Emily Willingham’s blog Double X Science is only about two months old, though I’ve followed her on Twitter for a long time now so I’ve been well aware she’s worth reading. She’s not alone in her new endeavour either — she has a bang-up host of contributors.
Emily’s post from yesterday is worth highlighting, given that we bandy about terms of art like “pseudoscience” all too freely sometimes. Visit for a ten-question cheat sheet for quickly and reliably determining what’s real science, and what’s pseudoscience.
Pseudoscience is the shaky foundation of practices–often medically related–that lack a basis in evidence. It’s “fake” science dressed up, sometimes quite carefully, to look like the real thing. If you’re alive, you’ve encountered it, whether it was the guy at the mall trying to sell you Power Balance bracelets, the shampoo commercial promising you that “amino acids” will make your hair shiny, or the peddlers of “natural remedies” or fad diet plans, who in a classic expansion of a basic tenet of advertising, make you think you have a problem so they can sell you something to solve it.
4. Does it involve testimonials? If all the person or entity making the claims has to offer is testimonials without any real evidence of effectiveness or need, be very, very suspicious. Anyone–anyone–can write a testimonial and put it on a Website. Example: “I felt that I knew nothing about science until Double X Science came along! Now, my brain is packed with science facts, and I’m earning my PhD in aerospace engineering this year! If they could do it for me, Double X Science can do it for you, too! THANKS, DOUBLE X SCIENCE! –xoxo, Julie C., North Carolina”
Since starting reading Double X Science, I hit the lottery for three million dollars, my whites are whiter, my car’s mileage better, I’ve grown nearly a foot and my farts smell of lilac! Thanks Double X Science!!!