5 May 2013

How To Think Like a Scientist and Why You Should

Posted by Dan Satterfield

Anecdotal evidence can be very interesting, and it can lead to great discoveries, but it’s usually false. Unfortunately, many people make almost all of their decisions based on it. In some rare cases it’s almost a necessity, but in most you do not, and certainly should not.

To a scientist, anecdotal evidence says something along the lines of “hey, I wonder if someone has tested this scientifically and discovered what the truth is!”  Moreover, we live in an age where you could actually check and see within a matter of minutes using the smart phone in your pocket! In some cases, thinking this way can save you more than money or time; It could save your life.

Be warned! Many of the bigger scams produce fake web pages that show up in Google searches, so you may need to search Google Scholar or visit the library. If it’s medical related, talk to your doctor, and consider a second opinion even.

This may very well be one of the most important aspects of science that we should be teaching students, and if we already are, it sure does not seem like it. I was looking for some book on Amazon.com the other night and spotted what seems to be new effort to separate people who certainly did not learn it from their money! See below:

(For those just scanning and not reading this post- DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK!!)

This guy claims to have taken very high doses of vitamin D and it cured ailments he had for 20 years or more:

“I started taking 20,000 IU a day-50X times the recommended dose of 400 IU a day. 
After about 4 months upped the dose to 50,000 IU a day or 150X the old recommended “safe” dose I then boosted it to 100,000 IU a day or 300 x TIMES the old maximum safe dose!

What happened over these last 10 months? Did I die? get sick? No! Just the opposite!! 

High dose Vitamin D3 therapy over the last year-CURED ALL MY CHRONIC CONDITIONS-SOME THAT I’D HAD FOR 20+ YEARS!”

Takin high doses of Vitamin D can be dangerous according to medical studies. Like this one reported in the Telegraph. Thankfully, Amazon published a review I wrote:

What do you call medical claims that have been tested with scientific trials and subjected to peer reviewed science? MODERN MEDICINE. This is just the opposite. Taking all that Vitamin D will do one thing for sure, it will darken your piss. It might also kill you.

Have you ever noticed these scams always use the phrase “what THEY don’t want you to know!” In this case THEY is “Big Pharma”. With chem-trails it’s the “Government” and with the 100 mpg gas mileage scams it’s “The Oil Companies!”. I highly reccommed the QuackWatch web site run by Stephen Barrett MD, and his Seven Warning Signs of Bogus Science.

There are very real consequences to the sad state of science education in America. This cries out for one of Neil de Grasse Tyson’s best quotes- “The great thing about science is it’s true, whether or not you believe it”.

NDT is the only person I ‘ve ever seen on TV who deserves a fan club!