Friday, May 24, 2013

Shades of Grey and the Risky Oversimplification of Science for Public Health

The political mantra on public-health advice is clear: don’t send mixed messages. The media and those who get their information from the media prefer things in black and white: red wine is good for you; chocolate is bad for you. But, of course, science does not deal in black and white, hence the common criticism that scientists cannot make up their minds. One week, one group argues that extreme exercise is positive for health; the next week, a different set of researchers says the opposite. Scientists like to believe that they can operate in shades of grey. But simple messages and themes are seductive. more

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