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Thread: When skeptics don't "get it" page

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    DFH's Avatar
    DFH
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    When skeptics don't "get it"

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    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.

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    Quote 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.

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    Quote 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.

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    Why waste time reading that garbage?

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

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    Quote 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.

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    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.
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    Quote 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.

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    Quote 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.

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