Bad Science: Best of 2011’s Celebrity Crackpot Claims.

Bad Science: Best of 2011’s Celebrity Crackpot Claims. From Bill O’Reilly’s puzzlement over tides to Gwyneth Paltrow’s detox plans, it’s time to pick out our favorites. Here are the top offenders listed by Sense about Science , a charitable organization that tries to fight pseudoscience.

Bad Science: Snooki (altered reality star of Jersey Shore) does not like the beach because she hates sharks and “the water’s all whale sperm. That’s why the ocean’s salty.” Real Science: It would take a lot of whale sperm to make the sea that salty.

Bad science: Singer-songwriter Suzy Quatro recommends cleansing your colon for everything. She says, “I used to get a lot of sore throats and then one of my sisters told me that all illnesses start in the colon.” Real Science: “Sore throats do not come from your colon; they are caused by viruses that come in through your nose and mouth. Taking ‘colon cleansers’ has no beneficial effect on your throat — or on your colon.”

Bad Science: Simon Cowell admits that to look and feel young, he takes his cocktail of vitamin C, B12 and magnesium salts intravenously because it gave him “an incredibly warm feeling”. Real Science: Vitamins are absorbed quite well in the gut and injections are unlikely to provide much benefit unless a person has a specific medical deficiency.

Bad Science: Christian Louboutin, a French footwear designer was struck by the “the arch of the foot, because it is exactly the position of a woman’s foot when she orgasms. So putting your foot in a heel, you are putting yourself in a possibly orgasmic situation”. Real Science: It is important to differentiate cause from effect.


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27 Responses to Bad Science: Best of 2011’s Celebrity Crackpot Claims.

  1. Matt Kuenzel says:

    Ha ha ha … TV “news” has become such a freak show … colon cleansing is pure quackery!

  2. ahahah those are good ones !

  3. I’m so disappointed. I rely on Snooki for all of my science information.

  4. Rajini Rao says:

    That’s silly, Jeff Moskovitz ! I would never rely on any one other than Bill O’Reilly.

  5. Rajini Rao says:

    Tania Moya , I think she got confused because Sperm Whale live in the ocean so the ocean must have whale sperm?

  6. Rich Pollett says:

    As entertaining as ‘celebrity science’ can be, with their large audiences repeating as fact some statements, the damage done may take many years to reverse. I’m however a fan of any person with a level of fame that has a science based education background and can tell the public something worthwhile, separating current fact and understanding from myth. Oops, didn’t mean to be ‘that guy’.

  7. Rajini Rao says:

    Very true, Rich Pollett . Actually, I did not have the heart to bring up Michelle Bachmanns ridiculous claim that the HPV virus causes mental retardation, or Jenny Mcarthy and her anti vaccine campaign. There’s nothing funny about those. That’s why I kept my examples to some silly harmless stuff. 😦

  8. I actually send my colon out to be dry cleaned.

  9. Whoa, no mention of Jenny McCarthy? Come on!

    Also, colon cleansers are highly effective, I’ll have you know. The people who use them are usually full of excrement and regular colon cleansing cleans this out. However a known side effect is that it also makes this excrement come out of their mouths fairly often.

  10. Rajini Rao says:

    Hello there, Buddhini Samarasinghe ! Colon cleansing hypothesis apparently originated in someone’s colon, rather than the opposite end. As I mentioned in my answer to Rich Pollett above, the Michelle Bachmanns and Jenny McCarthy’s are not funny, but dangerous and sad. BTW, you should see the ridiculous conspiracy story going around on G+ today. Apparently cancer has already been “cured” but because the drug is nonpatentable (never mind that new uses for a drug can be patented), Big Pharma is doing its evil best to keep it away from patients.

    Unfortunately, the story has over 50 shares and keeps popping up on my stream. I’ve tried to squash it as best I could, and now the OP has disabled comments. Our work here is never done.

  11. Tom Lee says:

    I’d fault this whole thing on the media and the people who spread the “knowledge” without checking what they were about to say. This is the world we live in. So since when that Suzie Quattro knows how to treat “everything” with colon cleansing? And there are people who’d believe the witch doctors (Simon and Suzie).

  12. Rajini Rao says:

    Tom Lee , this Suzie Quatro is not the Suzy Q of the famous CCR cover (apparently that song was written way back in 1957), that’s all I know about her, besides the fact that she has a really clean colon 🙂 Oddly, some people are willing to believe these celebrities but are deeply suspicious of evil scientists who are apparently in the pockets of Big Pharma (if only!).

  13. Tom Lee says:

    Rajini Rao Suzi Quatro the singer. She was kinda famous in the 70’s. Not sure the one on this web site is her. So what you are saying is there are 2 suzi quatro (singer, songwriter)? what about this one here? . I think there is only one S Q.

    i don’t know if CCR’s Suzie Q is this S Q.

    But anyway, how do people know she has a clean colon? ..Interesting!

    People who believe in celebrities didn’t want to think, I guess!

  14. Rajini Rao says:

    Tania Moya , yes that the same story. Nothing wrong with the research at all, and a good lead to follow up. But the internet conspiracy that the research is being ignored because it is a non patentable drug or that it is not profitable to cure cancer lacks logic. You can patent new uses for old drugs..besides they can be modified by chemists and improved..and then patented. The problem with pharma is simply that they have to report to their share holders and in this way, are really like any other big business with an eye for profit. They’ll stop a promising lead if it looks unprofitable and may well push something of marginal efficacy if it is profitable. But to say they are conspiring to withhold a cure is a bit much. After all, what is a cure? Most likely, it would involve gene therapy, drugs or stem cells, all of which pharma could patent and profit from. What about pharma manufacturing vaccines that prevent disease? If they wanted to profit from disease, why would they market vaccines. 😉

  15. Rajini Rao says:

    Tom Lee , LOL..sorry for the confusion. There is only one Suzy Quatro (singer), yes. But she is not the Suzy Q of the song you and I like so much. That was written about a little girl called Susan who was the daughter of Stan Lewis ..Dale Hawkins worked for this guy and cowrote the song. I always assumed that Suzy Q was Suzy Quatro, but apparently not.

  16. Bad Science: Any Republican 2012 presidential candidate (they’re all interchangeable) “If global warming is true, how come we’re still having these big snowfalls?!” Real Science: Warming leads to increased evaporation and precipitation, which falls as increased snow in winter.

  17. Rajini Rao says:

    Marc Ponomareff , some of them are not going to be celebrities past the Iowa caucus, me thinks. 🙂 Also, the distinction between climate and weather is too much to grasp for some.

  18. People have ended up jumping to conclusions too much. And there are others who feed the uninformed.

    Take the LHC scare, for example. Someone said that they are ‘attempting to simulate the conditions of the big bang’, and everyone immediately went all “Oh no crazy physicists recreating Big Bang…World shall Explode… Black hole!” etc etc. What they failed to grasp was that the physicists were simulating a large energy density(that of the big bang) in an extremely small space, and effectively the evergy poured into that space was pretty small (A hundred TeV is a few microjoules which is still almost nothing)

    Similar things have happened regarding the so-called 2012 apocalypse. Lots of people believe that there is a firm physics foundation to this (Something to do with a zone of our galaxy where all light magically disappears)

  19. Rajini Rao says:

    Manish Goregaokar , you give a great example of media hype that quickly amplifies in the interwebs. I see similar examples relating to medical research that are cringe worthy. Who starts the hype in the first place? I think that some blame falls on the shoulders of science journalists, who oversell a story to make the headlines pop. When I look at the original peer-reviewed articles that are cited, I find the claims are much more nuanced and balanced..if only because authors are seldom allowed to get away with hype by their peers. Some top journals even have a specific policy that strictly disallows claims of being the first, use of the word “novel” and so on. Perhaps articles written by the science journalists need to go through more rigorous peer review by fellow journalists?

  20. I doubt that peer reviews by fellow journalists will help much.. The difference here is in the goals:Scientists only want to announce a discovery; journalists want to sell it. So, a fellow journalist will think that an overhyped article is perfect by his/her standards.

    The root issue here is that the science community has no ‘mouthpiece’; atleast not one that is well-known and listened to.

    If a public figure is discredited(or if any hoax is published about them), you usually see huge headlines on how the said figure refutes all claims..

    On the other hand, when Science is hoax-ified, there is no collective response.. So you get a huge headline on how the LHC will destroy us all, and a tiny sentence on the views of the science community (which is resolutely ignored). If there was a way for the science community to reach out to the public, in a way that everyone will notice, all this could get fixed.. The closest example we have of this are TV scientists; but, then again, not all are reliable, and they have the same problems as journalists.

    Btw, interesting point regarding journal policies; I didn’t know that.

  21. Joan Hogol says:

    The sperm and the whales… that was a joke, isn’t it? I mean that person didn’t talk seriously.

    By the way… i thought sperm was sweety and not salty….

  22. Rajini Rao says:

    Best not to think too much about the quotations or the quoted persons, Joan Hogol !

  23. Rajini Rao says:

    Tony Bryson , the sum total of our knowledge on Snooki is growing exponentially thanks to G+ posts such as this one. Just the other day, someone explained to me that GTL (Gym Tan Laundry) referred to the triumvirate of values on Jersey Shore..I’m still perplexed by the Laundry part, though.

  24. Joan Hogol says:

    I don’t know who is this Snookie, but i run away from facebook because of this kind of people and all their ‘friends’ saying ‘i like it’ to all that silly things.

    i think that g+ has more people interesting with interesting things to say and to share.

  25. Rajini Rao says:

    Joan Hogol , Snooki is the star of a reality TV show called Jersey Shore. There is a lot of fighting, yelling and worse that goes on. She is so silly that she becomes funny. Don’t worry, we won’t let Snooki into our G+ circles 🙂

  26. Joan Hogol says:

    Rajini Rao , Thank you for the info, and thank you for keep G+ circles clean 🙂

    Ah, and i wish you a happy new year !

  27. Here is to my hope that Science has a stellar 2012! There are two I am on the look out for: confirmation of Opera and Higgs getting a Nobel Prize.

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