I happened upon this article and found this quote very funny!
Talking about variations people have in their cholesterol test results…
Seasonal variation has been shown to affect cholesterol values. In one study, the cholesterol levels of subjects who were not receiving treatment were an average of 7.4 mg/dL higher in December than in June. The reasons for this are still unknown.
OMG! Did they really just say that they don’t know why a person’s cholesterol would be higher in December than in June?!?
And those are the people we are depending on to help us with our health.
Come on scientists! Apply yourselves! I bet you can come up with a reason why people’s cholesterol is higher during the holiday season in December.
Now now, Eric, you’re probably playing, but I’m going to have to call you out on that. (Who could have predicted.)
In science, “not yet known” has a specific technical meaning. And you are well aware of this. It means “nobody has published a good study that proves it.”
We might have a very clear idea of what the cause is, even with no doubts and no good competing explanations, but if nobody has published a strong study that proves it, then all we have is a belief, it’s not yet a scientific fact, and so in science lingo we say that the fact is not yet known.
I know how research is done and how it has to be a published study, but the article was not a published study. They could have stated it better for the reader. An explanation would help the reader learn more.
Obviously dietary changes have an impact. Cholesterol tests are just a snapshot. Not a 3 month reading like A1C.
I had very hot buffalo wings last night, slathered in blue cheese to cool the spice. To wash down the hot, I had celery with more blue cheese. There is no way a cholesterol test today would be a good snapshot.
I think they have already established that type of thing. They know a cholesterol test is affected by recent diet.
After consulting numerous sources, I see no evidence that the general scientific community believes this.
Quite the contrary. When I last looked, there was no good study published on what happens when you jump out of a plane without a parachute. Yet the effect is widely believed to be known. Not only that, there is much written in the peer reviewed literature attesting to the absence of research, and the confidence that scientists have in knowing the result.
The article refers to a published study. But what I said is “the article was not a published study”, and I stand by that.
The article refers to the study as, “In one study…” but does not give the reference or details of the study. I can’t find any details of the study in the article. So that makes it more like a news fluff piece than a medical reference.
The article has a picture of an ice cream cone and is on a website called health.howstuffworks.
That’s interesting. If researcher A asserts the proposition XYZ and researcher B replies “that’s not yet known” I put it to you that the meaning of B’s statement is not in dispute: despite A’s belief in proposition XYZ, B asserts that it is not yet supported by a proper study, so it is just “a belief”, not yet “a fact”.
Now you have moved on from matters of technical jargon into the field of epistemology. Sure, we all thought that a Justified True Belief was indeed knowledge, until we got Gettiered; then we were were rescued by Paxon. (Joe jumps out of a plane without a parachute. We thought we knew that he would die or at least be severely injured, but because Joe happened to be the right kind of vampire, he just turned into a bat and flew away…) Anyway, argumentation about the finer points of epistemology is not germane to the meaning of “not yet known” in the technical jargon.