Wednesday, January 22, 2020

So Much Confusion...

Recently I've been amused with how much contradictory information we are constantly bombarded
with. There is more information available now than at any time in the history of the world but sometimes the more I study a subject the more confused or even manipulated I feel. One area we regularly see this is in the world of politics as different sides of the isle share their propaganda and try to discredit their opponents. We see many biased news reports and editorials as well as claims of "fake news". Social media has only amplified this problem with trolls, memes, and keyboard warriors  stirring up controversy and sharing their opinion as if it was absolute truth. It's hard to know what to believe anymore. Don't worry, I'm done talking about politics.

Another area where I've noticed inconsistencies is in the medical field and health and fitness industry. It's interesting to see how things change over time. Bloodletting was a common practice to cure disease several hundred years ago. In the 50's there were smoking ads endorsed by physicians. I even remember as a kid in the 70's seeing health spas featuring machines with vibrating belts to melt away fat from your hips and stomach. In the 80's our country went on an anti-fat crusade and adopted grains and cereals as the foundation of our foods. As a result, obesity increased and today those same carbs are currently the villain when it comes to weight gain. The USDA food pyramid has evolved over time so was that due to new findings, lobbyist food groups, or mutations in the human population?

Every so often aspirin, chocolate, salt, wine, and egg yolks are bad for you and then a few years later we are told they are good for us. We were told to eat more small meals throughout the day and that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Now we are told intermittent fasting is better for us and you really only need 2 meals. Much of the confusion lies with media outlets sharing these new findings for the sake of getting our attention with quick sound bites but frequently many of the studies they report are incomplete or not scientifically sound.

I understand that a good portion of the confusion we encounter comes from scammers, quacks, and deceptive salespeople who will always promote half truths and even outright lies in order to sell their miracle pill or ineffective products to the masses. What is even more frustrating is when even scientists and authorities on a particular subject sometimes argue with each other when they disagree and point to studies and experimentation that proves their point. It seems that many scientific studies can be spun to prove a person's position on a particular subject. Sometimes trying to find the truth can be like looking for a needle in a haystack since there is so much conflicting and confusing misinformation you have to sift through.

I live in Ghana and we have an non-profit that promotes literacy. We recently got a large shipment of books donated from the US. While I was looking through several of the boxes containing medical and health and fitness books that had been written over a 40 year span I noticed something interesting. Many of these were popular or best selling books when they were first published but I noticed that quite a few of them were written by authors who were either later discredited or proven wrong for some of their theories and teachings.

I'm not super excited to hand out books that promote principles that are now questionable or ideas that are 30 years behind when it comes to the latest scientific findings. The truth should not change every 10 years like clothing styles or music trends. Truth should be constant. Sometimes I feel like despite our technological advances and abundance of information, I am still living in the dark ages relying on rumors, misinformation, and superstition. Luckily, you can have the peace of mind knowing that everything you read here at Chaka's World is 100% accurate and true, with the exception of most of my posts.