To make our society better informed, we have to fight back against the Fear Industry. We can do so by publicly identifying those people who spread misinformation. And then we encourage people to never listen to them again.
Celebrities Vs Science
Hollywood will make no sequel to Erin Brockovich, nor will Pacific Gas & Electric be reimbursed $333 million. However, after nearly 20 years the truth about hexavalent chromium has finally been revealed by California regulators.
Although his reports on the spurious connections between vaccines and autism have been roundly refuted and his "research" report retracted, Andrew Wakefield's poison continues to harm children. In Minnesota, the continuing outbreak of measles in a Somali community is the latest case in point.
Our society is woefully illiterate on scientific matters. Yet instead of taking the opportunity to educate customers about the benefits of food science, some companies have chosen to cash in on public ignorance.
Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs is one of the world's most influential public intellectuals. His war against global poverty is commendable, if not always congenial. His expertise is rightly sought by national and international media outlets. It's strange, then, for someone of his knowledge, accomplishment, and reputation to repeat verifiably untrue claims. A recent exchange on Twitter reveals that, at times, Dr. Sachs has merely a casual relationship with the truth. Jeffrey Sachs's War on the Pharmaceutical Industry
The actor and musician knows how to convey a message that effects medical change, helped in part by his visit top be with sick kids at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Now, let's see if Hollywood follows suit.
It's one thing to be anti-vaccine. It's another to compare the "damage" that vaccines are doing to the damage done to the children killed in Syria by Assad's chemical weapons. But that is exactly what "The Health Ranger" did in a recent article. For that, he should be ashamed and his followers should really think twice.
Jade Erick was interested in holistic health but she ended up anything but healthy. The 30-year-old California woman died after receiving an intravenous dose of turmeric, a spice that has not been shown to offer any health benefits whatsoever. Of course this won't stop Joe "Big Dough" Mercola from selling it on his website. The ridiculous claims are free.
"Every night on the television news now is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation," lamented the former vice president in his opening remarks for the Climate & Health Meeting. After all these years, he still has a warped penchant for apocalyptic exaggeration.
If Donald Trump's anti-vaccine tweets were not enough to make the scientific and medical community nervous, there is another reason to be concerned. Very concerned. The president-elect met this week with Robert Kennedy Jr., a vaccine denier and one of the most outspoken proponents of the false claim that vaccines cause autism.
Of the many lies spread about Monsanto, perhaps none is so malevolent as the claim that the seed giant is to blame for farmer suicides in India. This falsehood, spread by anti-biotechnology activists like Vandana Shiva but debunked years ago, is still parroted by credulous left-wing outlets.
Junk science is everywhere. This is why our mission is so important. 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 nonsense, here's our list of the top junk science stories we debunked this year.