The skeptic

One of the dangers that the internet can pose for all users is that information can be posted as fact with little critical review or peer assessment.

My wife recently came back from a two week experience at a health retreat, where she lived off a raw food diet that was meat and alcohol free. Now on a sugar free, caffeine free diet I have found my kitchen has lost all the candy, chocolate and fruit I had in the past enjoyed.

She has also told of fantastic things I should be doing. For example I should no longer take omega 3 supplements  from fish oil but instead from the Chia seed.  I also have to eat Mila ‘ the ancient superfood of the Aztecs rediscovered’.

And then she emailed the following

Now I understand that much of what she has experienced / learnt  can lead to a healthier lifestyle and does benefit many of those with a variety of forms of cancer, diabetes, MS etc. My only gripe was that she was not able to give scientific backing to many of her claims. She got a little defensive when I tried to be critical of the claims she spoke off.

As a teaching tool perhaps ask your students to take an article from the above website and investigate and substantiate the claims made. It would promote a greater critical eye on the web.

Take a look…

[also check out an excellent website that looks closely at claims made and dressed as scientific]


  • Laura
    August 7, 2010

    I am interested in the skepticism you have expressed about this diet. It links nicely with the current media hype (and academic criticism) around the ‘caveman diet’. Biology teachers might be interested in a pod cast recently recommended to IB anthropology teachers – In this interview, biologist Marlene Zuk expresses doubts about diets that are based on our existence as homo sapiens in a previous era. Interestingly, her criticism lacks solid scientific backing.
    – Laura

    • Stephen
      August 31, 2010

      Thanks for expanding on the blog with an interesting extension. The whole concept of the diet has led to interesting conversations in the house that has now progressed to synthetic vs natural vitamins (which can also be bought in pill form).

      I am right now a little bemused.

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