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Science Forum

  1. 31 May '18 00:28
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theranos

    "Theranos is a privately held health technology company known for its false
    claims to have devised revolutionary blood tests using very small amounts of blood."

    Led by Elizabeth Holmes (a well-connected white American woman),
    Theranos was long a darling of the US media and succeeded in attracting lavish
    funding from gullible capitalists. The corporation was once valued at 9 billion USD.

    "On March 14, 2018, Holmes, former Theranos President Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani
    [Balwani also was Holmes's lover] and Theranos were charged with "massive fraud"
    by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission."

    Elizabeth Holmes has got off relatively lightly, agreeing to pay a fine of only 500,000 USD.
    Once described as a self-made woman billionaire, she may still be very wealthy.
    In that case, it shows the favorable 'reward-to-risk' calculation of being a
    shameless self-promoting liar in American capitalism.

    Although there was no scientific justification for Theranos's grandiose
    claims, the American capitalist system long failed to grasp that reality.
  2. Standard member apathist
    looking for loot
    31 May '18 02:47
    Drop science from the thread title. Your other three nouns are indeed what people do, but science is only about understanding our world.
  3. 31 May '18 04:32
    Originally posted by @apathist
    Drop science from the thread title. Your other three nouns are indeed what people do, but science is only about understanding our world.
    For a long time, the mainstream US media assumed that the claims
    of Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes were supported by science.

    In reality, there"s a considerable tradition of fraud in science.
  4. Subscriber sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    31 May '18 11:39
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    For a long time, the mainstream US media assumed that the claims
    of Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes were supported by science.

    In reality, there"s a considerable tradition of fraud in science.
    This is true but most of them eventually get caught out.
  5. 31 May '18 15:04
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theranos

    "Theranos is a privately held health technology company known for its false
    claims to have devised revolutionary blood tests using very small amounts of blood."

    Led by Elizabeth Holmes (a well-connected white American woman),
    Theranos was long a darling of the US media and succeeded in attracting lavish
    fund ...[text shortened]... Theranos's grandiose
    claims, the American capitalist system long failed to grasp that reality.
    The fraud here, of course, was falsely inflating their revenue numbers by 3 orders of magnitude.

    As for the science, it was not peer reviewed, it was not independently validated and, despite their claims of developing a device that could accomplish the task, it did not work in any practical way in the clinic. This lab had problems from the very beginning and their investors did not thoroughly inspect or seek validation for the invention. Seemingly, no patients were harmed.

    I'm in no way defending the company, but if all their claims were indeed speculative, venture capitalists should know what they're getting into here given the above huge caveats. It was a good but invalidated idea. The trick to investment in biotech is that their valuation is essentially zero until they develop a marketable product, and then it skyrockets. Investors want in RIGHT before the jump, but R&D is expensive and time-consuming and there is no guarantee that it will work. Their greed (and yes, greed of the executives and boards of the companies) often outweighs practical considerations.
  6. 31 May '18 21:13
    Originally posted by @wildgrass
    The fraud here, of course, was falsely inflating their revenue numbers by 3 orders of magnitude.

    As for the science, it was not peer reviewed, it was not independently validated and, despite their claims of developing a device that could accomplish the task, it did not work in any practical way in the clinic. This lab had problems from the very beginni ...[text shortened]... , greed of the executives and boards of the companies) often outweighs practical considerations.
    The wrongdoing was worse than what Wildgrass assumes.

    From the beginning, there were scientists working for Theranos who knew that the
    corporation was blatantly lying about the alleged scientific value of its products.
    Eventually, some of these scientists would feel troubled enough by their consciences to quit.
    In the meantime, these scientists were being paid well enough to keep silent and go along with the lying.
    So that's what they did. Some of them may have been afraid of being blacklisted and
    barred from future employment if they were to 'blow the whistle' on Theranos.
  7. Standard member apathist
    looking for loot
    31 May '18 22:42
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    ...
    In reality, there"s a considerable tradition of fraud in science.
    Science depends on people, who are well flawed as you know. But the scientific methods keep moving things toward correct understanding, don't you think?

    Or, you are aware of a better method?
  8. 01 Jun '18 01:54
    Originally posted by @apathist
    Science depends on people, who are well flawed as you know. But the scientific methods keep moving things toward correct understanding, don't you think?

    Or, you are aware of a better method?
    'Strawman' time. I did not criticize the scientific method.

    My point is that the Theranos case brought discredit upon many parties involved:
    the corporation and its leader (Elizabeth Holmes), the gullible mainstream media, the
    greedy ignorant capitalists, and some scientists who were bought for a long time.
    I suspect that this kind of fraud will happen again because conditions have changed little since then.

    Apathist reminds me of some Christian apologists who insists that, while individual
    Christians may be criticized, Christianity itself must be above all criticism.
  9. Standard member apathist
    looking for loot
    01 Jun '18 02:20
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    ... I did not criticize the scientific method....
    You just said I was right! You probably strained a tendon somewhere though.
  10. 01 Jun '18 03:42 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by @apathist
    You just said I was right! You probably strained a tendon somewhere though.
    Apathist shows more poor reading comprehension.

    Need I point out again that Apathist's wrong in denying that science's related to this thread?
    Fraud in science is a part of the culture of science.
  11. Standard member lemon lime
    blah blah blah
    01 Jun '18 04:06
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    Aoathist shows more poor reading comprehension.

    Need I point out again that Aoathist's wrong in denying that science's related to this thread?
    Fraud in science is a part of the culture of science.
    Aoathist?
  12. 01 Jun '18 09:04
    Originally posted by @wildgrass
    The fraud here, of course, was falsely inflating their revenue numbers by 3 orders of magnitude.

    As for the science, it was not peer reviewed, it was not independently validated and, despite their claims of developing a device that could accomplish the task, it did not work in any practical way in the clinic. This lab had problems from the very beginning and their investors did not thoroughly inspect or seek validation for the invention.
    Quite. So, to hold this case against science is just as wilfully stupid as taking my games as evidence that chess is a casual, meaningless game.
  13. 01 Jun '18 19:36
    Originally posted by @shallow-blue
    Quite. So, to hold this case against science is just as wilfully stupid as taking my games as evidence that chess is a casual, meaningless game.
    The troll Shallow-Blue has a long record of spewing nonsense and lies to attack me in many contexts.
    In this case, Shallow-Blue clings to a 'strawman'.

    'Science' is a relevant part of this thread's title because Theranos claimed that its products
    were backed by science. Theranos employed scientists who went along with its corporate lies.
    For a long time, the mainstream US media embraced Theranos's claims of a scientific breakthrough.

    I am NOT attacking science in itself. I am criticizing fraud (which some trolls here seem eager to deny)
    in science. I am criticizing the dominant culture of the media and capitalism that enabled
    this scientific fraud to thrive and presumably future scientific frauds to thrive.
  14. Subscriber sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    01 Jun '18 20:21
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    The wrongdoing was worse than what Wildgrass assumes.

    From the beginning, there were scientists working for Theranos who knew that the
    corporation was blatantly lying about the alleged scientific value of its products.
    Eventually, some of these scientists would feel troubled enough by their consciences to quit.
    In the meantime, these scientists wer ...[text shortened]... g blacklisted and
    barred from future employment if they were to 'blow the whistle' on Theranos.
    I wonder how they fared with that:NOT whistleblowing.
  15. 01 Jun '18 20:39
    Originally posted by @sonhouse
    I wonder how they fared with that:NOT whistleblowing.
    As far as I know, the Theranos scientists who kept silent have not suffered in their careers.
    I suspect that they have or will find employment by other corporations, who prize their
    employees' loyalty and discretion above all.