We will have a Google+ podcast this evening, at 6pm Central time — I’ll start sending out invitations around 5:30. You do not need an invitation to watch it live, or to leave comments during.
The general topic is bad science and quackery. To get us started, here are a couple of links to some examples beyond the usual homeopathy/magic healing stuff that is so blatant — it’s subtler stuff that we often ignore.
Money interests promote bad science. Look at energy drinks: lies and hype.
Promoting a message beyond caffeine has enabled the beverage makers to charge premium prices. A 16-ounce energy drink that sells for $2.99 a can contains about the same amount of caffeine as a tablet of NoDoz that costs 30 cents. Even Starbucks coffee is cheap by comparison; a 12-ounce cup that costs $1.85 has even more caffeine.
The science media flops big-time and promotes bad science. One example: Sharon Begley oversells placebos.
But while anecdotes are not science, it is stories of the placebo response that drive home its awesome power—much more so than reports in dry research papers.
Jebus Christ. Enough said, maybe.
There are legitimate concerns to discuss about GMO foods, but usually we hear little but knee-jerk ideological rejection at the idea of tainting our precious food (this in a country where it’s almost impossible to buy food that isn’t genetically tweaked and processed). A critic rethinks his position on GMO foods.
I want to start with some apologies. For the record, here and upfront, I apologise for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonising an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment.
Bad science prospers when their topic is hidden behind shame and silence. Case in point: the abortion issue, which only has two voices, the strident shrieking about ‘baby-killers’ and muted, almost embarrassed silence.
When abortion providers do not disclose their work in everyday encounters, their silence perpetuates a stereotype that abortion work is unusual or deviant, or that legitimate, mainstream doctors do not perform abortions. This contributes to marginalization of abortion providers within medicine and the ongoing targeting of providers for harassment and violence. This reinforces the reluctance to disclose abortion work, and the cycle continues.
This is not an exclusive list, but merely something that will get us started. And of course, people can warm up to it by discussing it here in the comments.