• John

Maybe It is Science. So What?

No science is static. The best science of 2019 is much different from the best science of 1919 and much different from the best science of 2119.

A Facebook post featured a video about a small sample of studies about nutrition, focused on the “proven” advantage of converting to a vegan lifestyle. The person who made the post said, “This may not be popular, but it is science.” Which, of course, is nonsense.

The word “science” would have to be defined very narrowly to be correct here. Perhaps it is science, but it is very, very selective science, and in no place is the article conclusive. At best, and by these experts’ own admissions, these are merely associative conclusions, no better or worse, no more or less scientific than what proponents of low-carb carnivore diets tell us.

I’m no expert in nutrition, but I read. Just from this video, although the sample sizes in most of the studies mentioned were too small, it seems just as likely that the health benefits people gained were from giving up refined sugar and starches than from giving up meat and dairy.

However, I’m more interested in the consumption of language used here than unsupported opinions of what we should or should not eat. A plant-based diet may be beneficial for some people because there certainly are worse things we eat, but the science here can’t tell us much more than that.

The real problem with using science as justification is that no science is static. Our best science today in most fields is much different from our best science in 1919, much different from our best science in 1519.

Mankind has always sought to understand life and the world around us, using the best information and tools available. There is no reason to suspect that process will stop, much less to presume we have learned all there is to know in the name of science. The best science of 2119 in all fields will be more different than our best scientists today can even imagine. Look at how much neuroscience has changed in just the past 15 years. Nutrition science is no different.

Finally, there has rarely been a time when the best science has not been cherry-picked to reinforce personal opinions and self-interests. All science is biased, as demonstrated repeatedly by Thomas S. Kunn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Ours isn’t the first generation to worship at the false-god alter of science. Just ask Ancel Keys.

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