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Kawoomba comments on The Thyroid Madness : Core Argument, Evidence, Probabilities and Predictions - Less Wrong Discussion

10 Post author: johnlawrenceaspden 14 March 2016 01:41AM

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Comment author: Kawoomba 14 March 2016 07:54:24PM 2 points [-]

Disclaimer: Only spent 20 minutes on this, so it might be incomplete, or you may already have addressed some of the following points:

At first glance, John Lowe authored 2 pubmed-listed papers on the topic.

The first of which in an open journal with no peer review (Med. Hypotheses) which has also published stuff on e.g. AIDS denialism. From his paper: "We propose that molecular biological methods can provide confirmatory or contradictory evidence of a genetic basis of euthyroid FS [Fibromyalgia Syndrome]." That's it. Proposing a hypothesis, not providing experimental evidence, paper ends.

The second paper was published in a somewhat controversial low impact journal (at least peer-reviewed). However, this apparently one and only peer reviewed and published paper actually contradicts the expected results, Lowe pulls off a somewhat convoluted move to save his hypothesis:

"TSH, FT3, or FT4 did not correlate with RMR [Resting Metabolic Rate] values. For two reasons, however, ITHR [Inadequate Thyroid Hormone Regulation] cannot be ruled out as the mechanism of FM [Fibromyalgia] patients’ lower RMRs: (1) TSH, FT3 , and FT4 levels have not been shown to reliably correlate with RMR values, and (2) these tests evaluate only pituitary-thyroid axis function and cannot rule out central HO and PRTH."

Yea ...

In addition, lots of crank signs: Lowe's review from 2008, along with his other writings, is "published" in a made-up "journal" which still lists him (from beyond the grave, apparently) as the editor-in-chief.

No peer review, pretending to be an actual journal, a plethora of commercial sites citing him and his research ... honi soit qui mal y pense!

Comment author: johnlawrenceaspden 15 March 2016 02:22:06AM *  0 points [-]

j'y trouve beaucoup de mal, je vous assure.....

I mean crank-a-rama, signs-wise. But actually, what I've read of Lowe reminds me of me. He's obviously trying to prove something that he's convinced is true, and I can well believe that he's self-deceived. But I have trouble believing that he was a liar, or a serial murderer of his patients. And if he wasn't that, then he must have been right about the peripheral resistance.

A lot of what he's writing looks like spectacular pedantry, which can only come from a really motivated thinker trying to force his hypothesis through the sieve of the inconvenient facts.

And it doesn't half remind me of a mathematician trying to prove a tricky theorem that he knows is likely true because he's checked a million cases by computer and it's either true or false for subtle reasons. So you keep trying to force the proof through, and the places you fail give you ideas for why it might be false in some unexpected way. So you look in those places, trying to find why it's false, and when you can't prove it's false either, you go back to trying to show that it's true in spite of those failures.

And eventually you either show it's false, or you show it's true. And you're allowed to use any method you like to work on it, as long as at the end, you've either got proof or counter-example.

It turns out Lowe's hobby was mathematical logic. I keep thinking that if it had been probability theory, he might have nailed it before he died. I really really wish I could talk to him. Bad death. That's another thing we should sort out, once we have sorted this.

I think it's typical of Lowe to have gone looking for something, and found the opposite, and then published anyway, and then tried to force his ideas through in spite of what he found.

It's just that my professional training, such as it was, tells me that that's how you find out the truth.

And of course, I'm not depending on Lowe. He told me where to look, and I consider his writings to be evidence in support of my hypothesis. But even if it turns out that everything he wrote was a lie, and his back garden is filled with the still-twitching corpses of T3 overdose cases, then I still want the answer to my question.

See, he thought the peripheral resistance was genetic. And if by genetic you mean 'just a mutation that's spread by drift', then I think that's ridiculous. Such a thing would breed out in a few generations.

I think it's immunity. Or action of pathogen. Or environment. Or adaptation to recent environmental change.

But I think he was right that it's there. And I think it's much more common than he thought.