28 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 How Scammers Distort Science

So why should you care? People who are desperate for reliable information face a bewildering array of diet guidance—salt is bad, salt is good, protein is good, protein is bad, fat is bad, fat is good—that changes like the weather. But science will figure it out, right? Now that we’re calling obesity an epidemic, funding will flow to the best scientists and all of this noise will die down, leaving us with clear answers to the causes and treatments. Or maybe not. Even the well-funded...
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A case study where a scientist fooled the media, muddying the waters of nutritional information.

17 MAY 2011 by ideonexus

 Commercial Culture is Full of Misdirections and Evasions

T.H. Huxley's formulation was The foundation of morality is to . . . give up pretending to believe that for which there is no evidence, and repeating unintelligible propositions about things beyond the possibilities of knowledge. Clement, Hume, Paine and Huxley were all talking about religion. But much of what they wrote has more general applications - for example to the pervasive background importunings of our commercial civilization: there is a class of aspirin commercials in which acto...
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Carl Sagan reviews the silly rhetoric in medicine commercials.

06 APR 2011 by ideonexus

 Characteristics of Junk Science

The inseparability of junk science from junk thought is evinced by the telltale marks of endemic illogic coupled, in many instances, with deliberate manipulativeness. The first and most fundamental warning sign is an inability to distinguish between coincidence and causation—a basic requirement for scientific literacy… A second telltale sign of junk thought is the appropriation of scientific-sounding language without underlying scientific evidence or logic… A third important element in ...
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Jacoby outlines four characteristics or human flaws that allow for the propagation of junk science.