Category: pseudoscience

Creationism vs. Science : The Final Showdown!:

If Woo peddlers can gamify social media algorithms using cute cats to sneak quackery into the lives of unsuspecting people, science too can harness the power of felines for good dammit!

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 2, Snake Oil

Going viral in the online anti-vaccine wars:

The Wellcome is one of the best places to go for a geek in London (if you’re a Digihuman listener I just assume you’ve the geek is strong within you), and they always have brilliant, well researched and vibrant collections on display.

The digital age may be amplifying anti-vaccination sentiment more than ever before, but fear has turned people away from medical progression for a long, long time.

Contemporary anti-vaccination campaigning started in earnest after the publication of Andrew Wakefield’s now infamous study suggesting that the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine caused autism. The MMR scare snowballed to become the biggest science story of 2002, leading to demands in the British press for Tony Blair to disclose whether his son Leo had been given the vaccine.

In 2010 the study was retracted by its publisher, the Lancet, after an investigation discovered multiple conflicts of interest and manipulation of research data. Wakefield lost the right to practise medicine in the UK, but that didn’t stop him continuing his campaign against vaccines. In 2016 Wakefield released the documentary Vaxxed, which followed other anti-vaccination documentaries such as Trace Amounts and Calling the Shots. Vaxxed was pulled from the Tribeca Film Festival before its screening, following a public outcry about its message.

It’s pretty unlikely you’ll be seeing anti-vaccination documentaries at your local cinema. But anti-vaxxers are adept at using digital technology to sidestep what they see as official censorship, reaching new converts through ‘news’ articles, self-produced documentaries and memes. Despite this, anti-vaxxers aren’t a new digital phenomenon, but rather the latest incarnation of a social and political movement with a long history of resistance to large-scale vaccination programmes.

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 2, Snake Oil

One factor of the spread of Snake Oil we didn’t have time to cover in this week’s show (insert subtle show plug here – 

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 2, Snake Oil) was how lazy scientific journalism grants some credence to quackery and/or pseudoscience. 

Thankfully Myles Power has covered this in a few videos, here is a recent trio of videos on the infamous gay frogs, but his whole channel is worth a look.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6NDtIU8liw – Part 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9eLiBmQC68 – Part 3

Scientists Who Selfie:

Seriously though guys, scientists have the best selfies. I never get to pose with snapping turtles in my day to day job… argh, I made a wrong choice somewhere!!!

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 2, Snake Oil

Myles was great to have on the show, and his youtube channel is really wonderful. Not only is he good on debunking quacks, he also unravels conspiracy theories, the videos are well researched, and can be fun when he’s not dealing with the darkest of the dark online. Check ‘em out.

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 2, Snake Oil