If you ever get the chance to watch Food, Inc., do it. Though it’ll probably make you not want to eat anything ever again. I watched it this afternoon and was subsequently terrified of my pasta. I’m assuming Canadian farming and food industry policies aren’t much different than the ones in the US.
Also, as I was searching related YouTube clips, I came across this one:
Interesting content, eh?
That’s not what caught my attention, though. It was the particular quote at 1:20—“…so Keys did what any dedicated researcher would do: he threw out the data that didn’t fit and published his results.”
Yes, I know the narrator of the documentary says that with a kind of tongue-in-cheek intention, but it bothers me that atrocious “data cleaning” techniques like the one utilized by Keys have become so exposed in the media that this type of behavior is what is now expected when dealing with obtaining and reporting results in scientific literature. “Don’t trust that statistic, it’s probably made up.”
Lies, damn lies, and statistics, right?
Wrong! Statistics isn’t a deceitful, evil field. People who misuse stats give the profession its horrible reputation, not the methods themselves.
Maybe that’s what I’ll study for my philosophy MA…ethics in statistical research and reporting.
How awesome would that be?