Dr. Ioannidis has gone on to show that the best scientists don’t always get funded, why neuroscience is unreliable, why most clinical research is useless, and that most economics studies are exaggerated. In other words, the process by which we acquire new knowledge is fundamentally flawed and much of what we think we know is wrong. Dr. Ioannidis is not just a bull in a china shop; he’s a bazooka in a china shop.
Here at ACSH, we have been saying for a long time that nutrition research is shoddy and mostly wrong. The reason is inherent to the way research is conducted in the field: Too much of it relies on food frequency questionnaires (FFQs), which ask people what and how much they ate. Humans are notoriously bad at remembering things like this, which is why research has linked pretty much everything to cancer. We also lie about stuff, like how much alcohol we drink. Alex Berezow, “John Ioannidis Aims His Bazooka At Nutrition Science” at American Council on Science and Health
Just a sample: From RealClearScience: No, we can’t trust government data on diet and nutrition. Censored researchers: Nutrition is a “degenerating” research paradigm. Also: The skinny on salt, veggie oil, skim milk, whole foods. Nutrition science is nearly baseless but it rules.
On top of the nonsense, there are academic yobs out there who wonder daintily why the public doesn’t trust science. Sometimes, you’d be crazy to.
Why this matters? Because science’s authority is no more or less valid in principle than a church’s or a government’s. The validity depends on what it actually represents, so far as we can tell, as opposed to the claims it makes.
Note: In my (O’Leary for News) experience, veterinary nutrition science seems comparatively sound. Maye that’s because it is possible to ensure that an animal kept in a research facility is eating only the type and amount of food a research subject is supposed to. So what the researchers have to work with is a bit more solid than a social mountain of misinterpretations and falsehoods, collapsing into a heap of nonsense.
See also: Evidence-based medicine “hijacked,” says top researcher (interview with “Bazooka John” Ioannidis)
Renowned chemist on why only science can answer the Big Questions Having decided that only the questions that can be researched via the scientific method are important Big Questions, Atkins can safely conclude that all the important Big Questions are the ones that can be researched via the scientific method. It’s nice work if you can get it. Why didn’t anyone think of this before?