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Pseudo-Scientific Thinking and the Horse

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  • #81
    Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
    I hang garlic around my horses' necks.
    I find it to be an excellent elephant repellent.
    So I began thinking about elephants, and then I remembered an article I read about how elephants communicate over very long distances using low-frequency sound.
    http://www.birds.cornell.edu/brp/ele...y/eletalk.html

    Then I started to think about how it's been said that certain sound and music may be therapeutic for people.
    http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/list...ng-ever-170097

    Now I'm wondering if sound could in any way be therapeutic for horses?

    Comment


    • #82
      So what of the purely ignorant basing knowledge on personal observation. or second hand accounts, if we can't call that pseudoscience, what is the word we use to describe that? Do we then cross over into the realm of "Naivete"? If so I'm fine with that.
      The word "ignorance" does very nicely here and needs no further embellishment. It is not a pejorative, rather a (reversible) state of being, wherein we all, in fact, begin. Ignorance is passive yet curable. Pseudoscience takes EFFORT to perpetuate and to manufacture. Where the two often cross paths is in the wilfully ignorant individual, who is convinced their conclusions are iron-clad, unassailable, and feels no compulsion to continue to learn. These types often resort to pseudoscience when challenged, either because they don't know the difference or they are trying to defend the un-defendable. See: homeopathy. Those who acknowledge this type of practice as sort of a prop to a healing interaction with another person are vastly different than those who wildly toss out quantum theory, bizarre and incorrect principles of molecular biology, and "chi" willy-nilly in order to defend a practice they have long since decided was completely valid and worthwhile, evidence be damned.

      I think we have to acknowledge inspiration, dreams, and spontaneous personal revelations, as part of the process of the discovery of actual knowledge.
      Fine with me. Knowledge can come in many flavors. But some of them are more easily disseminated and shared without corruption than others. If you insist, I shall gladly amend the notion that the words "knowledge" and "science" are 100% interchangeable and add that the sort of knowledge that most closely fits with science is the kind that is measurable, reproducible, and tangible/palpable/visible/audible/insert-mode-of-perception-of-your-choice to more than one person. One's imaginary friend might be very well "known" to that individual, but that does not necessarily make it real. And yes, I'm very well aware that this begins to blend the lines. No need to have the vapors over this. Most humans are quite capable of acknowledging these ephemeral things without being paralyzed by raptures of self-absorbed enlightenment or succumbing to self-aggrandizing philosophy-speak.
      Last edited by deltawave; Sep. 24, 2012, 07:29 PM.
      Click here before you buy.

      Comment


      • #83
        Hmmm

        See pseudo-science to me isn't doing something based anecdotal evidence.
        Anecdotes can be as valid a place to start as any. To truly establish case and effect you need a more controlled environment but that doesn't mean simple real world observations are pseudo-science.

        Where the pseudo-science comes in is when people start making up and sharing theories presented as facts behind the observation without any evidence or further evaluation.

        If its presented as just an idea then no problem. The problem comes in when we present such imaginations as fact without any evidence that or even further testing.

        Also pseudo-science is confusing beliefs with tangible proof.

        If you come to me and say "I believe that only peppermint candy can leaded you down the path of horse enlightenment". I can't argue with you - I can't say 'no you don't believe that'. I can say that I don't believe the same thing and why or I can ask for more detail on your belief. But that's pretty much it. It's a belief not pseudo-science.

        If you come to me and say that you have proven that peppermint candy will cure all horse ills then that's some I can challenge. I can ask for proof or evidence, review studies, look for conflicting evidence or set up a study to investigate further. In this case I am not attacking your belief but rather logically evaluating something you have presented as fact. Also not pseudo-science unless your proof is a string of ideas that have no actual basis in currently accepted theories with evidence behind them.

        So pseudo-science is an explanation someone makes up often using scientific sounding jargon to present an idea without evidence as fact. Kind of like a superstition or legend.

        Comment


        • #84
          Originally posted by deltawave View Post
          "Levels of Evidence" is the concept that is relevant here. In my world (and most others as well) we rank evidence according to how well it is laid out/supported/gathered/synthesized.

          Level 1 = supported by randomized, controlled trials.
          Level 2 = supported by non-randomized trials, still with some controls in place to reduce bias, but some flaws in design that make the data less than "pure"
          Level 3 = supported by observational or retrospective trials or bodies of data only
          Level 4 = observational, non-controlled studies.

          Level 4 is as low as the Scientific (big "S") community goes, but of course one could probably list 5 (a collection of anecdotes) and 6 (my own personal experience) or some other definitions. The power and strength of the data in terms of being confident about conclusions drawn is lower with each step down from 1-4. The data are the data, and one singular piece of data is not "wrong" if it comes from a level 4 type of study, but the ability to stand on firm ground in formulating conclusions is better with level 1 evidence.

          So a piece of evidence is still a piece of evidence. (assuming it was collected correctly, etc.) But putting all the pieces together is the tough part.

          Many veterinary studies get to about a level 3 at best and virtually ALL "nutraceutical" studies (if there even are any) are lucky to be a level 4.
          At what level would you consider most (human) pharmaceutical studies?

          Comment


          • #85
            That is an incredibly complicated question. Depending on the disease or problem for which a drug is intended, how much evidence already exists, and the ethical issues that arise when one considers NOT using various treatments, plus the "risk vs. benefit" of treating very, very deadly diseases, well . . . it depends. Happy reading.

            http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/G.../ucm078749.pdf
            Click here before you buy.

            Comment


            • #86
              Originally posted by ChelseaR View Post
              Hmmm

              See pseudo-science to me isn't doing something based anecdotal evidence.
              Anecdotes can be as valid a place to start as any. To truly establish case and effect you need a more controlled environment but that doesn't mean simple real world observations are pseudo-science.

              Where the pseudo-science comes in is when people start making up and sharing theories presented as facts behind the observation without any evidence or further evaluation.

              If its presented as just an idea then no problem. The problem comes in when we present such imaginations as fact without any evidence that or even further testing.

              Also pseudo-science is confusing beliefs with tangible proof.

              If you come to me and say "I believe that only peppermint candy can leaded you down the path of horse enlightenment". I can't argue with you - I can't say 'no you don't believe that'. I can say that I don't believe the same thing and why or I can ask for more detail on your belief. But that's pretty much it. It's a belief not pseudo-science.

              If you come to me and say that you have proven that peppermint candy will cure all horse ills then that's some I can challenge. I can ask for proof or evidence, review studies, look for conflicting evidence or set up a study to investigate further. In this case I am not attacking your belief but rather logically evaluating something you have presented as fact. Also not pseudo-science unless your proof is a string of ideas that have no actual basis in currently accepted theories with evidence behind them.

              So pseudo-science is an explanation someone makes up often using scientific sounding jargon to present an idea without evidence as fact. Kind of like a superstition or legend.
              Just for fun, here is one definition of pseudo science:

              http://www.chem1.com/acad/sci/pseudosci.html

              Comment


              • #87
                Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                The word "ignorance" does very nicely here and needs no further embellishment. It is not a pejorative, rather a (reversible) state of being, wherein we all, in fact, begin. Ignorance is passive yet curable. Pseudoscience takes EFFORT to perpetuate and to manufacture. Where the two often cross paths is in the wilfully ignorant individual, who is convinced their conclusions are iron-clad, unassailable, and feels no compulsion to continue to learn. These types often resort to pseudoscience when challenged, either because they don't know the difference or they are trying to defend the un-defendable. See: homeopathy. Those who acknowledge this type of practice as sort of a prop to a healing interaction with another person are vastly different than those who wildly toss out quantum theory, bizarre and incorrect principles of molecular biology, and "chi" willy-nilly in order to defend a practice they have long since decided was completely valid and worthwhile, evidence be damned.



                Fine with me. Knowledge can come in many flavors. But some of them are more easily disseminated and shared without corruption than others. If you insist, I shall gladly amend the notion that the words "knowledge" and "science" are 100% interchangeable and add that the sort of knowledge that most closely fits with science is the kind that is measurable, reproducible, and tangible/palpable/visible/audible/insert-mode-of-perception-of-your-choice to more than one person. One's imaginary friend might be very well "known" to that individual, but that does not necessarily make it real. And yes, I'm very well aware that this begins to blend the lines. No need to have the vapors over this. Most humans are quite capable of acknowledging these ephemeral things without being paralyzed by raptures of self-absorbed enlightenment or succumbing to self-aggrandizing philosophy-speak.
                If a horse is within the sphere of influence of it's keepers, wouldn't the horse face a far more prosperous existence if those keepers cared for the horse?

                Exactly what is care?

                Comment


                • #88
                  Great site, Bluey.

                  Alter, the non-sequiturs are simply more than I feel up to tackling five minutes before Monday Night Football. You're on your own. Feel free to find the answer deep within your own navel.
                  Click here before you buy.

                  Comment


                  • #89
                    Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                    That is an incredibly complicated question. Depending on the disease or problem for which a drug is intended, how much evidence already exists, and the ethical issues that arise when one considers NOT using various treatments, plus the "risk vs. benefit" of treating very, very deadly diseases, well . . . it depends. Happy reading.

                    http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/G.../ucm078749.pdf
                    I'll have to look at the document later (it's not coming up on my Kindle). I was thinking of patient reports during drug trials as an example of personal experience that can be used as evidence.

                    Comment


                    • #90
                      Adverse events are recorded during drug trials (to the point of sheer tedium), and these certainly are tallied and published.

                      But individual patients are not allowed to declare that a drug is a "success" or "failure". That sort of determination is only made after all the data are collected and churned through the statistical machine. Of course in an ideal world the individual patient doesn't even know if he/she is getting treatment or placebo, assuming a nice placebo-controlled study. They are certainly allowed their opinion, but it's the so-called "endpoints" that declare a study/drug/treatment a success or failure. Now if one of the endpoints is indeed a subjective report from a subject, such as relief of pain, improved mood, less shortness of breath, better sleep, etc. then of course an individual's subjective reporting is certainly counted as evidence. But that sort of thing, being so vulnerable to bias and by definition hard to measure, is usually linked to other "hard" endpoints like improved range of motion of joints, validated pain scales, ability to walk farther, etc.
                      Click here before you buy.

                      Comment


                      • #91
                        Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                        Adverse events are recorded during drug trials (to the point of sheer tedium), and these certainly are tallied and published.

                        But individual patients are not allowed to declare that a drug is a "success" or "failure". That sort of determination is only made after all the data are collected and churned through the statistical machine. Of course in an ideal world the individual patient doesn't even know if he/she is getting treatment or placebo, assuming a nice placebo-controlled study. They are certainly allowed their opinion, but it's the so-called "endpoints" that declare a study/drug/treatment a success or failure. Now if one of the endpoints is indeed a subjective report from a subject, such as relief of pain, improved mood, less shortness of breath, better sleep, etc. then of course an individual's subjective reporting is certainly counted as evidence. But that sort of thing, being so vulnerable to bias and by definition hard to measure, is usually linked to other "hard" endpoints like improved range of motion of joints, validated pain scales, ability to walk farther, etc.
                        Of course I was not saying whether or not the patient declared the drug a success, but reports from the test subjects of perceived effects from the drug/placebo.

                        Comment


                        • #92
                          Gotcha. As I said, things that are subjective have to be reported as such. But there are so many sources of bias in this type of endpoint--people in clinical trials are generally altruistic, they WANT the drug to work, they are probably more focused on every little thing they feel because that's what they're expected to do, they mean well and want to help, they may be desperate for a new treatment if the disorder is a bad one, etc. etc.

                          So it is certainly done, gathering subjective reports from individuals, and depending on what's being studied, the utterly subjective might be THE most important endpoint of the study. But simply on the basis of trying to avoid bias (no matter how well-intended) investigators really love to also have some good, solid, objective things to measure as well.

                          An angina drug that reduces symptoms is measured both by subjective means (I have fewer attacks, they are less severe, less frequent, less in duration) and also by semi-objective and objective ones wherever possible. (subject walked 6 minutes today without stating she had angina, last week she walked 4 and a half, or it was 5 minutes before the EKG met these criteria vs. 3 minutes)
                          Click here before you buy.

                          Comment


                          • #93
                            Care can be solely a provision of material things that the horse requires to maintain life.

                            Care might also include a level of emotional sense of commitment by it's keepers that the horse have all that it may require to maintain life, but the quality of that horses own perception of it's own life experience, may also become an inclusive part of the keeper's caring.

                            This is a thing that I contemplate may be something of a glass ceiling that prevents certain individuals to grasp, and it confuses me to no end as to why that is.

                            I think that in some cases, the only proof that's required, are the results that one may achieve by their own methods.

                            I came here to learn something I was unsure about, and now I do know what it is.

                            Thank you all for your kind tolerance of my way thinking.

                            Comment


                            • #94
                              Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                              Just for fun, here is one definition of pseudo science:

                              http://www.chem1.com/acad/sci/pseudosci.html
                              Of course what I was really thinking was:

                              Pseudo-science is when some predatory jerk pulls a random made up theory out of their a$$ and presents it as fact using fake sciencie sounding terms to get some poor vulnerable dreamer desperate for a magic solution to part with his or her money.

                              Comment


                              • #95
                                Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
                                I would hazard a guess that peer-reviewed evidence counts for only a small percentage of human medicine, as well.
                                It is probably pretty good for a lot of it. Someone who knows better than I can comment.

                                BUT
                                http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21826038


                                Scientific evidence underlying the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' practice bulletins.
                                Wright JD, et al

                                OBJECTIVE:

                                Clinical guidelines are an important source of guidance for clinicians. Few studies have examined the quality of scientific data underlying evidence-based guidelines. We examined the quality of evidence that underlies the recommendations made by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (the College).

                                CONCLUSIONS:
                                One third of the recommendations put forth by the College in its practice bulletins are based on good and consistent scientific evidence.
                                ---

                                I suspect that this is b/c this is related to women's health (and not only that related to our baby making bits, see heart disease!!), a subject in which research has been notoriously underfunded & under appreciated.


                                -steps down from soap box.

                                I don't know...maybe we shouldn't feel bad about not knowing how to treat an abscess?

                                Comment


                                • #96
                                  Originally posted by Kolsch View Post
                                  Is there really an abundance of science to be had?

                                  ie: compared to the amount of information available for feeding the human athlete there seems to be very little science behind feeding the horse athlete. Same with farrier work- I'm not seeing nearly enough science there.

                                  Otherwise, over the past 20 years or so I do see science as being much more accepted than it ever was. Particularly within the past five years there is much more focus on the difference between belief and scientific fact.

                                  Personally, science doesn't have all the answers (never will), so if someone wants to be honest about it and say "I know there's no real data to support this but I do it anyway because I feel it works best for me." I'm going to be totally OK with that. I just don't like to hear belief stated as fact.
                                  Interesting. What I've seen in the past 20 years or so is science being questioned, NOT being accepted as if it were truth-on-a-spoon. There is more being published about scientists twisting experiments to get desired or planned results, about some "facts" that have been believe for decades now being questioned because there IS no proof.

                                  Hmmmmmmm...........

                                  And to think I came here just looking for dimensions for a round pen!
                                  Founder of the People Who Prefer COTH Over FB Clique
                                  People Who Hate to Rush to Kill Wildlife Clique!
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                                  Comment


                                  • #97
                                    Originally posted by Wellspotted View Post
                                    Interesting. What I've seen in the past 20 years or so is science being questioned, NOT being accepted as if it were truth-on-a-spoon. There is more being published about scientists twisting experiments to get desired or planned results, about some "facts" that have been believe for decades now being questioned because there IS no proof.

                                    Hmmmmmmm...........

                                    And to think I came here just looking for dimensions for a round pen!

                                    Well, you have been hearing more in the past 20 years, because it is not news to report unless there is something to pick at, science and those that misuse one more of those that make the news in the last decades of so much make believe journalism.

                                    Ideal round pen is around 60'.
                                    You can still work a horse effectively from the ground there and do most you need to do horseback, including a bit of cantering, as long as you remember it is still a very small area, so more torque on joints than in the larger spaces, so go easy on them there.

                                    Ours ended up 59' and it works well for anything we may want to do there.

                                    The smaller, the less work you should do there, again, the circle becomes too small.
                                    Larger, well, then you start to have a horse getting too much of a head of steam there and you have to travel further if you have to move in there to be effective.

                                    Now, I am not talking size extremes of horses, drafts or minis.

                                    Comment


                                    • #98
                                      What I've seen in the past 20 years or so is science being questioned, NOT being accepted as if it were truth-on-a-spoon
                                      Twenty years is a LONG time. Evidence-based medicine was barely in its infancy 20 years ago. And the 24-hour news cycle (with all those LONG hours to fill with breathless "news") did not exist, either.
                                      Click here before you buy.

                                      Comment


                                      • #99
                                        Originally posted by Wellspotted View Post
                                        Interesting. What I've seen in the past 20 years or so is science being questioned, NOT being accepted as if it were truth-on-a-spoon. There is more being published about scientists twisting experiments to get desired or planned results, about some "facts" that have been believe for decades now being questioned because there IS no proof.

                                        Hmmmmmmm...........

                                        And to think I came here just looking for dimensions for a round pen!
                                        One of the requirements of scientific evidence is that is has to be reproducible. More than one scientist has to be able to get the same results before those results can really be accepted as any sort of solid evidence.

                                        Science was never meant to be truth on a spoon, but constantly questions (using scientific method).

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