Generic Article About Disagreeing With Science With Opinions And Anecdotes.

An angry cat because I am angry and people like cats with facial expressions.

An angry cat because I am angry and people like cats with facial expressions.

When I first heard about the science in question I was sitting in my pyjamas, hoping that someone would say something that I disagreed with so that I could complain about it in a public forum. I like doing this and it’s a realistic image which makes you believe me and the rest of what I have to say. Someone disagreed with me fairly quickly as what I had chosen to believe about this area of science wasn’t quite right but was commonly researched and talked about. So it wasn’t long before I was casting my pyjamas aside.  After an embarrassing number of minutes stood at a window contemplating what I’m going to assure you is slightly evidenced based fury, I remembered that I didn’t need to cast my pyjamas aside to attempt to write a generic, anecdotal science piece. Don’t worry too much at the evidence though. It’s so “wrong” I’ll treat it as a humorous thing. The things I’m about to say will appeal to a template of certain group that agrees with me for political reasons. In fact really this is an opinion piece masquerading as a science piece but we’ll pretend otherwise so you more readily believe me and less likely to think that I’m pretentious, smug and bitter.

You’ll have heard of the survey, research, inspirational Facebook picture and The Daily Mail article in question because it was on the Twitter and I needed to get my article down quickly before my rage subsided and a desire for accuracy overtook me. What the research pointed out that what I previously believed about this area was science wasn’t quite right. I instantly mistrusted it because of the person that reported it and because of the numbers that they used. I had never heard of the person before which is suspicious to me despite there being quite a few scientists and I have never heard of a large percentage of them. Luckily they are a scientist so I can stereotype them as a typical scientist or point out that they don’t conform to my stereotype of a typical scientist. The numbers used were entirely the wrong sort and had obviously been worn out through all that heartless using them to describe evidence. Luckily a lot of people don’t trust numbers because of complicated counting so I’ll just disregard them or say they mean something else by doing them not quite right. For crying out loud I think I saw a four in there!

I’ve had the stuff that the research is talking about happen to me and to a relative and to a pet of mine so obviously my experience can apply to everyone else. You can tell this because of the story or anecdote that I have which will make you feel one of the emotions. You can then use this to identify me as an authority from experience and agree with me because chances are you’ll know someone with a similar anecdote. Also maybe something to do with the weather.  All science does is take some evidence and analyse it in a way that can statistically be applied to the population or area they studied. This means that it will apply on average but there will be some people or areas it doesn’t apply to and some people or areas it does. Hopefully the stuff it does apply to will be more common than the stuff it doesn’t. This is obviously unreasonable and often involves words like “mean” which can describe something mathematical but can also refer to not being very nice. That fact proves that the scientist saying these things is not being very nice. I am furious with rage that they would say these things about something I’ve misunderstood and about something that doesn’t quite apply to me because of complex circumstances. Why do scientists have to be so median?!

Now it’s time for me to quote some different science which supports my idea. This will be easy because science is complex and the analysis of its results difficult so it’s likely there are some results or some discussion that agrees with me and what I’ve been saying. I can use the science correctly so that if you thought I was misrepresenting it up until now you’ll think “actually that bit is right so maybe the rest of it is”. Then I’ll say, “yes” and you’ll say, “how are you reading the thoughts of a fictional person invented to agree with your increasingly bitter and smug point?” I’ll say something about bacon to show it’s a joke and in a misguided attempt to make people think this is witty. As you can see there is some science that agrees with me. Whether it’s because it agrees with me because it actually does or because I’ve misunderstood or misrepresented a number or a word which means something else in everyday language to its scientific definition I don’t know. You can see it definitely has the flavour of science and therefore makes my overall point correct. There is definitely an art to this kind of pseudoscience which is described much better in a piece by psychologist, Dr Pete Etchells which in a way inspired this one.

Now I’m not saying that everyone who disagrees with what I’m saying is wrong. That would be foolish and would contradict the paragraph that I am writing to make myself seem reasonable. My reasonableness and logic from everyday life now stands in opposition to the results that I disagree with and the people that produced them. I know there will be people that the results might apply to and good luck to them. However there won’t be many of them and they’re probably wrong but fingers crossed that they don’t notice when they are being patronised. The sentences throughout this piece have been quite long and some have been quite complicated so that might help in obscuring the exact meaning with shorter sentences to get across the general tone. The tone is that I am right.

Overall though you can see that my definite real experience that happened means that what I have to say against the evidence that I disagree with is nicer. This is probably the same as being right. If it isn’t nicer then I’ll probably just say that it’s more realistic and if you disagree with me you’re a daydreamer. You know you can distrust the numbers I don’t like from the person I don’t like because I’ve told you I don’t like them. You also know there’s other science that might agree with me. Don’t look it up whatever you do! Ultimately I’m a reasonable person because I told you I am in a paragraph. Whatever the point is about the science I disagree with I will now entirely win you over with this joke or comment that refers back to my opening paragraph or anecdote and which broadly reinforces my point. And also James Delingpole, Melanie Phillips and some Twitter outrage was there.

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4 thoughts on “Generic Article About Disagreeing With Science With Opinions And Anecdotes.

    • Thanks very much. I think you still need to justify the science you use to argue rather than just shout “science” which often seems to be the case. Definitely tricky.

  1. I found this to be tremendously amusing. I want to show it to certain members of my family, who will remain nameless, because this is their general reaction to any medical advice they receive from their doctor but which they “feel” is incorrect, and then site as their evidence, that one story of their neighbor’s nephew.

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