Oh, the stuff that comes out in the news everyday. First I read that multivitamins may not have any health benefits, and then I read that vitamin D lowers the risk of heart problems in teenagers. Forgive me for biting the hand of science, but does this apply to Flintstone Vitamins, too?
After years of hearing that coffee is bad for you, now I hear that it may help prevent Alzheimer’s. The sun can cause cancer, yet the sun’s rays can be good for you. Many say that drinking alcohol is hazardous to your health, but others suggest that a glass of red wine clears your arteries. I don’t know what a glass of wine can do, but I can get pretty stoked on a whole bottle, after that, I’ll believe anything.
The guys in the lab coats flip flop on everything. Who knows what’s really going on out here? Who can we trust? Everyday theories and studies that so-called intellectuals were previously certain about, now get smacked down. Science is like my wife: It thinks it knows everything, and is constantly changing its mind.
Everyday I hear about global warming. Some blame it on humans, others attribute it to the earth’s cycles. One day I hear that the polar bear population is declining, the next that there are more polar bears then there were 20 years ago. Enough of the double talk; I need to know what’s really going on with those pesky ice caps. I mean, recently, they stumbled upon an iceberg that they never knew existed, which wouldn’t seem odd, if it weren’t the size of California. Couldn’t their gazillion dollar Hubble telescope spot such a huge glob of ice? One thing for sure, all this so-called science is making my brain melt.
It’s not just scientists that I have a hard time trusting, it’s also economists, and industry and financial execs. Let’s talk dollars and cents, here. Last year I watched the stock market plummet. Many times I thought about pulling my meager life savings out of the market, but no, I continued to listen to “the experts”- renowned economists and Wall Street gurus-who kept saying that we’d reached rock bottom and the worst was behind us. But we’re still tumbling down, down, down, through what feels like a bottomless hole. I mean, I don’t need an analyst to put some 12 ABILITY spin on why people are losing their jobs, their houses and their life savings. That’s why I’ve put the pocket change left I have from my battered 401k account under my mattress, and it will stay there until further notice. Brother can you spare a good stock tip?
This kind of confusion has been dogging us for millennia. The city of Troy was thought to be a legend until it was eventually discovered. We still don’t have an answer for how the pyramids were built. Was it ramps, large kites, slaves, aliens? Did Adam and Eve ever really hang out in the Garden of Eden? We don’t have hard evidence. Yet, at some point, an archeologist will find a bone or a fruit core, make some stunning claim, and the media will trip over its shoelaces to rush this “knowledge” into the next news cycle.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe that experts make their best educated guesses, but I’m amazed at how often what we thought we knew is quickly thrown out the window. Every day history is erased and written back in again. Maybe historians should put away their pens, and start to pencil in their ideas, because, to put it bluntly, we don’t know Jack. Sometimes “maybe” is the most accurate answer that we have.
One thing I know for sure is that knowledge constantly changes. In the olden days, doctors swore up and down that leaches help to alleviate all kinds of medical problems. Later, we came to view these people as loons. But like bell bottoms, leaches have come back into style for their ability to ease swelling. That’s cool, I just don’t want anybody leaching off of me. And besides, if medicine is so smart, then why can’t it cure the common cold or the destruction of cellulite?
So my advice is to stay open-minded about what you hear. Studies come and studies go. We are constantly learning, gaining new facts everyday that cause us to change our minds. Take orangutans. Last week one started whistling. It wasn’t anything cool, like the theme to The Andy Griffith Show, but it was a noise that a bigass monkey isn’t supposed to make. Scientists have been studying apes for a long time, and none of them ever whistled. Not even if a male monkey was trying to hit on a hot female monkey. You see, orangutans were only thought to be able to make 32 types of sounds. But then, voila, the beast whistled, and it was time to rewrite the Cliff Notes on orangutans.
So, now, when I hear about some ground breaking discovery in the news, whether it be on diet, dinosaurs flying or horse manure, I don’t take it too seriously. Because when the next report comes out and turns that theory on its bald head, once again I’ll feel empty and deceived like a jilted lover. It’s like having a lying friend. After awhile you lose confidence, and you’re left with no choice but to kick him out of your Fav Five.
by Jeff Charlebois