Testing this is a summary of the post….
Daniel du Plooy, La Trobe University
The World Health Organization (WHO) threw the cat among the pigeons last week with a new report linking eating red and processed meat to cancer.
It didn’t claim our way of life is killing us, but it would seem this way from the reactions. Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, for instance, said the WHO would have humans living in caves were we to follow all its recommendations.
This response is all too familiar and highlights the public’s fundamental misunderstanding of how science works. Two issues stand in the way of, and often override, sensible interpretations of research findings – science fatigue and confirmation bias. Continue reading “Science Fatigue Keeps us Clinging to Bad Health Habits”
Ok, so my fist post will probably not be a Pulitzer prize winner, but I thought I’d start with the thing that I find creates the most cognitive dissonance among clever people. Especially those who stand in favour of climate change and believe in science. I guess it is proof again that cultural patterns are of such a strong nature that we sometimes cannot comprehend a world where certain practices and behaviours do not exist, never mind what science says. We do readily engage in confirmation bias, clinging hopelessly to the few straws that prove that our behaviour is correct. “My great aunt Bella lived to the ripe old age of 98, and she smoked 2 packs a day.”, or “She lived to 98 and ate her steak every day.” Both are equally stupid assertions. We all know that in science there are levels of evidence, and one one-sided case study does not make an argument. Fair enough. People do not go out to disprove and change their most treasured habits. If that were the case we would be living in utopia already. I guess my biggest gripe with the issue of meat eating is the level of ignorance among people who should know better. Sure, there are those that know, and decide not to act, living with their cognitive dissonance (quite willfully and uncomfortably). But unfortunately there are those that should know, but know nothing. Just yesterday a student asked me how I am able to be a vegetarian. He could not fathom what I eat. Really? Then the more shocking question came: “Why are you a vegetarian?” I promptly gave a list of reasons, and I could see the glaze settling over his eyes like some primal coding kicking in and taking over – no, you will not listen to reason, you cannot live without it, refocus. Ok, so how are things with Miley Circus.
Here are just two facts among the hundreds. If they are true we should be rioting because of the inaction in the world. (1). We have 7 billion people on this planet, it takes between 10kg and 20kg of food to produce just 1kg of meat. (2). The only food that contain cholesterol are animal foods. There is no cholesterol in plant food. I rest my case.
(Don’t worry I’l definitely have more to say on this later)