One of the commentors on my last post concerning Paula Deen’s new status as punching bag for the anti-fat hysterics took me to task for my condensed description of metabolic syndrome and diabetes. I’ve never had any prior correspondence with him, but he stated that he’s a 20 year insulin dependent diabetic. Based on his statements concerning fat, I guess him to be motivated and very well-read on the topic. Unfortunately, he seems, like many other folks, to be in the wrong library.
His screen name and email indicated he’s a political candidate. A trip to his site and a little Googling showed him billed as a conservative (Republican) small business owner. His site seemed to show a good grasp of the issues of the day, with some concrete ideas on what to do about them. In other words, he’s probably unelectable.
He challenged me on my science, and I think I acquitted myself satisfactorily. I occasionally hold forth on nutritional topics here, but am not generally interested in an all-out nutrition science debate in this forum. I’ll do it, but I have to keep looking up references and fact-checking and it’s just a slow process for me. Not in my wheelhouse. I’d prefer to just send them over to the Younger Brother’s site and then tell them — as the Younger Sister did to me once with the biggest, meanest kid on the block — “let’s you two fight!” (forty years on and my ribs still hurt if I turn just right.)
Anyway, the more I thought about it, the more I thought I could make a convincing case to this young man based on some common ground.
I appreciate your weighing in on my post, especially as we seem to disagree. Keeps things more interesting. I’d like to make an appeal for you to reevaluate your current understanding of this particular topic based on a political argument, as your email and website seem to imply this is an area of common ground for us.
Unless you’re a Newt Gingrich-style “consistent conservative,” I assume we’re on the same page on global warming (I’m actually libertarian, but we should see eye-to-eye here).
What do we agree on regarding this issue? Here’s some premises…
* Global Warming (previously “Global Cooling,” currently morphed into just plain old “Climate Change”) got its start with a group of what you would call “true believers” with an agenda who jumped to some very fast conclusions based on what was then sketchy but plausible evidence. Since it supported their preconceived notions, they were more rigorous about defending their conclusions than preserving scientific integrity.
* The initial alarms having rung, governments were delighted to jump in with grants and other support, because it’s obvious on its face that the answer to every problem this line of inquiry raises is — “more government!” This resulted in an immediate, entrenched, politically and financially vested special interest group.
* Criticism pointing out the flaws in the initial and all subsequent models were/are delayed until well after the initial conclusions are spoon-fed to a generally unquestioning media.
* Every model designed to “prove” Global Whatever has been shown to be either flawed or hasn’t supported the desired conclusion. The result is always then described as “inconclusive.” In more honest science, this outcome is called “failed to support the hypothesis.” And in real science, the goal is to devise experiments that would actually disprove the hypothesis. Then if the experiment finds results not in accordance with predicted results, the correct conclusion is “the hypothesis was disproved.”
* Even when these models fail, as they all do, the “researchers” still insist that we should behave as if the hypothesis had been proved — “just in case” — because everyone knows they’re probably right, they just haven’t been able to prove it yet.
* The researchers cherry-pick their data sets with the goal of supporting the conclusion they’ve already decided they’re going to publish, and ignore contrary data sets.
* The summaries published by the researchers say their hypotheses have been supported, even when analysis of the actual data refutes their conclusions.
* Casual observations that correspond to the chosen models, like a few years of record warm weather, are trumpeted as further evidence, while contrary observations, like unpredicted lowering trends, are explained away as irrelevant or “paradoxes.”
* When questioned, supporters insist that their work is above reproach because it’s been peer-reviewed. As Climate-Gate exposed beyond question, the peer-review process is completely controlled by the same group pushing the preordained conclusions. In other words, a favorable peer review will only result from getting the “correct” answer, and real challenges won’t be accepted by the “peers.”
* Supporters rely heavily on various “appeals to authority” arguments. The biggest whopper is the “there’s a consensus!” argument, citing x number of scientists who agree. Besides simply refusing to acknowledge highly qualified people who don’t agree, the idea that scientific fact is somehow subject to some quorum is ludicrous on its face. “I’m sorry Mr. Newton, but you’re two votes shy of the two-thirds majority defined in our bylaws, so the whole gravity thing is now false.” Oh yeah, and don’t bother looking again because — “the debate is over!”
Let’s keep in mind, however, that all of this research is done by very smart, usually sincere people in lab coats with advanced degrees and lots of initials after their names. They’re published, highly regarded in their fields, and head whole departments at some of the most prestigious institutions in the world. Keep in mind also, once they’ve bought in to the orthodoxy, they have a lot at stake.
…Okay, what’s this got to do with your health? Everything. See, the global warming folks didn’t invent all of this. They just cobbed the playbook from the “Lipid Hypothesis” crowd. Every one of the points above was preceded by years in the diet/nutriton field, from Ancel Keyes’ cherry-picking of flawed data from six out of twenty-two countries (because the others didn’t support his “fat causes heart disease” conclusion), to the original diet guidelines cooked up by a George McGovern staffer over the objections of scientists, to the hearthealthywholegrains cheerleading and funding of the USDA and it’s “buy more commodities” food pyramid, to the massive funding expended by the government (and Big Pharma) on studies to “prove” the fat=cholesterol=heart disease connection (so $tatin$=low cholesterol=better heart), to the complete failure of those efforts, and the subsequent hearlding of the “proof” even in the face of the actual results.
So as a conservative, do you really think that this was the one area where the government was going to be intelligent, objective, efficient, honest, and immune to politics and literally billions of dollars of profits and influence?
But I don’t want you to listen to me — I’ve got an Accounting degree, for crying out loud. I’m just suggesting that you apply the same level of honest inquiry and intellectual rigor to a topic that will directly affect your life, health and hapiness as you would any other topic where very interested, very vested parties are saying “trust us.”
As I stated before – -you’ve been lied to.