Thursday, February 12, 2015

Food and Other Science Stuff

Reason's Elizabeth Brown takes a look at the fed's changing of food guidelines after science supposedly advanced. The federal food folks will soon be no longer listing cholesterol among its warnings. She points out many warnings government has given us over the years resulted in shifts to foods that might be worse:

"One of the reasons trans fats found their way into large parts of the U.S. food supply was the government's campaign against products made with lard, prompting foodmakers to instead switch to partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils. These oils turned out to be high in the types of trans fats we now know are more dangerous than animal fats. The government also urged individuals to stop cooking with animal fats and instead use vegetable oils such as corn and soybean oil—both loaded with inflammation-spiking omega-6 fatty acids, which have been much more detrimental to American health than eating butter.".

Points well made. About the only thing bugging me about the article is she gives the impression that these latest "scientific" findings are the last word. Well, she doesn't really say that but that's the impression she gave me. Ten or fifteen years from now we'll be hearing that what we're being told now is wrong.

Speaking of science, Reason science correspondent, Ronald Bailey, looks at a new study that finds politics affects perceptions about science in both liberals and conservatives. From Science Daily:

"New research suggests that liberals, as well as conservatives, can be biased against science that doesn't align with their political views.".

I agree with Ron Bailey. that does read as if the study presupposed that it was only conservatives that might show bias in looking at science.

Setting aside biased studies by science, while I don't believe I've written it here before, I have written pretty much the same thing elsewhere. My statement being that, while I won't go so far as to say science is for sale, it certainly is heavily politicized. As such, people will agree or disagree with science depending on how it fits in with their world view.

Water fluoridation and vaccines being two subjects that come to mind where you'll have the two sides feverishly defending their "science" based on how they feel about other things in general. 

I'm not so sure it's always so much a liberal vs. conservative view, though, although one sides dislike of business seems to come out in these two issues- Big pharma often being mentioned in anti- vax arguments and the fertilizer industry and hazardous waste being touted a lot by the anti- fluoride camp. That taints the way people will read the various studies.

But, for the most part, that Science Daily study goes along with what I've already been writing elsewhere. Am I great, or what?


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