Wednesday, January 16, 2013

spark's notes � Aspartame and Bayesian Analysis

spark's notes � Aspartame and Bayesian Analysis: The larger question then remains: if thorough safety testing and twenty years of safe addition in foods have shown us no reason to ban or otherwise be wary of a particular product, why do some people still continue to have reservations about its use?

The answer to this questions varies – but the general feeling that seems prevalent among people reluctant to use a product like aspartame is that it’s a chemical (chemicals are scary!) and synthetic, unnatural, and anything produced by a huge company is obviously tainted with Corporate Hate Energy. If it doesn’t occur in nature, it can’t be good for you, right? The stuff that the earth produces was good enough for the human race for tens of thousands of years, why should we go messing around with that kind of perfection?

Collectively, this set of ideas and attitudes can be known as an Appeal to Nature, and there are several problems with this kind of thinking. The first is that “natural” is a loaded term, and tends to be unconsciously equated with “normal” – a simple and incorrect bias. How do we define natural? Take the example of the modern banana.

Very lucid thinking re: foods and fringe thinking. Good read, IMHO. Random find via Google Search.