Imagine you’re an FDA regulator, and a pharmaceutical company is trying to get your approval for a new drug that they think will generate $4 billion in sales annually for 10 years. But you’ve only got two scientific studies to go by. The first is a university study, and concludes that the drug has dangerous side effects that will cause brain damage or death in 5% of people who use it. The second study is industry-sponsored – and it concludes that links between the drug and health problems are “inconclusive.”
Who you gonna believe? I thought so.
Now, here’s a second riddle for you. Which one of the following is the most likely scenario:
1. There’s a vast conspiracy among the world’s scientists to fabricate massive amounts of evidence about the functioning of the earth’s climate so they can impose socialist world government on all of humanity.
2. There’s a vast conspiracy by a multi-trillion dollar industry to cover up science that threatens its profits.
Of course, I guess there’s a third option: that the vast majority of the world’s scientists have been simultaneously and spectacularly wrong, wrong in the same direction, and getting more wrong over the last 40 years. But really, pretending that we’re smarter than scientists isn’t quite as fun as pretending they’re conspiring against us.