Scientific studies just sound like the most credible thing in the world don’t they?
Not only is it scientific, but it involves studying. How can you go wrong with that combination? Unless you’re religious of course. Because then you start entering the; are their dinosaurs and dogs in heaven matrix. Which will only end in ruined dinner parties and tears.
A wise man once said that facts can be used to prove anything that’s remotely true, facts, shmacts. That wise man was of course the great philosopher Homer Simpson. In the era of 24 hour news cycles and twice a week podcast drops, scientific studies are the new facts.
What’s the difference between a scientific study and a proven fact? Well if you are trying to prove a point, win an argument, or create online content to market then the answer is nothing. But the actual difference is an important one. The difference between facts and hearsay is deep and wide, just ask a lawyer or a judge.
But if you’re trying to create content for a cable news show or it’s website, or are publishing the findings of a scientific study to make a splash to get more funding for more scientific studies, the difference between facts and hearsay is razor thin. John Oliver did a great job pointing this out on the previous season of Last Week Tonight.
Around the same time I first saw the above video, I also saw an alarming headline about medical error being the third leading cause of death in America.
It grabbed my attention, how could it not?
I sat down to write an article about it at a later date and when I went to look the article up, there was already a story challenging the study as being sensationalism over scientific. Science is not content in need of marketing, it is light in need of spreading.
However, scientific studies have had their credibility leveraged as a tool to confuse and persuade rather than educate and enlighten. Our silence and gullibility makes us culpable in this practice becoming not just commonplace but foundational in creating content for televised news in America. Television was created by product marketers for product marketers. Anything that appears on television, much like anything seen at a pro wrestling event, is for entertainment purposes only.
The problem is that was a memo that never got sent out. It is a course not taught in schools. It is a life lesson many parents don’t think to pass on. So people take what they see on the news as gospel and adjust the way they live their lives accordingly. If disposable science says the third leading cause of death is medical error, I wonder where death via scientific study error ranks.