When Scientists Lie

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      Dr Robyn

      The story about the Cornell professor who has been forced to resign because he fabricated “science” to get published (http://time.com/5402927/brian-wansink-cornell-resigned/) hit me really hard. One of the things I pride myself on is reading science with an eye for the details. Are the methods they used likely to find an unbiased answer? Did they go in looking for and finding only what they wanted? Was their sample size reasonable? Did they give me enough information to be able to really understand what they did? But none of that matters if the scientist lies. I can’t “catch” that.

      Fortunately Wansink’s work wasn’t in the nutrition space so this doesn’t change what we know about the whole-food plant-based way of eating. But what it does tell us is how easy it is to “trick” the system. We need to be vigilant and skeptical about science that seems too good to be true (ie bacon is good for you) and look for findings to be repeated by multiple researchers in multiple ways. Fortunately we have that with WFPB research.

      Finally, we must forgive ourselves for being lied to. Sometimes as the person who believed the lie we feel gullible, like we somehow should have known it was a lie. It is NEVER your fault for believing a lie. It is the fault of the person telling it. That is why I am intolerant of practical jokes or “funny” lies or “I was just joking.” Either I can trust you 100% of the time or I cannot trust you ever. There is no middle ground.

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