I’ve mentioned Sense about Science before–it’s a group in the UK that works to block companies and hucksters from misrepresenting themselves as “scientific” when they are just selling pseudoscience.

A new initiative of theirs is to examine specific companies’ claims for the actual science involved. You can download the SAS report “There Goes the Science Bithere, where they systematically demolish the pseudoscientific claims of 11 companies.

What they did:

“Some of us started making a few phone calls to customer helplines and manufacturers to hunt down the evidence. Some people we spoke to disavowed responsibility or insisted they were responding to consumer concern. Others were able to link their claims to science, albeit from a galaxy far far away. They seemed completely unprepared for our questions and no-one was able to provide solid evidence. “

I especially enjoyed the examination of this claim: “Nutridirect herbal mixture ‘can rid you of over 100 types of parasite.’ The transcript of the phone call is pretty hilarious.

The fact that it is both FUN and explains why the products aren‘t actually scientific in easy to understand language is the best part!

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!

3 Comments

  1. While I agree that there’s a lot of crap out there that simply doesn’t work as advertised, part of the problem is that people put too much credence into the claims of sales staff and customer service reps who very often either repeat what they’re told, or make it up as they go along.

    In these cases, the manufacturer’s claims are probably bogus, or at least stretched a bit thin. But you can’t always prove that by repeating the outlandish claims of a call center rep. Quite often these are just guys off the street working for regular pay check. If they don’t know the answer, they explain it as best as they can, which is very often watered down even more. And when that doesn’t work, some of them will make crap up as they go along, or use vague analogies to sound more knowledgeable than they really are.

    If a scientist is talking to a layperson with a script and a supervisor looking over their shoulder, the scientist naturally has the upper hand, no matter how strong or weak the manufacturer’s claims.

  2. Is there any like Ministry of Health acknowledgment?

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