The first part could be read as, art (morality, aesthetics, appreciation of humanity) can prevent us from scientific methods (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_human_experimentation#Freezing_experiments) or conclusions (human biodiversity). Regarding the freezing experiments, I wouldn't be surprised if that knowledge has saved more people than were killed in the experiments. While "shut up and calculate" is popular around here, I think a lot of people would have a problem with such experiments, no matter what the net positive is.
The second part could be read as being against post-modernism/relativism/new-age b.s. Sadly the pointed, acknowledged absurdity of dada and surrealism has gone mainstream, and "What I say is art is art" is interpreted non-ironically.
I would disagree with this. There are African villages where lots of kids die of diarrhea, and when researchers introduced solar water disinfection (essentially put water in a plastic jug and put it in the sun for a while), people wouldn't do it because it signaled that they were low class, despite that fact that lots of child deaths could be prevented.
Similarly, economic returns vs mortality risks of running in a gang.
Similarly, drug addicts and alcoholics.
And don't forget fatties.
Now, one can respond "revealed preferences" and kind of defeat the purpose of calling actions rational or irrational, but people's actions often are not too closely linked to survival.
+1 for last comment making me imagine lukeprog as Charlie Sheen.
You wrote that "what science is, is an is, not an ought." Could you please explain what science is? I only ask because different people have different ideas of what science is or should be, and I'm a little unclear what is being referred to here. Thanks.
As an aside, I recently had this horrible moment of realization. Much of the fitness advise given out is just so incredibly wrong, and I am able to realize that because I have a strong background in that subject. But I realized, 90% of the stuff I read about are areas I don't have a great background in. I could be accepting really wrong facts in other areas that are just as wrong as the nutritional facts I scoff at, and I would never learn of my error.
I agree with what you said about main stream fields being diluted, but offer an interesting corollary to that. Economic motives compel various gurus and nutritionists to make claims to the average joe, and the average joe, or even the educated joe cannot sort through them. However, if one looks in more narrow fields, one can obtain more specific answers without so much trash. For example, powerlifting. This is not a huge market nor one you can benefit financially from that much. If one is trying to sell something or get something published, he can't just say "I pretty much agree with X", he needs to somehow distinguish himself. But when that motive is eliminated you can get more consistency in recommendations and have a greater chance to actually hit upon what works.
While you might not be interested in powerlifting, reading in more niche areas can help filter out profit/status seeking charlatans, and can allow one to see the similarities across disciplines. So while I've read about bodybuilding, powerlifting, and endurance sports, and their associated nutritional advice, I would never read a book about "being fit."
My mistake, I thought the suggestion of slugging slabs of beef in a meat locker would not be taken seriously. To clarify, not a real suggestion.
The obvious answer: http://movieclips.com/jCdx-rocky-movie-the-meat-locker/
Downvoted because it is a general argument against any claimed rational action. Why do people who work at existential risk act like they make better rational choices when really they just get a different neurochemical responses? (Hint: Everything we do is for some neurochemical response)
For an action to be rational in your mind, does it need to obey some Kantian-esque imperative where the actor can't gain pleasure from it? Are people who loathe exercise but do it anyways more rational?
And Alicorn, I don't know the particular nature of your aversion to sunshine, and maybe it is deeply hardwired like most people's aversion to a hot stove, so I am not speaking to you in particular. All I am saying is that reasons to not do something come in different strengths and in with different amounts of permanence. There are some dislikes that are able to be overcome through repeated effort, such as talking to strangers or eating vegetables. There are dislikes that can be overcome through mindfulness, (I will start this essay because of how it fits into my long term goals), or through environment (I will start this essay at a quiet Starbucks) or, my personal favorite, through chemical means ( I will start this essay once I finish this bottle of Laphroaig.) Maybe I misread MixedNuts statement and he/she was merely saying that for some people, sunshine and pain aversion are essentially the same, which I could buy. All I'm saying is I think there is a need to iterate this exercise through each of your reasons for not doing activity-x in the hope you can either find fundamental issues (putting your hand on a hot stove) or issues that can be resolved (working out in a walk in refrigerator.)