Posts Tagged ‘truth’

Agenda-Driven Science to Justify Fixed Policy Preferences

May 2, 2024 — On the subject of nutrition and health, we commonly encounter strong statements presented as scientific truths that must be honored. Headlines scream that “ultra-processed food is killing us,” using studies of correlation to justify sounding an alarm. “Cows are just an environmental disaster,” says Hannah Ritchie in the New York Times. But with equally great […]

The Tension Between Cynicism, Skepticism, and Pragmatism

February 25, 2024 — Are we cynical? We can surely find excuses to be. Examples of cynicism pop up at every glance. Certainly we see it in politics and public policy. Closer to home at ConscienHealth, people routinely find reasons for cynicism about all kinds of medical research and advice – especially nutrition and obesity. This is a real […]

Seeking Truth, Finding Problems, Rethinking Dietary Health

January 15, 2024 — Gary Taubes has a new book – Rethinking Diabetes: What Science Reveals About Diet, Insulin, and Successful Treatments. The problem of this book is right there in the title. It all but promises the truth about dietary health. Definitive Truth? The problem, of course, is that the science of dietary health is not so good […]

Retractions Can’t Travel at the Speed of Hype

October 2, 2022 — From the Annals of Sad but True: “It is not only predatory journals that publish bullshit,” said Guillaume Cabanac. He was commenting of the news last year of hundreds of retractions from special issues in journals published by Springer Nature and Elsevier. This and other recent news suggests that scientific fraud is hardly negligible. But […]

The Intersection of Health Messaging and Truth

September 25, 2022 — An impressive amount of thought and effort goes into messaging about health. Honorable people work diligently to move the population toward healthier lives. They craft messages for leading people to stop smoking, get their vaccinations, eat healthy, stay active and fit. The creativity and strategic skill are impressive. But one dimension of effective and sustainable […]

No, You’re Not Entitled to Your Opinion

May 20, 2022 — Authored by Patrick Stokes, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Deakin University Every year, I try to do at least two things with my students at least once. Firstly, I make a point of addressing them as “philosophers” – a bit cheesy, but hopefully it encourages active learning. Secondly, I say something like this: “I’m sure you’ve […]

What Do We Do When Lies Are Quite Appealing?

November 15, 2020 — Perhaps you have noticed that people will believe what they want. Objective truth often seems to be a scarce commodity. Right now, arguments about misinformation and disinformation are dominating much of our political discourse. So this seems like a good time to consider that sometimes lies are quite appealing. Because we face daily decisions about […]

Alternatives to Dealing with the Truth in Health

March 12, 2020 — When it comes to dealing with the truth of our health, sometimes we humans have a tough time. Sometimes we avoid the truth. We’d rather not talk about or face difficult subjects. At other times, the truth is difficult to find or know. Perhaps it’s unknown and, under present circumstances, unknowable. But on the important […]

Overcoming Bias with a Passion for Objectivity

February 20, 2019 — Objectivity is tedious. When survival is at stake, snap decisions can confer an advantage. Friend or foe? Fight or flee? We might not have time to collect and analyze data. And thus, humans brains are wired with shortcuts for making instant judgments. But those shortcuts come at a cost when we live in a modern […]

When One Size Fits All, Truth Suffers

March 5, 2018 — “You should be ashamed.” That message flies in every direction when the subject is weight and health and obesity. Shame is a potent tool, but it’s a sloppy one. And for health, it’s never helpful. Truth suffers when people start thinking they have an exclusive claim on the truth. And on weight, health, and obesity, one […]