Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sugary Sweetness of Climate Science

FLG really wishes Gary Taubes would take a look at climate change science.   Frankly, FLG doesn't know enough about climate change, guesses the climate is probably changing due to human activity mostly because that's what the experts are saying, but is very concerned about the politicization of the entire topic, in particular of those experts.  

As FLG says over and over, once a person goes from describing phenomena to prescribing an action, they've assigned values.  To return to his favorite example, if FLG says you are wet, that's a objective fact.   Once he hands you a towel, he is saying being dry is better than being wet.  

FLG feels the same way about climate change.  The people studying it are most definitely not disinterested observers.   Almost all of them say something needs to be done.   And it seems that a goodly portion think we need to do something IMMEDIATELY TO AVOID CERTAIN DEATH.   Not exactly the type of thing to create a milieu of disinterested observation.  (In fairness, FLG thinks this is largely unavoidable.  Individuals are very often motivated to become experts in some topic because they want to effect some change -- curing cancer, for example, or heart disease, which is what largely led nutrition and public health astray according to Taubes -- so this isn't just a climate change example.)  

In any case, if you replace "public health" with "climate science" in Gary's talk, 1:53 mark until around the 30 minute mark, the discussion describes what concerns FLG about climate science:

4 comments:

Andrew Stevens said...

You should read this, by the way. Taubes has done good work in the past, but I believe he is now lost to Cranksville.

His general theory of science is largely correct, but he could not avoid becoming a clear example of it himself.

FLG said...

I've read the Guyenet reply.

I don't know if it's SCIENCE, but my observation is that most of the scientific rebuttals seem to focus on the trees and miss the forest. For most people, cutting high glycemic carbs seems to make them lose the most weight, even when ad libitum compared to calorie restricted. So, many of the rebuttals to Taubes appear to me akin to saying the Sun doesn't shine during the day because of eclipses. For the majority of cases, true but in certain circumstances not true. Therefore, never true. Which isn't correct.

But, again, I'm not an expert. I could be wrong. Taubes could be wrong. I do like his explanation about science, even if he can't, himself, live up to it.

FLG said...

Want to follow-up on my previous comment, if you mean by Cranksville -- Taubes more or less blaming every disease related to civilization, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc, on sugar, I do think that's starting to get into Cranksville.

Andrew Stevens said...

I think the reason why carb restriction works is because if you restrict anybody to two aisles in the grocery store, regardless of which two, they're going to take in fewer calories. I don't think there's any strong evidence that there's anything more to it than that. I.e. I do believe that conventional wisdom, that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie is still correct. I am positive that caloric restriction with no regard to the source of the calories absolutely does work to lose weight. (On the other hand, the theory of set points and why it's so hard to keep the weight off was a very important contribution.)

Naturally, of course, I could be wrong as well. As Taubes himself has pointed out among many others, health science is incredibly fraught and we don't really know very much at all.

 
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