Poor Science Reporting and Premature Enthusiasm

Press releases often outpace the data. Here are some examples of over-enthusiastic reporting on extremely preliminary research.

/ December 21, 2021
VAERS database

As 2021 shambles to a close, the misuse of VAERS by antivaxxers continues apace

Misuse of the VAERS database to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about vaccines has been a favorite technique of antivaxxers for decades. Unfortunately, 2021 was the year when this particular antivax trope was turbocharged, and public health messaging seemed powerless to counter it.

/ December 20, 2021

Loud Silenced Doctors

When the history of this pandemic is written, contrarian doctors divorced from patient care won't be seen as its principal victims because YouTube removed their video, because someone called them "fringe", or because someone put up posters reminding them of words they said.

/ December 19, 2021

Why It’s Worthwhile to Debunk Shivambu

Richard Feynman famously said, "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool". This is the most important lesson skepticism has to offer.

/ December 17, 2021

Tennessee hamstrings medical board fight against COVID misinformation and unproven treatments

A new Tennessee law hampers the state medical board's efforts to rein in COVID misinformation and will make disciplining physicians prescribing unproven COVID treatments impossible until the board goes through cumbersome rule-making procedures, an effort that could outlast the pandemic.

/ December 16, 2021

The Need for Science-Based Medicine

The mission of SBM continues.

/ December 15, 2021

Nuubu: Here We Go Again! Recycling Debunked Foot Detox Myths

Companies come and go, but the claims remain the same, that you can (insert claim) with (insert product) without any evidence. A new company offering magical footpads are just putting new wine in old bottles.

/ December 14, 2021
Carl Sagan

John Ioannidis and the Carl Sagan effect in science communication about COVID-19

We have been critical about John Ioannidis over a number of his statements about the COVID-19 pandemic. Now he's done it again, producing a poor-quality paper whose unwritten assumptions suggest that the Carl Sagan effect, in which scientists are penalized professionally by their peers for becoming popular science communicators, still holds considerable sway in science and medicine.

/ December 13, 2021

A Journalist Asks if Your Child Needs an Energy Healer. The Answer Probably Won’t Surprise You.

A healthcare journalist writing for a respected source of news for millions of people has penned an article that endorses pure quackery in the form of energy healing for kids.

/ December 10, 2021

NAD Therapy

NAD therapy is touted as a cure-all for addiction and several chronic diseases. Evidence supporting these claims is lacking.

/ December 9, 2021