Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Science is not my religion

5 Comments

After I wrote about the study that supposedly showed that consumption of vegetables and fruit has no bearing on cancer development someone commented on facebook that I was undermining “real science” and supporting pseudo-science hacks. I think this raises an important issue when it comes to science and faith.

You see, while I am a supporter of science and detractor of pseudo-science, science is not my religion. I think that holding blind faith in anything is dangerous. Scientific research is hugely important but that doesn’t mean that every piece of research should be taken as gospel. Scientific studies can be flawed, they can be weak, they can be biased, and they can just plain be wrong. That doesn’t mean that we should ignore all scientific studies. It means that we should look at research critically. Whenever possible, we should look at larger bodies of research, rather than single studies, to draw stronger conclusions. We should look at research critically in order to base our decisions, beliefs, and advice on the best possible evidence.

Science is not infallible. That doesn’t mean that we ignore it. It just means that we need to examine it closely before deciding whether or not we accept results and conclusions drawn. Always question things. Be skeptical.

Rather than thinking that being critical of any piece of scientific research is on-par with supporting pseudo-science and quackery, we should think of blindly accepting the results of every piece of scientific research as being on-par with blindly accepting the advice of celebs and self-styled wellness gurus.

Advertisements

Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

5 thoughts on “Science is not my religion

  1. I’ve always been taught that science IS the critical thought/questioning/skepticism of EVERYTHING and the willingness to change in light of solid evidence to the contrary. Never blind acceptance.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Diana,
    I think you are confusing published studies with the definition of science.  Your own words “we need to examine it closely before deciding whether or not we accept results and conclusions drawn. Always question things. Be skeptical.” are in fact closer to describing what science is than the rest of your article.  Compare this definition with yours “activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment”…a lot of parallels in there. 
    As with an ever increasing percentage of the population I take nothing on blind faith, science is my religion and double blind testing of theories and assumptions reduces my skepticism of things currently described as fact.  Your recommendations are made with the proviso that the recipient decide for themselves through their own research and experience…that is science…it’s not faith.  It’s either one or the other as even the middle ground is still based on some degree of analysis of the issue which is an application of the scientific method, however watered down it may be.  Your approach is one of the reasons I subscribed to your blog.
    Thanks
    Richard

    Like

    • No worries about the name mistake. I deleted those comments, I hope you’re okay with that.

      I think we’re on the same page for the most part, it’s more a matter of semantics. Your definition of scientic endeavour is correct and I am more referring to published research. However, for the sake of the way the original criticism was framed, it seems to me that many people believe one study to be “science” and that to question any research is somehow anti-science.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s