1

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How do we take "scientists" and researchers to task once and for all?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created August 11, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Yet again as I watch the news this morning, I see a story that gets my cortisol levels all in a tizzy.

http://www.boston.com/Boston/dailydose/2011/08/red-meat-raises-diabetes-risk-how-lower/3yqJCekuIOrEzanf1USdVJ/index.html

Thats right! Red meat now CAUSES diabetes!

At least they gave Taubes a little press for the dissent, and a few people in the comments have seen the light. However, the over arching message is plants good, animals bad. No controls, no actual science. Just surveys, anecdotal evidence, and correlations. And of course, red meat and processed meats are grouped together.

So what can we do as a community, as a group of people to bring an end to this. I mean I know that we get on the comments and out this psuedoscience for waht it is. But is there anything that we can do to actually change what can be legally reported and what can be published? Yes, I think we need to group lazy reporters in with the lazy scientists.

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on August 11, 2011
at 07:32 PM

Bad science (which isn't, as I sometimes see on PH, "scientific findings that contradict my personal experience, so they must be wrong") is not the same thing as pseudoscience. And that scientists who engage in sloppy research practice will often be taken to task by other scientists. As to your last sentence, well, I agree with the commenter below who said that this is veering pretty close to censorship.

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on August 11, 2011
at 06:50 PM

Please note that bad science (or, as I often see here, "scientific findings that contradict my personal experience, so they must be wrong") is not the same thing as pseudoscience. And that scientists who engage in sloppy research practice will often be taken to task by other scientists. As to your last sentence, well, I agree with the commenter below who said that this is veering pretty close to censorship.

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on August 11, 2011
at 06:39 PM

Not that there isn't plenty of bad science out there, but basing your opinion of a research finding on the popular presses account of it isn't a good idea.

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on August 11, 2011
at 06:38 PM

Yes. Most of the time researchers aren't suggesting anything nearly as dramatic or black and white as "ARTERY CLOGGING SATURATED FAT FOUND TO BE THE CAUSE OF EVERY PROBLEM KNOWN TO MANKIND!!" That's not how scientific research works. It's what happens when lazy, poorly-educated journalists without a basic understanding of statistics and the scientific method and language used in science get their hands on these papers. They want to sell a story, not disperse wholly accurate information. I think science journalists are the ones who should be "taken to task" more than scientists, really.

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on August 11, 2011
at 05:57 PM

censorship for any reason is wrong.

Fe535c4994ac6176f76e1ff6d29eb08a

(4286)

on August 11, 2011
at 05:50 PM

+1 great point!

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on August 11, 2011
at 05:46 PM

Taubes took this as far as one could hope, and it still hasn't put but a dent in the nonsense.

Fe535c4994ac6176f76e1ff6d29eb08a

(4286)

on August 11, 2011
at 05:39 PM

That's a start, but a drop in the bucket. What I'm thinking is something bigger. Where science has stricter parameters of what it can publish, and in turn what findings reports can then report on.

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3 Answers

5
7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on August 11, 2011
at 05:47 PM

Don't forget that scientists and researchers don't have much to do with appallingly bad science journalism and misrepresentation of their findings by journallists who a) don't understand how to read a scientific paper and b) are more interested in writing an alarmist, attention-grabbing headline than providing an accurate report.

Fe535c4994ac6176f76e1ff6d29eb08a

(4286)

on August 11, 2011
at 05:50 PM

+1 great point!

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on August 11, 2011
at 06:39 PM

Not that there isn't plenty of bad science out there, but basing your opinion of a research finding on the popular presses account of it isn't a good idea.

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on August 11, 2011
at 06:38 PM

Yes. Most of the time researchers aren't suggesting anything nearly as dramatic or black and white as "ARTERY CLOGGING SATURATED FAT FOUND TO BE THE CAUSE OF EVERY PROBLEM KNOWN TO MANKIND!!" That's not how scientific research works. It's what happens when lazy, poorly-educated journalists without a basic understanding of statistics and the scientific method and language used in science get their hands on these papers. They want to sell a story, not disperse wholly accurate information. I think science journalists are the ones who should be "taken to task" more than scientists, really.

1
154d799847153f5589f99496a9bdbb71

on August 11, 2011
at 07:13 PM

It's not always the scientists to blame. Remember, it's just as often the journalists.

Lastly, those who ate the most red meat also tended to eat fewer fruits and vegetables and were more likely to smoke and be obese. While the study used statistical methods to account for all of these lifestyle factors -- which also contribute to Type 2 diabetes risk -- it???s tough to account for all the variables when observing the habits of populations and drawing conclusions from them. As the researchers themselves admitted at the end of the study, ???observed associations do not necessarily mean causation.???

0
B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on August 11, 2011
at 05:27 PM

perhaps taking up the job of news reporting?

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on August 11, 2011
at 05:57 PM

censorship for any reason is wrong.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on August 11, 2011
at 05:46 PM

Taubes took this as far as one could hope, and it still hasn't put but a dent in the nonsense.

Fe535c4994ac6176f76e1ff6d29eb08a

(4286)

on August 11, 2011
at 05:39 PM

That's a start, but a drop in the bucket. What I'm thinking is something bigger. Where science has stricter parameters of what it can publish, and in turn what findings reports can then report on.

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