This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
I should acknowledge that they (epidemiologists) are providing me entertainment. I get to be morally outraged at them and write in this corner of a the internet about them.
Entertainment is important.
Sandy S. has good insight on this sort of crap(US slang for the defecationary residue from the male of the bovine species) at this site:
Epidemiologists are fun like watching snakes and just as dangerous.
"Epidemiologists are fun like watching snakes and just as dangerous. - Gary K."
Not all of them. Some of the ones you see nowdays touting RRs of 1.05 are, but when I was in research, I knew a couple of REAL epidemiologists who understood the fraility of their studies.
One had me find a better random number generator. His analysis showed that the generator built into Fortran on our PDP11 wasn't truly random, (software generators often aren't,) and he wanted no bias in the way patients were assigned to different treatment schemes.
He also once said that anyone with a mission to cure disease X shouldn't rely on statistics. Emotional bias makes it easy to see a cure in the numbers where there really is nothing there.
But nowdays, anyone with Excel can be an expert. (People like John obviously excepted.)
There are probably thousands of Epis out there who are honest. They are doing very mundane things like analyzing cat food (although apparently that has taken a twist for excitement this month). The pet food scare here in the US was a prime example of when those Epi's come in handy. Problem is, those things don't happen all that often.