Uncertain Principles takes an interesting new tack on the scientists versus journalists debate. The post points out, quite rightly, that in some cases education requires that the “simple version” of the truth be conveyed because the nuanced, highly accurate version can’t possibly work. Better to communicate the gist than nothing whatsoever, right? The “simple version” of the truth can become lies-to-children which Chad attributes to Terry Pratchett.

I’ve previously touched on the frightening possibility that perception is everything in changing drug use epidemiology. I say “frightening” because it suggests that the real risks, the subject of my professional life, are somewhat tangential. I touch on our most fundamental lies-to-children in that post as well. Namely that “Drugs are bad”, meaning that if you try recreational drugs, even just a little you are going to be hooked into a spiral of drug dependency and despair. The Nancy Reagan “Just Say No” version of the “truth” about drug use.

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Perhaps “advocates” and “detractors” are the better terms. This is one of those heuristics that might help with crafting responses to the Summary Statement or the paper review. Others have views that touch on the topic for example MWE&G has the following in a recent post:

if you’ve hooked your primary reviewer into being a passionate advocate for your proposal, that will likely come through as well. If the summary statement lacks any sign of someone going to bat for your work, then you did not make your case even to the reviewer who should have been most excited about your project.

The heuristic is this. In situations of scientific evaluation, whether this be manuscript peer-review, grant application review, job application or the tenure decision, one is going to have a set of advocates in favor of one’s case and detractors who are against. The usual caveats apply to such a strict polarization. Sometimes you will have no advocates, in which case you are sunk anyway so that case isn’t worth discussing. The same reviewer can simultaneously express pro and con views but as we’ll discuss this is just a special case. Etc. Nevertheless there are a couple of points which arise from this heuristic which apply to all of the above situations and suggest concrete approaches to both original presentation and, where applicable, in revising the proposal/manuscript. We’ll take the case in which one is crafting a revision to a grant in response to a prior critique as the example after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

This blog is rated…

June 22, 2007

Thanks to Uncertain Principles for the source of blog ratings.

Drugmonkey is rated

What's My Blog Rated? From Mingle2 - Online Dating

apparently because of all the talkin’ about drugs. plus death.

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

* cocaine (6x)
* ecstasy (2x)
* dead (1x)

dead? Anyway, the real question is why merely talking about drugs needs to be restricted to the presence of a parent or guardian. I know this is just for fun but still. Just talking here. Sheesh.