Re: Life extension in practice

From: John Thomas (
Date: Wed Feb 16 2000 - 12:23:07 MST

At 10:17 AM -0500 2/16/2000, Robin Hanson wrote:
>John Thomas wrote:
>>>>... there has not been a single study I'm aware of to show that popping
>>>>vitamin pills has any positive health benefit at all.
>>>What about the UCLA study of vitamin C published in 1992? This was not the
>>>most rigorous study, but it tracked over 11K individuals over
>>>about a decade.
>>The problem with these studies is that there's no way to control for other
>>variables. ... Until it's possible to do an extensive long-term study of
>>individuals so isolated that every possible variable affecting their health
>>is controlled it won't be possible to take these studies seriously.
>Noble high standards, but what do they leave you with? Do you know of any
>substantial influence on your health that has been shown this carefully?
>Exercise? Sleep? Smoking? Dietary Fat? Air pollution? Drinking too much?
>Driving without a seatbelt? Wandering dark allies in a bad part of town?

    Your point is well taken; it's obviously not possible to
determine these things with the kind of exactness you might find in a
white rat experiment. I was more concerned with Daniel's "studies
confirm" statements than with arguing about health per se. As I
mentioned in a later post, I take vitamins myself based on the
inexact knowledge we do have. But I tend to bristle when someone
starts slinging around "scientific studies" as evidence for a
viewpoint they've already settled on. In real life we always need to
base our decisions on partial knowledge and understanding. Confusing
this with scientific verification helps no one. Of course, in
economics things may be different ;-)


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