Book: Bad Science
|A group exhibit by:||Aaron O’Brien, Katarzyna Balcerzak, Sofia Hilmi, Stephen Balaneasa|
The theme we chose to make an exhibit on was pseudoscience and the main reason we chose this theme is because we were inspired by the book we read; “Bad Science” by Ben Goldacre. This topic is also highly relevant in today’s society due to the prevalence of the media in our everyday lives, who often present science in misleading ways.
We feel as though it is important to be able to discern fact from fiction when it comes to science. This poster is intended to be satirical, in which we examine pseudoscience from the point of view of the people who are spreading it, with an explanation as to what is really going on to accompany it. This allows the reader to make up their own mind without being misled.
Personally, as the exhibitors, we felt this was an appropriate topic for us to discuss given we can all recall a time in which we have been exposed to this pseudoscience. Cosmetic products are pushed constantly in advertising, nutrition stores are present in every shopping center, the anti-vaccination sentiment is rife at present during the Covid 19 vaccination campaign and there are a number of homeopathic centers in Dublin.
Katarzyna Balcerzak – The anti-vaxx section of the book for the project was based about ‘Bad Science’ book by Ben Goldacre. This section represented and showed why people do not get a vaccine and why are they so against it. In this book, Ben explained the ‘scares around the world’ that people have had because after the vaccination there were complications. In the 1930’s anti-smallpox-vaccine sentiment appeared and things started to get complicated. Before that, the smallpox inoculation was banned in certain parts such as France. In today’s world people see vaccinations a different way and see that most of the time they help sick people. Ben has explained that while some of the very first vaccines had risks nowadays, there is far less risk when it comes to vaccinations.
Sofia Hilmi – The cosmetic section of the poster was inspired by ‘The Progenium XY Complex’ chapter of Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. This part of the book really hit home for me because even as a science student I had bought into the numerous false claims the cosmetic industry provided. From miraculous pimple patches to overpriced watered down creams, you name it I’ve probably purchased it along the way. So, I was very happy to write this section since I already had a personal vendetta against the pseudoscience of the cosmetic industry.
Stephen Balanesea – I wrote about the nutrition aspect from the book “Bad Science”. In the book, I read about Dr Gillian McKeith’s claim that eating darker leaves gave you more oxygen – Even though this is incorrect, it was quite an enjoyable read. What inspired me to write about the topic of nutrition was firstly that I am guilty of looking up remedies or even specific fruit or vegetables that “fix” a specific part of the body, but in Ben Goldacre’s book “Bad Science” he explained how many nutritional pills or products do not actually bring the benefit they claim. Secondly, I also enjoyed the way he would present data from the nutritional world and break it into parts to explain his reasoning and scientific explanation. What amazes me is to read about how people will invest a big sum of money towards buying vitamin pills and remedies from shops and online. In today’s world people care more about health and fitness and it just goes to show how easy it is to manipulate the public.
Aaron O’Brien – The homeopathy section of this exhibit was based entirely on “Bad Science”, by Ben Goldacre. The author begins by giving some general background on the origins of homeopathy before quickly delving into all its numerous flaws. One of the most staggering issues with homeopathy is “the dilution problem” as Goldacre puts it. I found this particularly relevant given our focus on chemistry, in which concentration of solutions is a vital concept. The method of dilution used is described simply and some clever analogies are used which really put the ridiculous scale of this practice into perspective, meaning it is quite difficult to believe this alternative treatment could ever have had any merit to it. When the poor data from the systematic review is considered too, alongside with how the idea of “like cures like” contradicts common sense, it really doesn’t leave much doubt that homeopathy is indeed, bad science.