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PACE and 'Wessely school' 'research' - is it Cargo Cult Science?

Discussion in 'PsychoSocial ME/CFS News' started by Sly Saint, Mar 26, 2018.

  1. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    'Cargo Cult'; I came across this in the 'Magical Medicine: How to make a disease disappear' article" asking if PACE might be an example and that only time would tell.

    I'm inclined to think it (PACE) is along with the majority of the Wessely school 'research' (I am not familiar enough with all of it to judge definitively).

    "Tomasz Witkowski and Maciej Zatonski’s book Psychology Gone Wrong where they pointed out that many of psychology’s accepted beliefs and therapies were not based on good evidence. Now Witkowski has written a new book, to be published later this year, Psychology Led Astray: Cargo Cult in Science and Therapy,"

    "Richard Feynman was the first to compare the contemporary social sciences, including psychology, to a cargo cult.

    For those not familiar, the term “cargo cult” originates with the natives in Melanesia, who were awestruck by the planes that landed on their islands during WWII bringing all kinds of supplies. They had no understanding of what airplanes were or where they came from. Magical thinking led them to create bamboo replicas of planes and control towers in the superstitious belief that it would attract planes and bring them material goods.

    Similarly, many psychology researchers have been imitating the methods of science without really understanding how science is supposed to work. They go through the motions, but their research designs are so poorly thought out and the methodology so poor that their results are meaningless. And then they use those meaningless results to guide therapy. They have been led astray, have deceived themselves, and have harmed patients."

    https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/cargo-cult-psychology/


    "What cargo cult scientists are missing is “a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty.”

    Having this virtue of scientific integrity means following the scientific method: conducting rigorously controlled experiments and following the data wherever they lead. Thus while some of Feynman’s examples of cargo cult scientists may have the trappings of good scientists — e.g., they are professors of psychology at major universities — they lack the true spirit of science. In particular, they are too beholden to their theories to follow the observational evidence wherever it leads."

    (Richard Feynman came up in discussion at the other place; according to JE he was also good on the bongo drums:))
     
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  2. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Found this "Feynman vs Wessely"

    "

    Note also that, completely unlike the South Seas cargo culters, this pseudoscience is very successful and works, namely as pseudoscience:


    It does take people in (most medical doctors also don't really know statistics and methodology well or at all);
    it does get published in what are nominally scientific journals;
    it does get high ranking in citation-indexes, for pseudoscientists these days have many pseudoscientific friends in academia, and they all praise, quote or at least cite each others' 'scientific' papers;
    it does give pseudoscientists status and credit, and power and influence in academia as if they were real scientists; and most importantly, it totally deceives and befuddles the media and politicians, of whom hardly anyone is scientifically qualified (in a real science),
    and it does give pseudoscientists politically important posts, or at least the ears and help from political and bureaucratical powerful persons,

    who indeed may
    sincerely believe they are helping science and patients by helping what are in fact pseudoscientists, failed scientists, but very able and highly organized politico-bureaucratic conmen."

    "As any reader of the prose of Wesselytes, Reevesians, Bleijenbergians etc. can know, these pseudoscientist do NEVER indicate anything about any scientific research, such as real bio-medical research, that does not square with what they present as 'scientific findings'."



    https://maartens.home.xs4all.nl/log/2010/NL100908a.htm#2.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018
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  3. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Somewhere along the way, assuming the popular press continues with its exposure of PACE and authors, it would be good for some of the above to get quoted. In fact it might be good for some of it to be tweeted in Michael Sharpe's recent tweeting contributions. Maybe MS might be daft enough to slag off Richard Feynman.
     
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  4. Keela Too

    Keela Too Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I wrote a little about "Cargo Cult Cures" once on my blog.
    It's really a post about how difficult it is to tease out what factor helped any improvement, when stories are personally told.
    Anyway, it's a short post from almost 3 years ago: http://sallyjustme.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/cargo-cult-cures.html

    Quote below is perhaps an even more important point.

    It seems to me that BPS researchers are indeed using "Cargo Cult Science". Yet, I wonder if it is by design that they work this way (ie they just intend to fool those who are science-naive, into believing their "science") rather than the BPS actually failing to understand why their research is so unscientific?
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018
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  5. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Most doctors, about 90%, don't know enough statistics to accurately interpret studies, and that is without getting into issues about study methodology. Gigerenzer (spelling?) showed this repeatedly. One of the most blatant examples of doctors just parroting methodology considerations they don't understand is the claim that RCTs are the gold standard in medicine, or similar claims. It demonstrates a failure to grasp the basics of EBM. Right alongside this is the claim that a study is evidence based ... any properly designed (that is, not a badly designed) study is evidence based, even a single doctor's opinion is evidence based. Again, this is a failure to understand evidence based principles.

    Psychiatry seems particularly bad with respect to this, but its not isolated to psychiatry.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  6. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Can I pick two reasons from column A and two from column B?
     
  7. Keela Too

    Keela Too Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Not sure I understand your comment.

    I was wondering if they know full well that their “science” is weak, but still choose to spin it as if it were top rate.

    I cannot see how they could fail to understand the flaws now so many have been pointed out. Other moves they make clearly suggest they have more intelligence than that.

    Maybe I get you now. They want it both ways.
     
  8. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Less about what they want rather than how it is, but yes.
     
  9. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    MS is actually quoting Richard Feynman now!
    delusional or what.
     
  10. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    If Richard Feynman was still around he might see that akin to slagging him off anyway.
     
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  11. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    taken from IACFS/ME Newsletter December 2012 Attachment 8

    Only part way through it.
    a lot more on the PACE trial, the SMC, and Wessely. Obviously much has been covered elsewhere but
    worth a read.

    http://iacfsme.org/PDFS/Attachment-8-Professor-Simon-Wessely-Award-of-the.aspx
     
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  12. Simbindi

    Simbindi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thanks for posting this information. Speaking as someone who, despite having ME for over 25 years, has only been following ME advocacy for the last couple of years, it makes for a very interesting read.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2019
  13. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    There is such overwhelming evidence that Wessely's psychomagic is harmful that it's hard to keep track so just copying this here in case. We keep seeing those surveys independently confirming the same thing that it's easy to forget they have also been showing the same thing for 2 decades. Millions of lives destroyed in broad daylight and fully documented. This is criminal, borderline evil.

    I won't bother copying, they are just disgusting, but reading some quotes by Wessely and it's remarkable how utterly clueless this man is about human nature. He believes in a cartoonish version of human psychology, basically the kind of fake cartoonish person that used to be on TV in the 1950's, a strawman of fiction. It's seriously as if he built his beliefs about psychology based on those theatrical characters, they are so hollow and micron-thin, all emotions exaggerated, gullible and helpless to the extreme. He doesn't seem able to read people at all, confuses basic emotions for something else entirely.

    Edit: bah, most links are broken... it would really be important if someone archived all of them, worthy of a research paper actually, but that's something for a healthy ally

    ---

    Those surveys include one sponsored jointly by the ME Association and Action for ME (“Report on a Survey of Members of Local ME Groups”. Dr Lesley Cooper, 2000). Cooper found that “Graded exercise was felt to be the treatment that made more people worse than any other” and that it had actually harmed patients (http://www.afme.org.uk/res/img/resources/Group Survey Lesley Cooper.pdf). Broken link use (https://web.archive.org/web/20071019082048/http://www.afme.org.uk/res/img/resources/Group Survey Lesley Cooper.pdf)


    Another survey of 2,338 ME/CFS sufferers (“Severely Neglected: M.E. in the UK”) was carried out in 2001 by Action for ME; its preliminary report stated: “Graded exercise was reported to be the treatment that had made most people worse”; in the final report, this was changed to stating that graded exercise had made 50% of patients worse (http://www.afme.org.uk/res/img/resources/Severely Neglected.pdf). Broken link use (https://www.s4me.info/threads/nice-...dline-16th-oct-2019.11028/page-10#post-205648)

    The 25% ME Group for the Severely Affected carried out a further survey in 2004 which found that 93% of respondents found GET to be unhelpful, with 82% reporting that their condition was made worse (http://www.25megroup.org/Group Leaflets/Group reports/March 2004 Severe ME Analysis Report.doc). Broken link

    In 2005, a report (“Our Needs, Our Lives”) published by The Young ME Sufferers Trust found that 88% had been made worse by exercise (http://www.tymestrust.org/pdfs/ourneedsourlives.pdf).

    In June 2007, through Section 16b funding from the Scottish Government, Action for ME produced a report “Scotland ME/CFS Scoping Exercise Report”, which found that 74.42% were made worse by GET.

    In 2008, Action for ME published another survey of over 2,760 patients (“M.E. 2008: What progress?”) which found that one third had been made worse by GET and that at their worst, 88% were bed/housebound, being unable to shower, bathe or wash themselves, and that 15% were unable to eat unaided. The Press Release of 12th May was unambiguous: “Survey finds recommended treatment makes one in three people worse” (http://www.afme.org.uk/news.asp?newsid=355).

    In 2009, the Norfolk and Suffolk ME Patient Survey of 225 respondents stated: “Respondents found the least helpful and most harmful interventions were Graded Exercise Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy” (http://www.norfolkandsuffolk.me.uk/surveylink.html ). Broken link use (https://web.archive.org/web/20120416012408/http://www.norfolkandsuffolk.me.uk:80/surveylink.html)
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
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  14. feeb

    feeb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I had a look for the missing documents. Have linked the ones I found inline in the quote below.

    I wasn't able to find a copy of the AFME "severely neglected" report. Perhaps someone else will have better luck.
     
  15. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It is what human societies have done from earliest times. When confronted with situations far outside their combined experience and knowledge to comprehend, they construct a mythical world where the observed facts can apparently fit with the logic and rationale of the mythology they have created. It is human nature, and serves a valuable purpose when there is no alternative; it also confers immense power onto the custodians of this mythology.

    Science is the alternative. Not all scientists seem to realise it.
     
  16. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  17. feeb

    feeb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  18. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thanks! I added them to my post as well for convenience. Some of those surveys are closing in on 2 decades. I hope someone has them safeguarded. I have no doubt they will matter, by sheer mass of evidence that this was always morally bankrupt.
     
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