here are a bunch of thoughts about bullshit, narratives, and related things
This is a great piece essentially comparing the narratives between a (so-called) documentary and an evidence-based book written by the leading expert in the field. you can see how the same information can be spun in two different ways: https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/tampon_our_closest_enemy/
Would you take a medication that had the following side effects for up to 7 days:
Headache in 34 % of people who take it
Fatigue in 33 % of people
Diarrhoea in 12 % of people
Muscle pain in 11 % of people
If your answer is no, then these are the side effects of the placebo given in the Pfizer COVID19 vaccine trial. The placebo was a saline (salty water) injection.
Same story, different spin; you’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t; you can’t win with some people:
Damned if we don’t vaccinate pregnant women, damned if we do vaccinate pregnant women:
Narrative 1 – don’t give the vaccine: “proof the vaccine is dangerous and causes infertility!”
Narrative 2 – do give the vaccine: “can’t believe you’re giving pregnant women WHO WERE NOT PART OF THE VACCINE STUDY a vaccine!”
Damned if you don’t label GMO foods, damned if you do label GMO foods:
Narrative 1 – don’t label: “if GMOs are so safe, why are companies so opposed to labelling their products as GMO? What are they hiding?”
Narrative 2 – do label: “if companies label their GMO products as containing GMOs, it just shows how dangerous they are! If they were safe, they wouldn’t need to label them!”
Damned if you send quality evidence, damned if you send non-expert friendly evidence:
Narrative 1 – send scientific evidence: “of course that peer reviewed research says X, that’s the status quo”
Narrative 2 – send non-scientific (easier to read) evidence: “sending me a blog isn’t good enough evidence is it”
Damned if you don’t send evidence, damned if you do send evidence:
Narrative 1 – don’t send evidence, try to explain: “ha you can’t even send me evidence”
Narrative 2 – do send scientific evidence: “that’s fake”
Damned if you have legitimate expertise, damned if you don’t have legitimate expertise:
Narrative 1 – have expertise: “experts are shills”
Narrative 2 – don’t have expertise: “and who are you to disagree with [insert rogue scientist who ignores evidence]”
These are all based on conversations I’ve had… you simply can’t please some. And if that’s the case, they are living by dogma, not evidence. As of yet, none have adequately answered what evidence would change their mind.
Typical person vs scientist (and other legitimately curious people):
Typical person: “ooh sugar tastes sweet, that’s nice”
Scientist: “why does sugar taste sweet?” “oh look there’s little buds on the tongue” “oh these buds have proteins and receptors on them” “these receptors have ion channels” “these ion channels get activated when sweet things attach to the receptors” “wonder what happens when these get attached to…oooh sweet taste from this reaction gets detected in the hunger/satiety area of the brain AND the reward/motivation area of the brain” “wonder what happens to hormones? Cool, sweet taste triggers insulin secretion!” “isn’t it weird that we process sweet taste in our brain but it feels like our tongue, what can that mean for consciousness?” etc etc, the layers are infinite...
Below is a list of 4 product descriptions. Based on the descriptions, which one(s) would you want and which ones would you avoid?
PRODUCT A: This product increases the amounts of free radicals, sometimes to dangerous levels. This can damage your lungs and eyes in particularly so you can’t breathe or see properly
PRODUCT B: This product helps with metabolism and getting the energy from your food, so it contributes to giving your more energy
PRODUCT C: This product helps regulate your blood pressure and aids in proper muscle function. A lack of this product can result in death
PRODUCT D: This product has been shown to increase the risk of cancer, and can cause muscle weakness, fatigue, nausea, diarrhoea, and bleeding
Which one(s) would you want, and which one(s) would you avoid?
PRODUCT A and PRODUCT B are both oxygen; PRODUCT C is salt, and PRODUCT D is vitamin E.
Lesson: you can pick anything and make it sound good or bad. Nuance is important. All the statements were true but lacked nuance.
GAME TIME! Name that fallacy!
The debate is: intermittent fasting (IF) for weight loss/health
What fallacies are used to explain why IF is good for weight loss/health in each of the following statements...
1. I did IF for a month and lost 5 kilos!
2. Our ancestors did not have access to food 24/7 – we are designed to fast!
3. Everyone I’ve come across on the internet seems to have had great success with IF!
4. IF results in autophagy which stops cancer growing
5. I started IF and my diabetes went into remission, I came off my medication!
6. Dr Longo and his team show fasting to increase lifespan (Brandhorst et al., 2015. A periodic diet that mimics fasting promotes multi-system regeneration, enhanced cognitive performance, and healthspan. Cell Metabolism, 22, 86-99, doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2015.05.012.)
(there may be more than one answer for each)
2. Appeal to nature
3. Anecdote, bandwagon, survivorship bias
4. Ipse dixit (no evidence)
5. Anecdote, cum hoc ergo propter hoc (correction doesn’t = causation)
6. Misleading claim – work was in yeast, mice, and pilot work in humans not actually measuring longevity
uncomfortable truth: nearly all of our opinions on nearly everything are irrelevant
but we have been led to believe all of our opinions on anything are important
If i told you about a chemical that:
✔ makes your brain swell
✔ messes with electrolytes
✔ causes death
It is called oxidane, but food manufacturers call it by other names so you cant easily spot it on labels
...how would you react? Would you avoid that chemical?
Well, oxidane is water. People who say "we think for ourselves" are those who would only look at the above, without understanding the VAST body of evidence showing water overall is not harmful, and the benefits FAR outweigh the risks.
This is essentially what is happening with vaccine misinformation at the moment.
You cannot "think for yourself" if you do not understand and consider the full body of evidence
i just made up the term im kinda proud of (maybe others came up with it before?):
meaning: where science is used to fuel conspiracy; it's much more convincing than typical conspiracy as, to the untrained eye, it is scientifically credible
example: in this piece
critiques a Peter Doshi article. i would argue that Doshi is using scienspiracy to sell some of his claims