In Science We Trust
Sure, I could do a poll right now, how many of you are science fans? I figure if you are reading my blog then the answer is most [if not all] of you are. Unfortunately, that result isn’t the norm. Whether you blame it on lack of education, or just simply because it is “cool” to be ignorant; science is most definitely not as mainstream as it could be.
Why do more people know about the latest celebrity gossip, than the latest scientific advancements is beyond me. Sometimes it feels like pseudoscience has more of a following than actual science. Frustrating when I see my insurance covers things like acupuncture –which does not work– but not root canals — which do, in fact, serve a purpose.
I’ve already written about determining if that “research” you are reading about is actually something you can trust, but bear with me as I complain about different pseudoscience groups once more in a lovely list format, length of my choosing, of course.
1. Anti-Vaccination groups
One of the greatest advancements in science has been the vaccine. It was nothing short of a bona fide miracle that we could eradicate or in some cases completely eliminate diseases. There was a time when polio was more scary than nuclear warfare; as it turns out vaccines have been too successful.
People have forgotten how scary diseases can be because we’ve lowered or eliminated risks. Science did it so well that people are actually railing against the very thing that has saved countless lives and now we have already had more cases of measles this year [in the past 5 months] than we have had in 20 years.
2. “Alternative” Medicine peddlers
Naturopathy, osteopathy, homeopathy, acupuncture, there are far too many to list. All BS, but people want money and like to prey on innocent people so they aren’t going anywhere… unfortunately.
It hurts me to see that people dump money into false hope and the people peddling it. Don’t get me wrong, if my child was dying from cancer or had some non-treatable disease I’m sure some hope is better than none, but turning to something that will definitely not work means that I am not focusing on the things that could help.
I can’t really down people for wanting to believe, but I can still be upset with snake-oil salesmen trying to take advantage of people.
3. The “no such thing as global warming” people
I’m not sure what is worse, people who can’t get enough of celebrities or the celebrities who give their opinion on something they don’t know. Maybe it’s the people who listen to celebrities like it’s fact that I have a problem with. That could fall under the anti vaccination movement category too though.
I think the problem I have with people who deny global warming is not just the fact that they don’t believe any of the science which shows that it is happening, but that they can’t be bothered to make the world a better place even if they don’t think global warming is happening.
Global warming means harsher weather [sound about familiar?], it does NOT mean that when it snows, global warming is wrong. In fact people have started calling it climate change because people cannot seem to wrap their brain around the idea that warming the planet will cause more extreme weather, including snow.
Well it looks like I’ve gotten three. That is about enough for now, there are probably hundreds of pseudoscience topics and people trying to sell you something other than fact, but I won’t bore you with all that… for now.
The point I try to make with posts like this is simple, there is fact and then there is wishful thinking. I love science, but that doesn’t mean I have a horse in the race when it comes to things like vaccines and “alternative” medicine. I could care less, in fact I really wish the claims they made were true.
Unfortunately it isn’t true. You should vaccinate your children, they need it. You should never turn to alternative medicine to treat something serious, and most importantly you should most definitely believe in global warming. Or at the least, if you do not then you should at least want to make the world a better place for future generations.
There is a saying a fool and his money are soon parted. But, when it comes to global warming, a fool and his planet are soon parted.
Lovejoy S. (2014). Scaling fluctuation analysis and statistical hypothesis testing of anthropogenic warming, Climate Dynamics, 41 (9-10) 2339-2351. DOI: 10.1007/s00382-014-2128-2
Taylor L.E. (2014). Vaccines are not associated with autism: An evidence-based meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies
, Vaccine , DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.04.085
McFadden B.R. & Lusk J.L. (2014). Cognitive Biases in the Assimilation of Scientific Information on Global Warming and Genetically Modified Food, Research in Agricultural and applied economics, DOI: purl.umn.edu/162532
White P. (2012). Practice, practitioner, or placebo? A multifactorial, mixed-methods randomized controlled trial of acupuncture, Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain, 153 (2) 455-462. DOI: 10.1016/j.pain.2011.11.007
Ventola C.L. Current Issues Regarding Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in the United States: Part 1: The Widespread Use of CAM and the Need for Better-Informed Health Care Professionals to Provide Patient Counseling., P & T : a peer-reviewed journal for formulary management, PMID: 20844696
Ventola C.L. Current Issues Regarding Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in the United States: Part 2: Regulatory and Safety Concerns and Proposed Governmental Policy Changes with Respect to Dietary Supplements., P & T : a peer-reviewed journal for formulary management, PMID: 20975811
Ventola C.L. Current Issues Regarding Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in the United States: Part 3: Policies and Practices Regarding Dietary Supplements In Health Care Facilities., P & T : a peer-reviewed journal for formulary management, PMID: 21037910