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CharonY last won the day on May 15

CharonY had the most liked content!

About CharonY

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  • Location
    somewhere in the Americas.
  • Interests
    Breathing. I enjoy it a lot, when I can.
  • College Major/Degree
  • Favorite Area of Science
    Biology/ (post-)genome research
  • Biography
    Labrat turned grantrat.


  • Biology Expert

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SuperNerd (12/13)



  1. Perhaps worse, it has become a part of the identity of quite some folks. Any attempts to change will be seen as an attack on their belief system.
  2. Kendal Principles of Neuroscience was pretty good back in the days (good overview and easy to understand).
  3. Obviously the more appropriate way to approach these things is first to establish the level of evidence for these kind of assumptions. While it has been mentioned already, I think it is important to emphasize again that assumptions of "natural" often conflate physiological (biological) effects learned behaviour. Those are often difficult to discern from low resolution data and in many cases we are only starting to gather necessary information or trying out experimental approaches. It is one of the situations where narratives are much stronger than the available data. Edit: not wanting to move things too astray, but there is also a big push now to remove race/ethnicity- adjusted factors for medical diagnosis, mostly because assumptions of race-based medical factors were often based on limited data and overlaid with a lot of conventional wisdom assumptions (again, imbalance between strength of data and strength of narratives). As a result, especially for black folks misdiagnosis and -treatment has been a huge issue (compared to their white counterparts).
  4. But not a single current German beer on the list. You are really old if you remember when the Heineken family or the founders of the Tsingtao brewery were German (I guess you like Pilsner?)
  5. That would be reasonable start point, wouldn't it? And then if we actually start to observe differences between male and female riders, we would hypothesize that there might be something going on. However, as it is often assumed (also by some members of this board) that there must be a difference and then work their way backwards in order to satisfy their assumption. IIRC there was a paper looking at bet rates showing how folks underrate female jockey performance, which is a bit odd as folks make money with establishing good betting ratios. My conclusion is fairly simple. There is insufficient evidence that indicates a significant impact of the sex of the rider on the outcome. I have provided at least two references that have looked at it. So far your only counter-argument is that you do not believe it to be the case. Skepticism requires data and so far only one side has provided any. A no effect finding requires a lower burden of proof. If a homeopathic drug does not shown an effect compared to a placebo, we would not simply assume that the study was flawed and ask whether they used the correct dilution of nothing or whether the flasks had the right silica composition. If you have any evidence that for some reasons only the male jockeys were sickly, feel free to show it. Otherwise you cannot just selectively dismiss data. Using your approach I could simply dismiss every single study in existence by increasing the burden of proof until I find my bias confirmed. Note that if there is a follow-up that looks at more factors and finds certain associations, that would be a different matter. As it stands, there is no study I could find that contradict these findings. This does not make sense. Here they decide to go further than other studies (which looked at win ratio and could not find evidence of male dominance) and try to look at it mechanistically. Again, here is evidence and you still have provided nothing. In my world, data is crucial and trumps gut feeling. And as iNow explained yet again, one does not simply start with an assumption and then ignores all evidence to the contrary (or only looks for support). If I am generous the one supporting factor could be that there are male winners than female winners. But then we have seen that there many more male jockeys than female ones. So that makes a straight comparison a problem. The other issue is of course that horses are very important. If you put a great jockey on a weak horse, it is unlikely to suddenly turn into a winner. So some folks tried to account for horse rankings and then see if women who ride similar ranked horses as their male counterparts perform worse. But the data does not pan out (so we can not simply assume that it is happening). Then perhaps the effects are subtle and maybe men can slightly but significant improve or at least change how horses perform (does not have to be due to male physiology, for example, potentially men might treat horses differently resulting in performance differences). The last study did not find that, either, except for weak significance related to heart rate, which is difficult to translate into performance increases. So if there are sex specific differences between men and women, they appear to be weak or at least difficult to detect. From this dearth of data to get to the point where we not only assume a difference, but also think that it is due to physiology, is just straight up bad science. It basically has the same level of evidence as claiming that Asians are biologically better suited for maths.
  6. The kick-off for this part of the discussion is actually that despite the fact that it is difficult to assess (in either direction), male superiority in performance is assumed. However data to this effect are muddy at best (in contrast to other athletic performances, for example). I.e. despite a dearth of data, assumptions are being made with real-life impact. Some seem to have taken it as a crusade to establish either male or female superiority, but I see it more of an exercise to figure out where data is actually available to establish a significant impact of sex on performance where there isn't. I.e. how closely do existing narratives actually follow facts (and do we actually know the uncertainty?).
  7. I think you are, as I do not think that many of the criticism would affect the study design much. So to step back a bit, the question is whether rider physiology significantly affects horse performance. Specifically, physiological differences that are tied to sex would somehow improve, or at lest change the performance of the horse. The best study design, as mentioned, would be to have a set of horses ridden by male as well female riders, as obviously the horse itself will have a huge impact on the outcome. The data is actually slightly biased towards men, as among the registered jockeys only 8 were female and 35 were male- there is no paywall). So if anything, one could argue that there are more race-experienced men in the test group compared to the women. The other parameters of the riders that you mentioned should only have limited impact overall, as you have have strongly suggested that the effects would be sex-based. I.e. if a woman would be able to outcompete a man by just being somewhat more experienced or fitter, then it would imply that training and experience would be a stronger factor than sex. We can see it by certain athletic performance, such as running, where large groups of men outperform women and it is not necessary to look at the extremes (where a small group of men outperforms all women, but also almost all other men) to find significant differences. The biggest knock at the study is probably that it has not been peer-reviewed yet, but the basic study design makes sense to me. They also throw in a rather rough comparison between men and women in horse races which is a bit odd for the manuscript, but I suppose that might need a bit more cleaning up when they submit it for review (if it isn't submitted already). But yes, the study is the only one to my knowledge that looks at actual physiological (rather than race) outcomes and the impact of the rider on it. It follows somewhat the controlled design that I mentioned earlier, only that this was a retrospective study. Studies looking at performance by gender are quite a bit older but focus on races, where the comparatively low number of female jockeys can make things difficult. One could flip that on its head, of course and try to find evidence that being a man actually increases horse performance, but the data is even scarcer for that. I seem to recall also that for a given weight male jockeys seem to unhealthier than their female counterpart (due to more dietary restrictions, I believe) but I cannot recall the details anymore.
  8. I think you get a tank with liquid nitrogen with it. By freezing it solid instantly you prevent any from accidentally entering your mouth.
  9. Fair enough, I overlooked (or just forgot) that part. But yes, if we limit it to legal actions alone, which makes sense, it certainly is true. I do think the beecee's argument is based on social norms and pressures though, before Dim just ran with it (as he often does).
  10. It is not really the same, but there is the issue of social pressure, where it can be difficult not to drink alcohol. In Germany drinking age starts at 16 and I still remember vividly how teachers berated me for not having a beer with the others (I did not like the taste of beer). I think the attitude might have changed and being designated driver is a good excuse nowadays. But fundamentally there was significant pressure to conformity when it came to alcohol use behaviour. For most other drugs peer-pressure might still have existed, but it certainly was not that pervasive and limited to fairly small groups of folks.
  11. Almost as if harm reduction measures actually work.
  12. Based on this particular argument it really seem that in order to save lives we should do away with safe areas and rather go for decriminalization.
  13. That actually is also a bad example as studies back to the 80s (at least) show that overall deterrence reduces impairment-related accidents. It does not scale perfectly with severity of penalties and there are regional differences. However data suggests that it is working. However, the argument seems to be that if it does not prevent all adverse events, it is not working. This is of course silly as having perfect laws/policies that solve all the problems 100% are extremely unlikely to exist (with the exception of very simple matters, perhaps). Rather, the benchmark should be whether the situation gets better once it is implemented. If there is a better method to prevent DUIs (or drug-related harm) I'd be happy to see it implemented. Studies over the last 50 years or so have now coalesced to rather show a stark and negative outcome of the war on drugs. Not only does it not prevent drug use, it also created additional issues by exacerbating issues of poverty and related crime. Even the Cato institute and other conservative think tanks have come around to see the policy as failed https://www.cato.org/policy-analysis/four-decades-counting-continued-failure-war-drugs Small wonder then that folks working in the medical field have changed the question to: how can we save lives (cynical voices have mentioned that this change in policy debate was connected to the rise of the opioid crisis in white communities). Experiments on a number of levels ranging from e.g. not charging individuals for possession or drug use if they call in overdoses to local measures (the mentioned safe drug sites) to larger scale decriminalization show that similar to DUI laws or seat belts, they do not solve all the problems, but for the most part they improve outcome.
  14. Actually it is legalized and there is an increasing shift in Canadian drug policing. The latter has been outlined in a well-written book (Busted: An Illustrated History of Drug Prohibition in Canada, by Susan Boyd). So the laws were a mix of real health concerns, but also quite a bit with moral judgement of certain folks (which, as often, incorporates good old racism). And the issue again is a matter of outcome. Do these policy of punishment reduce illegal drug use? Do they have any tangible benefits? A hundred years worth of data point toward no. If a policy does not manage to do what it intends to do, it is just bad policy. The fact that there are other bad policies out there does not change the issue that drug policies simply do not offer benefits, whereas alternatives save lives. From an entirely utilitarian perspectives I figure that a policy that is potentially cheaper and results in overall less dead people is better than one that is more expensive and ends with more folks dead. At least to me whether during the process folks are punished or not is secondary. I just like to see fewer folks dying, ill or otherwise increasing pressure on our health care system. Continuing to do something that just doesn't work with the hope that eventually it will is just not good policy. I am not sure why you think that this a clever remark, but police actions are aimed to contain violence in certain areas. Whether they work or not is a different matter. However, if you are able to develop some policy or law that would ultimately cut down on deaths (even if it remains non-zero) I would probably be in favour of it, unless there are other detrimental effects. As a whole there needs to be an overall cost/benefit analysis of it. And I think the real disagreement here might be that you seem to consider punishment of "bad" guys as a value in itself, which offsets the costs of detrimental health effects. And I simply disagree with that point. Instead I would like to see fewer folks taking harmful drugs to begin with and get those that are addicted away from it as the primary goals.
  15. Well, it is part of the political process and which is why cannabis is being legalized. Note that becee's argument for alcohol was based on majority rule (with a focus on Western society) but seemingly was more against legalization of cannabis, using the same criterion (~90% in USA and Canada were for legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational use, over 60% for recreational use in the US and a fair bit higher in Canada prior to legalization).
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