#2) Anybody Who Insists They Understand the Intricacies of the Brain Is Lying
We have no understanding of the brain. We’re working on it. We know more now than we ever did. But that’s not much. Take anybody insisting his MRI scans prove that we’re racists because of food coloring as a lunatic.
Or somebody under the pay of the anti-food dye council. Which leads us to our final and most salient point.
#1) Scientific Studies Are Often Paid For By Private Parties Looking For Specific Results
If you take away nothing else from this article, non-scientific journalists, take away this: most studies that cross your desk via press release are, at best, compromised.
Even academic studies really can’t be trusted. Scientists are under strict ethical standards in many respects, but anybody can hire a scientist and tell him exactly where his paycheck comes from.
And there are plenty of ways to essentially lie without fudging the data or committing scientific fraud. Here’s an example of a study I picked apart. I would never accuse these researchers of committing fraud: I’m sure that if I recreated their experiment, I would get at least some of the same results.
On the other hand, it’s also clear that somebody paid for a study expecting a result, and got what they paid for.
In short, be skeptical and don’t take anything at face value. No real scientist is going to complain if you do that, trust me.
image courtesy Kevin H. on Flickr