Chris's relationship to science, Volume 2.

I do love science. But the science I love is an abstract thing, and when people try to do it, we introduce government and corporate funding and personal bias. The way science works is you find results which get recreated and confirmed even by people whose interests conflict with yours. All the biases balance, and out of the whole mess falls the best scientific truth of the moment. I don't actually believe that science as an enterprise has limits; but I'm quite convinced that our science, right now, has limits. There are things we can't test, things we don't have the technology to measure or understand.

The bad science surrounding nutrition and health hosts my favorite examples of how people fail the potential of science. This long New York Times article from 2002, "What If It's All Been A Big Fat Lie?", should be loaded with enough stories to make you look very critically at claims about food and nutrition:

What's more, the number of misconceptions propagated about the most basic research can be staggering. Researchers will be suitably scientific describing the limitations of their own experiments, and then will cite something as gospel truth because they read it in a magazine. The classic example is the statement heard repeatedly that 95 percent of all dieters never lose weight, and 95 percent of those who do will not keep it off. This will be correctly attributed to the University of Pennsylvania psychiatrist Albert Stunkard, but it will go unmentioned that this statement is based on 100 patients who passed through Stunkard's obesity clinic during the Eisenhower administration.
And that's an honest characterization of the kinds of research underlying the government and medical establishment's recommendations of what we should eat. Michael Pollan has a remarkable article (shorter than the other one) about how we got to where we are, and what's wrong with it.

Compared to all that, eating according to the mystical visions had by gurus thousands of years ago actually seems pretty reasonable. At the very least, it works. Freakily well.

I crunched my right shoulder a little bit during camp, and I've been having a referred pain on the skin down toward the elbow, and some occasional tingling in the hand. Pretty wacky, but I know it's in my shoulder, and I can sometimes feel the pinched nerve down the length of my arm, and it responds to loosening my shoulder muscles, so it's fixable. At least it doesn't hurt as much as it could (feels like someone is pushing a large hot needle into my arm, but it's not crippling, which referred pain is for some people).

By the way, go watch Jesus Camp. It's really, really good as a film, and absolutely remarkable in its content.