Is anecdotal evidence reliable? This scientist we found says ‘yes’

In the information age of today, it’s not uncommon for us to encounter something online that we disagree with. Often, we find things that make us uncomfortable or seem to attack a core value we hold closely to our hearts.

Take spanking children as a form of discipline, for instance. Anytime you post studies about how damaging it is to spank children, undoubtedly people in the comments section will say “I was spanked as a kid and turned out fine!” And I think that’s great.

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It’s wonderful that we have grown adults who think it’s perfectly acceptable to strike a child because they did something that made you upset. It’s a purely rational response for an adult to have! And who are you to say that this adult didn’t turn out fine? What are you, their mom or something?

The fact is, if we can’t take people for their word, what do we have left to hold us together as a society?

That’s why our staff here at A Science Enthusiast, in collaboration with, took the time to investigate the world of anecdotal evidence.

Our survey consisted of five diverse scientists, three males and two females, from both fields of scientific study.

We asked the hard questions to every scientist we could find:

– Is spanking your kids as discipline a good idea?

– Do detoxes actually work?

– Do you think that one person’s personal experience completely negates clinical studies?

– Does this thing on my finger look infected?


The results were stunning.

Out of the five scientists we interviewed, one scientist named Simon agreed with our premise that anecdotal evidence is valid.

Our five test subjects, as seen in their traditional scientist regalia (Simon, pictured center)

Simon noted that while there is an overwhelming amount of clinical data that suggests spanking children leads to more aggressive behavior and mental health problems later in life, his parents spanked him as a kid, and now he’s a scientist. So, using very basic logic, we can deduce that despite the research, you can spank children as a form of discipline and everything will be just fine. Checkmate, anti-spankers!

Simon also addressed the validity of detoxes by pointing out that his neighbor told him about this thing where he puts coffee in his rectum. The idea is that it draws out all the toxins in your colon and really cleans everything out back there. He’s been doing it regularly for over a year, and he hasn’t yet died, which means that it’s healthy and good for you.

Simon went on to explain that researchers, when they’re with their teams of scientists and constructing these studies, often don’t stop to think about things like this. They don’t consider your aunt who used essential oils for decades, which likely extended her life by 50 years. They don’t think about that guy you went to high school with who eats 5 pounds of cheese a week and appears to be completely healthy. No, these scientists fail to realize that it’s these exceptions that prove the rule for them.

As we were interviewing Simon, it hit me. Simon kept trying to tell me that my finger looks really bad and I should go to the emergency room right away, but in between his panicked shouts, I understood the real message he was trying to send me.

Simon said that these personal stories – the ones you don’t hear about in “scientific” journals – are the real stories behind the headlines. They’re what make us humans. And when you take these human stories out of scientific research, we lose part of our humanity as a result, and you’re left a bunch of people in white lab coats showing off their data.

And that’s the problem with modern science.

Science is just a bunch of jerks in labcoats trying to prove a bunch of shit.



Written by Dan Broadbent

Science Enthusiast. Atheist. Lover of cats.




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