Writing Exercise #13

There can be a lot of hype around new findings, but new findings must always be encountered with skepticism. These are five questions that can prevent hype:

  1. Can experiments detect differences that matter?

Similarities and differences alone cannot determine a result. This is because of how highly interconnected metabolic networks can be. Most studies are only done when there is something to look at in the first place. One outcome can’t be pinned to one thing because there could be other factors attributing to the results.

  • Does the study show causation or correlation?

Association and a bifactor should not be set to causes. This is the same logic due to possible multiple networks. Correlation can exist without a direct causation relationship. There must be strong evidence for causation by eliminating any other potential causes with controls.

  • What is the mechanism?

Components of a whole; this identifies elements of a correlational relationship.

  • How much do experiments reflect reality?

Experiments must consider cause or consequence. The experiment resulted in the results it did only because it was under controlled experimental conditions. For example, germ-free mice are an example of an introductory/created microbiota.

  • Could anything else explain the results?

Other influences might be more important to a result. In every experiment, other contributors must be analyzed and considered.

The most helpful when discussing controversy would be number 2. This is because there are many things in the natural world that are correlated to one another without causing it. There needs to be more skepticism about determining an entity’s causation. There could be multiple correlations and events that led up to an event. Controversy can be addressed by limiting was is labeled as certain.

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