I thought I'd put together a short list of terms that, while they may have some formal definition, tell you more about the person using them than conveying any actual meaning in conversation

First up, "cancel culture". Means basically nothing
My perennial favourite, "nanny state". It's only used when people consider a govt intervention to be overreach, but what defines overreach is entirely subjective
Btw, feel free to add your own examples to this list, there are SO MANY
"Redneck", "bogan", or whatever your local example is. Most of these are historical terms that once meant something specific, but they're more about a vague sense of general disapproval these days
"Silencing" is a great one. Very few people who are actually silenced ever use the term, but you hear it plenty from people who have national platforms!
Another excellent example. Most people talking about CRT aren't actually talking about the academic concept, it's just a vague term to denote general unease

"Woke" is another brilliant example - it has a reasonably specific meaning, but is now a colloquial term that either indicates agreement or disgust depending on who is using it and the context

"Natural" and "chemical free" are also both great examples - both have fairly specific meanings, but are generally used to simply signify a vague sense of like or dislike

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More from @GidMK

16 Dec
I think the tales of hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, and fluvoxamine are such fascinating examples of the problem with accepting low-quality evidence for drugs
The argument for use of HCQ and IVM has always been that they are reasonably safe (true) and so the plausible benefit outweighs any harms. Conversely, until the positive RCTs of fluvox came in, it was FAR less popular because it does have quite a few side-effects
But it appears, at least in the case of HCQ, that there is definitely no benefit and there is a reasonable chance of modest harm. In this case, using the drug has almost certainly caused unnecessary deaths
Read 8 tweets
16 Dec
Another new ivermectin study out recently. Apparently it is quasi-randomized and proof that suppressing ivermectin is a "crime against humanity"

Let's do some twitter peer-review 1/n
2/n The preprint is here, and it's a retrospective analysis of routinely collected clinical registry data from the city of Itajai in Brazil

3/n The design was very simple - take routine data on people who either had or had not elected to be part of an ivermectin distribution program, and controlled for a small number of confounding variables using either a propensity-score or regression model
Read 21 tweets
15 Dec
I do find the impact of ivermectin on people's basic critical thinking quite fascinating. This article is filled with obvious, easily checkable lies, but just look at the popularity
The primary claim is that an ivermectin researcher, Andrew Hill, received a grant for $40mil in exchange for lying about ivermectin
This claim centers around a grant awarded by UNITAID to the University of Liverpool for $32mil (the article incorrectly states $40mil) - UNITAID released a press release on the 12th of Jan, the preprint was published on the 8th. Dodgy, right?
Read 9 tweets
14 Dec

The paper has been retracted. Retraction notice not yet online nature.com/articles/s4159… Image
Also, worth noting that in this whole process the editors of Scientific Reports have been really good. The faults lie with the system, not individuals, who mostly appear to genuinely care about science and evidence
Read 4 tweets
13 Dec
One of the more hilarious things that the ivermectin crowd is currently doing is equating any funding ever received by the Gates Foundation as being purchased personally by Bill Gates
For example, @UNITAID. Various bizarre claims have been made that any funding from Unitaid is equivalent to receiving a personal bequest from Bill Gates
However, even a very cursory examination shows that the Gates Foundation contributes only a tiny fraction of the Unitaid budget. The main funder is France, followed by the UK
Read 8 tweets
7 Dec
Today, our letter about a paper in Nature Scientific Reports that claimed to find no evidence that staying at home reduced Covid-19 deaths was published

This is a depressing example of how scientific error-correction fails 1/n nature.com/articles/s4159…
2/n The original paper came out in March, amid the huge worldwide epidemics, and was immediately a massive hit. After 9 months, it has been accessed nearly 400k times and has one of the highest Altmetric scores of any paper ever Image
3/n The paper has also been, I think it's fair to say, one of the more impactful pieces of work during the pandemic. It is still regularly cited everywhere to support the idea that government restrictions against Covid-19 don't work ImageImage
Read 18 tweets

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