Friday, April 20, 2018

Anecdotes and empirical science

For more than 35 years before I began to teach so called dyslexic kids in 2004, Phonological awareness deficit was said to be the cause of kids being unable to read in English.
Many professors started quoting the first professor without thinking at all.

I wrote to many of our professors and to universities saying that phonological awareness deficit cannot be the cause of kids being unable to read because almost all my students could read in Malay and romanised Mandarin and yet were certified as dyslexics. This evidence is enough to proof that phonological awareness deficit is not the cause of kids being unable to read.

I believe a small percentage (say 1 or 2%) may not be able to read because of phonological awareness deficit but surely cannot be 20% of the population that are said to be dyslexic.

Some of the educators who I have discussed with in LinkedIn as well as via emails had made definitive claims based on so called ‘scientific evidence’ and they stuck with them even when I had clearly explained to them of their faulty thinking. I had explained to them about my experience in teaching shut down kids for 14 years and the only excuse they had for not accepting what I had to say was that I had no scientific evidence. There appears to be no more plasticity in their brains.

Here is just one of many comments by many of the professors in LinkedIn.

 “I’m sure your ideas are interesting, but they are personal opinions and not empirical science.”

There is another PhD in LinkedIn who keeps asking me for ‘Where is the DATA! Where is the DATA!’

Since 2015, research reports have surfaced echoing what I had been saying since 2010. I was the first person to challenge that 35 year old theory back in 2010.

The following is what Daniel Kahneman says about research reports:

“Our subjective judgments were biased: we were far too willing to believe research findings based on inadequate evidence and prone to collect too few observations in our own research…………… As expected, we found that our expert colleagues, like us, greatly exaggerated the likelihood that the original result of an experiment would be successfully replicated even with a small sample.”

I started surfing the internet and found a few posts on so called ‘Scientific research’.
You may read the full article in the links attached.

Fraudulent Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research in South Korea: Lessons Learned
The human embryonic stem cell research scandal is the most significant episode of fraudulent research since the Piltdown Man.
The peer review process almost always fails to detect research misconduct (Shamoo and Resnik 2003). For example, in the 1980s Harvard cardiology researcher John Darsee fabricated or falsified over 17 published papers and 53 abstracts (LaFollette 1992).
In 2005 University of Vermont researcher Eric Poehlman, a well-known expert on menopause, aging, and metabolism, admitted to falsifying data in 17 peer reviewed publications (Kinitsch 2005). In 2002, a panel found that Jan Hendrick Schön, a Bell Laboratories physicist, fabricated or falsified data in 17 published papers. Some of the papers had been published in top journals, such as Science, Nature, and Applied Physics Letters (Service 2002).

[Fraud and misconduct in scientific publications].

Editors of scientific publications have, traditionally, been unaware of frauds and misconduct, being more concerned with subjects associated to impact or with editorial review. But, in the last few years they have been checking and reporting that there is misconduct in the scientific field, and furthermore, it is not uncommon.

Because the government uses publication in peer-reviewed journals as a benchmark of academic performance, there is pressure to publish such papers and an underground industry has sprung up to meet this demand.
Such practices as the writing of fabricated "peer reviews" using phony names reflect a shocking lack of integrity on the part of those who are considered part of the country's academic elite. Most of the authors of the retracted works are not neophytes but are from top medical institutions in China.

The idea that the same experiment will always produce the same result, no matter who performs it, is one of the cornerstones of science’s claim to truth. However, more than 70% of the researchers (pdf), who took part in a recent study published in Nature have tried and failed to replicate another scientist’s experiment.

Another study found that at least 50% of life science research cannot be replicated. The same holds for 51% of economics papers (pdf).


The findings of these studies resonate with the gut feeling of many in contemporary academia – that a lot of published research findings may be false. Just like any other information source, academic journals may contain fake news.

The saga of Piltdown started in 1907. You may read more in the link above.

Despite all the above fraudulent claims many Professors and teachers in LinkedIn won’t rely on my anecdotal evidence but will put their lives on scientific research based evidence. How naïve can they be?



aliyaa said...

This is the most toughest subject to teach students. Your efforts are amazing and i just hoe in future you will post more this kinda blogs. can help you in this respect a lot.

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you for your kind words Michael. Wish you well.

check it said...

Actually sometime you won't tell that what you really want. Some times your expression tell the story very smartly. There is the same thing. Your style tell the full story of you. Nicely done.

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you very much for your kind words, Check It. Wish you well.