More things we want to believe but just aren’t true

Posted by on Jan 29, 2008 in Uncategorized | One Comment

Ssri2 Pic and explanatory key at

There are lots of things we want to believe (partly at least because they fit our pre-existing shared ideas but just aren’t true.

One topical example cited here by the scourge of bad science, Ben Goldacre, who writes for the Guardian newspaper under the handle, Badscience, is the Seratonin problems cause Depression opinion. Read on to see how we do our best to avoid the evidence and distort the argument.

Another thought that strikes me here is this: maybe it’s not just a lot of individuals defending an idea they have individually committed to; maybe it’s the group which shares the idea that’s being defended.

What if the data was irrelevant because the idea itself is irrelevant? If what matters is the group’s interest….

1 Comment

  1. Britt Raybould
    January 29, 2008

    Data isn’t dangerous by itself. Usually it takes people to twist it to ideas and causes. Then, after a group has built its reputation on a particular idea, suddenly it becomes less about the validity of the idea or the data and more about the validity of the group.
    I wonder about the application of this concept for unions. For example, unions equally protect and advocate for both the good and the bad workers, focusing on the bigger idea of the union, equal pay and protection for all. However, the taint of the bad overshadows the work of the good, undermining the actual idea of the union. But the players involved are so committed to the original idea that there ignoring the consequences of the group’s original goals.