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Why 'Science-Backed' Advice Is Not Always Better

https://dariusforoux.com/science-backed-advice/

dariusforoux.com

Why 'Science-Backed' Advice Is Not Always Better
There’s a lot of “science-backed” advice in books, articles, newspapers, and other places we get our advice from. But's it's not always better.

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When Studies Are Untrustworthy

When Studies Are Untrustworthy

Many layers of uncertainty along with thinking errors of scientists (blind spots) make the research or evidence untrustworthy about 42 percent of the time, according to a study.

Many studies lack validity, but researchers already being involved in the studies develop ‘learned helplessness’ and start believing in evidence even though there is none. A lack of evidence to prove the contrary is not evidence to support the theory.

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Advice For Reading Scientific Studies

When we read scientific studies, it helps to keep in mind the following:

  1. Scientists are prone to error just like everyone else.
  2. Single source claims are dubious.
  3. There is a lot we don’t know.
  4. We should not be biased towards a particular outcome.
  5. Independent tests of the findings can be done if possible.
  6. Proof of something does not mean it is true, and a lack of proof does not mean it is false.

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Studies on The Zeigarnik Effect

The Zeigarnik Effect states that we remember unfinished and incomplete tasks much better than completed tasks. Things remain in our mind due to their being incomplete.

There are several studies that have failed to replicate Zeigarnik’s experiment. But this does not mean the theory is false. It means the concept might be true for some people, but not all people.

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Accuracy of Psychological Experiments

It is a good idea to remain critical as most psychological experiments are situational and may not stand the test of time.

Certain ideas that claim scientific evidence like the 10,000 hour rule or Grit, study a specific group of people, and are not universal theories.

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Universal Truths

There are very few absolutely certain, universal truths in life. We are quick to think a piece of information is 100 percent true if it's presented as a new, groundbreaking idea, making us have a lightbulb moment.

Apart from basic math, which is a universal truth, very few truths are found in our lifetime that resonate with us for decades.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The Sagan Standard

The Sagan Standard

The Sagan standard is related to astronomer Carl Sagan, who stated that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” (a dictum abbreviated as ECREE).

This means t...

Ordinary And Extraordinary Claims

Based on the Sagan standard, if someone claims that they came across a unicorn during they commute, they would be expected to brig stronger evidence in order to verify that claim than if they claimed that they came across a horse.

This happens because there is significant evidence for the existence of horses, but no relevant evidence to support the existence of unicorns, which makes the latter claim extraordinary.

The Concept Of Extraordinary Claims

  • Instead of viewing claims as either ordinary or extraordinary, it’s better to view them as ranging between these two ends of the spectrum, based on how likely they are given everything that is known on the subject.
  • It can be difficult to define the exact threshold on the ordinary-extraordinary spectrum that a certain claim needs to cross before it’s considered extraordinary, it’s generally preferable to focus on how extraordinary a claim is instead, and to expect a stand of proof that matches that degree of extraordinariness.
  • A claim should generally not be viewed as extraordinary simply because it’s novel, but rather because it contradicts existing evidence.

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How we perceive philosophy

How we perceive philosophy

When most people think of philosophy, they believe philosophers simply argue about arguing. Philosophy is viewed as impractical and irrelevant to current issues.

In...

Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell

"Science is what you know. Philosophy is what you don’t know."

Defining philosophy

Philosophy is examining our understanding of reality and knowledge. Philosophy consists of three major branches:

  1. Metaphysics - What is true about existence.
  2. Epistemology - How we can know that it is true. Epistemology has given us science, logic/reason, economics, psychology, and other theories of knowledge.
  3. Ethics - What actions we should take as a result of this knowledge. Ethics contains concepts such as democracy, human rights, the treatment of animals, and the environment.

When you order your thoughts into a coherent belief system, you are engaging in philosophy. To criticize philosophy, you must rely on philosophy.

Living in the age o doubt

Living in the age o doubt

We live in a time when all scientific knowledge (the safety of fluoride, vaccines, climate change, moon landing, etc.) faces coordinated and vehement resistance.

The acces...

We now face risks we can’t easily analyze

Our existence is invaded by science and technology as never before. For many of us, this brings comfort and rewards, but this existence is also more complicated and sometimes agitated.

Our lives are full of real and imaginary risks, and distinguishing between them isn’t easy. We have to be able to decide what to believe and how to act on that.

Marcia McNutt  - Geophysicist

Marcia McNutt - Geophysicist

“Science is not a body of facts. Science is a method for deciding whether what we choose to believe has a basis in the laws of nature or not.”