PATH: BS | Dubious Research

Fox News' Republican Debate In-A-Nutshell

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[Beating Dead Horses]
[Polls]
For those of you who missed the latest GOP debate hosted by Fox News, we have a recap for you.

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Bush Administration Fakes Iraqi Violence Stats

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[Dubious Research]
U.S. officials who say there has been a dramatic drop in sectarian violence in Iraq since President Bush began sending more American troops into Baghdad aren't counting one of the main killers of Iraqi civilians: Car bombs.

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Behold: The Power of Prayer (To Make Things Worse?)

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[Dubious Research]
In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that having people pray for heart bypass surgery patients had no effect on their recovery. In fact, patients who knew they were being prayed for had a slightly higher rate of complications.

Researchers emphasized that their work can't address whether God exists or answers prayers made on another's behalf. The study can only look for an effect from prayers offered as part of the research, they said.

They also said they had no explanation for the higher complication rate in patients who knew they were being prayed for, in comparison to patients who only knew it was possible prayers were being said for them.

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Study Aims To Prove "Gay Gene" Can Withstand Evolution

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[Dubious Research]
[Sex]
A new study asks an interesting genetics question: if there was a gene that controlled homosexuality—and hence limited reproduction—how could it be favored to exist? If there is a gene that causes one to not reproduce, natural selection would dictate that it cannot survive long in a population, since it is not being passed on to future generations. A new paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society is using population-genetics modeling to try and answer why a theoretical gene predisposing an individual to homosexuality could spread in a population.

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Study Shows Mentally Ill People Prefer George Bush

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[Dubious Research]
Christopher Lohse, a social work master’s student at Southern Connecticut State University, says he has proven what many have probably suspected for years: a direct link between mental illness and support for President Bush.

Lohse says his study is no joke. The thesis draws on a survey of 69 psychiatric outpatients in three Connecticut locations during the 2004 presidential election. Lohse’s study, backed by SCSU Psychology professor Jaak Rakfeldt and statistician Misty Ginacola, found a correlation between the severity of a person’s psychosis and their preferences for president: The more psychotic the voter, the more likely they were to vote for Bush.

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Key To Bush's Approval Rating? Gas

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[Polls]
When it comes to President Bush's approval rating — the number that measures his political health — one factor seems more powerful than any Oval Office address or legislative initiative.

It's the price of a gallon of gas.

Statisticians who have compared changes in gas prices and Bush's ratings through his presidency have found a steady relationship: As gas prices rise, his ratings fall. As gas prices fall, his ratings rise.

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Report Claims Shaving Less Increases Risk of Stroke

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[Dubious Research]
Shaving less than once a day could increase a man's risk of having a stroke by around 70%, researchers have found.

The link between needing to shave infrequently and stroke risk emerged from a 20-year study of over 2,000 men aged 45-59 in Caerphilly, south Wales.

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The Freaky World of Peoples' Revealed Search Results

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[Dubious Research]
By now most know about AOL's "mistake" of releasing a portion of their search data to the public for research purposes. Even a cursory glance at the so called "anonymous" data (where users were identified with a number), it became obvious people reveal quite a bit about themselves and their social network when using search engines, and this data, in almost any form, could be considered a substantive privacy invasion.

Nonetheless, the data was put online and undoubtedly never to be easily removed, and has prompted many sites to sift through the torrid search queries to reveal a veritable cornucopia of weird and bizarre people... How bizarre? Well, read more if you're brave...

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Half of Americans Believe Iraq Had WMDs

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[Polls]
A recent Harris Poll reports found that while "the U.S. and other countries have not found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, surprisingly more U.S. adults (50%) think that Iraq had such weapons when the U.S. invaded Iraq. This is an increase from 36 percent in February 2005."

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Industry Researchers On Drugs

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[Dubious Research]
The American Journal of Psychiatry analyzed every publicly available trial funded by the pharmaceutical industry pitting five new antipsychotic drugs against one another. Not surprisingly, nine in 10 trials claimed that the best drug was the one made by the company funding the study.

Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. recently funded five studies that compared its antipsychotic drug Zyprexa with Risperdal, a competing drug made by Janssen. All five showed Zyprexa was superior in treating schizophrenia.

But when Janssen sponsored its own studies comparing the two drugs, Risperdal came out ahead in three out of four.

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