Not real science. Fake science has infiltrated our culture and filled our minds with nonsense. Stephen Colbert cornered the phrase “truthiness” to describe assertions based on flimsy evidence posing as truth. If some outrageous claim is confidently repeated over and over, many of us will accept it as truth. Yes, it’s the basis of talk radio and “crazy news” on TV. But it’s worse than that. It’s all over the media in stories reporting on correlation studies performed by two-bit academics posing as scientists. And it makes us stupid.
Here’s the problem. Real science proves a hypothesis by discovering the true cause-and-effect principles of our physical world. Experiments are created that duplicate results over and over again. These results must have no exceptions to be considered scientific fact. This approach works best in hard sciences, like chemistry and physics.
And even that is hard because, as quantum physics demonstrates, the physical world is full of unanticipated and presently unexplainable surprises. A genuine “scientific fact” is 100% true, 100% of the time. Otherwise, it’s just a theory.
Today, theories of all kinds are asserted as facts. But you shouldn’t fall for fake science.
Here’s how falling for fake science makes us stupid.
- Correlation is not cause. Recently, a study was promoted saying eating red meat or processed meat (like bacon), in any quantity, substantially increases our risk of heart attack. The study compared mortality rates of daily red meat eaters and non-red meat eaters. But it did not factor out other risk factors. So a deeper look showed that the meat eaters in the study also had much higher rates of smoking, fast food intake, and low rates of exercise. So attributing heart disease to red meat alone is misleading to say the least.Want to know something more bizarre? A Stanford study called “A to Z” examined health risks of five popular diets ranging from Atkins to the Zone. The only diet that significantly lowered cardiovascular risk was the high meat-and-bacon Atkins diet. It actually lowered bad cholesterol. I know—you can’t believe it—but look it up for yourself. (See Stanford Diet Study Tips Scale in Favor of Atkins Plan)
Predicting human behavior is named “social science.” But it’s not real science. Psychologists claim to predict human behavior by conducting small studies of less than 100 college students. Most of these students are under 25. This means the test subjects’ brains are not fully formed.
For instance, until age 25 most young men and women seek to increase pleasurable stimulation and excitement for the least effort. You don’t need a PhD to notice that “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll” is a very appealing lifestyle to college students. The last part of the brain to develop is our higher centers of judgment and the exercise of free will. So nearly 90% of studies of human behavior are based on tiny samples of hormone-crazed frat boys and society girls. No, I am not making this up. The fact is that social science is largely based on studying people who act like the cast of American Pie movies.
- Personal bias runs amok in science. It’s always been a problem because scientists have size XL egos. When you’re smart about things most people don’t know much about, you can get away with promoting whatever your ego wants to prove. For instance, brain scans used by neuroscientists have been frivolously used in hundreds of studies to “prove” all kinds of pet theories. What is never reported are all the exceptions to evidence presented to support the theory.For instance, a merry band of scientists are hell-bent on proving all the higher motives and experiences of human life are nothing more than brain synapses and chemicals. Feelings of love, compassion, and heroic acts of charity are drained of spiritual meaning, and explained as simply the biology of evolution motivating us to act in some ultimately self-serving way. So a soldier’s sacrifice to give up her life to save members of her patrol is not a selfless act of heroism, but only the expression of social biology. Free will is dismissed in favor of us being biological robots programmed by complex evolutionary forces we don’t fully understand, but are sure to “explain” every unexplainable thing we experience.
A closer look at the materialists who attempt to use brain science and evolutionary biology to explain the mysteries of consciousness, spiritual experiences, and free will make great logical leaps to connect their insistent assertions based on scientifically untestable claims. These are people who claim it’s impossible for humans to retain conscious awareness if we are brain-dead. Yet there are a growing number of cases documented by medical doctors of patients being fully aware and completely alert even when their brains and bodies are clinically dead for extended periods of time. But scientists still claim this can’t be true, no matter what contrary evidence is presented.
What’s the point? It’s that a closed mind is a dangerous weapon in the hands of arrogant and influential people. When you hear someone make the case for their convictions as something absolutely true in all cases, be cautious.
The happiest, least fearful of us are curious. We are happy to live with mystery. We don’t need certainty to have contentment. One of the greatest joys of living is retaining our ability to change our minds.