Saturday, July 17, 2010

Minger Responds to Campbell

Hot off the presses: Dr. Colin Campbell's response to Denise Minger's China Study posts, and Minger's retort:

A Challenge and Response to the China Study

The China Study: My Response to Campbell

This is required reading for anyone who wants to evaluate Dr. Campbell's claims about the China Study data. Denise points out that Dr. Campbell's claims rest mostly on uncorrected associations, which is exactly what he was accusing Minger, Chris Masterjohn and Anthony Colpo of doing. He also appears to have selectively reported data that support his philosophy, and ignored data that didn't, even when the latter were stronger. This is true both in Dr. Campbell's book, and in his peer-reviewed papers. This type of thing is actually pretty common in the diet-health literature.

I respect everyone's food choices, whether they're omnivores, carnivores, or raw vegans, as long as they're doing it in a way that's thoughtful toward other people, animals and the environment. I'm sure there are plenty of vegans out there who are doing it gracefully, not spamming non-vegan blogs with arrogant comments.

As human beings, we're blessed and cursed with an ego, which is basically a self-esteem and self-image reinforcement machine. Since being wrong hurts our self-esteem and self-image, the ego makes us think we're right about more than we actually are. That can take the form of elaborate justifications, and the more intelligent the person, the more elaborate the justifications. An economic policy that makes you richer becomes the best way to improve everyone's bottom line. A dietary philosophy that was embraced for humane reasons becomes the path to optimum health... such is the human mind. Science is basically an attempt to remove as much of this psychic distortion as possible from an investigation. Ultimately, the scientific method requires rigorous and vigilant stewardship to achieve what it was designed to do.

1 comment:

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