Dr. Paul Offit, e-cigarettes and how social media ruins science
My apologies for not posting an update in eight months. Here's a sample of what's kept me away from this site:
New interview with vaccine expert Dr. Paul Offit on the ‘dos and dont’s’ of battling scientific misinformation.
Another conversation with epidemiologist Geoffrey Kabat about how junk science gets published—and how to spot it in the headlines.
I also have a new article at the American Council on Science and Health debunking the American Lung Association's opposition to electronic cigarettes.
Finally, here's my analysis of a recent study examining how social media encourages the proliferation of anti-GMO activism:
Social media platforms in effect pay activists (already motivated by ideology) to spread questionable narratives by rewarding deceptive messaging with higher readership, advertising revenue and ‘natural’ product sales. This incentive structure helps create a scenario in which society’s views on a given issue are increasingly divorced from the relevant facts, and the consequences can be devastating, as the authors concluded: 'The socioeconomic costs of disinformation campaigns as illustrated in the case of GMOs are significant …. [L]ess visible costs are diminished confidence in science, and the loss of important innovations and foregone innovation capacities.'