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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Merry Christmas to Me!

For years, every time I’ve cracked the tab on a Diet Dr. Pepper, someone in the room invariably says “That causes cancer, you know.” Well, those nay-sayers can officially SUCK IT!

That’s right, boys and girls. There is NO scientific evidence that links the calorie-saving aspartame in my DDP to cancer or any other health concerns. Of course, scientific evidence is rarely viewed as gospel by people who don’t like something. Moments after a friend posted this link, comments popped up like nightshade mushrooms about how it was a conspiracy by Big Aspartame, how aspartame gave them migraines, how aspartame stole their girlfriend, slashed the tires on their pick-up truck, and left their guitar out of tune (or maybe that’s a country song). 

The same tired arguments get trotted out every time science dares to prove or disprove something people believe in. It drives me nuts. This insanity used to be mostly figurative, but I’m worried it’s becoming literal. The failure of our culture to instil a rational thought process in the public is our biggest mistake, the pivotal error from which all others depend. The ability to absorb a premise, examine it for fallacies, and excrete a reasoned opinion has always been a rarity. It may seem we are worse than ever, but I suspect that’s only because the Internet and a “global village” expose us to so many more uninformed opinions than our ancestors.

I offered what I felt was a rational rejoinder to this maelstrom of lunacy: namely, that anecdotal evidence is NOT something we should be basing societal decisions on. To my delight and surprise, most of the comments AFTER my appeal to rationality have been along the same vein. Whew.

Nevertheless, I came within a micrometer of getting truly involved in an Internet Comment War, and if there are any lessons to be learned in life, it is these:

1. Never get involved in a land war in Asia.
2. Never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line.
3. Never get drawn into an Internet conflict.

For those interested in the article, here's the link: