Her smack-down of Colin Campbell's "The China Study" has had an incredible effect. Her erudite critique and analysis of Campbell's work has resulted in a post that is surprisingly accessible even to the statphobic!
So devastating is her analysis that I think we just might see Campbell's book fall off the Amazon charts - if not, result in slightly more reviews that result in 'less than five stars'. (DM has sufficient skill to perhaps write her own "'China Study" to supercede the former tome.) You can actually get your hands on some of the 1989 data here and the original study data here.
On further investigation it transpired that another paleo blogger put the book to the sword back in 2005 (hat tip to commentor Alex at Free the Animal), and although not as extensive as DM's work, does deserve mention. Brad Marshall is that blogger and his work concludes with the following diamond pulled from the China Study Turd:
- In China, the main predictor of heart disease rates in a given population is how much wheat flour (and other grains except rice) that population eats. The consumption of vegetables or animal products doesn't play an obvious role in heart disease rates. Tuoli county, where they eat far more saturated fat than in the US, had far less heart attack deaths than the US and no more heart attack deaths than you would suspect based on the amount of wheat they consume compared to their Chinese Colleagues.
- "...what I'm now discovering is that science is not so ideal, in the way I once thought. I was very naive. The institution of science is closely related to who provides the funds for the science to be done, either directly or indirectly.
I think the indirect effect is even greater than the direct effects, and people in science advance their careers by how much research they do, and how much publicity they tend to get. And of course, they are going to advance their careers and get the publicity if they do the research that's generally accepted, in other words supporting the status quo. If a scientist comes along and says something different, they do it at their peril, because they just may not get the publications, they may not get the advancement in their careers. That's a rather indirect effect, but nonetheless, it's a very serious effect, and they know it. And so, I think the institution of science, which has basically served a very reductionist way of thinking, that is producing little pills and magic bottles to do this that and everything else, that's what medical science has largely been, been fostering, been concerned with, and interested in.
And of course it serves the free market system and it serves our sense of how to control disease through cure, but, it doesn't serve the public. Prevention is really the way to go, and at the centre of the plate for prevention is nutrition, how we decide to eat and how we decide to behave otherwise, and that's a very comprehensive sort of lifestyle dietary change. That's where we get good health - that's what the public needs to know, and science is not delivering it. When I find I get hounded for my views by some of my colleagues, on these particular points, it makes me angry and in a sense pursue the question even more. "
To the credit of DM and BM, they focus on the figures, not the man. And although they focus on Campbell's interpretation of the data, NOT on Campbell himself, there is more than a whiff of his prejudice that hangs over both the interview and his book. Given his status as a scientist and educator it is hard not to reflect on his character given the abuse of his position that such bias constitutes. As those of us who follow paleo believe, Campbell is far from alone and greater damage is being wrought at much higher levels of society as Ancel Keys' meme shows (and in honesty I cannot put myself above such bias).
Bottom line; Scientific Method has broken through, and for that, we should all be thankful. In the wake of this high profile smackdown, we now enter a calmer period of shakedown where we can digest what this analysis means in practical terms...