May 24, 2022Liked by Nat Eliason

Love your articles but I have to say frankly that most are not equipped to read research papers, dig through the sources, and evaluate the quality of a journal. Most papers in medicine and science are highly technical and filled with jargon that even degree holders struggle to understand. Not to mention that they will likely each reference 10-20 other papers as required reading. I get your point that authority figures can and have misused science for their own agendas but most people that read these papers will either not understand the point or worse - misunderstand and misrepresent the data which is dangerous. I come from a chemistry and data analysis background and can tell you that you can interpret/represent data to paint whatever narrative you choose. The strongest papers/interpretations will come with many caveats.

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Yeah, I don't necessarily disagree with that. I think that's why we need better education around reading research, or better standards around presenting it. The question also isn't necessarily whether or not you're as qualified to read and interpret it as a scientist. Rather if you're as capable of reading it as the reporter or politician presenting it.

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I agree and I think both sides have burdens to bear. Academia has to do a MUCH better job of communicating to the laymen. A lot of their research is funded by taxpayer money after all. There's been a movement (albeit slow) in the last decade or so to make scientific articles more laymen friendly but the technical jargon is just too much at times. I wish that scientific journals would include simple videos (like kurzgesagt on YouTube) and be in mostly plain language.

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May 25, 2022·edited May 25, 2022

Absolutely incredible article, Nat. Yours is the first blog I've ever formally subscribed to, and it's because I find the topics you cover so timely, true, and well-reasoned. It's counter-culture in a healthy way, without the super-angry-overly-emotional reactionary responses that are so indicative of both sides of the cultural landscape these days. Kudos to you.

I am with you on many fronts, especially the section where you describe the almost cult-like nature of the "pro-science" movement, and our failure to recognize Faith and Science as a spectrum in a way, or, dare I propose, collaborators? In order to have space to do one, you have to have the other. Not to get all hyper-religious or anything, but sometimes I wonder if our collective rejection of religion has thrown the baby out with the bathwater, in a sense, and now we won't touch the idea of faith with a ten foot pole, even in a non-religious way. I wonder how much better the world would be if we each recognized that we each operate on this spectrum and have to accept certain things on what you call "justified true belief", and realize that our justifications do, by our nature, vary?

I will be coming back to this article again and again to consider some of the things you've posited here. Good stuff.

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I was just pondering the issue around people wanting to convince us of their opinion and how easily we swallow it depending on how it's conveyed.

This is some really fun data on hospitality which one guy explains according to his view of Norse history and then a bunch of other interpretations some also with nice compelling data on things like sunlight hours or islamic prevalence or alcoholism


Only 100 comments down does someone ask where the data came from.

Most just seem to agree with the theory that seems the funniest or aligns to their world view...

This article really hit a spot. Simply LOVE the whole direction of Infinite Play.

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