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Hank CampbellRSS Feed of this column.

I founded Science 2.0® in 2006 and since then it has become the world's largest independent science communications site, with over 300,000,000 direct readers and reach approaching one billion. Read More »

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Can you prevent cancer? Not really. The number one risk factor for cancer is old age, if you live long enough you are likely to get some form or another. Despite the beliefs of the Longevity crowd, we are biologically self-terminating.
The anti-vaccine and anti-GMO movements are products of the digital age. While there were always vaccine deniers, they were a tiny religious fringe until the 2000s, when it took England and the coasts of the U.S. by storm. Similarly, odd beliefs about food always existed but they were relegated to obscure stores. 

Social media changed all that. Facebook and Twitter became hotbeds of misinformation because anti-science activists mastered creating 'buzz' by getting cabals of individuals, sympathetic journalists, and groups who capitalized on it to swarm around bombastic claims. Now those tweet storms become 'and here's how Twitter reacted' articles by lazy media outlets.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were shown to be a bureaucratic mess when the coronavirus pandemic hit - refusing to send coronavirus tests unless hospitals first proved proved patients had coronavirus, then sending faulty reagents - and academic epidemiologists often seemed to be just making things up, but one area came through nicely; academic medicine.

Medicine, along with the life sciences and social sciences, are areas where women dominate in graduates but because leadership positions are often held for lengthy periods, when it comes to the top levels the numbers aren't the same. Men are in control.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. The NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, Berkeley psychologist Joel Moskowitz, and other anti-science conspiracy theorists use the language of science against it to advance their beliefs that we're all being harmed by the modern world.

So when they see a scientific statement like "very low risk" of harm from any cell phone service, including 5G, they have a ready retort to mobilize the coastal Karens and Darrens who make up their ranks; that's not no risk.
If you know the government is going to subsidize your business, you are a lot more agreeable to starting a company with questionable prospects than if you have to compete in the free market. If government subsidies decline, you are in real trouble if you have not shown your business model works.

That is the plight of alternative energy like solar and wind and ethanol today. Though pundits have insisted their economic models show it works, you can't spend virtual money. Financial reality is that without subsidies funded by governments who force conventional users to pay for those $25,000 solar installations, the industry will collapse.  Governments can't tax economic models. They can't tax an expense.
For decades there has been a statistical controversy about meat. By statistical I mean it was never a real health issue. Instead, though we clearly evolved to eat it, epidemiologists statistically correlated meat to dying and said therefore we shouldn't eat it. Though such studies noted down at the bottom that the relationship was not causal, they wanted the public to believe it because they highlighted the causal inference in press releases, and so media rushed to claim that meat causes heart attacks.

A few years ago, epidemiologists at France's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) joined in, using their own meta-analyses to declare that meat was just as hazardous to health as plutonium. And smoking. And mustard gas.