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Science and choosing ones own credence  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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Location: Missouri Ozarks
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Science as a method is a very useful and powerful tool and has brought us many things. Like any tool used by humans, it can be used well or poorly, for good or ill intentions, corrupted by those with money, power and influence, and simply subject to fad and whims of egos of humans as so much else is. That's why especially when it comes to what I put into my body, I want the freedom to make my own choices, using experience of myself and others as well as science. I appreciate many things that the scientific method has brought me, but when I hear people use science as an excuse for authoritarianism (people all need to do X because science), I have the same negative reaction as I do when I hear religious authoritarians try to force everyone into their idea of religious morality. Not that anyone in this thread is doing that, this thread seems entirely reasonable to me, but I've been hearing that a lot in the last few years. Not only are there the issues of human imperfection and corruption already mentioned, there's also the issue that our bodies are not all the same. If some food or medicine is helpful for 80% of the general population, or of the population of those with a particular diagnosis, but deleterious for the other 20%, then those in the 20% will get a raw deal following recommendations from science that comes from studies of the whole population, even if the science is flawless. Experience and intuition can give us a lot of knowledge about our bodies that science hasn't figured out completely.

All of us take risks every day as a fact of life. Those who take the risks that society encourages and get the short end of the stick are usually absolved of any blame, after all they were doing everything they "should". Even by mainstream estimates, medical error is a leading cause of death. However as soon as someone takes risks that society discourages and meets with failure, they are often widely scolded and ridiculed, even if many others took similar paths with good results. The results of the path myself of anyone else is taking won't be known until it's over, even if he have educated guesses. People making different choices gives all of us more examples in our lives to either emulate or to spurn. If you accept evolution (as I do) then natural selection will sort it out.
 
pollinator
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Location: Central Virginia USA
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Hi Chris, I agree with you in principle, but in practice there's just too much uncertainty about the validity of the science. Our scientific beliefs are just that, beliefs, and I guarantee you there is a spiel out there very convincing to prove anything you want to prove. That spiel will include research, statistics and examples of why it is correct.

There are some fields where beliefs are less problematic- electronic gizmos work or they don't. But quantum physics and shroedingers cat have started to turn even "hard" science into an unknown--until we measure it.

People have a longer time span before they demonstrate ill health, Lots of time for the charlatan to sell their fake stuff before we are too sick to buy anymore. I don't know if it's still true, but I heard that with heart disease the first sign is sudden death in 50% of the cases.

One of my teachers said you can find meat eaters who are healthy and they feel fine. He likened them to falling off a tall building, and you ask them at the 3rd floor how they are feeling, and they say fine.

Yesterday as I was reading alternate theories about meat being necessary for health I started wondering if maybe I was actually the one falling and about to get a rude surprise.

But at the end of the day I go back to Dr. Gregger, he whispers his sweet science in my ear and I go to sleep feeling reassured that I'm on the right path. Others have their own nutrition gurus,  and it will likely take another 40 years before enough people have figured out what is working and what isn't.

I also liked what you had to say Richard, evolution will weed us out or not in the end
 
pollinator
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I am of the opinion that there is science, and then there is scientistic rationalism.

Science has to come from a place of intellectual integrity and moral courage, or it is not science. You formulate the hypotheses, test them however that is possible, and base any further steps, and ultimately any findings, on what they tell you. If any part of the process isn't transparent, it ceases to be science.

Scientistic rationalism is sophistry using scientific language. It has no place in rational discourse.

I can just as easily guarantee that, for every manipulated dataset and massaged statistic, there are pieces of the picture left out, like a picture of a meal for an instagram feed where the finished, plated meal sits on a clean scrap of table in an otherwise filthy kitchen. The picture is always cropped to omit the unpleasant reality of the kitchen, especially if its dirty because of the length and complexity of the recipe.

Scientific belief is an oxymoron, unless we're discussing a belief in the scientific method, which isn't required for it to remain valid. Science doesn't require belief, but understanding.

Faith is required where there is no proof, or nobody capable of articulating it, or even understanding it. I think we would be in a much better place in the world if all the people with opinions had the intellectual currency and education to at least know a hawk from a handsaw when the wind is southerly.

-CK
 
pollinator
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I will forever be wary of gurus, nutritional or otherwise.
 
pollinator
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Location: PNW
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Greg Mamishian wrote:

Sonja Draven wrote:I wouldn't have believed it before I watched her die and I don't expect anyone here to either. It is just my story. She is just one person and one anecdote.  But there is a link if you want to follow it.



Your experience says... everyone dies from something.

Over the last three years, I've spent time with hundreds of dying folks, and they are teaching me a valuable lesson that there is ~something else~ going on...

...and it has absolutely ~nothing~ to do with "science".


Well, that was harsh. And some of the science I was referring to was in the links I added.  I acknowledged that my experience was anecdotal. My experience just made me open to the science.
 
Posts: 306
Location: Rural Unincorporated Los Angeles County Zone 10b
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Chris Kott wrote:Scientific belief is an oxymoron...



When a scientist publishes the results of a study,
you will believe they are either valid or invalid.
That choice is always up to you and your own common sense.
 
Greg Mamishian
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Sonja Draven wrote:

Greg Mamishian wrote:

Sonja Draven wrote:I wouldn't have believed it before I watched her die and I don't expect anyone here to either. It is just my story. She is just one person and one anecdote.  But there is a link if you want to follow it.



Your experience says... everyone dies from something.

Over the last three years, I've spent time with hundreds of dying folks, and they are teaching me a valuable lesson that there is ~something else~ going on...

...and it has absolutely ~nothing~ to do with "science".



Well, that was harsh. And the science I was referring to was in the links I added.  I acknowledged that my experience was anecdotal.



Sorry Sonja, it's the truth. Everyone does die from something. However, death isn't the least bit unfair because no one doesn't die. I've been close to quite a few people while they are in the strange twilight area which lies between life and death... and from what I've seen, there is obviously something else going on which is outside the realm of science. Death isn't harsh when it is a kindly release from suffering.
 
pollinator
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Live blogging reading a study-this should be fun! This is how I do it, and hopefully this is useful. Or you can give me an idea of how you do it.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/dom.13571 Its been out a while, someone put me onto it. I like vitamin C and I don't like diabetes. The battle lines are drawn.

First, I notice I have never heard of the University. This could be cool, more people in the game, or it could be a way of getting on the map like the cold fusion guy at Utah. The mystery deepens. I don't know if this is a brand-name journal or not. It's not my area. Probably not, the longer the name generally the less prestigious. Ok the university is in Australia, so probably legit. Shall see...

Type of study: randomized prospective crossover. This is a very good design if yo can pull it off. People basically serve as their own controls. Takes more than twice as long to run. Yummy, liking it so far.

Number of data points, 31. Kinda scrawny, and almost certainly what kept it out of a big journal.

Methods: boring stuff, but looks like they are doing math, and the math seems like the right math based on the discussion. Some disparate data points (BP, peak sugar, area under the curve (kind of a total sugar-time exposure). I would like to see the proposal to see if they were looking for those endpoints at the beginning. This looks like "p-value hunting" where you draw a bunch of data and look for what comes out statistically significant. When I was younger I was guilty of this. It is a terrible offense, basically if you draw enough data points, the way statistics work, you will have around 5% that are "significant". Then you build your hypothesis after the fact. Then when someone does a further study, they can't replicate it. The blood pressure for instance was a quirk because five people in your sample on the control side got laid off that month or whatever. The problem is that most studies go unrepeated! The best findings really have to get repeated in bigger studies.

Results: OK so this is looking more legit. Assuming they are not hiding the ball, they drew about 20 variables, so you would expect one to be statistically significant. They had three more or less independent variables that were improved versus placebo. Several more derivative results were also significant, but that is easy to explain based on the math they used. I could predict several more that would be notable if they were not statistically significant.

Verdict: Promising! This was a tiny study they admit was barely powered for the endpoint they were looking at. Given the stakes and the low downside, this looks really good.

 
Chris Kott
pollinator
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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Sonja Draven wrote:

Greg Mamishian wrote:

Sonja Draven wrote:I wouldn't have believed it before I watched her die and I don't expect anyone here to either. It is just my story. She is just one person and one anecdote.  But there is a link if you want to follow it.



Your experience says... everyone dies from something.

Over the last three years, I've spent time with hundreds of dying folks, and they are teaching me a valuable lesson that there is ~something else~ going on...

...and it has absolutely ~nothing~ to do with "science".


Well, that was harsh. And some of the science I was referring to was in the links I added.  I acknowledged that my experience was anecdotal. My experience just made me open to the science.



I quite agree with you, Sonja.

Whatever "else" you think is going on, Greg, that's no excuse for rudeness.

People deal with death each in their own way. Some through the years have decided to tell stories, I think mainly as a balm to the soul. It must be, as there is no proof of anything afterwards.

Now I don't believe that we simply stop. Energy can't be destroyed, so if what we are is energy, it must go somewhere, unless it becomes the equivalent of waste heat. But to me, the fact that there is nothing to say whether my ideas are right or wrong, and no feedback for me to use to improve my ideas, suggests to me that I won't get anywhere dwelling on a question to which everyone eventually finds the answer.

I think it's a waste of time, honestly. Why not concern ourselves with questions we can answer that can improve the lives of others around us?

-CK
 
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