What is it with people trusting random laypeople over experts?
Okay, yeah, I know experts can be wrong, and credentials are not an unshakable guarantee that the person in question knows what they're talking about. But still. Why is it so hard to accept that an actual scientist, who has a Ph.D. in the field and has done real research, in general will know more about the topic than some dude on the internet?
The topic comes up because of a conversation I had with my athletic trainer yesterday. He is pretty knowledgeable about all things fitness-related -- so while he's not a researcher or a scientist (something he'd tell you up front), he's certainly Better Than The Average Bear. And he ran into an especially ridiculous example of the aforementioned phenomenon, which he was itching to show me as soon as I got there.
Without further ado, we have: the woman who thinks that the amino acid L-glutamine is so named because it is important for developing your glutes:
The whole thing reminds me of something I heard every damn year from students, which is that the ingredient sodium erythorbate in hotdogs and other processed meat products is made from ground-up earthworms, because "earthworm" and "erythorbate" sound a little bit alike. (Actually, sodium erythorbate is an antioxidant that is chemically related to vitamin C, and is added to meat products as a preservative and antibacterial agent.)
But to return to the broader point, why is it so hard to accept that people who have studied a subject actually... know a lot about the subject? Instead, people trust shit like:
- Noted scientific researcher Gwyneth Paltrow recommending coffee consumption... which she wants to administer by squirting it up your ass.
- Another noted scientific researcher, Kim Kardashian, suggesting combating wrinkles and other visible signs of aging by withdrawing blood from your arm and injecting it under the skin on your face.
- A claim that chemotherapy actually causes cancer.
- A person who recommends using crystals to treat illness in dogs.
- Selling people charcoal-based "detoxifying juice cleanses" -- which have the unfortunate side-effect of absorbing important substances you may have ingested, like vitamins, minerals, and medications.
- A belief that you'll die if you eat more than seven bananas in a day, which started out as a joke told in an interview by British comedian Karl Pilkington that then got out way of hand.
- "Ear candling," which is sticking a lit candle in your ear in an attempt to suck out the earwax. There are two confirmed cases of people falling asleep while ear candling and setting their houses on fire, and dozens of people who've ended up in the emergency room after dripping hot wax down their ear canals.
- The practice of "perineum sunning," which unfortunately is just what it sounds like. You take off all your clothes and expose your butthole to direct sunlight, which is supposed to rotate the tires on your energy meridians or something, but in actuality risks a sunburn that I'd rather not even think about.