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Paradoxical knowledge

“Paradoxical knowledge” is a term in psychology research that describes pretended knowledge although it is rather clear that a person doesn’t have it – because the usual qualification is missing , a former qualification is outdated and it largely contradicts accepted knowledge. PK or KP seems a good term to describe the Corona denier phenomenon as seen in Homburg, Bhakdi and Lütge.

To avoid uncertainty, people may take a shortcut to knowledge. They recognize something as unknowable, but claim to know it nonetheless.

The quote above is from the  2019 paper of Gollwitzer and Oettinger which itself is based on earlier work 2017 by Burlando

The KP provides a unifying context for the sorites and the liar paradoxes. Any concept is viewed as a sorites, i.e. it is impossible to set a boundary between what is, and what is not, the entity to which the concept refers. Hence, any statement about reality can be reduced to a liar, wherefrom the KP follows in its most general form: -If I know, then I do not know-. The KP is self-referential but not contradictory, as it can be referred to two levels of knowledge: -if I know (epistemic), then I do not know (ontic)-, where the ontic level is made unachievable by concept vagueness. Such an interpretation of scientific knowledge provides an understanding of its dynamics.

The dynamics are clear: liars get aggressive whenever you catch the lies while developing even a tendency to fanatism. Epistemic paradoxes –  they are forever young in particular in old men.

The general structure of Meno’s paradox is a dilemma: If you know the answer to the question you are asking, then nothing can be learned by asking. If you do not know the answer, then you cannot recognize a correct answer even if it is given to you. Therefore, one cannot learn anything by asking questions.

How to scrape a website with R II: WYSIWYG

Part II

Although Rselenium allows a screenshot of the current browser window

remDr <- remoteDriver(
  remoteServerAddr = "localhost",
  port = 4444,
  browserName = "Chrome"
remDr$screenshot(display = T) # remDr$screenshot(file="screen.jpg")

I found it extremely difficult to control a webbrowser running in a Docker container – looking up the DOM tree, injecting javascript etc is a lot of guess work.

So we need also a VNC server in the docker container as found at github.

After starting in the terminal

docker run -d -p 4444:4444 -p 5900:5900 -v /dev/shm:/dev/shm selenium/standalone-chrome:4.0.0-beta-1-prerelease-20210207

we can watch live at vnc:// what’s going on.

Mass rebellion?

Richard Smith about “Peer reviewers—time for mass rebellion?” citing a colleague

“I never peer review. Why would I waste my time reviewing crummy research when I can be doing my own research? What’s more, I’m funded to do research and am rewarded for it. Nobody either funds me to review or rewards me for doing it.”

As always an excellent opinion piece. Didn’t medRxiv and bioRxiv show in 2020 that we don’t need pre publication review anymore?

Isolated vertical or horizontal lines in gel images are not jpg compression artifacts

When preparing a lecture on image fraud in scientific papers, I frequently find the PubPeer excuse of compression artifacts. So lets have a look at that issue using jpegoptim (manpage) and also jpeginfo (manpage).

German Wikipedia explains the usual effects

Ringing – high contrast areas with waves
Contouring, Banding, Pposterisation – extreme brightness changes
Staircase noise – along curving edges
Blockiness in “busy” regions – may mimick duplications
Gibbs phenomenon – small highlighted area of large contrast
Alias, Moiré, frequent color/brightness change

Now let’s have a look at the compression artifacts in descending quality (BTW this also good exercise for the upcoming 125kB Content Upload Filter, I am therefore adding also filesize here)

original 893kB

Isolated vertical or horizontal lines in gel images are not jpg compression artifacts weiterlesen

A museum of diverse intellectual pathologies

There is a super interesting 1992 paper of Jacobson/Feinstein oxygen as a cause of blindness in premature infants: “autopsy” of a decade of errors in clinical epidemiologic research While it is quite obvious to recognize such an epidemic at a late stage (as in the thalidomide scandal) it needs quite a lot of oversight at the early phase.

it took more than a decade-1942 to 1954-to end an iatrogenic epidemic in which high-dose oxygen therapy led to retrolental fibroplasia (RLF) in premature infants, blinding about 10,000 of them. The autopsy revealed a museum of diverse intellectual pathology. When first noted, RLF was regarded as neither a new disease nor a postnatal effect. In early investigations, the ophthalmologists did not establish explicit criteria for diagnosis and confused RLF with malformations previously seen in full-term infants. Because the patients were not referred until months after birth, the ophthalmologists assumed that the lesion, which resembled an embryologic structure, must have occurred prenatally.

Even with the current COVID-19 we can see “live on stage” blinded experts. Maybe the “early intubation epidemic” is another example with new data published in the ERJ.

Breaking up long chains in R’s margrittr code and calling sub functions

Having several long and redundant chains in R ‘s margittr code, I have now figured out how to pipe into named and unnamed functions

f1 <- function(x) {
  x %>% count() %>% print()
f2 <- function(x) {
  x %>% tibble() %>% print()

So we have now two named functions with code blocks that can be inserted in an unnamed function whenever needed

iris %>%
  # do any select, mutate ....
  # before running both functions
  (function(x) {
    x %>% select(Species) %>% f1() %>% print()
    x %>% f2() %>% print()

Re-Check your references before submission

I think it is now mandatory to check all references if there any PubPeer notes or if the references even has been retracted.

A recent Nature News highlights the issue

Most of the papers that cite discredited COVID research in The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine don’t mention that the studies have been retracted. The infamous studies relied on health-record analyses from a company, Surgisphere, that declined to share its raw data for an audit. Science looked at 200 academic articles that cite the Surgisphere papers and found that 52.5% — including some in prominent journals — failed to mention the retractions.

Facebook Epidemiology

By Adrian Gerard Barnett in “Epidemiology

Some scientists hastily pivoted to epidemiologic modeling, including many with no qualifications or experience. This effort was likely from a desire to help, but it gummed up the scientific machinery with hundreds of new modeling papers needing expert peer review, while the real experts were busy on the models that mattered.
In the future, for such nationally important models, I would like to have two independent groups of official model- ers who would transparently report their results to the gov- ernment and the public. There are lots of uncertainties and scientific decisions that go into these models, and two expert groups coming to the same conclusion would greatly increase confidence for the decision makers…

I would like that also.

Der Tanz auf dem Vulkan

Virologie und Epidemiologie sind der Eindämmung der Pandemie verpflichtet (Viren und ihre Ausbreitung kann man wissenschaftlich untersuchen).

Politik in der Demokratie ist der Mehrheitsfindung verpflichtet (mit Viren selbst kann man ja nicht verhandeln).

Juristen bedienen sich der Hermeneutik bestehender Gesetzestexte (auch wenn da eher wenig zu Viren steht).

Der “dance” wurde damit in den westlichen Demokratien zum großen Tanz auf dem Vulkan. Auch wenn die Zahlen langsam sinken, der Abstieg ist nun genauso mühsam und gefährlich wie der Aufstieg.

Quelle: und

Den für mich unerwarteten zweiten großen Absturz in der Corona Pandemie hat Heribert Prantl vor 2 Tagen im Hangar-7 hingelegt. Bei Artikel 2 GG hat Prantl offensichtlich nur den ersten Halbsatz von (1) gelesen:

(1) Jeder hat das Recht auf die freie Entfaltung seiner Persönlichkeit, soweit er nicht die Rechte anderer verletzt und nicht gegen die verfassungsmäßige Ordnung oder das Sittengesetz verstößt.

(2) Jeder hat das Recht auf Leben und körperliche Unversehrtheit. Die Freiheit der Person ist unverletzlich. In diese Rechte darf nur auf Grund eines Gesetzes eingegriffen werden.

COVID-19 Mortalität V: Vergleich Schweiz/Österreich

Hier noch ein Vergleich der Case Fatality Rate in Deutschland mit Österreich und der Schweiz.

Beide Länder haben in der ersten Phase offensichtlich dazu gelernt, wie man besser (nicht) beatmet, Deutschland hat eher nichts dazugelernt.


Quellen: RKI (Deutschland) AGES (Österreich) sowie Dashboard (Schweiz) Download am 24.1.2021. CFR im gleitenden Mittel aus Fällen 14 Tage vor und Todesfällen 14 Tage nach dem Indextag. Letzter berichteter Wert 15.12.2020
Zeitungsausriss 29.10.2021, überprüft am 24.1.2021, Quelle

Uri Geller in Nature

Alle Nature Artikel in meinem engeren Arbeitsgebiet lagen daneben. Warum es  aber trotzdem als höchste Auszeichnung gilt, einen Artikel dort veröffentlicht zu haben? Wo doch die allermeisten Artikel nicht einmal besonders häufig zitiert werden?
Und das mit Kosten für den deutschen Steuerzahler in Höhe von 9,500€?

Vielleicht sollte man doch mal an einen der legendärsten Artikel in Nature erinnern – die Studie zu Uri Geller (James Randi der den Geller Betrug aufgeklärt hat ist gerade erst verstorben).

The establishment of ESP [extrasensory perception] could conceivable require a paradigm shift (in Kuhn’s sense) of the most fundamental kind and our concepts of mind-brain relationships and cobsciousness would need radical alteration.

Es ist dabei nicht so sehr ein einzelner Artikel (den man natürlich hätte veröffentlichen können) sondern der monatelange Hype, der hier befeuert wurde.

Doch zurück zu den 9,500€ von den kein Reviewer einen Cent sieht. Undark hat eine vernichtende Analyse des Geschäftsmodells

But Springer Nature’s announcement also exposes a deep structural problem in scientific publishing. The proposed author fee, known as an article processing charge, or APC, is several times higher than what other publishers charge; it will likely be out of reach for researchers working outside of the world’s top institutions. Viewed in that light, Springer Nature’s move to open access seems less like a step toward equity and more like a corporation taking advantage of an uneven scientific funding landscape to increase its profits.