Monday, October 21, 2013

Bogus "science" alert!

Most published research findings are false. 

Ioannidis (2005) goes into a deep and nuanced argument to show how that keeps happening time after time again. However, more often thant not, it simply glares straight into your face.

For example, a recent article on the scholarly debate about the minutiae of the Neanderthal diet includes this passage.

"Many hunter-gatherers, including the Inuit, Cree and Blackfeet, eat the stomach contents of animals such as deer because they are good source of vitamin C and trace elements," said Stringer. "For example, among the Inuit, the stomach contents of an animal are considered a special delicacy with a consistency and a flavour that is not unlike cream cheese. At least, that is what I am told."

So first, we are told that the prime drive behind hunter-gatherers' consuming some very iffy foodstuffs is their anachronistically enlightened awareness of the health benefits of vitamin C. And then we discover that that insight is based on unconfirmed hearsay. Keeping in mind that 2/3 of what fieldwork informants tell you is a lie (source: H. Russell Bertrand, Research Methods in Anthropology: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches), if this is not downright random inconsequential bogus nonsense peddled as scientific truth by an ostensibly liberal media outlet, then what is?

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