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  • amy

    Excellent post :) I never understood why so many students hated EBM – It was always one of my favourite courses at uni. I also find people are too easily convinced of a position because it’s what they’ve been told (there’s little subsequent engagement on their part). Like, someone would watch Zeitgeist and suddenly be 100% sure that 9/11 was a conspiracy (they don’t question the authority of the interviewees and they don’t engage with common sense). I’m totally going to quote you on the agnosticism part :)

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  • Skeptical

    You wrote:

    “I then choose the orthodox side, simply because that gamble
    has usually been the correct one on matters of science”

    I don’t know what you mean by “usually”, but “orthodox” science
    is wrong a lot. See for example,

    Publish and be wrong

    I do think the scientific method is the best way to discover
    what is true or not, but agnosticism (skepticism?) is required
    there too. For example, in just the recent past the accepted
    orthodoxy concerning the effectiveness of antidepressant drugs
    (and the science behind them) and the health benefits/dangers
    of taking vitamin E have been called into question.

    Also your comments:

    “But despite being agnostic on this issue, it’s still possible
    to believe that one side of the argument is superior to the other.”

    reminds me of the relatively new “Argumentative Theory of Reasoning”:


    There are many limitations on people’s ability to reason accurately.
    That is why we need the checks and balances of scientific experiments
    and although (since people are involved) they have limitations too,
    there doesn’t seem to be a better way. At the very least it’s
    important to read/listen to people on both sides of any argument
    and not just those you tend to agree with.

  • jr

    Please change “thing” to “think” in the last sentence in the third paragraph from the end.

    • http://synapses.co.za Jacques Rousseau

      Thanks, typo corrected.

  • aka_ces

    Is it not the case that the official story is also a conspiracy theory ?

    • http://synapses.co.za Jacques Rousseau

      It’s certainly a story that involves a conspiracy, but that’s not typically considered equivalent to a “conspiracy theory”.

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