Science or Hash? and ADD ADHD part Two — ADD tip o the Day 432

“There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Mark Twain

With science, what could possibly go wrong?

Correlations: The increased diagnosis in the USA and the price of eggs in China have both been rising at the same rate.  Coincidence??

This is of course silly, but confusion of correlation with cause is prevalent not only among the conspiracy theorists but also among scientists.

If we get enough correlations that actually make sense, like that between smoking and lung cancer, that can constitute circumstantial evidence, and can be pretty convincing, but are not proof.

Poorly done research: poorly designed, or leaping to subjective conclusions beyond the data, or actual fraud.  And then statistics if you have enough variables and keep looking for correlations, you will eventually find some. But what do they mean?

A recent study showed that people who gargle regularly get fewer colds.  OK, so we should all gargle.   Or, could it be, that people who gargle often are health conscious,  and wash their hands more often, eat better diets, take healthy vitamins and supplements, avoid crowds during contagions etc.?

A recent study shocked us by showing that obese people live longer that lean people! Shocking!  But then close reading showed that the lean people in their sample were randomly selected, including for example people with cancer and heavy smokers and anorexics, none of whom were much represented in the obese group – and who tended of course not to live so long.

subjective conclusions, not supported by the data

Scientists studied symptoms of patients with schizophrenia over time, and reported their objective results, and then titled their paper, “Schizophrenia has a poor prognosis.”  Well, that’s very questionable – compared to what, for example.  Or versus studies that followed patients longer and found better outcomes.  They leapt from their objective data to their subjective conclusion and title.

So science is obviously imperfect, and needs to be scrutinized with skepticism.

But next time, beliefs.


Obviously, it exists.

Obviously, it exists.

About doug with ADHD

I am a psychiatric physician. I learned I have ADHD at age 64, and then wrote two ADHD books for adults, focusing on strategies for making your life better. I just published my first novel, Alma Means Soul. Your Life Can Be Better; strategies for adults with ADD/ADHD available at, or (for e books) Living Daily With Adult ADD or ADHD: 365 Tips O the Day ( e-book). This is one tip at a time, one page at a time, at your own pace. It's meant to last a year. As a child, I was a bully. Then there was a transformation. Now I am committed to helping people instead abusing them. The Bully was published in January, 2016. It's in print or e book, on Amazon.
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15 Responses to Science or Hash? and ADD ADHD part Two — ADD tip o the Day 432

  1. mags says:

    I am glad to see the concept of science, or The Scientific Method as a topic of yours. Obviously, potus is the scientifically ignorant gadabout who knows more than anyone! I was initially surprised you brought up some of the failings of even the most rigorous and well-intentioned scientists, though it certainly makes for a well and reasoned discussion of the topic! I find myself so pro-science that I had forgotten some of those pitfalls, preferring to focus on poor scientific methodology, small and poorly chosen sample groups, etc.

    Thank you for a reasoned reminder, while remaining an adherent of ‘Science’! I also very much enjoy your writings, and find you an interesting fellow-ADHD-afflicted person!

    Your picture of what I assume to be Sinagua, or maybe Anasazi cliff dwellings always warms my heart, too.


    Maggie Lais

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. homey –
    yes, i never understand statistics, but i know enough to be wary.


  6. homemakersdaily says:

    I SO agree! Whenever I hear statistics, especially ones that seem unbelievable, I tend not to believe them without the details. You can make statistics support anything you want it to.


  7. busydarling says:

    Lovely! Haha. Good to know that healthy obese people live longer than anorexics… lol.


  8. Good points and well made.


  9. glenhogard says:

    Your unknown commentator is Samuel Clemens, otherwise known as Mark Twian (lies,damn lies, and statistics)


  10. Pingback: Science or Hash? and ADD ADHD part Two — ADD tip o the Day 432 | ADDadultstrategies

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