Friday, September 07, 2007

Junk Science as a social contagion

Junk science often is characterized by three compounding elements:
  • a reliance upon observational rather than experimental studies
  • asserting causation where correlation exists, and;
  • media attention that recognizes neither of the first two characteristics.
A good example is the ongoing diatribe about obesity, despite lots of evidence that countermands the whole myth. This latest example reveals that while Harvard has lots of money, money doesn't buy you good scientific research.

Still in the health field, another common myth is that public health programs are good, and private health schemes are bad: Canada -- good, US -- bad. The Michael Moore, Sicko analysis. Well into this ideological assertion comes the reality of Canadians denied health access because they don't have access to private care.

And, lastly for today, is this insight on the nature of development. Much of New Orleans remains devastated after Hurricane Katrina, not because of an absence of money but from an absence of anyone seizing the initiative to act individually: many are waiting for re-construction or are immersed in meetings, planning the management of what needs to be done....

Meanwhile, that section of New Orleans called Little Saigon has just about been completely re-built, by the people who live there.