Sunday, February 27, 2011

Settled Science Or, Er, Not

This time the "thrifty gene" that was supposed to be found in First Nations and aboriginal peoples around the world.

But now, with obesity and diabetes shaping up to be a global pandemic, the theory appears to be dying – raising the prospect that prejudice more than proof gave it such a long life.

... A bevy of researchers now questions it. Even true believers such as Dr. Hegele are losing faith; some dismiss it out of hand. Not least because, after four decades in search of thrifty genes, no one can find them.

... Given the weight of evidence against the theory, a post-mortem has already begun, raising uncomfortable questions about why, with no real proof, it has been so popular for so long.

... Dr. Szathm√†ry suspects that because it was regarded as “settled science,” the theory may have compromised efforts to investigate other causes of the diabetes epidemic.

Anthropologists regard a (peer reviewed) theory which is still widely accepted in medicine and public health as bullshit.

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