagine that in addition to these things a required trait is that the muscles are slightly tensed. Imagine that the tense muscles constrict blood flow. This causes an inflamation in the area and with repetitive motion (or even lack of motion) it generates an injury in the area.
Imagine that when you believe that you have solved the problem (by using a special keyboard, or changing the way you sit or changing the way you move) that your muscles relax just that little bit. Now the blood flows freely, there is no inflamation and the RSI goes away. You think it's due to your physical actions, but in reality you are cured only because you believe that what you did worked.
The idea behind the book (as far as I can tell -- I decided not to read it) is that conditions like RSI are real. The physical cause is real. However, the conditions necessary to cause the condition to occur are mental. It's a fairly compelling idea. RSI is a similar situation to the back pain that the author of the book studied. Many people suffer from it and the cure seems to differ widely -- if you can be cured at all. May of the cures don't really have convincing experimental evidence to show that it actually relieves any physical problems. The efficacy is based only on the apparent lack of new symptoms.
Now, I'm of two minds with this book. On the one had, like I said, the idea is compelling. The author believed that most chronic back pain's underlying cause was mental. The physical issues that in turn caused the pain, were in turn caused by the mental issue. The author apparently had considerable success in his practice, but I think it is important to note that his practice was for helping people who had back pain where no conventional treatment helped. So he's working from a point of sampling bias. While he may be correct that this occurs, it is hard to get an idea on how frequently it occurs.
This is different from the general effects of stress, and different from purely physical factors.
Speaking for myself, I don’t have serious back pain, but when I occasionally experience momentary strong anxiety my back muscles get noticeably tight/strained, especially while sleep deprived. Drinking 1 beer typically alleviates that, or I’m sure some other anxiolytic medicine could.
I would not be surprised at all if chronic severe anxiety (e.g. taking care of a chronically ill child, working a high-stakes short-deadlines job, living with an emotionally abusive person, experiencing trauma and then suffering PTSD, ...) might cause me to develop a real back pain problem.
My experience with most serious medical things is that doctors have a clear general-audience explanation, because part of their job is making patients feel like they understand what's going on. But if you get into the details, the good doctors will say, "Well, actually, the picture is much murkier, but here's what we know based on studies X, Y, and Z, but there's a lot yet to learn."
Back pain in particular is an area of open dispute. Many people have many theories, all of them very hard to test. When I was dealing with back pain, a spine-center doctor recommended a book called "Treat Your Own Back" . It was hugely helpful to me. And in it, the doctor explains that he hit upon his method because a patient came in, used a piece of equipment that was set up totally the wrong way, and said, "Gosh, doc, that was great!" It led him to reexamine what he had been taught about backs, coming up with a different "clear physical mechanism" to explain a common class of pain.
That we are still figuring something out does not mean it's psychosomatic. It doesn't mean it's not, but a doctor suggesting otherwise is doing the medical equivalent of "god of the gaps" theology, where anything mysterious is attributed to your preferred cause.
Are there physiological differences between people that explain this? Probably. But I suspect in many cases Sarno is right, it’s not purely physical. Look into neuromatrix theory and non-proprioceptive pain for a somewhat more scientific attempt at an explanation.
I don't find this particular statement very revolutionary. We have known for a long time that physical pain is manufactured by the brain as an evolutionary tactic to help us prevent further harm to ourselves. If we didn't "feel pain" when we were on fire, we would burn to death.
But...you would (or could?, or should?) never tell someone that, because how would you know? Maybe there is some link but to conclude that it could be the case is pretty silly.
So it's not like that's a stigma, it's just a statement not based in fact that evokes a strong reaction because you're telling someone why they're feeling a certain way when in reality you have no idea at all.
As another example, stress was blamed as the main cause of ulcers for decades, when an H pylori infection turned out to be the primary culprit.
Only the good things, of course, because they are all angels.
You are the reason why such reactions occur.
I think the main problem with many doctors is the fact that the patient tends to feel blamed when told that their minds are causing the problem. This is not Sarno’s approach at all, since he states that chronic pain can be seen as a defense mechanism against deep negative emotions.
It depends on how you read it, since the short 12-word summary could be read dozens of different ways. There's ways in which trivially, of course, duh, pain is in the brain, where else would it be? But there's also ways in which it stands in stark contrast to what most people implicitly believe.
Take your (you, the reader, not kimmy1 specifically) beliefs about the nature of pain, and explicitly hold it up to the concept of phantom limb syndrome: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantom_limb And make extra sure to read the section about mirror box treatment. (That it works at all, for anyone, is the important point, not whether it's a miracle cure for all sufferers.)
You may already have heard about these things, but have you explicitly examined your beliefs about pain to ensure they incorporpate these ideas?
I don't know about fibromyalgia, but it wouldn't shock me that much if there is something a lot like phantom limb syndrome out there that confuses us by causing phantom pain in body parts that exist. For eminently rational reasons it would be a long time before we worked out way down to that hypothesis.
Actually nociceptive pain is by definition not in the brain and is fundamentally somatic. However somehow it is privileged by society: it’s “real” pain while those others are “all in your head”.
The sad thing is that the scientist is validating these phenomena yet the critics don’t understand that.
E.g. you subconsciously favor your back, leading to overexertion of other muscles, leading to physical degradation and pain from those muscles
Talking with her was eye opening on the amount of sub-major muscle "stuff" that is constantly subconsciously working in our muscular-skeletal system.
"You hold tension in your neck" is a remarkably complex statement (and solution).
It is not true about chronic pain. Acute pain will get better if you rest, chronic pain won't.
Most chronic pain sufferers will feel better if they behave as if the pain doesn't exist, increase their activities, get less depressed, feel less pain...
The core of fibro identity, however, is that fibros don't experience the benefits of exercise, they get the pain but they don't get the gain. That might be true. I have seen fibros try something new and get hurt even more quickly than heroin adicts.
Nothing to do with psychology, and everything to do with destruction of peripheral nerve tissue.
OC is saying that the pain can originate in the brain itself without any external force on the body.
There are also a lot of diseases that were thought of to be psychosomatic that turned out to not be such as peptic ulcer disease. There is also gender bias in play. Pain or illness affecting males are more likely to be classified as physiological while the same thing affecting females is more likely to be classified as psychological.
There is a mind-body connection and the mind can induce nervous system sensation when no physical cause is present.
For me, it didn’t help either, but guided me to search how I could change my emotions. A mix of yoga and meditation plus techniques from “Code to Joy” by George Pratt helped me chronic headaches.
Yoga helps you become more aware of your mind-body. Meditations practiced in Kundalini yoga can help you become more deeply aware of your mind, or trigger certain helpful ideas (they usually have a very specific intention). What was left for me was to change negative beliefs that were created throughout my life, and that I accomplished with Code to Joy (and some of their previous work, which is more focused in emotions rather than beliefs).
I was also helped by Dr Sarno's book, and for me the news that it was "all in my head" was encouraging.
I can control my mind, and if my mind is the source of the problem, it's a lot easier for me to fix it that if I required surgery or medicine.
 At least partially, the mind is a slippery thing too.
My brain used to have my body act up when I took a certain medication.
I was lucky: Once it got a little ahead of itself and my body started acting funny before I'd even taken the medication.
At that point I knew it was all in my head and never had any more problems with that medicine after that.
This is really interesting! I have a funny reaction to spicy foods: my scalp starts itching. I've notice that the itching can start even before eating when I merely have the spicy food in front of me and I'm anticipating eating it.
I think this applies to all the diseases that are diagnosed as a bucket of symptoms. For example headaches...someday when we understand the mechanisms behind migraines, cluster headaches, tension headaches, etc... we'll probably find that we drew the buckets in the wrong spot.
Fortunately, I found the underlying physical cause and am responding quickly to treatment.
Glad to hear Sarno helped you though :)
I've had two RSI episodes in my life. The first one was similar to what you described and went away without any physical intervention, after I read something similar. The second (specifically, I had carpel tunnel syndrome symptoms) was more recently and didn't go away until I tried these: https://www.mijncarpaletunnel.nl/en/home They say to use them for 6 weeks. For about 4 weeks I didn't notice any change, but by the end of week 5 I was pain-free. They claim that you should remain pain-free for a couple of years after, which wasn't the case for me, I get some symptoms every so often (rarely pain, usually tingling fingers), but between using a Kinesis Advantage2 keyboard with foot pedals and taking regular breaks, its been manageable so far and hasn't caused any problems.
The way to prevent it is to type with a posture such that all of the joints of the arm/hand (not to mention neck, shoulders, etc.) are in a neutral position with as little static load as possible.
This can be accomplished more or less on a standard keyboard, but is much easier with a keyboard that has a split halves, tented. It is also helpful to type with a light, bouncy style, which can be helped by careful choice of keyswitches.
> It is also helpful to type with a light, bouncy style, which can be helped by careful choice of keyswitches.
I use Cherry MX Brown and have a very light touch when typing now. I cringe anytime I see people hammer keyboards.
2) Is the KA2 wide enough for your shoulders? A split keyboard was the ticket for me, due to the set of my shoulders.
2) It seems to be. I find it quite comfortable at least. I’ll keep an eye on it, thanks!
I also have a Microsoft 4000 at home for light/occasional usage and it's struck the point of being good enough for that purpose, and it was quite inexpensive.
(If your wrists are straight on a regular keyboard and your shoulders are not scrunched you probably don't need a split board)
The more direct physical way to "fix" it is to adopt a neutral stance with your body. Let your arms hang down neutrally at your sides without using your shoulders to hold them up. Let your wrists be supported in a good position so the strings and pulleys from your forearms to your fingers function well. Support them off the sharp and low edges of the desk at a good temperature. Let your head be balanced over your neck and shoulders instead of holding it in position with your back and head muscles.
The way to exacerbate the problem is the power through it like a new runner with shitty shoes. Ignore all of it, hold tension in your neck and back and ignore the signals your body is sending. Keep your monitor off-axis. Use a shitty mouse and keyboard. Sit at a laptop for hours and get-er-done in spite of terrible ergonomics. (Do you know there are no OSHA approved laptops?)
The exacerbate case ignores your mind-body connection.
Now, it's not "all in your head" but your head is part of the problem.
Just like it turns out 50%+ of fibromyalgia patients have actual neuropathies, that can unfortunately diagnosed by biopsy only, which is expensive - and it's oh so much cheaper and efficient to write off as a psychosomatic disease instead.
People are not in general evil, academia on other hand is a bit arrogant and engages in needless jargons and complications leading.
It comes from both the left and right depending on the topic. It’s not simply dissent it also is about pressuring institutions to not fund certain areas of investigation which is a very detrimental consequence.
I sure hope we grow out of this phase, or another society like China or Japan avoid this fate so studies can go on without interference [obviously they’ll have their own blinders but we can at least be complementary]
You say that's people putting beliefs and politics above science, but while that's a rational thing to suggest there are two problems with it.
Firstly, a lot of issues don't and can't have any scientific rationale behind them. They're moral judgements. For example, if you want to go looking for scientific evidence for why the death penalty is a terrible idea you won't find any. You'll only find ethical and moral rhetoric about why killing innocent people by mistake is bad, or why the economics of keeping people in prison for decades when you could just kill them is irrational. Science has nothing to say. Science doesn't judge.
Secondly, people don't always believe evidence even if it's there. For example, if you take a random sample of teams and find the ones that make the best decisions are more diverse, some people will demand "positive discrimination" is a terrible idea and a meritocratic system must be better even in the face of the evidence or they'll just argue that the evidence is plain wrong. How do you persuade those people to change their minds?
"The study was able to measure when teams made better
decisions by tracking how often the decision maker changed
their mind based on the input of the team. This is presumed to
be a better decision since the Cloverpop process ensures that
decisions are well framed with clear goals, adequate
information and multiple alternatives to avoid groupthink."
In other words, this study defines better decisions as ones which make their product relevant, which unless you're a Cloverpop marketing exec, probably isn't a good metric.
As an example, I'll run through a sample "scientifically pragmatic" argument against the death penalty: The death penalty is a terrible idea because it fails a cost benefit analysis. The benefit is a deterence to commit certain types crime, and a cost savings compared to life imprisonment. These are measurably small (research has shown that severity of a penalty has a nonlinear relationship with deterrent effect). The cost is the violation of a moral imperative not to kill. A society with the death penalty has made a conscious decision to compromise a moral imperative. This weakens the authority of moral imperatives, particularly the one against killing. The purpose of such moral imperatives is to promote a more civil, less violent society, because such societies enjoy an evolutionary advantage, hence their evolution in the first place.
How the argument proceeds from this point depends on core axioms - whether one values happiness or survival more, for instance. But the point is that it's possible to logically break down what appear to be moral questions into purely pragmatic ones, in service of deeper axioms.
The problem with this isn't that it's ineffective - it's that it's complicated, error prone, and relies heavily on a correct accounting of second-order effects and beyond. Science is hard - you need research and facts. Moral judgement is easy - you just say what pops into your head. As such, people mistrust the very idea that morals could be calculable, because it removes their agency. If someone has a strong, irrational feeling that Billy Murderer has it coming and should fry for what he did to those kids, my above argument (fleshed out properly to appeal to their core values, provided that's possible) will not convince them that it's a bad idea in the long run, no matter how scientific or testable it is. So they say things like "science has nothing to say". In fact, it does - we just don't want to listen.
Minor nitpick: it's actually more expensive to execute someone than to imprison them for life, mostly because of the increased legal costs.
If this different went away and everyone had the same morality, the legal costs would be really low.
People not accepting evidence is kind of not really a problem of science, but of science communication. But yeah, its also becoming an increasingly severe problem with examples such as climate change denial and anit-vaxxers on the rise
 hans rosling - factfullness
Rosling points out that smart, well-educated, well-meaning people who believe in science also see the world incorrectly - so incorrectly that they perform worse than random chance on multiple-choice questions. That's fascinating, and it suggests the problem is far more fundamental than "science communication". When facts are at odds with our instincts or cultural biases, we tend to choose the instincts and biases.
I frankly admit some of the "facts"  known to me are wrong . I know that for certain, as some of the "facts" are conflicting with each other, however that alone doesn't help with telling which is the wrong one, and which ones to base decisions & judgements off of. This causes various headaches; I end up resorting to fallible heuristics to try to sort out the good ones in time to make the necessary judgements and decisions. I actively try to gather more facts, hoping to improve decisive power in time.
However there's also a meta aspect: the trustworthiness of any given "fact" we learn. It's common to see people acting vigorously on information that's high impact but low trustworthiness. Another common sight is, as you say, people refusing to learn a new "fact "because it is in conflict with the other "facts" they already know, with little regard whether the new one is more trustworthy.
Somewhere along the road we fail, or maybe even refuse, to associate the "facts" we know with how much trust we can put in them. This is matter of handling and processing meta information, and frankly our current education and upbringing curricula don't seem to help much with it.
I hold it to be generally immoral to perform high impact acts based off of "facts" that are known with only low trustworthiness. And as you say science helps us with obtaining ever better set of facts.
 scare quotes to differentiate between information as it is known vs. idealized truthful facts
 either running counter to the idealized truthful facts, or imprecise enough to be misleading
In many cases this will overlap, but in some it won't, and that means those facts that create a worse world if everyone believes them to be true should be considered as false no matter the actual truth.
My first feeling is that this might create severe trouble down the line at some point, but it might be less trouble than the alternative? An idea to ponder.
edit: The ideas in question touched worth of people, for example. We tie worth to things like earning power, intelligence and beauty. Changing how society views these things changes society. This is on the surface, but some aspects can go much deeper into who we are as a people, since we're storytellers.
The problem with moral judgements is that moral is not absolute. It always changes. That's why it's absurd to judge events happened 100 years ago by the current moral norms. In another 100 years there will be very different moral norms by which many of the things we're doing now will be considered absolutely amoral.
> Firstly, a lot of issues don't and can't have any scientific rationale behind them. They're moral judgements. For example, if you want to go looking for scientific evidence for why the death penalty is a terrible idea you won't find any. You'll only find ethical and moral rhetoric about why killing innocent people by mistake is bad, or why the economics of keeping people in prison for decades when you could just kill them is irrational. Science has nothing to say. Science doesn't judge.
I wanted to talk more about your example of the death penalty.
However, if you do look into the death penalty, you'll find:
- in places that lock people up for life instead of killing them, sometimes people are later proved to be innocent and then released.
- in places where the penalty is death, a jury that would've sent a person to life in prison will often choose to release the person instead of kill them, as they aren't 100% certain and the consequence is irreversible.
I think science absolutely has some things to say about this. You could take my two statements as hypotheses and do tests to see if they are true. (This would be a lot like medical tests, but it wouldn't be ethical to have a test group and a control group; you could, however, create a regression model between two similar societies (or the same one at different times) and control for various differences, the chiefest being 'uses death penalty' or not, and answer these questions ("prove"/"disprove" the hypotheses) with some confidence.)
I agree that while you could do a study to see if people are happier and economies fare better in societies with capital punishment ["science"], that the rational and the outcome have nothing to do with science. It is a lot like in the Ted talk "Teaching kids real math with computers" where the speaker explains that math has four steps:
1. Posing the right questions
2. Real world -> math formulation
4. Math formulation -> real world verification
If step 3 was 'Do Science', then it becomes obvious that the other steps lie outside the domain of science, but it does not become obvious that we can't use the tools of science to reason about problems that people disagree on, including moral quandaries.
The consensus among criminologists for decades has been that the death penalty is racist in application:
if you take a random sample of teams and find the ones that make the best decisions are more diverse
The Forbes article that you cited doesn't include the term "best decisions". The term they use is "better business decisions". Business decisions often relate to optimizing products for the lowest common denominator among consumers in a particular market. In this context, the benefit of having a diverse team is unsurprising.
Do you know of any research of which the results indicate that diverse teams of mathematicians or physicists make better decisions?
Capitalism has nothing to do with it. Whether it's social security recipients or public school teachers, people whose income is determined by the government are as defensive of their livelihoods as people whose pay is set by market forces, perhaps even more so.
Likewise, hiring practices in the private sector change like the weather.
1. People love to nit-pick every single detail and shred of possibility that could be used to support their own beliefs and politics.
2. People who consider themselves to be the "Gold Standard" for whatever will believe themselves first and foremost.
3. People seek 'personal victories' for themselves by choosing to evince that they are right.
4. A reality that contradicts an ideality is unacceptable and dismissible.
5. Dualism can be used to create separatism.
The article implies it is 'scientists' vs 'activists'. Yet many more scientists have spoken out against the PACE trial than it its favour, eg: http://www.virology.ws/2018/08/13/trial-by-error-open-letter...
It implies that the 'activists' reject results for ideological reasons, rather than because the research being challenged includes verifiably false claims, statistical spin and poor methodology: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/13591053177223...
No mention is made of the fact that when an information tribunal had to examine claims about these researchers being harassed and abused their judgement stated that claims about activist behaviour had been "grossly exaggerated": https://www.centreforwelfarereform.org/news/major-breaktn-pa...
When data from the PACE trial was forced out by this legal process it showed that using the trials prespecified outcomes undermined key claims from the trial researchers:
It is disappointing to see so many people seeming to uncritically accept a media smear campaign.
There's too many blind activist on both sides that drown out the middle. This causes the people in the middle to start to separate and choose sides because they see the crazies on one side or they other and think that party is retarded, which increases the divide. We're in a heavy downward spiral at this point and I don't foresee it getting better unless we take radical action, such as not allowing people with no science background to make decisions on matters that should be based on fact. Unfortunately this will never happen because the (USA) political system is entrenched with paid actors.
Sorry for the rant and taking a veer from topic. Lots of built up frustration about all this stuff.
Don't get me wrong, i'm a scientist myself (theoretical cs) and i do believe in the value of scientific method. But i do believe that (1) this problem here is about the "online" part, not "activist" and (2) every scientific field gets explored in the context of a society thus its choice, its means and its dominant approach will always be biased (which most of the time isn't any "bad", it's ok french cs community leans towards ocaml/coq but uk is more towards haskell/agda). To expand on (1), it is now long known that twitter and other ad-based plateforms favor stupid/bigot/simplified/aggressive interactions because that's what captures more attention.
So please stop mistaking social-media activism for normal activism and using this to simplistically and superficially discredit non-dominant political opinions (and push dominant propaganda forward like "left and right all extremes are same", everybody even the dominant liberals are stupid and angry on twitter, this is all irrelevant). So i don't know about this chronic fatigue whatever thing, but this argumentative trap comes up over and over, i'm kinda tired, so please folks when someone is talking about "<x> is doing <bad thing> online", the problem most likely isn't with <x> but with "online" because it most likely means "attention hijacking plateform based on control and manipulation".
And you responded loudly and angrily online, through the lens of your own biases. See how it works?
We should care who is dominant or who wants to be “right”. We should care to cultivate scientific consensus. Misinformed or incomplete science bound by some legal principles cannot be worse than “we feel this is the right and moral thing to do”. They can both be right or wrong and I don’t see why we’d have a preference for the one having less data to back it up. Again, all bound by some legal principles (data says sick people cost too much, herd them like cattle and drive down costs).
Part of why communication works is because we can't hear everybody's opinion on everything. People earn the right to our ear through networking and earning our company. Twitter undoing this is not progress.
Huh? A legal campaign would severely escalate the problem, cost time and money, and prevent the scientists from doing their work.
Besides, the international aspect of the issue:
"TARGET: Oxford University professor Michael Sharpe"
"INVESTIGATOR: David Tuller at his home in San Francisco": he blogs, sends hundreds of letters and emails, and travels the world giving speeches and holding meetings as supporters send him donations and praise for his CFS/ME campaign.
There's such little thought put into actions because action is immediate and satisfaction is self-served. A group dedicated to seeking action will always find something to nit-pick over to add fuel to the fire. If the desire is bad enough, emotion will surpass logic, which is like an addiction.
When people favor their actions over thinking, and neglect consequences, they will do things that make no sense or do more harm than good. But I suppose as long as someone gets their way, none of that matters to them.
If the researcher removes themselves from social media they're insulated from the outrage in multiple layers. They don't see it, and they're not leaving any of their personal actions behind to be complained about.
Putting on blinders doesn't always work. As it turns out, I was involved in an incident on LambdaMOO many years ago that rather famously illustrates the point. Both Sherry Turkle and Amy Bruckman wrote about it IIRC.
Basically I'd gotten tired of one person's nonsense, so I "gagged" them. They knew I couldn't hear them, so they'd follow me into a public "room" within that virtual environment and talk to me. They knew I couldn't "hear" them but everyone else could. My lack of a response to them, though I was active in the more general conversation, was interpreted as either assent or cowardice. Including when the person started accusing me of being a child molester. I eventually became aware of the shenanigans through others' reactions, but it was still an ugly situation. Refusing to hear what others had to say about me was not a solution.
You know what they say: for every problem there's a solution that is simple, obvious, and WRONG. "You just need to..." is almost as bad as "actually..." in conversations among techies.
For example, Scott Alexander of Slate Star Codex mentioned in a recent post that people had called his employer and tried to get him fired because of the comments of people on his blog and the subreddit associated with it. (And he blogs pseudonymously, for whatever it's worth).
So... the answer, for me at least, is to turn them off. I deleted my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I don't watch, read, or listen to news.
"How then do you stay informed?" you may be asking. Well, I didn't delete my family or friends and they will often bring up topics that are of interest to me. It's about to snow a lot where I live. I heard about it first from my friends and then made the conscious decision to read more about it online so I could know and be prepared.
Sure, I also get the occasional bullshit political vitriol but they're quickly realizing how ineffective that is with me because I either unceremoniously change the subject or walk away from them when they start that nonsense.
Nowadays, the evidence is stacking up that there are metabolic, viral, and neurological factors involved, and while all of these can effect alertness, they are not ever dealt with via willpower.
The patients who have been royally insulted are the ones likely reacting this way. Whether or not the physician or scientist on the receiving end is deserving of the ridicule is case specific.
It’s really hard with some conditions to get a good diagnosis and course of treatment?
Being called bonkers doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to act bonkers (tweetharras someone).
It’s kind of like that narcissism test where narcissists just respond that they are.
I think non-bonkers people should be able to work around the frustration of being considered bonkers by a polite and civil doctor. It’s a real pain to navigate the health system and I think terrible things happen because of it, I fear there are deaths because it’s so hard to see healthcare workers and get useful outcomes.
So being “royally insulted” is pretty typical. Trying to shut down a researcher’s life work means there’s something wrong with the insulted, not the insulter.
And this :
I study neurology and metabolism. If any of these patients are delusional, its an exceedingly small fraction of them. Same goes for people diagnosed with "conversion disorder", which is the idea that they are exhausted because they are dealing with some buried repressed childhood trauma.
Some psychiatrists can have a real discussion with you about the intricacies of the hypothalamus. Others ..... really not..... they will try and deal with your systemic inflammatory problems with Fruedian psychoanalysis. Worse yet is that many patients dealing with these deep fatigue and metabolism issues have been institutionalized because people think they are just faking it.
The underlying stance (i.e. "psychosomatic and mental illness are no real illnesses") is so utterly moronic I am surprised they even found the tweet button.
This is what people are told by medical professionals who are refusing to help them.
(It's bad enough with physical-but-hard-to-diagnose problems like endometriosis; I know someone who's only just got a diagnosis after several years.)
The level of treatment you receive and how seriously you are taken will depend on which country you're in, how good your insurance is (where applicable), and how you appear to the doctors.
Sometimes a healthcare worker’s treatment options are honestly exhausted. “Mental illness or psychosomatic” doesn’t mean the patient isn’t suffering, it just means that doc has no idea what to do and that others should be consulted.
It doesn’t it stop the condition from being a mental illness.
It has become way too easy to bully people into submission with tools such as Twitter, but not only, too easy to create harassment brigades against anybody over manufactured outrage.
Race can, and has, been defined in a way that is useful to scientists. "Biological races" are different populations of the same species that meet some threshold of genetic variability with respect to each other. When populations are isolated for a long time, this is inevitable.
As you must know, the ordinary understanding of race is based upon external appearance, primarily melanin: black, white, yellow, brown, Indian, and so on. If you redefine race as a genetic population, then you will end up with new population categories that have absolutely nothing to do with race as it is ordinarily understood, i.e. as I just pointed out on this thread, it is possible (though I don't know how likely) that certain tribes living at high altitude in Kenya and Ethiopia have adapted to increase the efficiency of their oxygen uptake. But that would be a localised adaptation to environment, not a general feature of 'black' people, or even of Kenyans and Ethiopians.
This is exactly my point. Race means different things in different contexts. Colloquially, the word is used as you used it here. But it has other definitions, like the one I posted. All words are like this.
> If you redefine race as a genetic population, then you will end up with new population categories that have absolutely nothing to do with race as it is ordinarily understood
I'm not redefining it. It has been defined this way by other people. There are real scientists who use the word race like this.
But I agree: different definitions of the word "race" will result in different race categories. When a scientist uses the term "race" they mean something different than someone using the word race colloquially.
You are being obtuse. There are not 'different' definitions of race. There is an overwhelming homogeneity in the dominant definitions of race, i.e. according to melanin. Race, on these terms, has been a major structuring force in modern social relations. If you invent a new definition of race and use it to justify what, with the normal definition of race, is racism, then you are either seriously confused and/or politically malicious.
I don't think this conversation has much hope of continuing in a productive direction so I'm going to call it a day
Do you then admit that tribes can adapt cognitively depending on their environment? Or does adaptation only occur below the neck?
You'll get much less push back from something like "genetic marker found to influence spatial thinking in young children.
But, to grant your Argumentum ad dictionarium, it seems like even here (considering the downvotes) the point parent was making still stands. People don't like discussing the connection between "genetic heritage" and "commonly used markers of general intelligence".
When race is correlated with some condition, it's important to first correct for socio-economic status, then environmental factors, then look at potential genetic factors. Since race is a much stronger proxy for the former than the latter.
That’s something that can be tested for with relative ease.
> Ancestry informative marker sets for determining continental origin and admixture proportions in common populations in America
> ... A comprehensive set of 128 AIMs and subsets as small as 24 AIMs are shown to be useful tools for ascertaining the origin of subjects from particular continents, and to correct for population stratification in admixed population sample sets.
As population genetics becomes more advanced we will become able to distinguish ever smaller ancestry ancestry groups. For example if you don’t try to identify Continental population ancestry, just use k means clustering to divide humans into clusters based on similarity the continental groups arise naturally.
> Genetic Structure of Human Populations
> Genetic Structure
of Human Populations
Noah A. Rosenberg,1* Jonathan K. Pritchard,2 James L. Weber,3 Howard M. Cann,4 Kenneth K. Kidd,5 Lev A. Zhivotovsky,6 Marcus W. Feldman7
We studied human population structure using genotypes at 377 autosomal microsatellite loci in 1056 individuals from 52 populations. Within-population differences among individuals account for 93 to 95% of genetic variation; differences among major groups constitute only 3 to 5%. Nevertheless, without using prior information about the origins of individuals, we identified six main genetic clusters, five of which correspond to major geographic regions, and subclusters that often correspond to individual populations. General agreement of genetic and predefined populations suggests that self-reported ancestry can facilitate assessments of epidemiological risks but does not obviate the need to use genetic information in genetic association studies.
Get someone to show you pictures and have you identify them. I bet you'll make a lot of mistakes.
Historically, not only can people not tell the difference objectively, they decide what the difference is subjectively. In the United States, the child of a white slave owner and a black slave, if their parentage was known, was ... black. People of "mixed race" might be deemed a different race than their own full siblings, based on which visible characteristics they got from which ancestor.
Even today, people migrating from one country to another are often surprised that their racial classification is different in the new country than at home.
> Get someone to show you pictures and have you identify them. I bet you'll make a lot of mistakes.
I’m going to sleep now but if you find ten pictures of each I’ll be happy to do your survey. I’m sure many others would be too if you put it on surveymonkey.
The overlap in skin tone alone between Caucasians and the other two groups is ~0 so I doubt there would be any mistakes there. I’m sure there would be many more mistakes between Melanesians and Sub Saharan Africans but even just going on whether they have a broad nose or not you’d get pretty far distinguishing SSA from Melanesians. I’m not claiming perfect distinction. I’m claiming that doing better than chance is unremarkable. These groups are visibly different on average. Some groups the population values don’t even overlap. The shortest adult Maasai is taller than the tallest adult Pygmy.
> In the United States, the child of a white slave owner and a black slave was... black.
Who cares about the historical American caste system, with its one drop rule? The social construction of race is a real thing and so is the fact that different ancestry groups are different, and can be distinguished, on average and subject to error. Pretending ancestry is entirely socially constructed is crazy. If you get thirty pictures, 10 East Asian, 10 West Eurasian, and ten people who are first generation crosses from both populations, there is very unlikely to be any mislabelling of the base population individuals.
If you go back far enough all humans come from Africa, and most (at least 90%) comes from the latest Out of Africa expansion, ~200K years ago. But all non SSA humans are 2% Neanderthal, on average, and there’s other archaic hominid introversion that varies by geography. The Tibetan high altitude adaptations are probably 2 million years old.
Which ancestors one refers to will depend on the question you’re asking.
Any statement which considers black a single race and white and Oriental distinct is automatically suspect.
Not only that, people want to continue using the existing (extremely flawed) categories, and that's where it leads you to problems.
"More genetic variety in a single race than between races" is a great argument for why you shouldn't discriminate based on race -- even if the mean for some "race" is higher or lower, that doesn't tell you much about the individual before you.
But it does tell you something about aggregate statistics. When you discover that some "race" is underrepresented in some field, it's completely possible that a major cause is that the median in that arbitrarily defined racial category is below the median in another arbitrarily defined racial category. Which can be true even when a significant minority in the worse off racial category is above the median in the better off racial category -- which minority constitute most of the people of that "race" who are represented in that field.
Ideally the solution is to recognize "race" as a garbage category with no scientific basis and stop using it for anything, ever again. But that is where politics gets in the way, because people have built their political coalitions around the flawed concept that categorization based on race is anything more than an error.
It's possible, yes. It's also possible that perceptions of race influence the subjective decisions that drive those outcomes. How would you determine causality?
Eg, you could try sending employers identical resumes with "black sounding" and "white sounding" names and measuring callback rates. This has been done: https://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2015/mar/15...).
There are likely many factors in racial disparities, but this appears to be one of them.
TL;DR: Original study used names that coded for socioeconomic status as well as race, and is older so people may have been more racist then than they are today. Newer study using names that ostensibly code for race and gender but not socioeconomic status shows no difference between race or gender coded names.
Sure, possible, in the sense of theoretically possible. But very unlikely as socioeconomic factors potentially dwarf all of the aggregate group differences.
> Among Templeton's conclusions: there is more genetic similarity between Europeans and sub-Saharan Africans and between Europeans and Melanesians, inhabitants of islands northeast of Australia, than there is between Africans and Melanesians. Yet, sub-Saharan Africans and Melanesians share dark skin, hair texture and cranial-facial features, traits commonly used to classify people into races. According to Templeton, this example shows that "racial traits" are grossly incompatible with overall genetic differences between human populations.
Psychology as a whole is disreputable, literally half its studies fail to replicate. You might as well flip a coin.
Sure, IQ is the best that we have. But it's terrible.
Saying psychology as a whole is disreputable is just anti-intellectual know nothingism. The divide between psychophysics (the study of perception) and neuroscience is as great as that between social psychology and sociology, small. Trying to denounce all of psychology by association with social psychology just betrays ignorance. The same applies to many, many papers in the exact sciences.
> In cancer science, many “discoveries” don’t hold up
> During a decade as head of global cancer research at Amgen, C. Glenn Begley identified 53" landmark" publications--papers in top journals, from reputable labs--for his team to reproduce. Begley sought to double-check the findings before trying to build on them for drug development.
Result: 47 of the 53 could not be replicated. He described his findings in a commentary piece published on Wednesday in the journal Nature.
> "I'm not saying these results don't recognize genetic differences among human populations," he cautions. "There are differences, but they don't define historical lineages that have persisted for a long time. The point is, for race to have any scientific validity and integrity it has to have generality beyond any one species. If it doesn't, the concept is meaningless."
Sure, but that doesn't mean your race is. Race is a subjective classification based on objective characteristics.
Perhaps more subjective than you think? Please read about the "one drop rule".
There was a movement in the 90s to get rid of the word "race" because scientists said all humans are basically the same. However, that movement has dwindled because we are discovering some important differences between ethnic groups. Such as:
* Blacks are more sensitive to salt
* Blacks are at a greater risk of glaucoma
> Yudell said that modern genetics research is operating in a paradox, which is that race is understood to be a useful tool to elucidate human genetic diversity, but on the other hand, race is also understood to be a poorly defined marker of that diversity and an imprecise proxy for the relationship between ancestry and genetics.
> "What the study of complete genomes from different parts of the world has shown is that even between Africa and Europe, for example, there is not a single absolute genetic difference, meaning no single variant where all Africans have one variant and all Europeans another one, even when recent migration is disregarded," Pääbo told Live Science. "It is all a question of differences in how frequent different variants are on different continents and in different regions."
> In one example that demonstrated genetic differences were not fixed along racial lines, the full genomes of James Watson and Craig Venter, two famous American scientists of European ancestry, were compared to that of a Korean scientist, Seong-Jin Kim. It turned out that Watson (who, ironically, became ostracized in the scientific community after making racist remarks) and Venter shared fewer variations in their genetic sequences than they each shared with Kim.
> "If you make clinical predictions based on somebody's race, you're going to be wrong a good chunk of the time," Yudell told Live Science. In the paper, he and his colleagues used the example of cystic fibrosis, which is underdiagnosed in people of African ancestry because it is thought of as a "white" disease.
That said, skin colour does have some physiological impact: darker skin blocks the impact of the sun on our skin, which is great for preventing sunburn (and skin cancer, I think?), but reduces the amount of vitamin D our skin creates, and vitamin D deficiency can have an impact on all sorts of things (no idea if glaucoma is one of them). That makes it a trait, though, not a race.
But the scientist insists that I can’t. Instead they tell me that race doesn’t exist and “what is intelligence anyways?”
These are distractions.
Some comic creator
Some Proud Boys leader
In his most recent appearance on Joe Rogan, Alex Jones reported that he had an excellent credit rating and had several of his accounts closed. This is a statement of fact that, if untrue, the banks could sue for defamation. So it's likely true.
Paypal (bankish) has gone after "hate groups"
Mastercard banned Robert Spencer (white supremacist)
Also, even beyond behavior genetics, as neuroscience and genetics research progresses even further, we're going to have to face a bigger question, which is what to do about the fact we can actually intervene to influence behavior even in the face of congenital attributes. Let's say trait X is 80% heritable (they're often not, more like 50%), but you can use CRISPR-esque techniques with viruses, etc., whatever, to change the genome at any age. Think about the ethical and political issues surrounding that. When you can play God, you have the responsibilities of God too; there will be no excuses for altruistic intervention by society.
I'm happy about this article because I've also done research on psychosomatic issues, for lack of a better way of putting it, and this field is really mischaracterized and there is a lot of mob behavior against scientists.
There has been no public stir over say ADHD or psychiatric prevalence, hell theories in either direction for "gay genes" failed to move the needle. The Warrior gene" research (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monoamine_oxidase_A) didn't despite a crime link and the double Y males link to violence wasn't controversial even though it was later shown to not be endocrinal but IQ related from the condition leading to their overrepresentation.
I cannot but laugh every time someone mentions this.
It's very simple: can you measure it? (Yes.) Is the measurement persistent? (Yes.) Then it doesn't really matter whether it's "scientific" or "unscientific" or "mezo-scientific" or whatever, it's a valid concept.
Then people say that it's "socially defined" (yeah, all words/concepts are) or that categories are not clearly separated (e.g. mixed race people), but then again, same goes for the concepts of "day" and "night". Now, are you going to claim that "day" and "night" are unscientific?
Before blood-typing trying to go with an ethnic system is fair enough as a guess and could potentially be a slightly better match rate (more likely to have similar blood types - especially in more homogeneous populations). There are better tools and groupings now so it raises the question 'why bother with a rough proxy when there are more precise alternatives'?
If looking at just light level one doesn't just go with 'night' or 'day' for light levels when specific times for measurements are possible, controlled temperature and calibrated light controlled rooms would specifically testing for a /different/ aspect and even then the point is to try to figure out what is the missing aspect from the more controlled simulation.
Sickle cell anemia may be found more in those of more immediate African descent but taking prevalence of oxygen carried by whole population and concluding African blood carries less oxygen because some have sickle cell anemia is unscientific. One should be grouping by what is actually germane - characteristics of the blood itself and how it is capable of holding more or less oxygen. Not the pigmentation of the sources.
What “partisans of the tabula rasa”? Activists of both the left and right seem more likely to be partisans of genetic determinism, though of which aspects of intellect, identity, and behavior varies between them.
For example, if stereotypical male/female attitudes and behaviors were found to have a substantial genetic component to them, I think a lot of socially progressive people would hate that. There's a lot of emotional investment for many in the idea that stereotypically gendered behaviors are entirely or almost entirely caused by culture/social pressure.
I...disagree. I think you would find that most of the left takes as an article of faith (or, at least, a very strongly held belief) that gender identity and presentation (which necessarily includes stereotype-conforming as well as nonconforming identities and presentations) are very strongly genetically determined and that extreme distress results when people attempt (or are compelled) to mask what is genetically-determined in this area, and that that is fundamental to the belief that nonconforming identities and presentations should be accepted.
> There's a lot of emotional investment for many in the idea that stereotypically gendered behaviors are entirely or almost entirely caused by culture/social pressure.
There's a lot of emotional investment in the idea that the concept that there is a single acceptable relationship between external genitalia, gender identity, and gender presentation is a social construct, as well as in the necessary corollary that the particular relationship chosen in any particular culture that imposes such a single acceptable relationship is also a social construct. But that's intimately tied to the idea that each of those three things, while they may have some non-genetic contribution, is fairly strongly genetically directed, and while there may be some correlation between the genetic determinants of each, there is considerable individual variation, as well.
Agree that genetics v activism is going to get very ugly here.
We're already seeing it in health insurance: that's the essence of the pre-existing condition debate.
Should people bear the cost or accrue the benefit of their uniqueness, or should we share them as a community?
I don't think very many policies actually are.
> Gender or racial imbalances between professions for instance are attributed to cultural bias and discrimination.
That's not based on tabula rasa theory, that's based on actual experience of (often, until quite recently, overt and direct) gender and racial discrimination. It certainly tends to involve a belief that certain traits (whether or not genetically determined) are not intrinsically associated with gender or race (or, sometimes, when there is evidence that such an association does exist, that the association is not strong enough to explain the outcome difference.) But that's very different from, and entirely neutral toward, the question of tabula rasa vs. genetic determinism.
> partisans of the tabula rasa are pretty powerful, particularly in academics.
The closest thing I can see to "partisans of the tabula rasa" in the real world, with any kind of power, are religious conservatives, who have a very strong incentive to believe that things for which there is already very strong evidence are genetically determined are choices, so as to ascribe moral virtue to certain traits and moral vice to others. But plenty of them have over time adopted a model of accepting genetic predisposition in (at least some of) those areas while still finding a moral command to act in a certain way regardless of predisposition, so even with them I don't see things quite so irreconcilable as the upthread characterization.
Climate-change denialism is a more bipartisan problem than this. :)
Also suppose trait X is highly visible so that I can easily identify who has it (just for concreteness, let's say it's black eyebrows, and 20 IQ points). This would drive the internet batty.
The same is true if any such correlations are found for a number of other traits.
I hate it when your ilk make race vs IQ seem like an edgy new opinion that is being suppressed. It used to be mainstream globally, but we moved past that through dialectics. When the "bell curve" book was published, we resurrected the debate, then we moved passed it.
It seems to me that you have to go out of your way to bring up race and IQ. That's why, whenever the debate is brought up, one of the parties is accused of having an agenda.
No, parent is rightfully pointing out that it's IQ in general, not any specific trait X. X could stand for race/skin color, but it could also stand for ancestry (e.g. Askenazi Jew, which IMO have same skin color as the rest of Europeans), or sex, or maybe other things as well.
For example, any of these studies would drive the internet angry (if they found a strong result):
- Midgets vs IQ
- Attractiveness vs IQ
- Attractiveness vs Likelihood of birth defect
- Wealth vs Emotional Stability
- HN vs Autism Spectrum
- Eye Color vs Empathy
The formula is (visible trait) x (valued trait) x (has this trait already been historically used to justify atrocities).
And, actually, I would argue that in the real world, the correlation isn't even the thing that's problematic, its when the correlation is used as a basis for accepting discrimination on the basis of X. No one is upset about the widely known height/IQ correlation, but that's because no one is using it to justify discriminating based on height, because it is an easily-visible proxy for IQ.
I agree, but that's enough. In any one area, scientific fact will run into serious opposition. In a different area, the opposition may come from other people, but be just as strong.
If anything, this will make it harder to defeat, than it would be if "partisans of the tabula rasa" were a neatly circumscribed group.
In the long run the truth wins out because generally it has an advantage -- it knows what works and what doesnt.
It’s a far safer proposition for someone with a known genetic illness to just be put on medication for their entire life than something so permanent and not guarenteed as attempting to edit their parents germ cells. If your medication is bad for the patient you can just get them off of it. You can’t do too much if your CRISPR system goes off target (which is known to happen).
>Bath Spa University is conducting an internal inquiry into claims that it turned down an application for research on gender reassignment reversal because it was “potentially politically incorrect” and would attract criticism on social media.
Helping someone be okay with their own gender shouldn't be an ethically questionable treatment to offer. After all there are risk from hormone replacement therapy. Transitioning can also be an option for adults, but I feel as if it's pushed too heavily for adolescence today. These are reasonable questions, but they're often met by activists as being "anti-trans."
In a way, it's another example of what the article describes; the bullying against psychologists from giving their actual views and opinions. There are two really excellent Wrongspeak podcast episodes dedicated to this:
These activists claimed that his clinic was using "conversion therapy". Instead of following the gender affirmative approach, this clinic instead had child patients work through their dysphoria with therapy and explore their gender with play. His research found that 80% of children with gender dysphoria usually end up desisting and leading healthy lives, which directly contradicts the narrative that children who are gender non conforming need to get on dangerous puberty blockers.
I do think, however, that when decisions like this are made, it should be publicized so everyone can know what we're missing out on and why. Moreover, when online activists do ruin stuff like in the original article here, there should be a public record, so that concerned people can see "well, there were these scientists trying to investigate CFS, but they were abused by all these online activists (with all available information about these activists publicly posted), and so they left the field and no one's bothering to research it any more."
It's simple: Just pick a target of your ire, be it someone with ideological, political, lifestyle differences, or just someone you don't like, point your AI bot to it, and watch it harass your victim and anyone associated with them, until they lose their job, reputation, friends, family, etc. Bots never get bored, never forget to keep the pressure going. They continue, relentless, until their target is destroyed, even if you've forgotten and moved on.
It'll start out as character-assassination-for-hire, but eventually the source will leak, and then all hell will break loose.
It's a bully's paradise.
I'd bet you could experience this right now if you start researching and posting on topics like "Free Tibet" and the current geopolitical situation in Ukraine.
Edit: possibly with a paid human instead of an AI, but with a nation-state budget it's equivalent.
But regardless of whether we agree medically or otherwise, we should treat each other with courtesy.
 An internist who participates in and coordinates significant research, she specialized in CFS and fibromyalgia after her (late) sister had CFS. They have quite an organization with resources for doctors, patients, and families: http://batemanhornecenter.org/ . Over time I have gained a high opinion of her and the organization.
EDIT: clarification in 1st paragraph.
For example, in order to get meaningful results from a trial like this you need to choose your definition of success before the trial starts. The plans for the PACE study did have such a definition, and while it wasn't great it also wasn't terrible. The final study didn't use it; it used a new and much weaker definition. So far this is all sadly pretty commonplace.
Then the patients involved in the study got wind of this and tried to find out what the results were if they used the original, planned methodology. According to the researchers, this was a dangerous and vexatious attack on science by activists - and because they were respectable scientific figures working for major institutions, and the people questioning their research were mostly disabled women who were, according to the mainstream consensus, nuts, people believed them.
This article is basically a direct extension of this tactic, and it's working. I can already see a few folks elsewhere in the comments calling on universities to sack the few scientists who questioned this...
*(badly paraphrased) Before the internet, people (including grrm) sometime wrote fan letters. There was always an occasional hater, but mostly, people wrote letter to authors they liked. They generally didn't write to say they hated a book, or that they liked the first three but the last two were shite.
Any condition that can be improved with a placebo, has a possible psychological component that can either be a cause or a contributing factor. This is not to say that it is all in your head, or that all people with it have it due to psychological reasons. But some of the people have at least some of their symptoms worsened by psychological factors.
Anyone who finds this controversial has psychological issues with reality. And this is true whether your condition is CFS or high blood pressure+heart disease.
Now people don't want to believe that acupuncture is a placebo, but there is ample evidence that it is. Therefore this applies to every condition that people find that acupuncture can help for. And that is a lot.
Placebo doesn’t actually help you, obviously, despite what the outcome you’re measuring suggests. It represents a slack (something not quite an error, but not quite a useful measurement) in the outcomes based measurement regime. It’s a “cosmological constant” as a side effect of the limitations of enumerating causal and contributing factors.
People believe acupuncture is a placebo, and in an evidence based medicine regime it seems reasonable to prescribe it. But it depends what you’re calling pathological. Today, a population of video game players versus a control will score better on many psych outcomes. Tomorrow, they’ll change the tests, subtly, to account for “factors” better, and the results will reverse. The USMLE study book in 2018 pathologizes “video game fixation” (they can’t call it an addiction) before such a test change has occurred. The simple rule is that whatever society determines to be pathological will trickle down to the field of medicine, and placebo effects are the loudest signal of the limitations of an otherwise most superior way to administer therapies.
The first definition of the placebo effect I found was this:
"a beneficial effect produced by a placebo drug or treatment, which cannot be attributed to the properties of the placebo itself, and must therefore be due to the patient's belief in that treatment"
Were there no placebo effect, then we could test the effectiveness of drugs by simply observing one group and giving the other our proposed treatment.
It is also worth noting that one of the reasons why this happens in stage 3 despite having passed through a test in stage 2 that was meant to whittle this out is that improved expectations increase the strength of the placebo effect. Which makes the real effect harder to detect.
Could you explain the difference?
If you're ahead by a small margin, it isn't evidence that you're less effective. But you did not prove efficacy.
I find that statement disingenuous. Is the author really claiming that "a change in perception" isn't real?
However that is not to say that the placebo effect never helps you. As http://protomag.com/articles/the-placebo-problem shows, people who are receiving a placebo will experience medically significant effects, and which effects they experience depend on which placebo they got. Furthermore the reason why double blind studies became standard is that it turns out that the doctor's knowledge has an impact even when the doctor is trying to not communicate it. That is, if doctors are told that one group is receiving a placebo and another is not, the group that is not will do better EVEN THOUGH both groups are in fact receiving the same placebo! (I heard about this some time ago as a classic study, but I can't seem to track it down easily.)
We got a lot of great medicine whose biomechanics we don’t really understand and whose trials don’t prove but definitely safely and significantly help people. A study just seeking to prove that your drug does the biomechanics it claims measures a placebo effect of zero if it is done correctly, because if you observe a placebo effect you’re not dealing with a biomechanically constrained outcome anymore.
There isn’t really a viable alternative to evidence based medicine, it’s the only game in town. We just have to carefully decide what outcomes we care about and whether or not those outcomes (1) discourage scientific understanding of the underlying biomechanics of our drugs, by virtue of making black-boxedness acceptable and (2) are co-opted, via enemy action, by either conspiracy theorists sowing doubt in things like vaccines or moneyed interests who make mediocre drugs look good.
Isn't that something you can say about much of the population though? It seems to me that humans, in general, have psychological issues with reality.
Reality is. I am willing to accept that the best well-conducted research available is a better guide to that than my own knowledge unless it is in one of the very limited areas where I have personal expertise. And those are very, very limited areas indeed.
Mandatory reference for those unable to google: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15784798
Until a randomized controlled study can demonstrate real differences between acupuncture conducted with real needles and sham needles, I will happily call it a placebo. Ditto for acupuncture conducted per the way that acupuncturists think it should be conducted and acupuncture conducted per the way that they think it should not. Those studies have, in fact, been conducted. Acupuncture did not, in fact, do anything detectable. I am therefore on the side of calling it a placebo.
See http://www.dcscience.net/2013/05/30/acupuncture-is-a-theatri... for more.
Sure, I think that the ergodox' layout helps and the trackball sure feels better. But based on the level of difference these two things have made and so quickly, I can't help but believe this is just a placebo.
Before the ergodox I used a planck and a vortex vibe and had zero problems with them. I initially purchased these two devices to combat my RSI and they too worked. Then I was recommended the ergodox and after using it the other keyboards are no longer effective. Swapped one placebo for another.