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Celebrity Pseudoscience: Here Are Nine Household Names Who've Pushed Bad Science on The Public

July 29, 2018 in Blogs

By Paul Offit, Salon

From Gwyneth Paltrow to Donald Trump, these celebrities buck peer-reviewed studies in favor of whacky — and dangerous — pseudoscience.

In our post-truth era, scientific illiteracy has morphed into science denialism. Today, people simply declare their own truths. As a consequence, science is losing its platform as a source of truth. Meanwhile, a pervasive celebrity culture — in which celebrities are considered trusted “experts” solely because of their fame — has poisoned the idea of what constitutes expertise.

Nowhere is the merger of these two trends more evident than in our embrace of “celebrity science,” which, because it often involves issues of health, might not only be misleading but harmful. Some celebrities actually do have science backgrounds; Mayim Bialik, who has a PhD in neuroscience, springs to mind. Unfortunately, many celebrities have waded into debates within fields in which they have neither expertise nor training, perhaps unintentionally injecting doubt into scientific certainty and often even harming public health efforts. Here are a few of the worst celebrity offenders

This article first appeared in Salon.

Anti-vaccine crusaders Jenny McCarthyJim CarreyKristin Cavallari and Rob Schneider: The anti-vaccine crowd frequently falls back on the claim that vaccines cause autism, despite more than two dozen studies clearly showing that vaccination does not increase the incidence of autism. Nor did it make a whit of biological sense that vaccines would.

Gwyneth Paltrow: Paltrow is probably best known for her promotion of vaginal steaming, jade eggs and cleansing enemas. Paltrow believes that vaginal steaming with mugwort balances female hormones and cleanses the uterus. Apart from the fact that mugwort isn’t a hormone and vaginal steam will never reach the uterus, vaginal steaming can cause burns and bacterial infections. The jade eggs placed in the vagina to enhance muscle tone put users at risk of toxic shock syndrome, and the “toxin-removing” colonic enemas Paltrow prescribes, which have no proven benefit in otherwise healthy people, can cause dehydration, infections, vomiting and, worst of all, bowel perforations.

Suzanne Somers: Somers has become a one-woman industry, promoting megavitamins, supplements and minerals, as …read more


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