Humans Can’t Tell Legitimate Science From Junk Science
“Yet that doesn’t stop some people, who’ve convinced themselves that such a link is there, from promoting that claim with every small study that supports it, regardless of what the total evidence adds up to. Even if you’re a scientist, unless you yourself are an expert in the particular field (or sub-field) in question, it’s very likely that you’re not wholly aware of exactly what the full suite of evidence is. Unless you’re willing to put in an extraordinary amount of legwork — and to do it in a scientifically unbiased way — you’re going to wind up with only a partial picture of what we actually know, setting yourself up for the possibility of deceiving yourself, no matter how earnest you are. It’s with that pitfall in mind that the American Center for Science and Health published their Little Black Book of Junk Science.”
When it comes to health, safety, and how we interact with the world around us, pretty much everyone recognizes the importance of making our decisions based on sound science. Yet even when presented with the same evidence, many people will draw different conclusions. Why? Because once we’ve made up our minds that something is either good or bad for us, we cherry-pick the remaining data to support our previously-held positions. Humans are notoriously bad at distinguishing legitimate science from junk science. In a new mini-book from the American Council on Science and Health, author Alex Berezow runs us through hundreds of arenas, personalities, and health claims where junk science is prevalent. No matter where you are on the political or scientific spectrum, there are sure to be some entries in there that cause you to bristle, and that’s a good thing. If you can challenge your assumptions and preconceptions, you just might wind up doing the most important thing one can do in this world: learning something new.