So, You ‘Did Your Research?’

If by “do your research” you mean that a Google search will reveal pages that agree with your position, that’s not exactly impressive. Using Google I can find pages that say the Earth is flat, the Holocaust never happened, and that Elvis is still alive. It’s time to stop pretending that just because ‘’ says that baking soda will cure cancer, it lends any validity to the argument.

If by “do your research” you mean I can find people online with stories that support your position, that’s equally unimpressive. Anecdotes and testimonials are easy. I can find people who say that touching a toad gave them warts, that wifi gave them cancer, or that rubbing urine on their scalp cured their baldness (yes, really).

Unless you are willing to point someone to actual research (the peer-reviewed, tested, replicated, verified kind), then the phrase “do your research” really just translates into “you should agree with me because other people agree with me.” As it turns out, the number of people who agree on a certain position is not, in any way, an indicator of the validity of that position. The only opinion that matters is nature’s, and if you want to know what nature has to say, you have to use science.

Science is imperfect, and nature can be obscure, so even with scientific research, there is room for discussion and debate. But if the research you want someone to look at amounts to formalized rumors and collective hearsay, it’s not a discussion worth having. Perhaps, it would be more accurate to say that, in your case, “do your research” translates to “I have no real understanding of this, but I believe it because I want to; stop asking me hard questions.”

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