Over at PowerlineBlog, there’s a post about the newly released analysis of the diet proposed 40 years ago as the one to lead us to good health.
But guess what? It turns out it wasn’t all that good for us. And the data pointing this out didn’t appear until just recently, but, instead, appeared years ago. But why publish data that conflicts with your beloved theory?
They include these quotes from the Washington Post:
“Incomplete publication has contributed to the overestimation of benefits and underestimation of potential risks” of the special diet, they wrote.
But Broste suggested that at least part of the reason for the incomplete publication of the data might have been human nature. The Minnesota investigators had a theory that they believed in — that reducing blood cholesterol would make people healthier. Indeed, the idea was widespread and would soon be adopted by the federal government in the first dietary recommendations. So when the data they collected from the mental patients conflicted with this theory, the scientists may have been reluctant to believe what their experiment had turned up.
“The results flew in the face of what people believed at the time,” said Broste. “Everyone thought cholesterol was the culprit. This theory was so widely held and so firmly believed — and then it wasn’t borne out by the data. The question then became: Was it a bad theory? Or was it bad data? …
Gosh. This couldn’t possibly be at work when it comes to Darwin’s theory, could it?