Why Diet Research Is So Spectacularly Thin

Another article in a long line that discusses the challenges of producing knowledge about human health. Despite scientific methods, producing knowledge is extremely challenging.

“High-quality trials are hard to do because diets, and the behavior of humans who consume them, are so complicated. A single meal might have dozens of nutrients and hundreds of other bioactive substances that interact in unknown ways. Furthermore, if the diet being studied increases intake from one food category, people may eat less from other food categories, making it difficult to attribute results to any specific dietary component.”

Click here for other related topics tagged “Diet”

“The Limits of Science” About the scientific method and its impact, applying it to the human sciences

Longer read but really thoughtful discussion of the scientific method and its limits but also reflects on the extent to which we can know about things the closer we get to them and the more information we can gather. Some interesting passages quoted below.

https://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-limits-of-science

“The closer we get to our subject and the more we know, however, the more the scientific method breaks down. An astronomer can feel comfortable calling a faraway star’s path a line, even though it may curve out there at the edge of the universe; he can assume the scientific method has revealed the truth, and it will likely never be disproven. But as a doctor, I can’t focus on a few facts to the exclusion of others, for life is the level on which I work. In the operating room, I see people react differently to anesthesia all the time; I see lines become curves. I see a patient’s facial expression convey more than a supposedly objective measurement. I see the chaos of a dappled skin pattern convey more accurate information than what the scientific method has built out of carefully isolated details.

“And though there is a great deal of variety in how human bodies react, it is nothing compared to the variety and unpredictability of human behavior. This is the level on which social scientists, human scientists, and psychologists work, and, unlike faraway stars, human life is something that we know Continue reading ““The Limits of Science” About the scientific method and its impact, applying it to the human sciences”

Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice.

This is another in a long line of medical reversals (salt, fat, sugar…). These cases raise a lot of good questions about the nature of scientific knowledge and its production. It also raises good questions about how scientific process can lead to conclusions that ultimately prove to be false.

Here are a bunch of articles on related dietary topics.

The evidence is too weak to justify telling individuals to eat less beef and pork, according to new research. The findings “erode public trust,” critics said.

But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence.

Icebergs, Climate Change and Art Lesson

What is the purpose of art? What knowledge can we acquire through art? These questions can be addressed in many ways. In light of all the attention climate science and climate change have gotten, there are many interesting questions that are raised about why scientists have not been more effective in communicating with the general public issues surrounding climate change and why skepticism and inaction are abound. There are many great TOK connections to these issue. There was an interesting work of public art a few years ago that tried to take the issue of melting glaciers and make it real by lugging giant broken off chunks of ice and bring them to the Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015. I learned of it from a recent episode of the Netflix Show Abstract. This lesson has a couple of minutes from the show along with a worksheet and article. You can download the handouts I have made here along with the episode of the show.

Download Iceberg Art Climate Change Article

Download Iceberg Art WS

Download Abstract episode (File is 2gb. Relevant section is 34:30-38:00) Alternatively you can find news clips on youtube that establish the same context.

Here is a link to more ideas and plans I’ve put together on the Arts.

Here is a link to more arts related resources I have found around the web.

WE ARE ALL CONFIDENT IDIOTS

The trouble with ignorance is that it feels so much like expertise. A leading researcher on the psychology of human wrongness sets us straight.

IN MANY CASES, INCOMPETENCE DOES NOT LEAVE PEOPLE DISORIENTED, PERPLEXED, OR CAUTIOUS. INSTEAD, THE INCOMPETENT ARE OFTEN BLESSED WITH AN INAPPROPRIATE CONFIDENCE, BUOYED BY SOMETHING THAT FEELS TO THEM LIKE KNOWLEDGE.

https://psmag.com/social-justice/confident-idiots-92793

Other articles tagged with “Dunning-Kruger”

The YouTube Revolution in Knowledge Transfer

Tacit knowledge is knowledge that can’t properly be transmitted via verbal or written instruction, like the ability to create great art or assess a startup. This tacit knowledge is a form of intellectual dark matter, pervading society in a million ways, some of them trivial, some of them vital. Examples include woodworking, metalworking, housekeeping, cooking, dancing, amateur public speaking, assembly line oversight, rapid problem-solving, and heart surgery.

Article Link

Why can’t we agree on what’s true any more?

“It’s not about foreign trolls, filter bubbles or fake news. Technology encourages us to believe we can all have first-hand access to the ‘real’ facts – and now we can’t stop fighting about it.

“Contrary to initial hype surrounding big data, the explosion of information available to us is making it harder, not easier, to achieve consensus on truth. As the quantity of information increases, the need to pick out bite-size pieces of content rises accordingly. In this radically sceptical age, questions of where to look, what to focus on and who to trust are ones that we increasingly seek to answer for ourselves, without the help of intermediaries. This is a liberation of sorts, but it is also at the heart of our deteriorating confidence in public institutions.”

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/sep/19/why-cant-we-agree-on-whats-true-anymore