Editor’s note: I’ve just deleted the most widely shared post on The Nag, along with its hundreds of associated reader comments. They’ve all been removed from this site out of an abundance of caution (and a wee sigh of despair) because this particular article has, sadly, been adopted as the darling of the anti-science movement – never my intention, even when I was pointing out challenging problems or asking difficult questions. As Dr. Frederick Seitz once observed:
“Once a scientist gets an answer, there are always more questions.” .
Asking informed questions of scientists is smart practice. Attacking science blindly simply because you somehow believe you’re smarter than a scientist is not. It’s just tiresome.
This has become so tiresome, in fact, that it’s been ages since I last wrote a word for this site, yet my blog host WordPress continues to update me with surprising jumps in readership stats whenever an older post of mine finds new purchase because it’s been shared enthusiastically while being deliberately misinterpreted.
So I have deleted that post, and I’m also about to delete many more, especially those in which my name, my reputation and my words are being co-opted as if I actually endorse the feeble nonsense in some one-sided duel of intellect out there.
I’m dismayed that some of my writing on marketing has been seized upon by extremists and conspiracy theorists. There is simply no such thing, for example, as “what your doctor doesn’t want you to know!”
Think about that for a moment. If there were actually such a science secret in real life so miraculous that physicians were, en masse, trying to hide it from you, don’t you think that Big Pharma would have already patented it and made a fortune off it by now?
If you do have a genuine interest in actual science (not just the latest from a celebrity non-scientist – especially one who’s trying to sell you something), please consider the following independent sites:
– Center for Science in the Public Interest (non-profit consumer watchdog agency based in Washington, DC)
– McGill University Office of Science & Society (“Separating Sense from Nonsense”) is led by Dr. Joe Schwarcz, “dedicated to the promotion of critical thinking, science communication, and the presentation of scientific information to the public, educators, and students in an accurate and responsible fashion”, based in Montréal, Canada)
– Health News Review (led by Gary Schwitzer and his team of media watchers, HNR’s free list of “Tips for Analyzing Studies and Healthcare Claims” is required reading if you’re about to read (or write) about any scientific news report, based at the School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis)
– NPR Science (credible and important news about all kinds of science, from dolphins to diseases to dust clouds in the Sahara Desert, this independent, non-profit public radio broadcast organization was “founded on a mission to create a more informed public”; based in Washington, DC)