If you're easily influenced, then you should cut it out! (my saying that should work, provided you're easily influenced)
Originally Posted by Kinesio
Ornish has pretty well-known biases...always good to check bylines and funding sources for those. But impartial altruists are rare in science, so this only gets you so far. (At least you can identify the battle lines and the different camps involved.)
I like to remember that any real scientific truth is a feature of the terrain, like the Arch at St. Louis, casting its shadow in all directions. It may not look the same from every angle, but as experiments and data accumulate, that landmark will keep popping up in one form or another, even if finding it wasn't the investigators' main goal. This is convergence, and also coherence: independent studies keep showing us the same thing in different contexts, and the pictures they paint fit together.
Of course if you've an ax to grind (or a corporate funder to please), you can always pick the one vantage point where the Great Arch looks like a mere tower if you squint hard enough, take some grainy photos, and then write a rigorous-sounding paper that claims the Arch has no curve.
That's how a lot of CW hit pieces work: they start from faulty premises, like a "representative LCHF diet" based on modified shoe-leather keratin and hydrogenated mung bean oil; or they use gerrymandered statistical methods while ignoring confounding variables and inconvenient findings, like Colin Campbell in The China Study; or else their technically valid conclusions have very limited applicability (to certain genetically engineered mice, but not to humans, for example).
Usually the authors stop just short of outright misrepresentation and let the ham-handed media finish the job for them: some watered-down correlation in a retrospective, questionnaire-based analysis of cardiac patients turns into
"UNIVERSITY STUDY SHOWS BACON KILLS ZOMG RUN AWAY!!!!11!"They succeed in making waves, but they don't achieve convergence and coherence--only conspiracy, once there are enough influential voices promoting the same misinformation.
I wouldn't endorse wearing blinders, but you do need a filter. Once you've read enough to get the lay of the land and pick a general direction, then you really have to do your own n=1 and go with what works for you without getting tripped up by every new debating point or hysterical overcorrection. Debunking propaganda is exhausting, and true scientific progress is glacial: It's very hard to design good experiments in complex areas like human nutrition, even if you find someone willing to fund them. Being open to new information is great, but you'll be long dead before science validates even a tenth of the choices you make!
Originally Posted by Kinesio
Last edited by cantare; 09-25-2012 at 04:35 PM.
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