from the better-living-through-solopsism dept.
Papas Fritas writes:
Michael Schulson writes that if you want to write about spiritually-motivated pseudoscience in America, you can drive hundreds of miles to the Creation Museum in Kentucky but that America's greatest shrine to pseudoscience, the Whole Foods Market, is only a 15-minute trip away from most American urbanites. For example the homeopathy section at Whole Foods has plenty of Latin words and mathematical terms, but many of its remedies are so diluted that, statistically speaking, they may not contain a single molecule of the substance they purport to deliver.
"You can buy chocolate with "a meld of rich goji berries and ashwagandha root to strengthen your immune system," and bottles of ChlorOxygen chlorophyll concentrate, which "builds better blood." There's cereal with the kind of ingredients that are "made in a kitchen-not in a lab," and tea designed to heal the human heart," writes Schulson. "Nearby are eight full shelves of probiotics-live bacteria intended to improve general health. I invited a biologist friend who studies human gut bacteria to come take a look with me. She read the healing claims printed on a handful of bottles and frowned. "This is bullshit," she said, and went off to buy some vegetables."
According to Schulson the total lack of outrage over Whole Foods' existence, and by the total saturation of outrage over the Creation Museum, makes it clear that strict scientific accuracy in the public sphere isn't quite as important to many of us as we might believe. "The moral is not that we should all boycott Whole Foods. It's that whenever we talk about science and society, it helps to keep two rather humbling premises in mind: very few of us are anywhere near rational. And pretty much all of us are hypocrites."