How to Read About Health and Science for CrossFit
CrossFit has many devoted followers. Crossfit health, crossfit training, crossfit nutrtion: the CrossFit world seems to teem with experts. Some can get quite dogmatic. There are several ways by which an idea becomes dogma, or an idea becomes “truth.” Sometimes an idea gets picked up and passed around. And gets momentum. And repeated is so often that it becomes true in people’s minds. Because it seems true to so many people it is not questioned. And some people seem to be more vulnerable to dogma than others.
Sometimes a health or science story comes up in the news that catches people’s interest. Often a journalist will pick up on one aspect of a study and not mention other aspects, or limitations, or may misinterpret the conclusions of the study authors. So take a look at the original yourself if you can. Peer-reviewed articles published in highly-ranked journals put out quality work. Sure, its not perfect, but its better than stuff that’s been pulled straight out of someone’s hopeful ass. Getting through peer-review is a rigorous process as exemplified in this video Scientific Peer Review ca. 1945. [embedplusvideo height=”350″ width=”430″ standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/-VRBWLpYCPY?fs=1&hd=1″ vars=”ytid=-VRBWLpYCPY&width=430&height=350&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=1&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=¬es=” id=”ep8516″ /] Here is some simple advice:
- Go find the original publication or read the abstract on PubMed( http://www.pubmed.gov/).
- If that’s too geeky the National Institutes of Health are a great place to get accurate and easy to read information.
- Do not listen to Dr. Oz.
- Question dogma.
If you are wondering “what is dogma anyway?” it is: A principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true. Dogma cannot be changed or put aside without threatening the foundation of the organization or institution that sets it in stone. The problem with dogma is that it cannot change and we are always learning new things. We are also adding to data, improved technology, increasing understanding of how things work. It gets harder and harder to make dogma fit. Ideas should change and grow. The only people who are helped by dogma are those trying to gain and keep control of power, prestige, or wealth. I’m not talking about religion although some can be quite dogmatic. I’m thinking of people who think of something, maybe innocently, and present it as truth. Or of people who state something unknown or unknowable as fact so they can sell you something. They may become very defensive or offensive if you question them. If they are questioned they are faced with the possibility of losing status and wealth. Such people may sincerely believe that what they are saying is true. And that can make them quite convincing. When many people believe something and remain loyal to the idea (because they are loyal to their friends and the “experts” they follow) beliefs turn into dogma. But belief does not make something true.