Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Why Losing Weight and Keeping It Off Is Such a Pain

      You're trying to lose some recently acquired "baby-fat."  The first few pounds come off okay, but then the rate of weight loss slows down, stops, and often weight starts back up again, even if you are still following the recommended regimes. You think, “There must be something wrong with me. I need to cut back more in order to lose or maintain the weight loss or why bother trying any more?”  Dr. Donna Ciliaka suggests in her recent publication that you may be doomed. Your body has a weight Set-Point.


FACEBOOK Pushes Political Biases?

GIZMODO reports that FACEBOOK intentionally biased its Trending News reports toward non-conservative stories.
Facebook workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network’s influential “trending” news section, according to a former journalist who worked on the project. This individual says that workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site’s users.

FACEBOOK executives vehemently deny the allegations. 

Studies Masquerading as Science

      Time and time again I hear, "Often the scientists tell us studies prove one thing and then, a little bit later, they say another study proves just the opposite."  The problem is neither claim may actually be science, but all too often only brainless media hype.
      John Oliver does a GREAT job explain what's happening in the following "must watch" video

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Purpose for Creation

      Fundamental to all religions is the belief in human exceptionalism.  The universe was created with humankind as the ultimate product.  This belief leads to the cosmological fine-tuning argument in which numerous physical constants critical to human existence had to be fine tuned by a super intelligent agent.  Even the slightest change in any one of them would have produced an forever lifeless, barren cosmos. The argument continues that the probability of the universal constants taking on the exact values needed to sustain life is so low that they could only have been tuned.

     Jérémie Harris & Edouard Harris challenge this argument in their essay The Non-Fine-Tuned Universe: The Astronomical Failure of the Cosmological Argument for Thesis. http://www.skeptic.com/reading_room/non-fine-tuned-universe/.  

     One of the commenters shares our opinion of the essay as
Nice article and great writing. It makes a clear point in showing the weakness in any theistic anthropocentric fine tuning argument. In a nutshell: we do not know: there are today too many unknowns .It is a great question, it has a scientific possible answer, and for sure it is part of the scientific domain of inquiry. 
      The authors effectively dismantle the common religious thinking.  However, one might consider "what if humans are not the ultimate objective of the creation experiment, but just a intermediate stepping stone along the way, such as the jelly fish seems intermediate to mammals."  No evidence or argument substantiates the human intent.  As the authors demonstrate, humans are such a infinitesimal part of creation that one must conclude they are most certainly NOT its purpose.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Check the Science Behind Biomedical Research

It's an unfortunate reality -- many biomedical research findings are ultimately proven to be illusory. 
 As a matter of fact, findings in medical research may be only slightly more reliable than Donald Trump's facts and only about as good as sport pundit expert picks against the spread.

Be skeptical about the value of biomedical research:

* Size matters: Small numbers of observations or study subjects are more likely to produce spurious and nonreplicable results. Studies need thousands of subjects to be credible.

* Conflicts of interest: Expect bias by studies published by entities with an interest in the results.

* Confirmation bias: Results expected from a study greatly affects the likelihood of a finding being actually true.

* Double blind? Were the findings from randomized studies and have they been INDEPENDENTLY replicated.

* Valid Statistics: Proof in medicine is based on a two sigma threshold or 95% confidence. In physics 99.99% confidence is required.

Don't fall to the latest trendy supplement or super food. Check the science.  Confirm that it was vigorous