Theoretically, there is a "universal truth", but for all intents and purposes, there isn't outside the realm of Math.
We judge science's fidelity by how well it correlates with repeatable experiments - which may be characterized by some "universal truth", but that's besides the point. In Newton's day and age, newtonian mechanics seemed to describe essentially everything. And then it turned out to be a crude approximation that only works in large scales.
In 1900, there was a Physics convention, in which the tone was basically: We have everything worked out, except for 3 minor things - Michelson Morley light aberration (solving this required developing the theory of relativity), Black body radiation (solving this required developing quantum theory), and the Photoelectric effect (which also requires quantum theory to explain properly).
> Do you really need to give up the idea that anything is actually true in order to dispute this blog post?
No. But you do need to give up the idea that you have certainty of knowledge about how true things are.
> You seem to think that science and knowledge are just some form of political orthodoxy.
In math, they aren't. In physics, they aren't.
In biology, it's not so clear.
In medicine, and nutrition, there's a ridiculous amount of political orthodoxy and "religious" beliefs -- and last I heard, they were considered sciences.
There is a huge difference between saying "something is true, but I don't know what (yet)" and "there is no such thing as truth"; between "a lot of people try to commandeer medicine to sell things" and "there is no actual truth of anything to discover in the field of medicine".
I was not giving you any personal advice. I was taking your "you" as a general statement to the reader, and replying with the same language pattern (e.g. if I said "you can bring a horse to water", I would actually mean "one can bring a horse to water".)
> There is a huge difference between saying "something is true, but I don't know what (yet)" and "there is no such thing as truth"; between "a lot of people try to commandeer medicine to sell things" and "there is no actual truth of anything to discover in the field of medicine".
Indeed, there is a huge difference, I don't think anyone is disputing that.
What some people (me included) are disputing is that what is considered "the state of the art" in the many sciences (other than math and physics), is actually not the result of rigorous scientific study that it is assumed to be, and that therefore well reasoned and supported contrarian explanations, data and opinions should be welcome (they aren't; there's active suppression).
Yes, most criticism is useless, but ...
No, most research is NOT as sound as the researchers themselves believe.
That's true, but neither did you (or anyone else ever, for that matter) provide support for the idea that MOST scientists do understand statistics. See how easy it is to discard anything you disagree with?
> I am much more prepared to believe that reporters don't understand statistics than scientists.
That's fine, but (a) it doesn't say anything about how bad scientists are with statistics (only that they are slightly better than reporters, which I tend to agree with), and (b) this is an argument from bias/faith/religion/prejudice, not from science or data. You are just as guilty as anyone you criticize. You might be more right or less right, but you* don't have the moral ground. (* general you).
> Still, you have provided an anecdote in support of broad sweeping statements.
What was that statement of yours about learned people digging into science? So now it is not enough for those people to know what they are talking about, they have to do it in a format you approve of.
I can provide tens more valid criticisms. I charge $200-$1000/hour for my line of work, and I'd be happy to take as much to work for you finding them, when I have some free time.
But I'll throw in a freebie: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1182327/ - though I suspect it will stop at most people's "no true scotsman/scientist" filter...