Settled Science: Breakfast Edition

To understand how absurd a notion is settled science, we needn’t tread the politically inflammatory territory of weather, climate change, and global warming. Nor do we need go so far as to read — let alone comprehend — the one tract that utterly debunks the possibility that science can, should, or will ever be settled. Nope. In fact, we need go no farther than our breakfast tables to understand how profoundly unsettled, and unsettling, science can be.

Case in point: Should you harbor any doubts about the deleterious consequences of drinking your morning coffee, this article, warning us that coffee is the worst thing in the world for us, should put all such trepidation to rest. Here’s why:

 Those good vibes and the boost in energy you get from drinking a cup of coffee are the results of temporarily reversing the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. In other words, that euphoric short-term state that you enter after drinking coffee is what non-habitual caffeine consumers are experiencing all of the time.

Who’d have thought the only pleasure to be derived from coffee would be negative — that is, the only sensual benefit is not withdrawing from caffeine? Wow. Talk about a buzzkill. I guess that explains why … wait … no, it doesn’t.

And, should you harbor any doubts about the hygienic prudence of drinking your morning coffee, this article, reassuring us that coffee is the best thing in the world for us, should put all such trepidation to rest. Here’s why:

A growing body of research shows that coffee drinkers, compared to nondrinkers, are:

  • less likely to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia
  • have fewer cases of certain cancers, heart rhythm problems, and strokes

“There is certainly much more good news than bad news, in terms of coffee and health,” says Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, nutrition and epidemiology professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.

As if all this contradictory but oh-so-settled science weren’t confounding enough — and as if the notion that some of us might genuinely enjoy coffee for its taste were so utterly far-fetched — we also have to contend with the feel-good busybodies who just can’t seem to get through the day or attain any level of self-satisfaction without telling the rest of us what to do.

So much for settled science.

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