Every day we’re bombarded with new scientific studies that give us new information about our health and well being. But have you noticed that some of the studies you hear about in the news seem a little… crazy? Particularly studies that tell you things like having a glass of red wine every day is as good for you as an hour at the gym? John Oliver sure has and he’s put together a great new segment explaining why there are so many absolutely stupid scientific studies floating around these days.
Among other things, Oliver notes that many of these well publicized studies seem to constantly contradict one another.
“In just the last few months, we’ve seen studies about coffee that it may reverse the effects of liver damage, help prevent colon cancer, decrease the risk of endometrial cancer, and increase the risk of miscarriage,” Oliver says. “Coffee today is like God in the Old Testament — it will either save you or kill you depending on how much you believe in its magic powers.”
So why do we keep seeing these studies in the news? Oliver explains that not all studies are created equally and a lot of them appear in less-than-prestigious journals. He also explains how a lot of scientists try to make eye-catching studies by engaging in a practice called “P-hacking,” which involves discovering a statistically significant correlation between two variables that nonetheless likely doesn’t mean anything. Oliver also says that scientists rarely do replication studies anymore to try to disprove other scientists’ work.
The whole segment is very informative and worth checking out — watch it below.