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How do you choose what to believe?

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by John Austin in Leadership, Safety

How do you tell truth from fiction these days?

How do you choose what to believe? I’m genuinely curious, and won’t judge any responses.

  1. Your beliefs are largely driven by factors in your local environment (who you talk to, what you listen to or read).
  2. People often cite scientific support for their ideas, when the studies in support are poorly done or too few.

Here’s an interesting example of point two that I came across today. Someone published a study in Lancet, a major medical journal, saying that low carb diets lead to shorter lifespans.

However, when you look at the study, you see:

  • It’s correlational, not experimental it was over many years, so this makes sense
  • People would argue about how they defined low carb
  • It did not control for other stuff like smoking and exercise
  • Data collection was self-reported by the subjects
  • It’s just one study

There are MANY, MANY (yeah, I’m shouting) studies in leadership and safety that suffer from most or all of these.

We need to be better consumers of science and practice.

So again, I ask, “How do you tell truth from fiction these days?”

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