Christopher Pratt (cpratt) wrote,
Christopher Pratt
cpratt

The power of critical thinking.

Well, I'm probably going to experience a public tarring and feathering for this one, but here goes.

I'm really getting exasperated by other people telling me things that they obviously believe to be true, but which they do not seem to be able to back up with well argued critical thinking.

For example, the Queensland newspaper had an article about an McDonald's advert published in a French magazine (that exhorted readers not to eat at McDonald's more than once a week because a healthy diet is important). It closed with a quote from an Aussie nutritionist who claimed that McDonald's hamburgers have "twice as much fat" as an Aussie hamburger.

Um, yeah.

Would someone please explain how hamburger can have different fat content based on whether or not it was cooked by an American chain? Surely your average Aussie hotel isn't using extra low fat ground beef? From what I've seen, the average Aussie burger is much larger than a McDonald's hamburger, even a Big Mac, and has other stuff on it that certainly can't help nutritionally (bacon and a fried egg, for example).

Now, moving into the more personal muck here, I've even heard that Seumas [beardoc] has suggested that Aussie burgers are healthy. Now, that's strictly hearsay, so I'll let it rest at that, but I find it hard to believe that a doctor would even briefly consider that to be the case.

Moving on, what's really been bothering me lately is Iain [mathan] and his repeated suggestion, repeated in person and here on lj, that body mass index [BMI] is "not really a good system", that it's "not good", etc. I don't know Iain very well, but I don't think he read nutrition at uni or works in the field. Every time he's made this suggestion, it hasn't been backed up by an argument, but rather simply repeated as received knowledge from some unspecified source. Now, I'm partly at fault here because I've been too polite to press him for his background info, but I suppose you can read this is a public request for same. [I've also heard him repeatedly suggest that carbohydrates are bad in and of themselves, which I don't recall as having ever been mentioned in either the coursework I did at community college, or by any literature I've ever seen at a public health agency or in a medical office, but that's another story.]

So. I guess my questions are these:

- Why is it that most people, media included, no longer feel the need to back up their statements with reasoning as to how they arrived at their conclusions?
- How does one tactfully ask friends to back up their statements with well reasoned arguments?
- Could you talk about concepts such as "carb junkies" as being a kind of modern folklore?
- Has the Internet exacerbated the problem of people claiming things to be true just because they read it on a Web site somewhere?

Disclaimer: No disrespect is meant to Seumas or Iain, who are generally pretty damned nice guys.
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  • It's July 2013.

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  • It's July 2013.

    Remember when I wrote a lot on LiveJournal? Yeah, me neither.

  • Steve

    I'm not surprised by Jobs' death, and of course my inner cynic wants to blame homeopathy or whatever the hell it was he was into; an anecdote that…

  • Wein Keller

    It took ten days to clear Canadian customs and make it to San Diego, but Dan just installed the replacement thermostat for our crappy wine cabinet…