On March 20, the British science journal Nature published an important editorial “It’s time to talk about ditching statistical significance” which argued against the indiscriminate use of statistical testing in health studies. Second, the same edition contained a commentary “Scientists rise up against statistical significance” signed by 853 scientists worldwide with about 80 in the UK. It called for call for an end to, inter alia, “the dismissal of possibly crucial effects” in health studies through the inappropriate use of statistical testing. Third, the Nature editorial simultaneously reported that scientists at the American Statistical Association (ASA) had just published a scientific article with the same end.I have argued for some time that tests for statistical significance have been misused in epidemiological studies on cancers near nuclear facilities. These in the past have often concluded that such effects do not occur, or they downplayed any effects which did occur. In fact copious evidence exists throughout the world – over 60 studies – of raised cancer levels near NPPs. This is discussed in my scientific article on a hypothesis to explain cancers near NPPs. Most (>75%) of these studies found cancer increases but because they were small their findings were often dismissed as not statistically significant. In other words, they were chucked in the bin marked “not significant” without further consideration. I would conclude by asking open-minded scientists and observers to reconsider their views about the above 60+ studies and the COMARE reports showing raised cancer levels near NPPs. Just as many people were misled about tobacco smoking in previous decades, perhaps we are being misled about cancers near NPPs nowadays.
Ian Fairlie’s Blog 9th April 2019 read more »