Friday, February 17, 2006

Wow! I Might Actually be Wrong. This is Exciting!

Got in a comment war on Skeptico with a guy named slavo. (Hey, that rhymes! ... sorta.) It went much like any other, except hiding among the bull[corn], (subtypes: Straw men, red herrings, anecdotes, hubris, you know the drill) were a few shiny pieces of yellow metal which may or may not be gold. It seems some breathing technique called "Buteyko" might actually show some promise for improving the lives of people with asthma. (Though it's apparently still not a cure, despite protestations to the contrary.)

A series of "Of course" statements:

Of course, I may have overlooked some fatal flaw in the linked studies. Those of you with more experience at interpreting medical studies have full permission to employ the Rolled-up Newspaper of Doom on me, at least after you tell me my oversight.

Of course, I'd recommend more research before we accept it as genuine evidence-based medicine. You know what they say: Replication, replication, replication! I'm pretty sure that four studies don't justify a revolution of even the smallest sort. Let's hope they can get more, better, and bigger ones while keeping the positive results.

Of course, I'm not going to give any creedence to the non-arguments slavo made alongside this one apparently good argument. Finding one piece of shiny metal does not a gold miner make.

Of course, I'm not about to condone the use of logical fallacies or propaganda techniques or give up skepticism. I've been wrong before, and I've even been wrong about being wrong before. It comes with the territory since science and skepticism (Fresh from the department of redundancy department) is about sticking with null hypotheses but trying to falsify them.

---The Dog is hogging the blog. But I suppose it's okay, since Ryan's MIA. I hope he's not stuck behind enemy lines.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, where is Ryan? Anybody know? He's been MIA since Jan 6th.

Michael Bains said...

I just asked Bronze Dog that earlier today. He thinks he might have gotten married or something!

NO NO NO!!! I'm just rumour mongering.

Ain't that right B-Dog?