Sunday, December 4, 2011

That's Merely Your Opinion


Consensus means: majority of opinion.

Wikipedia warns: Many say that the phrase 'consensus of opinion' is redundant and hence should be avoided, as in: "The committee's statement represented a consensus of opinion." The expression is redundant, however, only if consensus is taken in the sense "majority of opinion" rather than in its equally valid and earlier sense "general agreement or concord." Criticism of consensus of opinion has been so persistent and widespread that the phrase, even though in common use, occurs only infrequently in edited formal writing. The phrase 'general consensus' is objected to for similar reasons.

I am often startled (again and again) to re-discover a truism I long ago observed, accepted, and attempted (but failed) to plant firmly in my mind, and especially in my memory... "Consensus is not 'fact' and is usually either partly wrong or totally incorrect." I have seen this proven with my own eyes many times throughout the first seventy years of my life. I've written short articles describing some of them. And I have read about others.

We all (thinking persons) know that it was once the consensus of (thinking persons) that the Earth was flat, not round. It was once the consensus that the Sun revolved around the Earth. Not long ago, it was the consensus that people with black skin were inferior to people with white skin. It seems that in modern times it is the consensus that there exists a supreme entity (God, Allah, et al.) that is responsible for the creation of life, the Earth, and the entire universe.

And it is the consensus that obesity causes an early death.

But a short excerpt from an article in Spiked tells us that, despite today's consensus, obesity does not equate with early death:

There is little credible scientific evidence that supports the claims that being overweight or obese leads to an early death. For example, Katherine Flegal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in the US population there were more premature deaths among those who are normal weight than those who are overweight. Indeed, in this study, Americans who were overweight were those most likely to live the longest.

In the American Journal of Public Health, Jerome Gronniger found that men in the normal weight category exhibited a mortality rate as high as that of men in the moderately obese category; men in the overweight category clearly had the lowest mortality risk.

Moreover, a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that looked at alternative measures of obesity, such as percentage of body fat, skin-fold thickness, waist circumference, and waist-hip ratio, found even less scientific support for the alleged fat-equals-early-death thesis. The authors report that for the intermediate level of each of the alternative measures of obesity, there was a negative link with mortality. In other words, those with a higher waist circumference or a higher percentage of body fat had lower mortality rates.

Read more at Spiked.

Fat Walmart: Why are you still alive?


A great many people mistake opinions for thought.
--Herbert V. Prochnow

No comments:

Post a Comment