Sunday, August 26, 2012

Journal Atherosclerosis may be more dangerous than atherosclerosis itself - to your science career

If you are a friend of the statin industry, enduring a successfully peer-review in Elsevier's journal Atherosclerosis must be like being beaten by marshmallows : the true peer-review, much more savage, only happens when your article emerges in the real world and in blogs.

A Dr David Spence, a friend of the statin industry and a foe of all things egg-like, is certainly finding this out in the most brutal fashion --- as are the PR flacks and flakettes at his and their employer, the University of Western Ontario, once upon a time a well regarded research centre.

Are eggs as (almost as) dangerous as cigarettes as the headlines scream (and as the PR spinners at U of Western Ont more subtly, (nudge, nudge, wink,wink) hinted ?

Most experts who looked at the study don't think so.

And these experts are not all shills for the egg industry, not be a long shot.

The scientific value in (or danger of) eating eggs is a highly contested popular science issue --- as SVE believes all scientific issues to be.

Science statements are not just peer-reviewed by six science reviewers cloaked in secrecy and then accepted by an ever grateful public, as if delivered carved on tablets of stone.

Instead the meaning of all such statements are initially constructed by the originating scientists and their friends (including the rarely-critical science cheerleaders in the science journalism trade).

Then these meanings are critiqued by ordinary members of the non-scientific public in organized groups (perhaps as patients' groups and industry groups) as well as by citizens acting alone based on their individual opinions.

The Dance of the Dialectic , revisited 

A sort of dialectic, back and forth, process follows.

Over time a temporary truce is called and a widely-accepted  meaning of that science statement is declared the temporary winner, but new conflict can and does break out at any time.

Science's uncivil War is, in fact, endless. It runs on far longer than any Cold War Warrior could ever imagine...

(FULL DISCLOSURE : I have high blood pressure, believe in the worth of statins and take them. I love eggs but frequently do not get enough exercise and endure far too much stress. I do not smoke or drink....)

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