On the Public's Confidence in Science

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Our national broadcaster is today running a feature article asking whether journalists should "stop writing about food studies and end the noisy battle between headlines claiming that coffee or alcohol or some other common nutrient will save us or kill us."

Do the wise minds at CBC News not know what kind of minefield they have just wandered into?

According to University of North Carolina researcher Noah Haber, who is cited extensively in today's piece, when it comes to scientific studies that correlate various foodstuffs and people's consumption habits, there are "many examples of weak evidence and overstated language in both the original studies and in the widely shared news stories." It's so bad, says Haber, that "the often conflicting results are eroding the public's confidence in science."

The problem is grave indeed, but the solution is both elegant and obvious.

Determine a consensus position, and banish scientists who challenge it as deniers.