History repeats itself for Andrew Wakefield

Earlier this year, The Lancet retracted Wakefield’s 1998 “study,” something that almost never happens. Around that same time his 2009 “monkey study” was withdrawn by the journal Neurotoxicology. And now his 2000 American Journal of Gastroenterology paper is being retracted as well:

On 28 January 2010, the UK General Medical Council’s Fitness to Practice Panel raised concerns about a paper published in the Lancet by Dr Wakefield et al. (1). The main issues were that the patient sample collected was likely to be biased and that the statement in the paper, that the study had local ethics committee approval, was false. There was also the possibility of a serious conflict of interest in the interpretation of the data. The Lancet has now retracted this paper (1). This paper in the American Journal of Gastroenterology (AJG) (2) also includes the 12 patients in the original Lancet article and therefore we retract this AJG paper from the public record.

Wow. I wonder when was the last time a researcher had not one but two studies retracted only a few months apart. The last five months have been disastrous for Wakefield. Seriously, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, put this guy on suicide watch.

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11 Responses to History repeats itself for Andrew Wakefield

  1. delyse jaeger says:

    Read through your blog on a couple topics…I am interested in the truth about autism research. Another site has opposing take based on recent scientific studies (childhealthsafety.wordpress)…how do you determine what to recognize?
    thank you

    • mjr256 says:

      My goal is to go with with the science. I’m not an expert, nor do I claim to be an expert. So I put a reasonable amount of trust in the scientific method and to a certain extent, the experts in the same way that one puts a certain reasonable trust in their mechanic to properly fix their car. This is not to say my trust is blind trust. And certainly, if legitimate evidence of malpractice surfaces, I take it very seriously. But what I do not do is allow myself to become emotionally tied to any particular conclusions.

      The scientific method has proven to be the best method for determining truth. The reason this is the case is because is expressly designed to weed out bad ideas over time through a rigorous demand for evidence. Nothing is simply taken as “common sense” in science anymore than in the legal system. Every fact statement must be backed up with substantive data verifying it. The bottom line is that contrary to the claims of some, science is welcomes reasonable challenges to previously held beliefs; indeed every great scientist is famous for overturning previously held beliefs and every great scientist has had some of their beliefs debunked over time. But the key is that challenges to scientifically held beliefs must be reasonable and based on empirical, testible, falsifiable data that can then be vetted through a rigorous peer review process designed to apply as much reasonable scrutiny to any idea as possible.

      This is why I put trust in science. And indeed, the very fact that we’re able to communicate at all in this medium is a testament to the success of the scientific method.

      But I have no respect for those who value their own hubris over the evidence, and who have to make up childish excuses to justify this behavior such as insisting their government (or whoever) ate their homework. I don’t find that tactic persuasive and I certainly don’t find it any more persuasive than medical professionals with a proven track record for reliability and critical thinking.

  2. AP says:

    I have done some vaccine research as well– When it comes to vaccination I find it interesting to see what is being done in other industrialized and post-industrial countries, specifically those with nationalized health care. For example, the countries that banned preservatives in their vaccines in the early 1990’s because of the risk of injecting toxic heavy metals into infants and children. Or countries which have divided vaccinations into single shots at slower intervals, for example MMR is separated into separate vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella, which are given on different occasions, if it’s given at all (in Germany doctors have a number of studies published on the positive correlation between MMR vaccine and development of allergic asthma.) But then again, maybe all of Europe is a big looney-bin… jury is still out on that one, eh? I mean, they have radically better infant and maternal mortality rates, and longer life expectancies… and spend less on health care than the US does… but whatever.

    I have also found it interesting that the U.S. government must collect extra taxes on each vaccine given in order to pay the families of people killed or permanently injured (typically by brain damage) by vaccines: http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/default.htm Which is odd, because it should really be the drug companies job defend their products—generally if someone is killed by a drug they can sue the drug manufacturer (think of all those class action law suits)… but not with vaccines. Odd. But anyway, this was an interesting article.

    • mjr256 says:

      Your research seems to have been in public policy, not science. The fact is that there is to date no reputable studies showing any serious negative reactions to any of the heavy metals cited by anti-vaccination groups in the dosages used in the vaccines. None. Further, separating the MMR into 3 vaccines has proven disastrous given how vulnerable it makes infants to these diseases. This is not based on wishy washy data or the decisions of politicians but is empirically demonstrated in countless studies. And I’m aware of no studies showing a causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and allergic asthma, so I’d like to know what study(s) you’re referring to.

      You’re also drawing huge conclusions from your claim that Europe has “radically better infant and maternal mortality rates, and longer life expectancies.” Assuming this is true, how is it demonstrated that this is the direct result of a better vaccine program? How have you controlled for all other possible factors? What studies show this?

      As for you second paragraph claim, you seem to be arguing against a straw man since nobody claims vaccines aren’t capable of causing injury. Like seat belts, airbags, condoms, toothpicks, and indeed EVERYTHING, vaccines are not 100% safe. However, that doesn’t mean they’re 0% safe either. Condoms are only about 99% safe. And vaccines are far safer than condoms. So if your contention is that we should endanger the lives of literally billions on an ill-conceived vaccine program made to attempt to protect the safety of the astronomically few who are seriously harmed from vaccines, then at best you’ve got serious priority issues and at worst, you’re insane, especially since no amount of safety precautions can protect absolutely everyone. It’s an unreasonable expectation. Suppose we’re talking about cars. Cars are among the leading causes of fatalities around the world. If we lowered the speed limit to under 20 miles per hour, literally hundreds of thousands of lives would be saved. But are you prepared to follow such a system or is it not a very feasible plan? You tell me.

      Lastly, you don’t seem to actually understand how the legal system works or any of the history surrounding why the special vaccine courts were designed in the first place. It’s very adorable that you think people only get sued when they’re at fault but that’s simply not the case. As a paralegal myself, I can say with certainty that that’s not how it works. When someone gets sick and hires a lawyer because they suspect someone was at fault, it’s that lawyer’s job to bring every possible reasonable culprit with money into the case whether there’s a good case or not. In fact, to fail to do so may open that lawyer up to being sued themselves for legal malpractice. Now in the 80s, during the rise of tort litigation, drug companies were losing their shirts on frivolous lawsuits, which can cost just as much as legitimate claims. And because vaccines are virtually unprofitable, most vaccine manufacturers went out of business because of these frivolous lawsuits. As a result, only a handful of U.S. vaccine manufacturers remain. That’s when the government released vaccine manufacturing was too important to fail and so created a special court system that would take some of the pressure off the vaccine manufacturers but STILL HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE IN THE EVENT OF A LEGITIMATE CASE OF VACCINE INJURY. That’s why we have special courts for vaccines. It’s not a conspiracy.

  3. AP says:

    “The fact is that there is to date no reputable studies showing any serious negative reactions to any of the heavy metals cited by anti-vaccination groups in the dosages used in the vaccines. None.”-You.

    Sounds like you have some homework to do… and I am sorry that I got you so upset. Remember that the basis of scientific theory is to be unbiased when doing research, it also helps to be aware that money talks and to seek out where conflicts may lay. That is why those who choose not to be vaccinated (for medical, religious or philosophical reasons) or feel that vaccination policy be changed (for whatever reason) have the burden of proof without the funding for research. It should be telling that the people doing ‘anti-vaccination research’ (as you call it) cannot hope to gain monetarily from it. If you truly love science as much as you claim then you should at least consider where the objections are coming from instead of citing ignorance of the studies as your only evidence. The fact is that there are many reputable studies, both here in the U.S. as well as around the world which call into question current vaccination policies and manufacturing methods.

    Furthermore, the scientific method, as any scientist will tell you cannot PROVE anything it can only disprove: it produces tentative falsifiable conclusions, which require objectivity—not prejudiced bias (and especially no name calling.) There is no absolute truth—truth is for the philosophers to debate; science speaks only of probabilities.

    Here are some peer-reviewed, academic (scholarly) articles to get you started:

    Kemp T, Pearce N, Fitzharris P, et al “Is Infant Immunization a Risk Factor for Childhood Asthma or Allergy?”Epidemiology (1997) 8:678-80.

    DeStefano F, Gu D, Kramarz P, Truman BI, et al Childhood vaccinations and risk of asthma. Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal (2002)21(6):498-504

    Maher JE, Mullooly JP, Drew L, and DeStefano F Infant vaccinations and childhood asthma among full-term infants.” Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety(2004) 13(1):1-9

    Hviid A; Melbye M; “Measles-mumps-rubella vaccination and asthma-like disease in early childhood.” American Journal of Epidemiology, 2008 Dec 1; 168 (11): 1277-83

    Cox NH, Forsyth A., “Thiomersal allergy and vaccination reactions.” Contact Dermatitis. 1988 Apr;18(4):229-33.

    DeStefano F, Gu D, Kramarz P, Truman BI, et al Childhood vaccinations and risk of asthma. Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal (2002)21(6):498-504

    Rietschel RL, Adams RM.. “Reactions to thimerosal in hepatitis B vaccines”. Dermatol Clin. 1990 Jan;8(1):161-4.

    Dilli, Dilek; Bostanci, İlknur; Dallar, Yİldİz,. “Do Different Vaccination Regimens for BCG and Hepatitis B Affect the Development of Allergic Disorders in Early Childhood?” Journal of Asthma; Mar2008, Vol. 45 Issue 2, p155-159, 5p, 2 Charts

    Risk of asthma reduced when vaccination delayed. Foods Matter (USA), 2008 Jun: 16

    P.S. I don’t recall mentioning conspiracies, for the record. ^_^

    • mjr256 says:

      Yes, the goal of science is to be unbiased in your research. You have not done so. All you’ve done is parrot old, thoroughly debunked claims from denialists and non-experts that don’t hold up to scrutiny and can only be taken seriously if one first accepts a massive conspiracy that has yet to be shown. It’s so easy to say every reputable medical organization in the world is just paid off but what can be asserted without evidence can be just as easily dismissed without evidence. This is precisely the same tactics employed by climate change deniers and literally every other type of denialist. And it’s extraordinarily naive for you to suggest vaccine deniers lack any incentive in promoting a false view. First of all, folks like Mr. Andy Wakefield have written books and go on speaking tours. And Wakefield was also paid by trial lawyers to perform his study and in fact tried to patent his own rival vaccine to the MMR in the late 90s that would have only been successful if he’d successfully undermined the MMR. But of course not all incentives are financial. Far more common are ideological incentives. This is the very definition of bias. Evolution deniers don’t deny evolution because it’s profitable but because it threatens their worldview. Same goes with virtually every denialist group in the world.

      Further, it’s utterly ridiculous to blame the findings of scientific research from tens of thousands of scientists on how they are funded or who they work for. Scientific research costs a lot of money and takes decades. Even if one research group goes off the rails, there are hundreds of others who compete for funding, and are out to show that other researchers are wrong.

      If there really was a vast conspiracy to promote dangerous vaccines, there would be a way of doing this that would have hundreds of millions of dollars: don’t bother with the scientists, just hire ad men and marketers to promote your agenda. Hire actors to wear white coats and wave a few test tubes around. People don’t hire scientists to find out what they want to hear. They hire scientists to find out what is true. Otherwise it’s simply a crazy waste of money.

      It is wise to maintain a healthy skepticism on matters for which a government motive could be established, but it is also wise to maintain an equal suspicion towards those who would profit the greatest from the opposing view. Case in point: Corporations. Corporations (particular those profiting from distrust of science-based medicine) have at least as much incentive, & power to motivate “the right scientists” to interpret the facts in a way that serves their agenda as any politician.

      That being said. Motive alone is insufficient to implicate anybody on fraudulent representation of data. Skepticism is a great starting point, but a bad ending point. Science executed with an agenda of political relativism is not science, & most peer reviewed journals featuring a paper with conclusions that don’t follow from the facts should get flagged eventually. Overwhelming consensus is not easily obtained in serious science because it is fashionable for scientists to take apart the work of their peers & show why it’s wrong.

      So when the curve of consensus converges as the expertise of scientists in question increases, it’s reasonable to suspect that trend could represent something important. It’s not likely that the ratio of scientists serving government conspiracy should be especially higher in vaccine specialists than any other field. The scares of the past should make people weary of fraud, but it does not successfully establish that the claims being made are incorrect.

      Science is NOT corporate culture. It’s nothing like it. And it’s utter nonsense to say you can’t get a job in academia if you don’t “follow the trend”.

      Science is ANYTHING BUT self-reinforcing. It’s a bitter fight for limited funds, in which competing groups will do almost anything to try and discredit the work of others. In fact, science is as far from a cozy co-operative culture as you can get. It’s a jungle out there.

      Please try and actually look at what goes on. There are bitter fights in all areas of science, from evolutionary biology to particle physics, and even in vaccine science. (For example, consider the Gould/Dawkins battles over evolution, or the pro/anti String Theorist debates, Einstein vs Bohr over quantum mechanics – these things can get quite heated).

      Science thrives on cyncism, because the ideas that survive have to pass cynical attacks by those who want to wreck the ideas of their competitors.

      Also, because science funding is so limited, you don’t get funding for “me too!” research that is targeted at doing nothing more than confirming what has already done using the same methods is rarely funded, because it is a waste of money.

      That is why there is a consensus about the fact the vaccines are more than reasonably safe. Because so many groups that don’t trust each other have all come up with their own models, and their own data sets, and the results tend to agree. It is the very cynicism and competitiveness of scientists that helps us find the truth, not some cozy patting-each-other-on-the-back consensus. The truth has to survive these battles.

      You are right about human nature, but you could not be more wrong about how this influences science.

      As for your studies, they’re extremely carefully cherry-picked and every one is out of date with current findings and thoroughly overturned by better research with larger sample sizes and better controls. It doesn’t hold up to the scrutiny of experts. You can see some of the more reliable research halfway down the page at:

      http://www.dangeroustalk.net/-a-team/Vaccines

      • mjr256 says:

        Oh, and of course a far better source for vaccine efficacy and safety studies can be found at Pubmed, probably the largest archive of medical literature on the web.

  4. AP says:

    “As for your studies, they’re extremely carefully cherry-picked and every one is out of date with current findings and thoroughly overturned by better research with larger sample sizes and better controls. It doesn’t hold up to the scrutiny of experts.”–You.

    That is why I cited articles with a variety of conclusions on vaccination policy and effects. If you had actual taken the time to look up on of these studies we may have had some fun debating the confounds and problems of ‘sample sizes’, etc, etc. But you obviously didn’t–some of the studies find no correlation between asthma and vaccination, however some of them do.

    I get the impression that you are assuming what my position on vaccination is. What if I am a researcher for say, Merck or maybe Pfizer? Maybe I am just a humble virologist or epidemiologist working at a college somewhere…. The fact is that my opinion on the subject is moot– I simply wanted to show you that there were studies available on the subject of vaccines/asthma/preservatives, since you told me that you were not aware of any that had been done, AND asked me for some references. Forgive me for misunderstanding your request.

    And I don’t ‘cherry pick’ research—and when I review an article that is the kind of thing I look for. Since we are in the habit of making recommendations, perhaps you would be interested in a few of my own. (You will probably need a University’s log-in info to access many of these databases. If you are not a student or faculty of one, most Universities offer free ‘guest’ passes—just call and ask if it’s available. )

    AccessMedicine.com
    AccessPharmacy
    ACP Medicine
    ASM Materials Information
    ASTM Standards
    Bioline International
    BioMed Central
    BMJ Clinical Evidence
    Catalog of U.S. Government Publications
    CINAHL Plus
    CogNet Library
    DynaMed
    EBSCOhost
    Encyclopedia of Biostatistics
    Faculty of 1000. Medicine
    FirstGov for Science
    Global Health
    Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition
    International Pharmaceutical Abstracts
    JAMAevidence
    MD Consult
    MedlinePlus
    And of course your favorite, PubMed.

  5. mjr256 says:

    Okay, let’s look closer at a few of the studies you claim support your assertions:

    “Is Infant Immunization a Risk Factor for Childhood Asthma or Allergy?”

    “CONCLUSIONS. Currently available data, based on observational studies, DO NOT support an association, provocative or protective, between receipt of the BCG or whole-cell pertussis vaccine and risk of asthma in childhood and adolescence.”

    “Childhood vaccinations and risk of asthma.”

    “Conclusion. There is NO association between diphtheria, tetanus and whole cell pertussis vaccine, oral polio vaccine or measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and the risk of asthma. The weak associations for Hib and hepatitis B vaccines seem to be at least partially accounted for by health care utilization or information bias.”

    “Infant vaccinations and childhood asthma among full-term infants.”

    “CONCLUSIONS: Our findings DO NOT support concerns that vaccines are associated with increased risk of asthma but confirm that frequency of infant wheezing is associated with childhood asthma.”

    Strike 3. You’re out. I took the first 3 of the studies that YOU cited and have just quoted from the conclusions from those studies showing them to be ANTITHETICAL to your position. I didn’t pick these studies. YOU DID! And your own studies DIRECTLY STATE THAT YOU’RE WRONG! You should actually read them.

    “I get the impression that you are assuming what my position on vaccination is. What if I am a researcher for say, Merck or maybe Pfizer? Maybe I am just a humble virologist or epidemiologist working at a college somewhere…. ”

    It took me less than two minutes to verify that you’re possibly the worst researcher in human fucking history! So I hate to burst your bubble but nobody in their right mind would confuse you for a profession researcher, certainly not for a company that’d be willing to put billions of dollars in the hands of your researching skills. And as a professional non-scientific researcher myself, the very idea that you think you could pass for one is laughable.

    So no, since the first 3 of your cherry-picked studies actually directly hurt your own case, I still haven’t seen any study validating your position, so I suggest you put away your “Mission Accomplished” banner.

    As for your organization list, for the most part, they’re excellent sources. They of course also support our vaccination program, as do the CDC, WHO, FDA, AMA, and every other reputable health organization in the world.

  6. AP says:

    1. Read Carefully:
    “That is why I cited articles with a variety of conclusions on vaccination policy and effects. If you had actual taken the time to look up on of these studies we may have had some fun debating the confounds and problems of ‘sample sizes’, etc, etc. But you obviously didn’t–<<<<<>>>>>>>, however some of them do.”

    ____________

    You: “It took me less than two minutes to verify that you’re possibly the worst researcher in human fucking history!” — you should have done it sooner.

    A good researcher doesn’t just seek out studies that support their own bias. A good researcher looks for well designed studies on the subject they are researching and looks for ways to improve on them, what may have been overlooked, and other problems. You consider me the worst researcher in history, but you failed to recognize that all of these researchers, and their funding organizations, felt the need to study the issue of vaccination safety, if there was a link between asthma and vaccination, and whether preservatives in vaccinations are necessary or safe. This is an issue that is important for vaccine manufacturers, for medical providers and consumers alike. I cannot understand why you are so threatened by this if you are truly interested in science. Throughout our little debate you are the one who has jumped into conspiracy theories, assumed what my own position on vaccination was, and assumed that I ‘cherry –picked’ articles “and everyone is out of date with current findings and thoroughly overturned by better research” before you even took the time to read them.

    Furthermore you have only offered two references to all the claims you have made, one was a non-academic website and the other a website(pubmed) that acts a bibliography for an actual research database (medline). While I have offered a variety of peer-reviewed medical articles, and a large list of databases which I use for medical research. I have also offered links to online-accessible government materials (more to follow).

    “So I hate to burst your bubble but nobody in their right mind would confuse you for a profession researcher, certainly not for a company that’d be willing to put billions of dollars in the hands of your researching skills.” –You. I never claimed to work for a company that gave me billions of dollars to do research. I recommend that you calm down before responding, I am not attacking you. I am questioning you, I am challenging your perspectives, an exercise for the mind…. when you take it so hard you make me wonder if I am hitting a nerve… or if you are just some high-schooler with a blog… or a community-college drop-out.

    “So no, since the first 3 of your cherry-picked studies actually directly hurt your own case, I still haven’t seen any study validating your position, so I suggest you put away your “Mission Accomplished” banner.” –You. Keep reading, and reading. Do some of your own research, seek out articles that have conclusions which contradict your biases, take a class on research methods. And what is with this ‘mission accomplished’ banner nonsense—are you jumping to your conspiracy theories again? Am I one of the denialists? If so, what am I denying?

    “As for your organization list, for the most part, they’re excellent sources. They of course also support our vaccination program, as do the CDC, WHO, FDA, AMA, and every other reputable health organization in the world.”—You. The list I gave you, on my previous reply, was not a list of organizations. It was a list of research databases. These databases require a subscription in order to use them. Because access to the various peer-reviewed journals are so expensive, subscriptions to these giant databases are too. BMJ for example is “British Medical Journal”… This is why I mentioned that many Universities offer a free guest-pass. I am amazed that the person calling me the worst researcher in the world had no idea what a research database was… No wonder you never cited anything.

    Okay the other, free- online accessible information (they are government publications, they open as PDF’s):

    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08628t.pdf “Federal compensation programs [electronic resource] : perspectives on four programs for individuals injured by exposure to harmful substances : testimony before Congressional Subcommittees…” –Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) I suggest that you use the ‘find’ feature on the PDF viewer, type in VICP to scan through the document. Page 8’s chart is of interest ($1.44 billion in claims paid out by 2004). Craziness.

    ftp://ftp.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/84521_Booklet.pdf “What you need to know about the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP)” )The website looks wacky, (Ftp) but I double checked it and its correct.

    • mjr256 says:

      Now you began with the faulty premise that science works like a corporation and its most profitable to stand behind the party line; this is the antithesis of how science actually works. And once one introduces an unfalsifiable grand conspiracy as an argument, they’ve effectively insulated themselves from conflicting evidence. This is not science.

      And now you introduce a brand new preposterous faulty premise, that safety studies are only done when strong, legitimate suspicions exist that a product isn’t safe. Safety studies on vaccines, like every other product I can think of, are done to ensure quality; they are not in and of themselves evidence of harm. If we can diminish the cases of vaccine injury, that is in the best interests of everyone. Again, nobody claims vaccines are not capable of any harm at all. My contention, if you recall, was that the heavy metals cited by denialist groups have not been demonstrated to cause injury.

      Further, I did look at your articles but obviously have not had reasonable time to do a detailed analysis of them. Nor did I deem it necessary given that their conclusions support the findings that the vaccines are reasonably safe.

      As for my references, neither website I linked to was just one source but repositories of lots of sources. Pubmed is one of the best source for medical literature on the web. It includes the abstracts of the studies, which is all that’s really necessary unless you’re actually a trained expert in a relevant field. And the 2nd link was to my own messy collection of hundreds of sources, many of which very high quality sources, refuting the vast majority of claims made by those trying to discredit vaccines.

      Additionally, you certainly did present the scenario that for all I know, you could be a researcher for a pharmaceutical company. That quite clearly was the specific comment I was responding to. And your first comment on this blog was more than sufficient to establish your less than innocent motivations. It has only gotten worse from there.

      You said:
      “The list I gave you, on my previous reply, was not a list of organizations. It was a list of research databases.”

      They quite plainly are both organizations and databases. They didn’t not appear out of the either. Collectives of people maintain them. I have no interest in playing semantic games with you.

      Yes, a good researcher doesn’t just seek out studies that support their own bias. Quite right. But a good researcher also recognizes the limits of their own knowledge and puts a certain reasonable amount of trust in experts in that particular field. Now I’m not a vaccine expert and you’re not a vaccine expert. Non-experts are in no position to pass judgment on issues for which the scientific community has reached a consensus. They don’t the necessary expertise to do so.

      That doesn’t mean, of course, that science is always right or the experts are always right by far. There’s a long history of blunders in science. So I’m certainly not suggesting that science is infallible. But I am saying that unless you actually have that technical expertise in matters of science, your job should not be skeptical of notions such as vaccines or climate change or the fact that AIDS is caused by HIV, and so on and so forth.

      My goal is to further the public understanding of science and by explaining to the general public the difference between science and bunk. It is not to criticize science itself because science itself already has a very well established set of procedures for how to criticize its own ideas. It’s called the peer review process.

      Now the history of science shows that more often than not, the scientists tend to be conservative in their acceptance of new theories and new notions. That is, the typical response of a scientist to a new theory is, ‘I don’t think so,’ or ‘I don’t believe it,’ or ‘Show me the data,’ or ‘Let me see why you think that that is the case,’ which of course is a quintessential skeptical stance. And frankly, I think that’s for good reasons.

      Science is a well-established set of procedures and it has produced a well-established body of knowledge, so any new theory, any new notion, especially if it is contrary to what science has accepted up to that point, ought to be received and is, in fact received by scientists with skepticism. That doesn’t mean that scientists don’t change their mind. It doesn’t mean the new theories are not eventually accepted if in fact they are good theories. But when you write a scientific paper, the first thing that the editor does, or the journal where you submit the paper does, is to send it to two, three, or four people to criticize it. The first reaction is one of skepticism. People want to make sure that what you write is sound, that it makes sense that your conclusions are congruent with the data that you have and so on and so forth.

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