The Lancet has withdrawn the paper looking at hydroxychloroquine, the one that insisted that it increased, not reduced, the death rate. The problem is that no one can check the data. There’s suspicion – founded it appears – that some to much of that data was inaccurate, at best.
OK, this is good. Sure, it’s a pity that the trials were stopped and now it’s necessary to go back and do it all again. But hypothesis, then test it, if it fails against reality then drop the hypothesis. That’s science and while it does lead to error, as here, it’s the best way we’ve ever had of eventually zeroing in on what is actually true.
What interests though is this:
In a statement on Thursday, Mehra said: “Our independent peer reviewers informed us that Surgisphere would not transfer the full dataset, client contracts, and the full ISO audit report to their servers for analysis as such transfer would violate client agreements and confidentiality requirements. As such, our reviewers were not able to conduct an independent and private peer review and therefore notified us of their withdrawal from the peer-review process.”
That is, if the full data, the full model, ain’t available to be checked then the paper fails. Doesn’t matter about commercial confidentiality and all that, show your evidence or it ain’t science.
Which is a pretty good defence of that scientific method. The only thing is, well, have we seen this about Ferguson’s model of infection and lockdown? As far as I’m aware we’ve seen what he’s allowed us to see but not the specifics of the model itself, just some tangle of code that implements it.
And wasn’t there some climate change thing about emails and some university in East Anglia where access to all the underlying was stoutly denied?
That is, this new found insistence on doing science properly, as science. This is going to apply to everyone, right? Even Michael Mann?