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July 29, 2005



Why do you think the study "dubious"?


Shmuli, thanks for commenting.

Dubious in the sense of "questionable or suspected character". Two reasons: (1) funding by an interested party (pesticides industry) taints the character of research. That's why the tobacco industry was eventually shut out of respectable medical journals. (2) The ethics of the project are suspect, e.g., as explained by EPA staff in the WaPo article.

It may be that the study would be dubious as in "of uncertain issue or result", would that be worth looking into?

Let me know if you think I should expand on these points. Thanks again, good shabbos.


(1) is clearly ad hominem and (2)is completely irrelevant to whether the planned study would give reliable results.


Shmuli. Thanks for your prompt reply.
You may be right that the ethical character of a study is irrelevant to its capacity to give reliable results. Still, science depends on the testing and replication of results, so scientists try to avoid research that ought not (morally) be repeated.

Well, it's not quite "ad hominem" since the American Chemical Council is not a person, but I grok your objection. Here I think many people in the scientific community would agree that studies may be designed and implemented in a biased manner due to economic interests in the findings. Here is a recent post that deals with corporate influence on environmental research. Anyway, self-interested funding of research project does raise doubts about the ability of a study to give reliable results. The EPA chief stated that such doubts were a reason to stop the study.


Interesting blog!

What's that story you mentioned all about "the Jewish story of the man who miraculously nursed
his baby (bShab53b)"?




Thanks for citing me in your fine blog . Here's the text of the story/anecdote:

Our Rabbis taught: It once happened that a man's wife died and left a child to be suckled, and he could not afford to pay a wet-nurse, whereupon a miracle was performed for him and his teats opened like the two teats of a woman and he suckled his son. R. Joseph observed, Come and see how great was this man, that such a miracle was performed on his account! Said Abaye to him, On the contrary: how lowly was this man, that the order of the Creation was changed on his account!25 Rab Judah observed, Come and see how difficult are men's wants [of being satisfied], that the order of the Creation had to be altered for him! R. Nahman said: The proof is that miracles do [frequently] occur, whereas food is [rarely] created miraculously. (Source: Soncino translation, see Daf Yomi sidebar for link)

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