Photo by Emily Pottiger on Unsplash

This was quite succinct explanation of the Scientific Method’s use and the obstacles human brains encounter when attempting to do so:

The scientific method is how humans figure out how our universe works. Done correctly, it controls for the all-too-human mistakes people can make in figuring stuff out.

Using it, we can prune away false explanations for our universe…produced by falling prey to biases like these:

  • Confirmation bias
  • Survivor bias
  • Observer bias
  • False pattern recognition
  • Prejudices


A brief explanation of those biases:

Confirmation Bias: A tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions

Example: “People ignore evidence that challenges their beliefs.”

Survivor Bias: The logical error of focusing only on the surviving examples while ignoring those that did not survive, leading to false conclusions.

Example: “Only successful companies are studied, ignoring failed ones.”

Observer Bias: A form of detection bias where a researcher’s expectations influence the recording or interpretation of data.

Example: “A researcher’s expectations affect their observations.”

False Pattern Recognition: The tendency to perceive meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data.

Example: “Seeing shapes in clouds.”

Prejudices: Preconceived opinions that are not based on reason or actual experience.

Example: “Judging before knowing.”


High Heels

This past Friday, a few colleagues revisited an old argument. The argument? That high heels are safe to wear. This in spite of the fact that the person making the assertion suffers from plantar fasciitis, which results in great pain until the situation is remedied. Some might argue, sensible footwear that provides the foot proper support lessens or eliminates the pain of plantar fasciitis.

From my own experience with plantar fasciitis (but not high heels!, let me be clear), I can make the argument that the right support, usually from a store like The Good Feet or Foot Solutions, DOES make a difference. Unfortunately, my colleague had a great amount of high heels in her closet. She didn’t want high heels to be inadequate to the cause of dealing with her plantar fasciitis.

To that end, I was presented with a recent study meant to sway my opinion in another direction:

Really? A new study says wearing high heels can be good for you High heels are the shoes everybody loves, but no one wants to wear. “I think most people would (assume) wearing high heels is a bad idea….”

To which I replied with a quote from

The scientific consensus indicates that wearing high heels can lead to various biomechanical changes and adaptations, primarily affecting the foot-ankle complex, knee, and postural stability. These changes can result in increased ground reaction forces, altered plantar pressure distribution, and impaired balance. The effects of specific heel heights on women’s biomechanics would benefit from further research. High heels have been associated with musculoskeletal pain, hallux valgus, and first-party injuries, with the incidence of injuries almost doubling from 2002 to 2012. Some studies suggest that wearing high heels with a heel height of 3.76 cm to 4.47 cm, using larger heel base supports, and employing total contact inserts can help decrease adverse effects and improve comfort. However, these findings are based on short-term research, and long-term effects are still not fully understood[1][2]. Sources

Short-term studies…this made me run the Wisconsin’s Radio Station reported study through a critical thinking analysis, also AI-powered. I ran it through my mega prompt using Melanie Trecek-King’s FLOATER acronym.

Here’s the summary:

In summary, while the study presents interesting findings, the small sample size and the specificity of the participant group suggest that the results should be interpreted with caution. Further research with a larger and more diverse group of participants would be necessary to confirm the study’s conclusions and to understand the potential long-term effects of wearing high heels on walking efficiency and injury risk.

What We Think Is True

While taking notes last night, I ran across this quote about confirmation bias. I paraphrase it below:

When we seek out information that supports what we already think is true, that is confirmation bias. (Source: Paraphased from Melanie Trecek-King)

I find this advice from Melanie to be spot on and tough to follow:

  1. Determine if belief is falsifiable.
  2. If it is, actively look for evidence to prove yourself wrong. If belief is true, it will withstand scrutiny. If it is not true, evidence will disprove it.
  3. Accept the evidence, and
  4. Change your mind.

Easier said than done. I could replace high heels with any other number of wants and desires, things I wish were true but evidence shows them to not be. We all suffer from a desire to marshal information to support our beliefs, even when wrong.

Some times, they are true, and that’s a nice feeling.