How to Spot Fake Medical / Science Claims: Episode #1

Every few weeks, I’m going to post examples of pseudoscience and hyped-up claims to help the public develop the ability to recognize patterns of crap science. So, did you know?

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Holistic Ali is apparently confused.

This is common pseudoscience that you are bound to run into especially among health conscientious groups. We should be passionate about health and the environment but not at the expense of our brains falling out of our heads.

Pseudoscience is notorious for:

#1: Tapping into the “Natural”. If it says, Holistic or Natural. Your radar should tingle. Not that it’s fake, but that you need to look deeper before accepting it as truth. Holistic is more a marketing term over providing anything of useful descriptive value.

#2: Conflating Ideas: Facts mixed with extraordinary claims: Yep, it’s a plant. Sleep better? Really? How so?

#3: Embellishment: Just because something may be able to do one thing, doesn’t mean that it is capable of everything else that is claimed. In this example: Like most plants adapted to dry conditions, succulents do indeed release some tiny amount of oxygen at night; however, a plant that size wouldn’t release enough oxygen to assist with any significant levels of oxygen intake. You’d need a room full of them… almost top to bottom.

#4: Having Lack of Mechanism of Action: How it Works is often omitted. Fake medical products and pseudoscientific claims tend to make large claims with no actual detail of how it works. Many holistic websites for instance provide no links to studies and research supporting their claims. In this case: Natural air-purifier: Purifying how? What is it taking from the air? How does that process work?

Don’t be a victim due to desperation and ignorance. This example is rather benign, but that is how it starts. Once you accept some things uncritically, it gets easier to continue to accept crap ideas. Internet herbs don’t cure cancer, glucosamine and chondroitin don’t treat arthritis, drinking cranberry juice doesn’t cure STI’s, you don’t have energy chakras that need to be aligned, and moving your furniture around doesn’t sync your energies with the planet.

Awaken.

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