Prof. Joe Schwarcz has written several books separating fact from fiction and explaining science. (McGill Office for Science and Society)

Health myths debunked in new book

Share

At a time when so many people believe crazy things they read on the internet, a McGill University professor has written a book to explain science and why people should put their faith in that instead. No, explains Joe Schwarcz, drinking cabbage juice will not help you live until you are 400, nor will it regrow missing limbs, as someone claimed on a popular TV program.

Prof. Joe Schwarcz has spent decades explaining science to the public.

Listen

Separating sense from nonsense

“Over the years, I’ve become very sensitized to the importance of separating sense from nonsense,” says Schwarcz who is director of the Office for Science and Society at McGill University. This office was created to promote critical thinking and scientific information to the public, educators and students.

In the past, charlatans went from town to town peddling snake oil. Now, the practice is much easier with the internet providing broad access to gullible people.

Myths can be seductive, says professor

Schwarcz notes that the desperately ill are particularly vulnerable “It’s a lot more seductive to think that cabbage juice can cure your cancer than that you have to undergo radiation, chemotherapy or surgery…There are all kinds of bloggers out there who have declared themselves to be experts without any scientific background and they have answers to everything.”

In newspapers, on radio and TV, Schwarcz has answered questions about everyday concerns such as flame retardants in furniture, formaldehyde in cosmetics and benzene in soft drinks.

His latest book carries on discussing various popular issues. He explains how science works and why people should trust peer-reviewed studies rather than the bloggers. The book is called A Feast of Science: Intriguing Morsels from the Science of Everyday Life.

Published by ECW Press.

Share
Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Health, Internet, Science and Technology, Society

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*