Why Are People Doing Scientific Studies On Obvious, Common Sense Stuff?

As much as I love staying up-to-date on thought-provoking research, lately I’ve been bored to death by the sheer volume of unsurprising, predictable data being presented to us as groundbreaking science. Frankly, this faux newsworthiness wouldn’t be so commonplace if our culture didn’t stoop so low and constantly deny reality and objective truth.

By Andrea Mew4 min read
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If we learned anything after the cultural moment that was Covid-19, it’s that we’re all supposed to indubitably “trust the science.” This dogmatic mantra that was drilled into our heads reinforces the notion that information passed down to us from fallible experts cannot be questioned. 

Even if you don’t believe in God or your religion isn’t derived from the Judeo-Christian tradition, compulsively placing your faith in “the science” means that humans are treated as divine and can provide us with all of the answers to life’s burning questions – whether spiritual, philosophical, or physiological.

Before "the science" became the trump card, there was an acceptance of reality and objective truth and this thing called common sense. But, because objective truth is consistently undermined by political agendas nowadays, researchers appear to be conducting scientific studies to prove “truth,” since apparently we can’t just accept the way that the world has always worked.

Did We Really Need a Study To Prove That Bad Behaviors Cause Problems?

Did it ever occur to you that strong, muscular men would be perceived by people as “more conservative”? Here I thought that the guys aspiring to be bodybuilders or muscular Marines at my local gym definitely all vote Democrat. Totally kidding, of course, since this stereotype has been reaffirmed time and time again. As my fellow Evie writer Nicole Dominique explained, studies have also shown that people think strong men care more about freedom.

She posed the question: “Are these perceived notions based on stereotypes, or do they go deeper than that?” This is only one study among many which come to painfully obvious conclusions, yet get gobbled up by headline hunters.

Get this – inactive teenagers are more likely to develop signs of heart damage by the time they’re young adults. Yes, researchers have warned that parents need to limit the amount of time their kids spend being inactive in case they end up with worsened health outcomes later on.

Imagine my shock when I read that, according to research, people aged 65 and older could potentially have lower levels of depression if they take up hobbies like reading, arts and crafts, or gardening. Even better, in-person mindfulness classes have been shown by science to lessen people’s mental health struggles like depression or anxiety. Still not sure how to boost your mood? According to recent studies, spending time with a pet dog can enhance feelings of positivity and reduce your levels of anxiety.

We also definitely needed the science to tell us that an overwhelming majority of grandparents spoil their young children with sugar-laden drinks and treats. Want to undo that damage? Researchers released survey data revealing that children learn their own table manners by imitating their parents, which means that if you want your kids to eat fruit and veg, you probably should too.

It goes on and on and on. Fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits, and other processed foods can increase your risk of developing kidney stones, according to the science, since your kidney does in fact filter waste products that you consume. Being a “night owl” increases your risk of diabetes by nearly 20%, according to the science, since going to bed and waking up late may often lead people to have unhealthy lifestyles.

In case you didn’t experience adolescence, researchers also recently confirmed that women prefer funny men – especially if they’re physically attractive!

Ah yes, and you can’t forget one of the best of them all. Studies say – and please sit down, this may take you by surprise – that even after transgender identifying men go through “medical transition,” they still have physiological advantages because of, I don’t know, being born with different brain structures, bone sizes, and increased ability to exert force. It’s almost like you literally can’t become the opposite sex!

Scientism Is To Blame for Our Hatred of Objective Truth and Our Obsession with “The Science”

Science does so much good, but it’s also not infallible. Some phenomena are frankly unexplainable, while other things are so glaringly obvious, but one thing is for certain: The fact that we’ve developed such a disciplined, rigorous approach in our effort to understand the world around us has benefited us in many ways. After all, despite modern medicine having its own share of flaws, we wouldn’t be living as long as we do now without its revolutionary effects.

But some take one good look at those revolutionary effects and begin to worship “the science,” in what Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York and author Massimo Pigliucci describes as “a pernicious and increasingly influential strand of thought” known as “scientism.” 

This exaggerated trust in studies and research replaces faith, and as Pigliucci points out, many highly influential voices among us worship at its altar, from Stephen Hawking, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and more.

One excerpt from his essay explaining “The Problem with Scientism” stands out as a perfect testament against common sense knowledge being “proven” through research: “But when scientistic thinkers pretend that any human activity that has to do with reasoning about facts is ‘science,’ they are attempting a bold move of naked cultural colonization, defining everything else either out of existence or into irrelevance. When I get up in the morning and go to work at City College in New York, I take a bus and a subway. I do so on the basis of my empirical knowledge of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority system, which results – you could say – from years of ‘observations’ and ‘experiments,’ aimed at testing ‘hypotheses’ about the system and its functionality. If you want to call that science, fine, but you end up sounding pretty ridiculous. And you are doing no favor to real science either.”

Why must thousands upon thousands of dollars be thrown at universities or other research institutions to prove things we already know? Scientism not only cheapens our intuition, but it also draws people in with ideologically driven, religious rhetoric. As a result, we lose faith in God, we don’t trust our intuition or our own reasoning, and we weaken philosophical thought. When you’re told to “follow the science,” science is no longer looked at as a process by which we gain new insights and is instead likened to an entity or a God-like thing. This should raise alarm bells in your head.

Think about something like the social sciences. This field of research gives us all of those studies that attempt to glean insights from human behavior. But it’s genuinely difficult to produce hard data on behavioral subjects like LGBT suicide rates, for example. How do you randomly sample suicidality among large enough swathes of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender-identified individuals when that sample size is already small, the identities themselves are, frankly, self-diagnosed, and the research subjects come from a myriad of different cultures?

Then there’s the additional issue of research being scrapped or shunned if it doesn’t fit a certain political agenda. Even though he’s on the left, when Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. raises the alarm about vaccines, he’s ruthlessly dragged through the mud by his own people for daring to differ from Democrat norms. 

It’s not just vaccines, either. Lisa Littman, a researcher from Brown University, published evidence suggesting that the rise in transgenderism is a social media and peer-driven “social contagion” known as rapid-onset gender dysphoria; her own academic colleagues publicly disavowed her. 

Bring up the fact that black or Hispanic people have higher rates of criminal behavior than Asian or white people do, and you’re just a bigoted racist. Ignore the fact that studies also show police are actually more hesitant to shoot suspects who aren’t white or that black suspects are shot at the same rate by white officers as they are by black officers. That’s just inconvenient to the larger political narrative at hand.

Closing Thoughts

Science can help us make informed decisions, but it shouldn't be leveraged against us as a replacement for common sense, faith, or even objective reality. Never forget that for every amazing stride made to better human health, craft revolutionary products, or make everyday life run smoother, science has also backfired many times, from adverse effects to vaccines or medications, to weapons of mass destruction, to dangerous “food” products, and more.

Lean in a little bit to intuition and take “the science” with a grain of salt. Our culture is driven by denying reality, and as such, we’ve turned to science as our best shot at proving “truth.” Don’t be mistaken – scientism is weakening the credibility of the field if the discipline truly thinks we need evidence to prove that unhealthy behaviors will make us sicker or that hobbies will help us feel less depressed.

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