4 jun. 2011

Bullshit Fields (10)


Once again, I'm not in a position to evaluate the intellectual solidity of this field. From the point of view of a member of the general public, however, this field seems a bit bullshitty because of the way in which scientists cannot shape the public debate in a way that makes coherent sense to anyone outside of the field. The public hears alarmism and conflicting, or changing views. Diet books of questionable scientific validity are bestsellers, and many are written by people who seem to have scientific credentials. I'm sure actual research in nutrition deals with narrower questions and uses the scientific method to arrive at valid conclusions, but since everyone eats, there ought to be a way of presenting best practices in a way that does not confuse the public so much.

4 comentarios:

Clarissa dijo...

The third most popular quote among people who read and highlight on Kindle (hundreds of thousands of people) is: "Don't eat anything white and don't eat fruit."

On a more positive note, the most popular quote ever is the first paragraph of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

Professor Zero dijo...

You don't seem to be talking about these fields themselves but about popularized simulacra of them, often promoted by people with actually questionable degrees.

If you listened to what the general public where I live (which as several local languages) says about linguistics, you would conclude that it was a b.s. field. Etc.

Clarissa dijo...

Also, from what I hear, the way linguistics is taught at my university leaves a lot to be desired.

Jordan dijo...

Pollan seems credible. His work drifts from nutrition to food policy to land use and back -- might be better to call it eating studies.

Is one of your b.s. measures of any field the relative attraction it holds for charlatans?