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When skeptics don't "get it"

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  • When skeptics don't "get it"

    This is the third "skeptic's" site that I have noticed recently that seeks to take on the obesity question, and I'm disappointed.

    There is no question that Americans are getting fatter. The CDC animated graphic tells the tale – state by state statistics of the percentage of population that are obese. The big question is, what’s causing it? There are three main hypotheses, which are not mutually exclusive. The first is that activity levels are down. People, especially children, are spending more time indoors in front of computer screens and TVs and less time outside running around. The second is that people are eating more calories. And the third is that the type of calories we are eating is playing a significant role. There are two main camps in this third group: those who blame fat consumption and those who blame carbohydrates.
    I do not feel that the evidence supports the third group – blaming calorie type. This hypothesis is great for selling books advocating one fad diet or another, but there is just no convincing evidence that altering the type of calories consumed has a significant effect on weight.
    Skepticblog » What’s Causing the Obesity Epidemic

    Here's where skeptics screw up- The answer is staring them in the face, but they say "no evidence."

    This may work for UFO claims, but with diet and health, there is so much bad, conflicting, and confounding evidence, you can't just wait for "the study" to "prove" what you want to know. You literally never will get there. Fast forward 40 years, and this skeptic will be saying exactly the same thing. What good is that?

    We have lives to live, right now. We need to know what the best data and explanations are, right now. As of right now, the best explanation for the obesity epidemic is the low fat craze, which increased carbs in food, which changed metabolism due to raised insulin. As Taubes said, people don't get fat because they eat more, they eat more because they are getting fat.

    I put a comment on the site above last night, and I noticed that it didn't get past the moderator yet.

  • #2
    What about a 4th camp? The "all of the above camp" or "the perfect shit-storm camp".
    Don't be a paleotard...

    http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nut...oxidation.html

    http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nut...torage-qa.html

    http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat...rn-fat-qa.html

    http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nut...-you-need.html

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by chima_p View Post
      What about a 4th camp? The "all of the above camp" or "the perfect shit-storm camp".
      "no evidence"

      haha

      The problem with the skeptic's approach is that they want a bullet proof answer. They are never going to have one, so they don't know how to think about it.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by chima_p View Post
        "the perfect shit-storm camp".
        Someone else used that term in another recent thread... I like it. There are a lot of ways people can screw up their health. Right now, the general population is doing almost all of them.

        Comment


        • #5
          Why waste time reading that garbage?

          Comment


          • #6
            This is the problem with skeptics. Here we see the difference between skepticism and objectivity. It drives me nuts.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by DFH View Post
              The answer is staring them in the face, but they say "no evidence."

              This may work for UFO claims, but with diet and health, there is so much bad, conflicting, and confounding evidence, you can't just wait for "the study" to "prove" what you want to know. You literally never will get there. Fast forward 40 years, and this skeptic will be saying exactly the same thing. What good is that?

              We have lives to live, right now. We need to know what the best data and explanations are, right now. As of right now, the best explanation for the obesity epidemic is the low fat craze, which increased carbs in food, which changed metabolism due to raised insulin. As Taubes said, people don't get fat because they eat more, they eat more because they are getting fat.
              I disagree. There's plenty of evidence in the biochemical explanations of what stuff like sugar (Lustig, et al.) does in the body. That body of evidence is what convinced me that the paleo crowd had the right idea.

              Comment


              • #8
                Difference between skeptical and scientific thinking:

                Skeptic: It's crazy to say that the earth is a ball, and dangerous and irresponsible to sail off into the ocean to find out.

                Scientific: Let's try it and find out.

                (I know that the historical event of Columbus' voyages is more complicated than that. Just an illustration.)

                Skeptical types pride themselves on being scientific but often they ignore any research that doesn't fit their rigid conventional wisdom ideas.
                Ancestral Health Info

                I design websites and blogs for a living. If you would like a blog or website designed by someone who understands Primal, see my web page.

                Primal Blueprint Explorer My blog for people who are not into the Grok thing. Since starting the blog, I have moved close to being Archevore instead of Primal. But Mark's Daily Apple is still the best source of information about living an ancestral lifestyle.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Hedonist View Post
                  Difference between skeptical and scientific thinking:

                  Skeptic: It's crazy to say that the earth is a ball, and dangerous and irresponsible to sail off into the ocean to find out.

                  Scientific: Let's try it and find out.

                  (I know that the historical event of Columbus' voyages is more complicated than that. Just an illustration.)

                  Skeptical types pride themselves on being scientific but often they ignore any research that doesn't fit their rigid conventional wisdom ideas.
                  I also disagree with that definition of skeptic. A true skeptic is right there beside the scientist in the field or lab (or are the scientist themselves). Someone who professes skepticism in the face of overwhelming evidence is not a skeptic, but someone blindly clinging to dogma, whatever they choose to label themselves.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sudenveri View Post
                    I also disagree with that definition of skeptic. A true skeptic is right there beside the scientist in the field or lab (or are the scientist themselves). Someone who professes skepticism in the face of overwhelming evidence is not a skeptic, but someone blindly clinging to dogma, whatever they choose to label themselves.
                    +1. Skepticism and science go hand in hand.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ciep View Post
                      Skepticism and science go hand in hand.
                      Ideally, yes, for sure. In practice, most people who pride themselves on their skepticism cling rigidly to conventional wisdom.
                      Ancestral Health Info

                      I design websites and blogs for a living. If you would like a blog or website designed by someone who understands Primal, see my web page.

                      Primal Blueprint Explorer My blog for people who are not into the Grok thing. Since starting the blog, I have moved close to being Archevore instead of Primal. But Mark's Daily Apple is still the best source of information about living an ancestral lifestyle.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Hedonist View Post
                        Ideally, yes, for sure. In practice, most people who pride themselves on their skepticism cling rigidly to conventional wisdom.
                        That's not skepticism, that's indoctrination.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          It was just a casual, semi-humorous comment. But obviously it is very important to you guys so I'm going to let you have the last word . . .

                          Originally posted by ciep View Post
                          Skepticism and science go hand in hand.
                          Ancestral Health Info

                          I design websites and blogs for a living. If you would like a blog or website designed by someone who understands Primal, see my web page.

                          Primal Blueprint Explorer My blog for people who are not into the Grok thing. Since starting the blog, I have moved close to being Archevore instead of Primal. But Mark's Daily Apple is still the best source of information about living an ancestral lifestyle.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It's funny because on of the things that drew me to Primal and Paleo was the volumes of science that I saw being discussed. Sure, none of it was sponsored by Monsanto or Pepsi, but it was still hard science, not just an exchange of old wives' tales and bizarre theories.

                            I've seen tons of people reporting the same results. How many people does it take to go beyond n=1?
                            Durp.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Hedonist View Post
                              Difference between skeptical and scientific thinking:

                              Skeptic: It's crazy to say that the earth is a ball, and dangerous and irresponsible to sail off into the ocean to find out.

                              Scientific: Let's try it and find out.

                              (I know that the historical event of Columbus' voyages is more complicated than that. Just an illustration.)

                              Skeptical types pride themselves on being scientific but often they ignore any research that doesn't fit their rigid conventional wisdom ideas.
                              +1000

                              I think the above post nailed it. This is what I was seeing and I was just struggling to separate being skeptical with being scientific.

                              js290 brought up a good point too, which was "Why waste time reading that garbage?" Good question! I wonder myself. I guess for me it is because I have been a member of a really busy skeptic's site for a couple of years, and I recently switched it off because I can't stand discussing Paleo/Primal with those people, then I realized that is how they think about everything and I don't want to be in that crowd.

                              These people smugly think they speak for science, and no one else does. The reason is they rely on evidence like a crutch. Instead of discussing the logic of how low carb works, or the logic of Paleo, it's "your view is completely absurd until you can cite a peer-reviewed publication where your point was verified in a double-blind study,,,blah blah..." Unless you meet these criteria, you can't have an opinion. It gets old.

                              Another thing I noticed is they like to study up on logical fallacies, and reduce every topic to a logic contest, instead of the topic itself. I saw this going on here- Nutritional Fanaticism I: Extreme Low Carbers (part 2)

                              Notice that we are listed as "fanatics." Why? Because the author used logic to arrive at the conclusion. What kind of logic? He wrote a couple of entries to build up and explain this conclusion, including his pet logical fallacies, and a few other things. He doesn't actually understand how low carb works, and doesn't care to. That doesn't matter because he has logic to lead him to the right answer. Funny huh?

                              The link in the OP did not seek to understand the mechanism that explains low carb either. That to him is bunk. He wants the peer-reviewed, double blind studied fact, or STFU.

                              Lastly, they don't see that their own CW view does not stand up to the same scrutiny they demand on new ideas.

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