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Unblinding Me with Science

Posted by wmagnus On August - 3 - 2009

Sometimes morning blog reading brings several things together that don’t initially seem related. Initially I encountered a hatchet job on bioidentical hormones and HGH replacement over at MSNBC. I subsequently encounter this piece at Psychology Today that reiterates what anyone who has ever taken a philosophy class already knows: Logical fallacies lead to muddy thinking.

The Psychology Today piece points to two logical fallacies that are particularly applicable to anti-aging related science.

Firstly, the Naturlistic Fallacy basically presumes that simply because something is natural it must be good. We see this all the time with anti-aging claims and supplement advertising. The Internet is full of bizarre, off-beat herbal supplements using “natural” as their core benefit with no scientific basis for any of the advertised claims. Likewise, presuming that HCG as the woman in the MSNBC piece is taking is somehow beneficial just because it’s naturally occurring is erroneus.

The flip side is the Moralistic Fallacy which the medical expert, Adriane Fugh-Berman, M.D., makes when the assumption that, “We all age, but people take hormones and think, I wouldn’t have aged as well if I hadn’t taken them.” This fallacy is equally erroneus as it persumes that because his perception is that hormones are bad therefore no one should use hormones. The medical community has been in a deadlock over “anti-aging” treatments of all sorts for years. Regardless of how much evidence accumulates, we have seen the AMA repeatedly lash out against growth hormone replacement.

For those of us looking to age against the machine, the only thinking we can really trust is rational thinking based in science that avoids the kind of fallacies that so many others from the popular media to trained physicians fall victim to.

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