Scientists Reveal What They Wish Society Would Better Understand[rebelmouse-image 18359569 is_animated_gif=
It's no secret that scientific literacy is on the decline in the United States, and this has resulted in many people failing to grasp some really basic concepts, like what peer reviewed studies are. Or how statistics work. Or that the Earth is round and goes around the Sun. We need to ramp up science education so we can have a brighter future. Our survival depends on it.
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
Papers that are peer-reviewed are more credible than one-off reports.[rebelmouse-image 18359570 is_animated_gif=
Just because it's a paper it doesn't mean it's credible. The idea behind peer reviewed articles vs non. Along with small sample size studies are generally not a good representation of the entire population.
Anecdotes are not evidence of anything because personal experience can't be replicated.[rebelmouse-image 18359571 is_animated_gif=
Averages and Sample Size.
So we can get rid of anecdotal evidence, as often seen in the media.
This makes sense, which in science is not usually necessary.[rebelmouse-image 18359572 is_animated_gif=
99% of all accidents happen close to home. BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE YOU ARE MOST OF THE TIME.
We learned this in what, fourth grade?[rebelmouse-image 18359573 is_animated_gif=
Also the difference between mean, median and mode.
Read beyond the headlines, especially for science reported in the media.[rebelmouse-image 18359575 is_animated_gif=
When mainstream media reports something like "a new study shows that...." the conclusion is either exaggerated or taken out of context to make the news article more attractive.
Scientific discovery leading to understanding is not a quick process.[rebelmouse-image 18359576 is_animated_gif=
How long the scientific process actually takes and is accepted by our peers.
I dreamt it would rain, and it rained. Therefore it rained because I dreamt it. NO.[rebelmouse-image 18359577 is_animated_gif=
The difference between causation and correlation.
A scientific theory is supported by evidence and accepted as fact - like evolution, or gravity, and heliocentrism.[rebelmouse-image 18359578 is_animated_gif=
The word "theory". It doesn't mean the same thing colloquially as it does in science. A scientific theory has an overwhelming amount of evidence to support it.
This.[rebelmouse-image 18359579 is_animated_gif=
Antibiotics and antibiotic resistance. A lot of people are under the impression they're a magical pill that will cure a lot of symptoms or diseases, when they are only effective against a handful of bacterial infections. Which means your common cold or flu are not treatable with them. So demanding your doctor to give you unnecessary antibiotics when you're sick is unhelpful and possibly even dangerous, as it may lead to increases in antibiotic resistance. This could make the most basic drugs we have completely useless, and return to a Victorian era of common infections leading to death.
This ties into anecdote not counting as evidence for or against anything.[rebelmouse-image 18347126 is_animated_gif=
Sometimes changes are significant. Sometimes they're just random noise. Differentiating between the two is VERY important. See: "Global warming is a hoax cause it was cold yesterday"
Science is a diverse field and not all disciplines are interrelated.[rebelmouse-image 18359580 is_animated_gif=
One that bugs me is that science!=engineering. An astronomer does not build rockets. An aerospace engineer doesn't study expansion of the universe. Both are awesome but they are fundamentally different.
Inertia is real.[rebelmouse-image 18354333 is_animated_gif=
An object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
So remember to wear your seatbelt and drive safely.
GMOs are safe. GMOs are safe. GMOs are safe.[rebelmouse-image 18352527 is_animated_gif=
Genetically modified foods, it is not what you think.
Darwinian evolution explains our physiology. Cultural evolution explains our psychology. Both are real and quantifiable.[rebelmouse-image 18359581 is_animated_gif=
I get a lot of heat when I say this here for some reason, but as an evolutionary biologist with a background in anthropology, I wish people understood that almost all of the behaviors we see in humans around us are due to cultural evolution and not biological evolution.
Cultural evolution is so much faster than biological evolution that these traits we see never had time to develop biologically or to be "hard wired" in. Also, people far too often think that what they see in their culture around them is a universal. One thing I learned as an anthropologist is that for everything we find desirable or natural, another culture finds repulsive or taboo (or vice versa). People are always saying things like, "we do XYZ because back when we were cave men you needed to do it to survive being eaten by a tiger/get more mates" or some such.
Physics explains the how, not the why. At least, for now.[rebelmouse-image 18359582 is_animated_gif=
Physics doesnt know why most things work, we just know that they do work, and we work backwards from what we observe.
Also just because we have small computers does not mean the rest of science is at Star Trek levels.
There is no absolute certainty in science.[rebelmouse-image 18359583 is_animated_gif=
Scientists are the type of person who do not like saying they're 100% certain of anything (we've been hurt too many times before). So if a scientist says "I'm 99.9% sure it will work," another scientist hears "this is worth betting on working, but we live in a universe where there's always a chance of failure." But a non-scientist hears "this isn't something that's absolutely proven and therefore isn't always true."
For example, there has never been a recorded instance of someone becoming infected with HIV while properly taking Truvada (to my knowledge). But still, any advertisement for it says that it has a 99.9% chance success rate.
Though the takeaway here isn't just to round up and consider a 99.9=100. The takeaway is to realize that it's very hard to be 100% certain about anything, and to understand that
It's been proven as fact, time and again, yet people still deny it. It's not even that hard to grasp.[rebelmouse-image 18359584 is_animated_gif=
Science is based on evidence, not opinion or belief.[rebelmouse-image 18359585 is_animated_gif=
Applied scientist here (engineer).
Science is NOT a belief system. Attempting to dismiss something studied and supported using science by saying "well, I just believe something different. How can you expect me to respect your beliefs if you won't respect mine?" isn't valid. Further, science should NEVER set out to prove something is true. It should only find out what is supported by evidence, even if it's contrary to your hypothesis (and possibly desires). Honestly, I wish more scientists respected this.
DNA is the most efficient data storage system known to science.[rebelmouse-image 18359586 is_animated_gif=
Speaking from my little corner of the scientific community, I wish people understood DNA evidence better.
DNA analysis is a fantastic tool! We can detect very minute amounts of DNA, so in some cases we could tell if you've even just touched something. In the past 20 years, the capabilities of analysis have just gotten better and better. You used to need enormous amounts of stain to produce a profile.
This of course has led to DNA evidence being collected for more than just murder. And that's fine -- we're here to catch the perpetrators. (Though it does mean crime labs suffer backlogs as more and more evidence gets sent to us to test.)
The proliferation of the technology and its recent entrenchment in popular culture, however, has led to a courtroom expectation that it will be present in every case, and that there's some sort of failure of legitimacy if it isn't there. They really do call this "the CSI effect," and while it affects the whole forensic community, nowhere is it worse than in DNA.
What DNA can tell you:
- a profile that can be compared to a known standard and a probability of a match can be assigned
What DNA can't tell you:
- how that DNA got there
- when that DNA got there
- whether it's probative to the crime (whether it really means anything)
- whether it means someone is guilty or not
You need more than DNA evidence to convict, and merely having DNA evidence is not indicative of guilt! It needs to be considered as a whole case, not just one piece of evidence.
Please, if you ever get placed on a jury, give your fellow man the proper consideration he's due, and listen to the impartial experts. (Yes, defense lawyers can hire experts to say whatever they want, too, so be careful!)
Listen up, paranoid parents.[rebelmouse-image 18359587 is_animated_gif=
Drugs are expensive so I'm not going to put them in your kids Halloween candy.
That is until they stumble and land on their face.
It turns out what they were resistant to accepting in the first place was accurate all along.
If only they listened.
Curious to hear of other people's growing pains, Redditor TinyUnderstanding948 asked:
"What lesson did you have to learn the hard way?"
You can protect yourself with these reminders.
Leave A Paper Trail
"Any monetary or business agreement needs to be in writing!"
Observing The Fine Print
"Read the contract."
Generally speaking, business relationships and friendships are mutually exclusive.
"Not everyone you work with is your friend."
What Venting Led To
Consumers who were previously taken advantage of have the following advice to pass along.
Splurge On Good Quality
"Buy it nice or buy it twice."
"This is 100% accurate but needs a disclaimer: expensive does not always equate to nice."
The relationships we have with people are complex, but you may want to keep these in mind.
Extending A Lifeline
"You can't have a relationship with someone's potential."
Achieve Mutual Adoration
"Loving someone doesn't mean they will keep loving you."
And when it comes to your health, listen up.
"Drink plenty of water."
"Ended up at the ICU with an IV drip for severe dehydration."
"DRINK YOUR WATER!"
While advice from the people we care about comes from a good place, they are not always appreciated.
At least for me, I've found that picking myself up and dusting myself off was most effective.
That has to come naturally.
"What’s the most out of line thing a doctor has every said to you?"
Not Going Mental
The wrong treatment after a misdiagnosis can be a doctor's serious mistake.
"I was petrified. Went home in tears and absolutely petrified."
"Then my dad took me to his doctor, who took a biopsy."
"It was just a random skin growth and she cut it off then and there."
"Too Young" For Cancer
The "Sad" Pill
It's even more unsettling when someone you entrust your life to crosses a line.
Assessment Or Pick-Up Line?
"Mental health doctor told my daughter, 'You're too pretty to be depressed.'"
A NSFW Observation
Mom To The Rescue
The Gynocologist's Love Advice
The Gyno Who Jumped To Conclusions
Going to the doctor's office for any reason can cause a lot of anxiety.
Hopefully, you're in good hands with a physician who is professional, as well as compassionate.
Growing up, I had zero idea that the food I ate daily was "cultural."
She had to explain it because we were about to eat at a white friend's house for the first time.
"What do you mean there's no rice with the beans? Did they run out? Should we bring some?"
"No, they just don't eat rice and beans."
"So what do they eat with their chicharron de pollo?"
Y'all should have seen my face.
Reddit user remyleboi00 asked:
"Non-Americans, what is the best 'American' food?"
Even as someone born in America, it took a while before I got familiar with American food.
So if it's just not your comfort zone - let Reddit guide you to the can't miss dishes.
"Cajun food. Definitely the most unique American food"
"As an American I 100% agree with you. Cajun food is heaven sent"
They Are Fundesperate housewives eating GIFGiphy
"Curly fries 👌"
"It’s especially good with some pulled pork and caramelized onions mixed in. And some insulin."
"Solid choice. We Americans LOVE cheese."
"No need to apologize. One of our favorites too."
Thankful For Thanksgiving.I Love You Cooking GIF by Bob's BurgersGiphy
"We also get spoiled with your traditional cuisine."
"I usually get a food coma on Thanksgiving"
"Same with the ham or prime rib dinner at Christmas. And all the pies. God I love pumpkin pie."
"I smoke meatloaf, can't go back to oven baked ever again."
"This tread has me wanting to smoke a brisket sooner rather than later."
"Now, pork and chicken, whatever else... Go nuts... Just leave beef alone."
"I had smoked mac and cheese once, it was heavenly."
Risk It Allhungry bart simpson GIFGiphy
The Holy Pudding
"I can’t find someone who’s listed it so"
"That shit is LIFE CHANGING"
"Gotta have the Nilla wafers or it isn't right."
Cornbread!cornbread cooking GIF by emibobGiphy
"A nice warm cornbread muffin with some butter and a little drizzle of honey is amazing."
"Cornbread with a nice bowl of chili is such a nice comfort food."
"And the spicier the chili the nicer the sweet, buttery cornbread is with it."
"Farmer’s market jam is the way."
"It's easily top 3 greatest sandwich ever."
As American As It Getspulp fiction breakfast GIF by MIRAMAXGiphy
"Took them to my favorite little spot, they loved the waitress filling up their cups unprompted."
Now that youve heard Reddit, it's my turn.
I was 22 before I had meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
FAM. Fam. Faaaaaaaaaaam.
Keep your greasy pizza, amateurs. It's potato time over here.
"How does someone politely end a conversation with a person who won't stop talking?"
Extricate Yourself Immediately
"When they draw a breath, politely say:"
""On that note, I must be on my way.""
Then, simply leave."
Couldn't Get Him To Shut Up
"But some people just need to talk for whatever reason. I need my freaking silence."
Put It In Writing
Put Them (Back) To Work
Taking Care Of Each Other
Talk To The Door
Take Your Turn
Create A Deadline
"My entire dad's side of the family are the type that never stop talking."
No Need To Feel Bad