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IPFS News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

You Must Not 'Do Your Own Research' When It Comes To Science

• Forbes

The techniques that most of us use to navigate most of our decisions in life — gathering information, evaluating it based on what we know, and choosing a course of action — can lead to spectacular failures when it comes to a scientific matter.

The reason is simple: most of us, even those of us who are scientists ourselves, lack the relevant scientific expertise needed to adequately evaluate that research on our own. In our own fields, we are aware of the full suite of data, of how those puzzle pieces fit together, and what the frontiers of our knowledge is. When laypersons espouse opinions on those matters, it's immediately clear to us where the gaps in their understanding are and where they've misled themselves in their reasoning. When they take up the arguments of a contrarian scientist, we recognize what they're overlooking, misinterpreting, or omitting. Unless we start valuing the actual expertise that legitimate experts have spent lifetimes developing, "doing our own research" could lead to immeasurable, unnecessary suffering.

Let's start with a simple, low-stakes example: fluoridated drinking water. On the one hand, fluoride is a simple ion that shows up in various concentrations, including naturally through calcium fluoride, in bodies of water all across the world. When humans ingest too little of it, particularly at a young age, it leads to weakened tooth enamel and greater rates of cavities; when humans ingest too much of it, it leads to tooth discoloration and various severities of dental fluorosis. In extreme cases, significantly too much or too little fluoride can also lead to other problems, such as osteoporosis (with too little) or skeletal fluorosis (with too much).

In most places in the United States and Canada, our drinking water is fluoridated at a specific level that's safe and effective for humans of all ages. In places like Colorado Springs, CO, significant amounts of fluoride are removed from the water, bringing the levels down to acceptable values; in other places, like New York City, NY, fluoride is added to bring the levels up to acceptable values. Controlling the fluoride levels of water is a safe and effective public health intervention, reducing dental caries in children by 40% where it is implemented versus places where it isn't implemented.

3 Comments in Response to

Comment by Jane Liu
Entered on:

What is our end goal with COVID-19 ? Is our goal to wait until we have zero reported cases? Till COVID-19's eradicated? Till we have a vaccine? Till every person's vaccinated? Oe zero deaths? or even 1 death per/100,000 people? https://genpower.substack.com/p/what-is-our-end-goal-with-coronavirus?r=2go25&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&utm_source=copy

Comment by Jane Liu
Entered on:

What is our end goal with COVID-19? Is our goal to wait until we have zero reported cases? Till COVID-19's eradicated? Till we have a vaccine? Till every person's vaccinated? Oe zero deaths? or even 1 death per/100,000 people? https://genpower.substack.com/p/what-is-our-end-goal-with-coronavirus?r=2go25&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&utm_source=copy

Comment by Ed Price
Entered on:

But you must ABSOLUTELY so research into the efficacy of modern scientific research. For example, Louis Pasteur wrote in his memoirs that he lied about some of his experimentation. And another example is that the basic, foundational work for viruses is accepted as true, when there are all kinds of alternate and counter theories. Exosomes are virus-like units that cells excrete to protect themselves. In fact, science has not been able to determine the difference between some exosomes and their virus counterparts. In fact, science has seen under the microscope some exosomes that look just like viruses coming out of the cells https://ip.bitcointalk.org/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fdhna0nwgp8ihl.cloudfront.net%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2020%2F04%2F16051355%2FScreen-Shot-2020-04-16-at-5.12.54-AM-572x381.jpg&t=615&c=jaJleoROKGNNmg



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