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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

No Benefit From Parachutes, Study Shows

*beeeeeeeeeep* "We interrupt tonight's regularly scheduled programming for a very special breaking news report from our Senior Social Skeptic Correspondent, Fara Faelle."

I offer straight talk on science, medicine, health and vaccines.

"Good evening, Fara Faelle reporting for Forbes. A new study from the University of Bullschvitz has reviewed the existing medical literature on parachutes as an effective intervention to prevent major trauma related to gravitational challenge. Researchers were unable to identify any randomized control trials. Therefore there is no evidence that parachutes do any good to prevent people from going splat when they fall out of planes. Since there isn't enough evidence to draw any conclusions, all observational data must be relegated to the Land of Mere Anecdote. We all know correlation is not causation, therefore no further study is warranted. Parachutes are clearly quack therapies. Save your money, and don't even attempt to try this snake oil scam."

Does this sound illogical to you? That's because I'm using an example of something that is easily observable - parachutes either work or they don't. No randomized, double-blind, placebo control trials needed.

It's not always so clear cut with other interventions, and this is where Social Skeptics will use sciencey sounding language to push an agenda and squash further inquiry into areas they don't like. "There's no evidence that _______" Or my favorite, "There's no credible evidence to show ________"

Many times just doing a cursory search of the scientific literature will reveal that there is indeed evidence, sometimes quite a bit, and that using the qualifier 'credible' is just another attempt at stifling information one does not like. But even when there truly has not yet been any formal investigation, SSkeptics will still make claims based on this lack of evidence - despite this being totally unscientific. When there exists only observational evidence on a topic the ethical skeptic takes a neutral position on the matter and awaits more research. This mindset is known as epoché - a Greek word that means suspension of judgement.

Fake skeptics view observational evidence as something to be dismissed, not as it should be, a call for more formal investigation and experimental research. Not everything we observe will turn out to be correct, but breakthrough research has resulted from investigating areas where we thought nothing was to be found. Imagine the things we would be missing if we routinely dismissed observations as mere anecdote? Imagine the things we are missing.

SSkeptic logic is once again found to be fallacious and not rooted in reason or the correct application of the scientific method. Stating that there is 'no evidence' falls under Wittgenstein sinnlos as it "is correct at face value but disinformative or is otherwise useless." Beware of anyone claiming to 'communicate science' who engages in this type of evidence sculpting and lying through facts.

Nooooo Evideeeeeeeencccccccce!

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