Aired 5 years ago on KPCC 

Science: Why You Shouldn't Believe Everything You Hear

Science reporter Arielle Duhaime-Ross of The Verge, senior technology writer Will Oremus of Slate magazine, and science reporter of The Washington Post Rachel Feltman discuss how the public today often misinterprets true science.

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"You can't look at a given study and treat that as the truth."

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Win McNamee Chip Somodevilla Uriel Sinai Christopher Furlong Pool Peter Macdiarmid Sean Gallup Patrick Lux
TRANSCRIPT This transcript was generated by AudioBurst technologies

I think it's really important that the public come to understand the difference between fraud and science working the way it's supposed to, which often involves different labs coming to different conclusions. - Right. And I think that one of the important things to remember is that scientific consensus is not based on a single report. It is based on multiple reports that find either the same findings or similar findings that are moving in one direction and what is, what's important to remember is that the very beginnings of something that's just been figured out, so you know a new study that's just been put out and we find something new, that's when scientists get to work. That's when they all try to work together to find out, 'is this correct?', 'can we replicate this?', 'is it reproducible?', and that just means that you know, when you hear about these things not being reproducible, that's just science working. - Will, anything you want to add? - Yea, I mean I think the media there has some responsibility here too because we are so quick, you know, when a study comes out, the media often treat it though something has been proven. As though it's definitive. As though you know, 'coffee does cause cancer'. Or, you know, another study comes up the next year 'coffee doesn't cause cancer!' And, in truth, as Arielle said, I mean, you know, you have to take every study that comes as sort like a data point. I mean, it's a big data point made up of other smaller data points. But it has to be a data point in how you evaluate the overall picture. You can't look at a given study and treat that as the truth. I also agree that social media has both fueled the spread of misinformation, making it spread much more quickly across the internet and made it easier to debunk misinformation.