What’s is science’s biggest fail of all time?I agree with this. No other area of science has failed so badly. For decades, reputable authorities have been telling us what is supposedly scientifically correct about diet and fitness, and they have been wrong with most of what they say.
I nominate everything about diet and fitness.
Maybe science has the diet and fitness stuff mostly right by now. I hope so. But I thought the same thing twenty years ago and I was wrong.
I used to think fatty food made you fat. Now it seems the opposite is true. Eating lots of peanuts, avocados, and cheese, for example, probably decreases your appetite and keeps you thin.
I used to think vitamins had been thoroughly studied for their health trade-offs. They haven’t. The reason you take one multivitamin pill a day is marketing, not science.
I used to think the U.S. food pyramid was good science. In the past it was not, and I assume it is not now.
I used to think drinking one glass of alcohol a day is good for health, but now I think that idea is probably just a correlation found in studies.
I used to think I needed to drink a crazy-large amount of water each day, because smart people said so, but that wasn’t science either.
I could go on for an hour.
It is hard to explain how so much money could get such poor results. I think that the problem is that most of the bad advice has come from physicians. They are not the best source for 3 reasons.
1. Diet and fitness are out of their expertise. They take medical school classes in diagnosing disease and cutting up cadavers, but not in diet and fitness.
2. Physicians do not have a scientific mindset. Science is all about doing experiments, and physicians do not believe in experimenting on their patients.
3. Physicians are not independent thinkers. The medical world is extremely hierarchial, and physicians very much believe in following official policy and in having everyone follow orders as well.
Dilbert relates this to a more general public distrust in science on other issues like climate change.