And therein lies the rub for me: After all the scientific evidence is gathered and laid out - some Human still has to, as you said, "evaluate" it. Being human, that 'evaluator' will with or without conscious intend tend to bend the "proof of evidence" in favor of his own beliefs and/or expectations. The result is that most people remain confused and uncertain which side is right - no matter how much evidence is presented.
No doubt. But, there are again, logical and reasonable ways to deal with all of this. This is why we have meta-analysis, reviews studies, and consensus opinions, all of which are still part of the process.
We also have to understand how science works...
I posted this a while back..
Just some general comments...
Eventually you begin to realize that they are making the same mistakes and/or assumptions in the way these studies are either done, and/or reported, and you learn what to look for. We all know that most "low fat" diets are not low fat, nor are they anything like the diet recommended here.
If you do listen to them, one day fat is good, one day fat is bad.
But realize that real science doesn't "work the way", and/or change its mind every day, though the media wants us to think that. One day coffee is good & one day coffee is bad. One day Atkins is good, one day Atkins is bad. This week in the NY Times, eggs are now good. What's a person to do?
This kind of information just keeps the public dazed and confused. But, outside of the media hoopla on these topics through its various outlets, the real scientific community, is not swayed but the results of any one study.
All true science is a slow moving development and unfolding of information that build on what is known & adds to it & also looks for & acknowledges its own flaws & weaknesses. It makes conclusions based on methods and levels of significance. It doesn't suddenly jump from one place to another every time a new study comes out. Eggs didn't go from bad to good this week either.
But the mass media, like the NY Times, and other media outlets, (NOTE: And many health "experts") thrive on this kind of (mis)information, and in presenting it in such a way, just as it did a few weeks ago with the Atkins study which was supposed to have vindicated Atkins, and is doing this week with eggs, which are supposed to be good for you again. There was no Atkins diet, there was no low fat diet in the so called Atkins study. This type of reporting of information is very good for readership and advertisers. It's very bad for real science.
However, because of human nature and the way the mind works, people are drawn to these types of "reports" and the faulty conclusions the media presents.
Unfortunately, these reports and the confusion created by them, rarely if ever, address the primary problems. They act as little more than distractions because as long as people continue to argue over, or focus their energies on these side issues, they miss putting their real time, energy and efforts into doing what really works and matters.
I base my decisions on a careful study of the literature including the entire body of evidence and all the work, on both sides. My decisions are based on the overwhelming majority of the evidence as evaluated a supported by the majority of the work and not any one single study, especially when it has just come out & especially if all I have read (or know) is a mass media account of the new study. Sure, you can always find a study that appears to say the opposite or support a contrarian view, but we have to look closely at it, how it was done, what was the methods, who funded it, and the totality of the evidence to date. And, of course, our own biases, which we all have.
And, while some may think the conclusions I draw, (which you are welcome to disagree with), are alternative, holistic, complimentary, hygienic, natural, vegan, etc etc, to me, they are just simple, conservative, basic guidelines and principles of good science for good health.
We can understand and apply this perspective, without even having to understand statistics and epidemiology.
And, this is why I have "general guidelines and recommendations" and not black and white rules, as they do not accurately represent what we know. If you were my patient, and I knew all the specifics about you, that together, we may come up with some more detailed specifics for you, that we would monitor over time and adjust accordingly.
We do use these same skills every day. It's how (hopefully) most all of us choose a car, or computer, etc etc.
Thanks for posting this article, Jeff, it was a wonderful read and I agree with most of it.