junk science

When life hands us lemons, we can make refreshing lemonade. We can squeeze them in tea to soothe colds and congestion. But we can't prevent or cure disease, especially cancer. So let's not boil lemon water and skip the specialist if you've been diagnosed with a serious ailment. 

A lot of alternative medicine sounds reasonable enough.

It is easy to see why so many people believe in traditional herbal remedies, for instance. Because they have been used for hundreds or thousands of years, people assume the traditions must be rooted in some sort of truth. Besides, scientists have isolated a lot of therapeutically useful compounds from nature, like caffeine and quinine, so it's not far-fetched to believe that all herbs have some sort of medicinal use (even if most don't).

Homeopathy, on the other hand, is just plain nuts. It completely defies logic how anyone with a halfway functional brain could buy into this. This type of alternative medicine is predicated upon three completely insane ideas.

Homeopathy's Three Insane Principles...

Apparently, you can make any claim with an Asterisk (*), so long as the asterisk clarifies that your claim isn't true. In one of Dr. Oz's latest press releases, the TV 'doc' touts apple cider vinegar (or any vinegar) as a miracle health benefit: it improves blood flow, prevents diabetes, encourages weight loss, and prevents cancer. But not too long ago on the Dr. Oz show, he caveats his claims by saying this: "As with any trend, it’s easy to get lost...

Junk science

Junk science is everywhere. Just today, it was reported that President-Elect Donald Trump had a meeting with the anti-vaccine fraud Andrew Wakefield, who claimed that Mr Trump is "open-minded" about the issue. 

This is why our mission is so important. People in power often have a poor grasp of science. If journalists and advocates don't speak up for good science, cranks and quacks will take over. 

As part of our ongoing effort to eradicate pseudoscience, here is a list of the top 16 junk science stories we debunked in 2016.

#16. Olympic athletes should not be cupping. Remember seeing those...

Too many raisins will kill you, too.

Busybodies in the American public, never content to leave other people alone, always seem to need a common enemy to rally against. For years, it was McDonald's. Then it was Monsanto and Big Pharma. Now, it's Big Soda.

At first glance, a war on soda might appear to make sense. There is no nutritional benefit to soda. Given the large and growing segment of the U.S. populace that is obese or contracting type 2 diabetes, perhaps a Pigovian tax on soda (with the aim of reducing soda consumption) makes sense. After all, the science on sugar is pretty clear: Too much of it in your diet can lead to health problems.

But a closer look at food science reveals that a tax on sugary drinks (such as soda, sports drinks, and tea), a policy being...

The American Council on Science and Health has spent nearly 38 years debunking "bad" science, by which we mean pseudoscience, junk science, scaremongering and various striations along those lines. (1 - see NOTES, below)

Yet we are fans of history and so we recognize that sometimes bad science to modern thinking was simply incorrect, and based on the evidence of the day. And sometimes even incorrect scientific reasoning can have good results. Case in point was detailed in Lee Jackson's Dirty Old London.

In London of old, no one really understood the link between germs and disease and they wouldn't accept it conclusively until Louis Pasteur proved...

This is the first in a weekly series in which each week I will shadow-dollar-sign-1239535-1278x728tell you about actual studies the government has funded with your tax dollars. The point is not to argue against funding science, but to point out we can do a better job of doling out the money so it actually goes to science.

If you grew up in one of the 83 million households that own a dog you may have caught yourself occasionally wondering, does mommy love me or the dog more? As a child, it's possible the answer to this question may have worried you, but as an adult, you realize how obvious the answer is....

The legal system requires proof and in 2015 science is often likely to provide it, so lawyers need to know what is good science versus the junk kind.

Some lawyers will want to exploit the gray area in between. Court cases are littered with examples where an expert was brought in specifically to advocate for a position that an attorney was being paid to promote.

Lawyers for the other side also need to know what is credible science versus only for the incredulous. Edward...

Right Or Wrong?An informative Washington Examiner article by T. Becket Adams hits the nail on the head in explaining the major problem plaguing science that ACSH has worked to combat: junk studies, and the sloppy media coverage that ensues. The piece also includes quotes from many experts associated with ACSH.

The article begins by referencing the now infamous chocolate health study that was deliberately faked to test if scientists and reporters would detect that it was total junk...

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 4.15.56 PMKudos to Kent Sepkowitz for his very smart piece in yesterday s Daily Beast. The title alone Today s ADHD Blame Game: Pesticides suggest critical thinking about chemical toxicity something that is very rare in these days of one phony scare after another is being applied. Indeed Sepkowitz uses just that, and does so brilliantly.

In addition to debunking the obviously flawed theory of ADHD having anything to do with a very safe type of pesticide, he also...