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Saturday, May 28, 2011

What is Valid?

When I think of all the resources that have been squandered based on "new scientific findings" it makes my stomach ache. Don't get me wrong, science and technology have been the very foundation of this wonderful life that we now enjoy. But when you study something as complex as human health or the environment, you can gather such a small part of the data that influences the systems, it is easy, too easy, to draw the wrong conclusion. Then we're spending resources on the wrong thing. This post from Stephen Bainbridge talks about a recent "correction" of past conclusions. Here is his concluding paragraph:

"The point is not that we should ignore environmental concerns. The point is that we should be wary about claims that massive social and economic changes are necessary simply because the scientific consensus of the moment claims they're desirable. Like the medical claims about salt I mentioned in my earlier post, and like this latest news, the consensus of the moment can turn out to be seriously flawed."

posted at: 07:16 | path: /general | permanent link