Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Skepticism in practice

The difference between skepticism and cynicism, so we skeptics often say, is that skeptics are willing to accept scientific evidence and adjust behaviour accordingly.

Today, I grudgingly put this principle into practice in one of the most important areas of my life. I have used science to change my behaviour.

I am a passionate lover of tea. It is my life force, and runs through me, sustaining my body and soul, much in the same way some people would say qi does. And my whole life, I have been making tea in what I considered to be "the right way". Teabag in, pour water over, leave for a few minutes, put milk in. Any suggestion of a variation from this pattern would usually be enough to send to turn me into an angry, spluttering whirlwind of fury. I love tea so much that I even devoted hours of my life to school physics projects investigating the diffusion properties of differently shaped teabags. FYI, pyramid >> round=square

It seems, however, that science disagrees with me, so today I accepted this fact and have been making tea as recommended by science. In 2003, the Royal Society of Chemistry produced a press release, which states:

"Milk should be added before the tea, because denaturation (degradation) of milk proteins
is liable to occur if milk encounters temperatures above 75°C. If milk is poured into hot tea,
individual drops separate from the bulk of the milk and come into contact with the high
temperatures of the tea for enough time for significant denaturation to occur. This is much
less likely to happen if hot water is added to the milk." Now that I am finally aware of this scientific basis, I have realised the error of my ways.

The office tea run. Doing it right, as per Science.
So this is me accepting the evidence, and accepting that, when it comes to making tea, I am wrong and have been all my life. I hereby follow science, and have joined the Milk In First brigade.