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The garbage a NASA researcher is calling science

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Greg M
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And how are they going to measure prayer? Holy-amperes?

The first thing they need to consider is why are they even giving this consideration in the first place (it is an error to test arbitrary claims), and why does Dr. Nemeh need a Ph.D for this, and how did he even get it?

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(it is an error to test arbitrary claims)

Not necessarily. Arbitrary claims have led to many medical breakthroughs. When we find remote societies overwhelmingly claiming that a certain local plant has specific remedies, they sometimes prove true - it's simply natural selection on another level. The problem is that the brain often gets things wrong, finding connections where there are none, as in this case.

Edited by brian0918
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Not necessarily. Arbitrary claims have led to many medical breakthroughs. When we find remote societies overwhelmingly claiming that a certain local plant has specific remedies, they sometimes prove true - it's simply natural selection on another level. The problem is that the brain often gets things wrong, finding connections where there are none, as in this case.

That's not what I meant. In the case of the plants, that wouldn't be an arbitrary claim because they would have the evidence of people getting better after consuming (or using in some fashion) said plant. What I mean by arbitrary claim is that there is no evidence whatsoever to even consider such a claim. It's as good as trying to find mystical creatures of legend where the only recordings of their existence are pseudo-science books. Or trying to find out if there is a species of invisible flying fruit.

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That's not what I meant. In the case of the plants, that wouldn't be an arbitrary claim because they would have the evidence of people getting better after consuming (or using in some fashion) said plant. What I mean by arbitrary claim is that there is no evidence whatsoever to even consider such a claim. It's as good as trying to find mystical creatures of legend where the only recordings of their existence are pseudo-science books. Or trying to find out if there is a species of invisible flying fruit.

But arbitrary claims are the original sources in the case of local medicinal plants. Only after we hear about these claims, and choose to investigate them further, do we determine whether the plants actually have any medicinal value.

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There is no George Szatowski at NASA. There is a George Szatkowski; he is not currently employed at NASA Langley, he was the vice-president of the Langley Child Development Center PTA Board, and is co-author on 3 papers posted on the NASA server. There is no evidence whatsoever that he engaged in this "research" on a governmental dime, and when he is off the clock he can pursue whatever fantasies he wishes. There is not a shred of evidence to show that his professional work is incompetent (or in any way religious).

Dr. Nemeh is a medical doctor, not a Ph D (and the article say as much).

The claim is not obviously arbitrary -- there is a difference between "deluded" and arbitrary. The claim that mold kills bacteria, the planet Vulcan orbits inside of Mercury, Uri bends spoons with mind-rays, Nemeh heals or the hubujubu plant cures malaria are arbitrary if considered just as is, lacking any perceptual evidence. Why then are these questions considered? Because there is some perceptual evidence for them. The jungle natives know very well that the hubujubu plant works; if you wish, you may consider that testimony, or disregard it. If the natives are Piraha, I'd just ignore the claim (they're pranksters). It is well known that millions of people lie about the existence of god, which is also sufficient basis for automatically rejecting any reports of divine miracles. There is no evidence at all that Fleming lies or that bacteriologists lie, and plenty of evidence that Fleming was a credible scientist in that area. Furthermore, he was able to reproduce the results, and describe the method so that any man could. Testimony is evidence: sometimes to be rejected quickly, depending on the person that it comes from.

If Szatkowski had personally witnessed a cure (not "heard a claim of a cure") and had ruled out obvious alternative explanations ("take this pill and you'll get better in 7 days. If you don't, you'll get better in a week"), then it would be valid to scientifically test the claim providing it is actually possible to put the claim to an objective test. It would be a waste of time, of course, but that's his problem. The part that concern me is that they neglected to indicate that there really isn't any objective, quantifiable evidence to corroborate the claim.

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  • 2 months later...

Oh. My. God.

First, did that guy even try to justify his spending of government funds for the research of the pure pap and dreck? I truly wish to be able to unread/unlearn what i just read/learned. Maybe this is my future, however I sincerely hope to be studying something such as the likes of String theory, etc.

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But arbitrary claims are the original sources in the case of local medicinal plants.

I would think that many of these are not "aribtrary claims" rather anecdotal evidence.

"I drank herbal tea and my headache subsided" is not an arbitrary claim. It is anecdotal evidence. It does not establish a direct fully validated causal chain. But it can be a valid source of hypothesis for subsequent validation. Some such evidence turns out not to have a causal link, but it is not arbitrary.

To say however that "Maybe herbal tea cures headaches" with ZERO evidence for it is arbitrary.

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