One of the hardest parts about being a science writer is combating the misconceptions floating around the internet. Whether simple misunderstandings or deliberate twisting of facts, these ideas spread like wildfire, embedding themselves deep in people’s minds. To make matters worse, companies, media personalities, and demagogues contribute to the blaze, either spreading faulty information or deliberately lying to their audiences. Instead of picking apart their claims one by one, I’ve decided to list some of the worst offenders and their most outrageous claims. Without further ado, here is Part I of the most egregious anti-science companies and individuals. Enjoy and please share!
Hold on, you say. What is my favorite juice company doing at number five? Allow me to explain. Pomegranate juice is chock-full of beneficial minerals and antioxidants, which is a major selling-point. That was not good enough, however, for the marketing team at POM. In order to sell more bottles, POM claimed its juice fights against prostate cancer. They are now embroiled in a nasty lawsuit with the FDA, which is working to prevent liars like these from undermining the food market.
Oh, Donald. Every now and then I feel bad for calling him out so often, but then I remember all the awful things he says and does. Trump comes in at number four mainly for his crusading comments against vaccines. According to the magnate, vaccinations are responsible for autism. Here’s his quote: “I’m all for vaccinations, but I think when you add all of these vaccinations together and then two months later the baby is so different then lots of different things have happened. I really — I’ve known cases.” Aside from urging parents to expose their children to deadly anachronistic diseases, Trump’s claims are completely baseless and unscientific. For fighting against vaccines, Trump comes in right behind this next offender.
For all of Papa Bear’s big talk and self-congratulating, this television anchor/demagogue spreads a lot of misinformation. Take his proof of God’s existence, for example. The tide rises and falls every day. The sun also rises and sets every day. Since science can’t explain this, God is real! Except that anyone who has taken fifth grade science class knows science does explain these phenomena: the tides are caused by the moon, and we have day and night because of the way Earth rotates. Bill’s adamancy and arrogance when spreading misinformation net him the anti-science badge, yet even his efforts pale in comparison to this next gentlemen’s.
Though his name may be unfamiliar to Western ears, Islamic author Harun Yahya is an anti-science zealot and holocaust denier who has dedicated his life to the spread of creationism. Well known throughout Turkey, Yahya and his “Science Research Foundation” have waged a major battle against the theory of evolution. His influence has persuaded the Turkish government to ban evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkin’s website as well as one of Dawkins books. Yahya has written many texts denouncing science and evolution through misinformation and lies, and in 2007 he even mailed thousands of copies of his Islamic creationist manifesto, Atlas of Creation, to US scientists, museums, and members of Congress.
Even in such high-profile company, US Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) manages to distinguish herself with a career of anti-science claims and initiatives. In addition to calling for Islamophobic, homophobic, and McCarthy-like bills or investigation, Bachmann has found the time to attack vaccines, climate change, and the science behind viruses, to name a few. One of her best (worst) anti-science crusades is her stance on CO2 emissions. According to her, global warming makes no sense because “carbon dioxide is a natural byproduct of nature.” By her logic, naturally compounds and elements obviously can’t be harmful to life, which is why I mix arsenic with my cereal every morning. A favorite Bachmann moment of mine is her story about a constituent who claimed a vaccine made her daughter mentally retarded. This is what we’re up against, guys.
So what do you think? Are these people and companies terrifying? Who else should be on this list? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. As always, please like, share, or reblog this post if you enjoy it. That small click really helps me out! Be sure to check me out on Twitter and Facebook as well. Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe for new content every Wednesday! IT’S FREE!
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Comment question of the week
What do you think of these anti-science individuals? Who else should be on this list?