Ladies and gentlemen, a magic trick*.
I am going to take two pieces of data, from two independent experiments, establishing ‘proof’ of two different concepts, presented in to different formats and to different events…
… And turn them into the same figure.
*waits for the astonished mummers to simmer down*
In my left hand I hold ‘Detection of an Infectious Retrovirus, XMRV, in Blood Cells of Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’, a Science paper from 2009.
We can ignore parts of this paper– they have been retracted, as it seems some samples were contaminated in a rather curious (strategic?) manner. Which is fine, because what I want you, the audience, to focus on is Figure 2:
Specifically, Part C:
Lets zoom in on it, to get a nice, clear image. Actually, lets zoom in on the bottom part of that figure:
Its quite clear, there are 8 lanes.
8– SFFV-infected HCD-57
Here is the figure legend:
(C) Lysates of activated PBMCs from healthy donors (lanes 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7) or from CFS patients (lanes 3 and 6) were analyzed by Western blots using rat mAb to SFFV Env (top panel) or goat antiserum to MLV p30 Gag (bottom panel). Lane 8, SFFV-infected HCD-57 cells. Molecular weight (MW) markers in kilodaltons are at left.
Not hard to interpret, right? Some cells from healthy donors do not express XMRV Gag protein, a couple CFS patients do express Gag protein, and a positive control does express Gag. It provides evidence to support the claim that CFS patients PBMC are infected with XMRV, and are capable of producing viral proteins.
Nothing out of the ordinary. *wink*
Now, in my right hand I hold Slide #13 from a presentation a Miz Judy Mikovits recently gave in Ottawa at the IACFS/ME 2011 conference, graciously provided to us by Miz Jamie Deckoff-Jones. A round of applause for Miz DJ, everyone!
*waits for the applause to die down*
Another fairly straight forward figure. Again, 8 lanes:
2– 2905 PBMC
3– 2905 PBMC + 5-AZA
6– 1674 + 5-AZA
8– SFFV-infected HCD-57
Again, PBMC from normal individuals do not express XMRV Gag proteins… but this time, though the CFS patients did not initially express viral Gag proteins, when treated with an epigenetic modifier, they could induce Gag expression. Fairly straightforward explanation for why some patients might *appear* to be negative, but with a bit of lab trickery (we do this stuff all the time in labs), we can make a hiding virus come out and play.
How nice for us all, right? *wink*
Lets zoom in a bit:
And fiddle a bit with the brightness/contrast:
Science is all well and good– Two figures, one providing support of the claim that two patients, 1235 and 1236 are infected with XMRV, the other figure showing two patients, 2905 and 1674 might appear negative, but become positive after treatment with an epigenetic modifier. Neat, but so what?
Well, heres the *really* good part!
Now, watch carefully or you will miss the trick, ladies and gentlemen!
Thats some mighty fine purple.
But how about an alternative view!!! I think Ive made my point, I just like how the far-right blob looks like a rubber ducky:
Two bits of data describing and explaining to two entirely different things… and yet I can make the two images look identical!
I AM MAGIC!!!
Am I magic…?
…or is this a case of arrogant, bold-faced, lazy-ass scientific fraud perpetrated by an apparent pathological liar?
You be the judges, ladies and gentlemen.
I know what my opinions are, but I would very much like to hear your thoughts.
* Though much of this magic trick is my own creation, the original idea was not mine. That individual/Those individuals do not wish to step forward at this time (and rightly so), but should they ever want to take credit for this observation, I will *happily* give it to them. Its wonderful, something I myself missed.
But to all you frauds out there– remember this: Dont. Fuck. With. Scientists. Individually, scientists are smart folks. And even smart folks get screwed over now and then. But together, we are always smarter than you.