anti-science

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines were born of good intentions. They were created to make Americans healthier.

The guidelines, however, were not inscribed on stone tablets and handed to mankind. Instead, they are the result of a bureaucratic process and, as such, are susceptible to dubious conclusions and adverse influence by activist groups.

In 2015, journalist Nina Teicholz conducted an investigation, published in BMJ, that criticized the dietary guidelines for being based on "weak scientific standards" and "vulnerable to internal bias as well as outside agendas." 

For instance, the guidelines recommend against saturated fat, which is commonly believed to cause cardiovascular disease. But...

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...

What is going on at Columbia University? The prestigious school, located in the Upper West Side of New York City, has employed a growing list of quacks that is thoroughly undermining its great reputation.

As our own Dr. Julianna LeMieux wrote recently, the university just asked Mark Bittman, a controversial food writer, to join the faculty of its School of Public Health. Investigative journalist Jon Entine once described Mr Bittman as a "scourge on science." Why? 

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There isn't a fringe movement that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr doesn't like. He appears to subscribe to conspiracy theories involving the assassination of his uncle, JFK. Along with Bill Maher, he is one of the most prominent anti-vaxxers in America. He went so far as to compare vaccine manufacturers to Big Tobacco. Now, Mr Kennedy is...

Recently, Bill Maher instructed America on the importance of knowledge. He's right, of course, but he's a rather imperfect messenger: Listening to him is like receiving a lecture from Bill Clinton or Donald Trump on the importance of marital fidelity.

Mr Maher's monologue provided some insight into his political viewpoint. It was illuminating for two reasons, but probably not in the way Mr. Maher would hope for.

First, he accused people who disagree with his political views of being lazy and engaging in "false equivalence," an entirely fictitious logical fallacy that is an...

Why America's supposed newspaper of record has become a voice for anti-biotechnology food activists remains a profound mystery. The only plausible explanation is that this is calculated; the New York Times must be tailoring its reportage to its customers, who consist mostly of well-to-do, organic-food-eating elites. Evidence plays little to no role in the paper's coverage of controversial scientific issues.

Michael Pollan serves as a case-in-point. In one of his most recent articles, he bashes modern agriculture and casually libels pro-biotech organizations (like ACSH) with whom he disagrees. Few journalists and even fewer...

I must break from my tradition of writing articles in the 3rd person to relate an important story that affects me personally.

I first learned about GMOs as a sophomore microbiology major in college. (They weren't called GMOs then; they were simply referred to as "transgenic crops.") I remember feeling exhilarated -- the sort of thrill that only accountants or geeky academics can usually understand -- at how basic knowledge of DNA sequences was leading to a huge technological revolution. The opportunities were limitless. 

Years later I entered journalism. And I saw breathtaking ignorance and vitriol aimed at scientists like me coming from supposedly educated people. Never in a million years would I have anticipated that our passion for science would be used as a...

Monsanto's takeover by Bayer must be triggering massive cognitive dissonance among organic food and anti-GMO activists because their favorite bogeyman, that American incarnation of pure corporate evil and greed, has been purchased by a reputable European company. (Bayer is regularly featured in Fortune's top 10 "most admired" chemical companies, where it earns high praise for its social responsibility.) So, what's the next step for the anti-GMO crowd? 

The New York State Parent-Teacher Association (NYS PTA), apparently. A proposed resolution (...

There is something nauseatingly ingenious about the Huffington Post. A website that rose to prominence by shamelessly copying and pasting other people's work, it proudly refuses to pay most of its writers and has almost no editorial standards. In 2011, this journalistic dumpster fire was sold to AOL for $315 million. Utterly brilliant. It's like robbing a bank and having the police pay you for community service.

One of the latest contributions from HuffBlow to the national dialogue comes courtesy of self-described teenage "food safety activist"...

We are terrible corporate shills. (Credit: Shutterstock) We are terrible corporate shills. (Credit: Shutterstock)

The most frustrating part of being a scientist or science journalist is trying to convince people who have already made up their minds that they have come to the wrong conclusion. Even when presented with data that definitively demonstrates the error in their logic, most people double down, while very few appear willing to...