Let’s take another type of BS I’ve heard of late. Statistics. For example, on someone’s Facebook status recently, they said:
“Dr. Oz says that 200+ orgasms a year leads to 15-20 added years to your life!”
Did you spot it? He really did mention the 200 orgasms, but 15-20 years? Really? If it sounds outlandish, it probably is. What he really said was:
“If you have more than 200 orgasms a year, you can reduce your physiologic age by six years.” (Source)
But, here’s the kicker, your BS detector should have gone off again. This one’s not so simple, however.
There is a new health fad out currently, called RealAge, whose website is created and maintained by the Hearst Corporation. And currently, the home page has an image of Dr. Oz and the “co-founder” of RealAge giving the thumbs up with a huge smile on their faces. Their claim is that scientific studies affirm this idea of Physiologic Age, and that there are ways of decreasing it.
This brings me to my next tips for good BS Detection:
- Anything that can be affirmed by common sense does not need expensive scientific studies to affirm. Common sense will tell you that living a healthy lifestyle is improved by eating a healthy diet and exercising. This “physiologic age,” most likely is an indicator of health. But it is nothing more than an indicator. How do I make my physiologic age lower? Eat right, exercise, and apparently have orgasms. Done. Move on people.
- One should be skeptical about any corporation that runs a website that claims to “help you”. They are in the business of making money, and due to factor number one as above, take the advice they give out for free and move on with your life.
Dr. Oz’s quote was based on a Duke University study. For the life of me, I cannot find this study. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, but I don’t believe any “scientific study” unless I can read it.
I should tell you about any “study” that claims to be “scientific”.
The world of true science is a public one. Mere mortals like you and me have access to these studies through scientific journals. I don’t give any credence to scientific studies that are (a) extremely difficult to find on the internet, and/or (b) have not been rigorously peer reviewed.
In fact, you should be skeptical of any media outlet that covers a “new scientific study”. The key word is “new”. “New” scientific studies have not been peer reviewed by the scientific community.
The problem is, there is no rule that any cockamamie “scientist” can’t release their “findings” to the public without it being peer reviewed. That’s when the media gets a hold of it, and by the time the study is debunked, does the media do the responsible thing and retract it? Nope. They’re off to the next new “scientific study”.
And we wonder why no one trusts scientists.
Why does the media do this? Well, because the media is no longer responsible for journalism, as it’s become diluted by corporations.
I recently read the book True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society. One of the topics mentioned in the book are VNR’s (Video News Releases). VNR’s are “news stories” developed by marketing firms that have subtle advertising (or sometimes, not so subtle). Go to YouTube and type in “Video News Release” and you’ll see countless examples. According to a 2005 Public Notice, the FCC requires a disclosing of the source of the VNR, but for whatever reason, this is not happening in many cases.
Have you ever been watching the News and thought to yourself “How the Hell does this qualify as news?” The most likely answer? VNR’s.
Someone somewhere wants you to buy something. Think for yourself.
And yes, the above sounds conspiratorial, and after reading my first post on BS Detection and Conspiracy Theories, I find that comparing Parts 1 and 2, this one’s dripping with irony.
You can decide for yourself if I am full of BS.