October 10, 2016

EP. 145 — Why Science Has Really Basic Stuff Wrong About Humans

How many times a week do you see someone posting a headline to Facebook with a ridiculous scientific claim about your health? ‘9 out of 10 Doctors Say You Should Stop Exercising,’ ‘New Report Shows Milk Prevents Cancer,’ ‘New Study Shows Milk Is Pure Poison, Stop Drinking Milk Or Else Everyone You Know Will Die!’ If you’re like us, you probably don’t even pay attention to them anymore because the results are so fluid and often contradictory. Tell us now– are eggs good for you? You have no idea. Yes, but not the yolks? Who the hell knows anymore?

There’s a reason why so many studies about human health and behavior are so unpredictable, and you may not be happy with the answer. It’s because studying humans is freaking impossible, and that’s never going to change. When you’re studying people, there’s an endless amount of incalculable variables that make reaching a conclusion a futile undertaking. And even if you control for as many factors as you can think of, you still might not be able to account for your subjects’ genetics or the very likely chance that they’re just lying to you. “Oh, my diet? Yeah, I eat 2 salads a day, no dressing, and a plain cut of grilled chicken for dinner. I definitely didn’t drive through McDonalds on the way here and order a #3 with a Dr. Pepper, no pickles.”

In conclusion, don’t trust anything you read or hear ever, or do, because science doesn’t really know what it’s doing. On this week’s episode Cracked editor-in-chief Jack O’Brien is joined by executive editor Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) to talk about how and why science fails us in this regard and why you should probably still be flossing.

Also, you can see us on Saturday, October 29th at the Now Hear This podcast festival in Anaheim, California. We’re on an amazing lineup with other podcasts like WTF with Marc Maron, Doug Loves Movies, I Was There Too and Superego. Use promo code CRACKED to get 25% off 3-day GA passes. Tickets and information available here: https://goo.gl/R8gzMX


Cracked: Why Science Is Still Mystified About How Humans Work: https://goo.gl/P4s6mb

Smithsonian: Scientists Replicated 100 Studies, Fewer Than Half Got The Same Results: https://goo.gl/VsQXP3

CBC: No Strong Proof That Flossing Your Teeth Has Medical Benefit: https://goo.gl/HFiymZ

NPR: Does Flossing Help Or Not?: https://goo.gl/pS6DGW

LiveScience: Eggs Don’t Deserve Their Bad Reputation: https://goo.gl/g0l3ys

Time: Why Full-Fat Dairy May Be Healthier Than Low-Fat: https://goo.gl/ZFcGDE

Time: Diet Soda Contributes to Weight Gain, Not Weight Loss: https://goo.gl/bYzpc2

New York Times: Why Nutrition Is So Confusing: https://goo.gl/z8aBTs

Pacific Standard: Alcoholics Anonymous Has A Problem: https://goo.gl/ZJb5NO

WebMD: Effectiveness of Antidepressants: https://goo.gl/he3Kbo

Slate Star Codex: Stop Confounding Yourself: https://goo.gl/KQHiiJ

Cracked: 5 Ways We Misunderstand Pedophilia: https://goo.gl/O1oIoE

Cracked: 24 Everyday Things That Are Still A Mystery To Science: https://goo.gl/icSrfE

Cracked: 6 Reasons You Can’t Trust Science Anymore: https://goo.gl/QP8eWh

Cracked: 6 Shocking Studies That Prove Science Is Totally Broken: https://goo.gl/fuQCak

This episode is brought to you by Squarespace and Adam and Eve.

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