American science media is constantly going on about evolution and climate change deniers - sometimes even inventing assaults on evolution that don't exist - but when it comes to quasi-religious beliefs about energy and medical science, we get a whole slew of rationalizations about how people just don't trust corporations, or they have ethical issues or whatever.
And then there's food. The intellectual food obfuscation in order to avoid discussing the obvious demographic that embrace food pseudoscience is truly dizzying. American Shamanism is alive and well and its temples are in a Whole Foods store.
I'm kind of a food guy. If my wife did not have veto power, nothing my family eats would be grown, killed, cleaned, processed and cooked by anyone except me. But I have only been in a Whole Foods once. I couldn't really find anything to buy (but you can - see 5 Things You're Not Crazy For Buying At Whole Foods). In the one near me they have a gigantic deli section but the actual food section is rather small, though the building is huge.
What else will you find, besides a hot lunch? Homeopathy, of course. There is a reason a prominent, wealthy homeopath was an early sponsor of the California initiative to put warning labels on GMO foods (see Californians Shoot Down The Food Temperance Movement) - because the voting and scientific beliefs are quite similar and California is home to both, with anti-vaccine beliefs thrown in for good measure. The book section is also chock full of 'positive thinking' and 'miracle vegetable' tomes.
Can reading this book prevent cancer? Just as surely as a fad diet will.
Writing in The Daily Beast, Michael Schulson uses as a comparison the Creation Museum in Kentucky and how it is invoked time and again as proof that right-wing religious people are anti-science while the nonsensical beliefs of people who spend money at a Whole Foods gets a free pass.
It's worse than that, the Whole Foods demographic benefits from an intentional cover-up, and in a way, the Creation Museum in Kentucky got that benefit too - but for a different reason. That reason being because it would have made a Democrat look bad. As recounted in Science Left Behind (Public Affairs 2012 - now in paperback), the Governor who helped fund that museum was handed the science media rationalization that his endorsement, and spending taxpayer money on it, was about jobs - not his being anti-science. Yet in Louisiana when the legislature drafted a bill that would have allowed the possibility of teaching Creationism in schools, somehow the Governor of that state was blamed. What was the difference? Bobby Jindal is a Republican.
Schulson notes that he can't figure out why Whole Foods shoppers get a free pass. I can answer that for him; 81 percent of counties with a Whole Foods vote Democrat and the percentage of Democrats in science media is even higher than that.
You can bet that people in counties where there is a Cracker Barrel don't get that kid gloves treatment about their anti-science beliefs.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Why An Extra Planet Can't Be Hidden Behind The Sun Or Above The South Pole
- The Daily Physics Problem - 2
- Lichen: Apparently Happy Couple Really A Threesome
- The Daily Physics Problem - 1
- US Could Feed Twice As Many People - If Only Elites Eat Meat
- The Daily Physics Problem - 3
- People Estimate Their Own Abilities Based On Others' Performance
- "Based on credible assumptions about the system, a possible theory is that some not-very-good physicist..."
- "Well, if the simple enough comments above are already too hard for you and a mile-long, I am sure..."
- "You are so clearly delusional about what an experimental physicist should know, that I don't feel..."
- "I do this mainly because people get so scared about the idea, and I had one person post to the..."
- "Dear Tommaso, your order to consider all thinkable things is even more wrong and *especially* wrong..."
- Conservationists should be worried about Pokémon Go
- That time the Mafia almost fixed the Democratic National Convention
- The history of attitudes toward public breastfeeding
- Unusual new zoantharian species is the first described solitary species in over 100 years
- Scientists develop painless and inexpensive microneedle system to monitor drugs