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Stars who spout 'pseudo-science should check their facts first' (Scientists fight celebrity idiocy)
The Daily Mail (U.K.) ^ | January 2, 2008 | FIONA MACRAE

Posted on 01/02/2008 11:07:25 PM PST by Stoat

Stars who spout 'pseudo-science should check their facts first'

By FIONA MACRAE - More by this author » Last updated at 23:29pm on 2nd January 2008

 

Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman: Criticised for promoting a computer brain workout programme

 

When your name's Nicole Kidman or Gwyneth Paltrow, everyone wants to hear what you have to say.

But before holding forth on their favourite remedy, celebrities should get their facts straight, experts say.

The two Hollywood actresses, along with the TV presenter Gillian McKeith and fashion designer Stella McCartney, are singled out by a charity founded to increase the public's understanding of scientific issues.

Sense About Science warned: "A small group of people in the public eye promote pseudo-science without embarrassment and cannot be dissuaded from it."

Alice Tuff, who helped compile the list of celebrity pseudo- science, said: "Celebrity lifestyles and comments have a lot of social weight. Once in the public domain, it's almost impossible for, say, a toxicologist to eclipse a Stella McCartney or a Gwyneth Paltrow in order to give the public the facts. So the pressure must be there to get it right in the first place."

Miss Kidman, who appears in the Christmas blockbuster the Golden Compass, is criticised for promoting Nintendo's computer-based mental workout programme Dr Kawashima's Brain Training.

Endorsing the game, the 40-year-old star said: "I've quickly found that training my brain is a great way to keep my mind feeling young."

However, scientists say there is scant evidence for her claim.

Dr Jason Braithwaite, a cognitive neuroscientist at Birmingham University, said: "There is no conclusive evidence showing that the continued use of these devices is linked to any measurable changes and general improvements in cognition."

Meanwhile, Gwyneth Paltrow has been singled out for her lack of knowledge of the genetics of cancer.

The actress, known to follow a wholegrain-rich, meat and caffeine-free macrobiotic diet, said recently: "I am convinced that by eating biological foods it is possible to avoid tumours."

But Professor Tim Hunt, of charity Cancer Research UK, said: "There is little evidence to implicate particular diets or particular foods with increased risk of cancer."

Also under the microscope is nutritionist Gillian McKeith. Referring to obesity among children, the presenter of Channel 4's You Are What You Eat, said: "If a quarter of kids are overweight now, then when they grow up and have kids, half of them will be overweight.

"And then if they have kids, everybody will be overweight."

But John Garrow, emeritus professor of medicine at the University of London, said: "Obesity is not mainly genetically determined, although it does 'run in families' because families share a similar environment.'

Stella McCartney is criticised for a magazine interview in which she said a chemical found in many skin creams is also found in anti-freeze. Scientists said the chemical, propylene glycol, is versatile and its use in cosmetics is not "scary".

Not all celebrities fared badly. The chef Jamie Oliver and the illusionist Derren Brown were praised for their responsible attitude to science.



TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: celebrities; junkscience; pseudoscience; science; shutupandsing
A related FR thread that may be of interest:

Suckers for a detox in the Chinese tradition (Useless celebrity fad exposed)

1 posted on 01/02/2008 11:07:31 PM PST by Stoat
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To: Eric Blair 2084

Ping


2 posted on 01/02/2008 11:12:15 PM PST by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2012: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: Stoat

Ted Danson a decade ago told us the seas would be lifeless if we didn’t “do something.” Santa Monica imposed a tax to “do something.” Turns out Ted was wrong.

Alar?

Now it is global warming. It is a means for a celebrity’s publicist to get these folks “in the news” and to show “how much I care.” They care, we all pay. Schlock science.


3 posted on 01/02/2008 11:23:37 PM PST by bajabaja
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To: All
Cited in the article:

Sense About Science

4 posted on 01/02/2008 11:24:23 PM PST by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2012: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: Stoat

Shut up and act. I don’t want to hear your drivel.


5 posted on 01/02/2008 11:30:06 PM PST by AlaskaErik (I served and protected my country for 31 years. Democrats spent that time trying to destroy it.)
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To: Stoat

LOL

They must have done brain scans on these people and found them to be lacking in well, brains.


6 posted on 01/02/2008 11:30:18 PM PST by freekitty ((May the eagles long fly our beautiful and free American sky.))
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To: Stoat
I get most of my information from celebrities. And when you learn from enlightened individuals such as these - how can one go wrong?

"Smoking kills. If you’re killed, you’ve lost an important part of your life.” — Brooke Shields

“I get to go to lots of overseas places, like Canada.” — Britney Spears

“I’ve got taste. It’s inbred in me.” — David Hasselhoff

"If you think that rape should be legal, then don't vote." - Cameron Diaz

7 posted on 01/02/2008 11:36:45 PM PST by TightyRighty
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To: bajabaja

Endorsing the game, the 40-year-old star said: “I’ve quickly found that training my brain is a great way to keep my mind feeling young.”

>>>>>>Ummmm she can act, she’s pretty to look at, but her brain would make a good doorstop.

I see their movies...Will Smith’s ‘I am Legend’ was so so...

good charismatic actor but now I’m told either Tom Cruise or maybe it’s John Travolta is “mentoring” Will on scientology...

What a cryin’ shame! Always liked Will, still do, but it’s as if the body snatchers have gotten to him in real life! It’s no longer a horror flick! Truth is stranger than fiction!

I think the hollyweird crowd is good for acting and entertaining like musicians like Mick Jagger are good for....well...Music!

I’m a nurse...I’d make a HORRIBLE actor...or musician...etc.

What these loons say about religion, science or politics is much like a chimp picking stocks for me.

What happened to the days when actors and actresses like Marlene Dietrich & Jimmy Stewart actually had control of their faculties?

Now we have Brittney Spears and George Looney Clooney!


8 posted on 01/02/2008 11:37:59 PM PST by tpanther
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To: freekitty
LOL

They must have done brain scans on these people and found them to be lacking in well, brains.

I guess that for many, being constantly surrounded by adoring, bootlicking fans and aides and being handed a microphone and asked to speak on any and every issue to a worldwide audience can make some people say some incredibly stupid things  :-)

Sadly, the media organizations and interviewers are also not doing their jobs in editing the trash out.

(Although for so very many celebrities, "editing the trash out" would involve dispensing with the entire interview....)

 

((((snicker)))))

9 posted on 01/02/2008 11:39:07 PM PST by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2012: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: Stoat

Just as big an issue today are scientists that want to be “stars”.


10 posted on 01/02/2008 11:40:09 PM PST by Berlin_Freeper (ETERNAL SHAME on the Treasonous and Immoral Democrats!)
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To: Stoat

I disagree on the brain age game - studies have shown that dementia is less likely in people who maintain an active mental life - I’ve used the program and found it quite stimulating.

Now if she makes any medical claims that could be a problem - they would need to be documented but all I’ve heard her say was it makes her feel alert and like her mind is younger.


11 posted on 01/02/2008 11:43:24 PM PST by gondramB (Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.)
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To: gondramB
studies have shown that dementia is less likely in people who maintain an active mental life

Agreed...I've read this in medical publications.  Even something like doing crossword puzzles regularly can have a positive effect, apparently.

I think that she is being criticized for promoting this specific product as having a measurable effect when no data exists.

12 posted on 01/02/2008 11:49:45 PM PST by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2012: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: AlaskaErik
Honestly. What could a bunch of middle school dropouts impart to “society” that “society” cannot deduce for itself?

I am certain the fields of earth science, physical science, nutrition, international affairs, economics, etc., will soldier on very well without the aid of the celeb du jour.

13 posted on 01/02/2008 11:50:22 PM PST by singfreedom ("Victory at all costs,.....for without victory there is no survival." Winston Churchill)
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To: Stoat

Right on.


14 posted on 01/02/2008 11:51:20 PM PST by freekitty ((May the eagles long fly our beautiful and free American sky.))
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To: freekitty

For most of them, its a real good thing they are reasonably attractive! A brain trust they are not.


15 posted on 01/02/2008 11:52:04 PM PST by singfreedom ("Victory at all costs,.....for without victory there is no survival." Winston Churchill)
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To: Stoat

I love your last line. It is too, too funny. I can hardly stop laughing. Good one.


16 posted on 01/02/2008 11:54:00 PM PST by freekitty ((May the eagles long fly our beautiful and free American sky.))
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To: tpanther

LOL!


17 posted on 01/02/2008 11:54:22 PM PST by singfreedom ("Victory at all costs,.....for without victory there is no survival." Winston Churchill)
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To: Berlin_Freeper
Just as big an issue today are scientists that want to be “stars”.

Although I think it's great when truly scientific concepts and principles can be brought to a wider audience, I agree that too much showmanship can cheapen and belittle an effort.

Particularly in arenas such as psychiatry and psychology, the various "celebrity psychologists" who ostensibly give people the ultimate, definitive answers the all of the problems of their lives within a 20 minute program segment are doing a tremendous disservice to their professions and also giving many people false hope and false answers.....life is 'usually' more complex than that and the more complex questions usually do not lend themselves well to minimal, cutesy answers in the context of a TV or radio program.

18 posted on 01/02/2008 11:55:09 PM PST by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2012: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: Stoat
When your name's Nicole Kidman or Gwyneth Paltrow, everyone wants to hear what you have to say.

Er, um, no, media hypestress.

19 posted on 01/02/2008 11:55:14 PM PST by JennysCool (Happy New Year!)
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To: Berlin_Freeper
Just as big an issue today are scientists that want to be “stars”.

Although I think it's great when truly scientific concepts and principles can be brought to a wider audience, I agree that too much showmanship can cheapen and belittle an effort.

Particularly in arenas such as psychiatry and psychology, the various "celebrity psychologists" who ostensibly give people the ultimate, definitive answers the all of the problems of their lives within a 20 minute program segment are doing a tremendous disservice to their professions and also giving many people false hope and false answers.....life is 'usually' more complex than that and the more complex questions usually do not lend themselves well to minimal, cutesy answers in the context of a TV or radio program.

20 posted on 01/02/2008 11:55:43 PM PST by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2012: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: singfreedom

ROTFLOL. Good one


21 posted on 01/02/2008 11:57:26 PM PST by freekitty ((May the eagles long fly our beautiful and free American sky.))
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To: Berlin_Freeper

I apologize for my double post...I’m having some connectivity “issues” with the stoatputer at the moment.


22 posted on 01/02/2008 11:59:10 PM PST by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2012: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: Stoat

The Kidman quote is harmless. Her real crime is becoming a blonde.


23 posted on 01/03/2008 12:00:05 AM PST by ValerieTexas
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To: freekitty; tpanther
Thanks, but I was kinda partial to tpanther’s “doorstop” analogy. I’m still rollin’! LOL!
24 posted on 01/03/2008 12:01:20 AM PST by singfreedom ("Victory at all costs,.....for without victory there is no survival." Winston Churchill)
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To: Stoat

That makes sense.


25 posted on 01/03/2008 12:02:44 AM PST by gondramB (Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.)
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To: ValerieTexas

Maybe she’s turning “gray”?


26 posted on 01/03/2008 12:04:48 AM PST by singfreedom ("Victory at all costs,.....for without victory there is no survival." Winston Churchill)
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To: singfreedom

I see what you mean. It is a riot. Thanks for pointing it out.


27 posted on 01/03/2008 12:07:09 AM PST by freekitty ((May the eagles long fly our beautiful and free American sky.))
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To: bajabaja; MotleyGirl70; Cagey; Mr. Brightside; Rb ver. 2.0; lesser_satan; jdm; countess; ...
Ted Danson a decade ago told us the seas would be lifeless if we didn’t “do something.”

Why anyone would listen to a celeb when we have actual marine biologists out there is beyond me!


28 posted on 01/03/2008 12:39:04 AM PST by Gamecock (Aaron had what every mega-church pastor craves: a huge crowd that gave freely and lively worship.)
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To: Stoat

“I am convinced that by eating biological foods it is possible to avoid tumours.”

Do some people actually live on non-biological food? Or is Gwyneth Paltrow a blonde? Or maybe she knows some sulfate reducing bacteria with tumors.


29 posted on 01/03/2008 12:53:22 AM PST by haroldeveryman
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To: Gamecock

Marine biologist AND architect. Let’s be accurate about false identities. It gets the babes.


30 posted on 01/03/2008 1:12:23 AM PST by bajabaja
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To: tpanther

Ah, well, you should run a search for “Will Smith Hitler Comment” on a search engine. He seems to think Hitler really was, well, well-intentioned, but twisted. It follows the “everybody is basically good” mantra, which probably excludes only conservatives, Condi Rice, George Bush, Rush, and a handful of others. Beyond that, everyone is basically good, according to Will Smith. Please stick with nursing, you do more good than these folks. Happy New Year.


31 posted on 01/03/2008 1:19:59 AM PST by bajabaja
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To: gondramB
Surgeons With Video Game Skill Appear To Perform Better In Simulated Surgery Skills Course

Action Video Games Sharpen Vision 20 Percent

Both of these stories are in Science Daily, a respectable site (except on the subject of GW; only pro-GW evidence is presented).

32 posted on 01/03/2008 1:34:39 AM PST by samtheman (Fred Thompson '08)
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To: Stoat

Most people recall that the pretty boys and girls in school who were brainless academic failures, sometimes found their sole avenue of achievement in acting.

Why should we pay even the slightest attention to people we all know from personal experience to be functionally retarded?


33 posted on 01/03/2008 1:40:44 AM PST by FormerACLUmember (When the past no longer illuminates the future, the spirit walks in darkness.)
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To: Stoat
"There is little evidence to implicate particular diets or particular foods with increased risk of cancer."

Notice trhe scientiest doesn't say there is "no evidence". I do think diet can affect the incidence of cancer particularly colon cancer.

34 posted on 01/03/2008 2:55:09 AM PST by Raycpa
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To: Raycpa

“Notice trhe scientiest doesn’t say there is “no evidence”. I do think diet can affect the incidence of cancer particularly colon cancer.”

I agree. Many, many years ago a doctor told me that the worst thing that I could do for my body was to eat red meat. I wasn’t much of a meat eater so I tapered off to the point of stopping altogether. Now some medical studies also see a correlation so I guess there might have been some truth in his warning to me.


35 posted on 01/03/2008 3:17:43 AM PST by Mila
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To: Stoat
"Miss Kidman, who appears in the Christmas blockbuster the Golden Compass"

Anyone who claims that Golden Compass was a blockbuster is an idiot.

36 posted on 01/03/2008 3:21:49 AM PST by american_ranger (Never ever use DirecTV)
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To: gondramB

“...studies have shown that dementia is less likely in people who maintain an active mental life...”

It’s called reading and engaging in meaningful conversation. Few people know how to do that anymore, it appears.


37 posted on 01/03/2008 4:45:17 AM PST by txzman (Jer 23:29)
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To: bajabaja

Marine biologist AND architect. Let’s be accurate about false identities. It gets the babes.

Did we not leave out......VanDalay Latex salesman!


38 posted on 01/03/2008 4:49:02 AM PST by Recon Dad (Marine Spec Ops Dad)
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To: Stoat

The Hollywood stars are for the most part uneducated dolts. The problem is that the MSM gives them credence as if they were brilliant scientists.


39 posted on 01/03/2008 6:15:10 AM PST by The Great RJ ("Mir we bleiwen wat mir sin" or "We want to remain what we are." ..Luxembourg motto)
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To: Gamecock

Is that a Titleist?


40 posted on 01/03/2008 7:01:47 AM PST by Rb ver. 2.0 (Global warming is the new Marxism.)
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To: bajabaja

Oh yeah, I remember that.

Thanks! And the same to you!


41 posted on 01/03/2008 7:09:29 AM PST by tpanther
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To: TightyRighty

I do not doubt those quotes, and want to use them. Are you confident they are accurate?


42 posted on 01/03/2008 8:19:55 AM PST by laotzu
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To: Stoat

“it’s almost impossible for, say, a toxicologist to eclipse a Stella McCartney or a Gwyneth Paltrow in order to give the public the facts.”

Which proves how stupid the “MASSES” are.


43 posted on 01/03/2008 8:22:49 AM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue.)
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To: Stoat
When your name's Nicole Kidman or Gwyneth Paltrow, everyone wants to hear what you have to say.

Um, no, not EVERYONE.
44 posted on 01/03/2008 8:23:32 AM PST by Xenalyte (Can you count, suckas? I say the future is ours . . . if you can count.)
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To: Stoat

“eating biological foods”

Excuse me? What?


45 posted on 01/03/2008 8:24:46 AM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue.)
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To: Stoat

“If a quarter of kids are overweight now, then when they grow up and have kids, half of them will be overweight.

“And then if they have kids, everybody will be overweight.”

This just doesn’t make any sense at all!

“But John Garrow, emeritus professor of medicine at the University of London, said: “Obesity is not mainly genetically determined, although it does ‘run in families’ because families share a similar environment.’”

I don’t quite buy that PC line, trying to dismiss genetic components. God forbid we say that fat might be a genetic problem. It’s obvious that genetics plays a part, just looking at body types of different isolated ethnicities.


46 posted on 01/03/2008 8:28:43 AM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue.)
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To: gondramB

The program is very new.

There wouldn’t be much out there to go on about how “good” it is.

As another poster impled, it’s not as if it’s better at keeping your mind active than any other old-fashioned activity.


47 posted on 01/03/2008 8:34:28 AM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue.)
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To: Stoat

With fame I become more and more stupid, which of course is a very common phenomenon.

— Albert Einstein (to Heinrich Zanger, Dec 1919)


48 posted on 01/03/2008 1:02:57 PM PST by George Smiley (This tagline has been Reutered. (Can you tell?))
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To: laotzu
The one from Cameron Diaz is a snippet from an episode of Oprah right before the 2004 election. Here is the full quote:

We have a voice now, and we’re not using it, and women have so much to lose. I mean, we could lose the right to our bodies…if you think that rape should be legal, then don’t vote. But if you think that you have a right to your body, and you have a right to say what happens to you and fight off that danger of losing that, then you should vote…

The others I found just by poking around. Look up "stupid celebrity quotes". Here's a few more:

"A zebra does not change it's spots." - Al Gore

“If you have intercourse you run the risk of dying and the ramifications of death are final.” — Cyndi Lauper

“[I hope] my child will be a good Catholic like me.” — Madonna

49 posted on 01/03/2008 9:49:20 PM PST by TightyRighty
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To: ValerieTexas
There's the old joke "What do you call a blonde that dyes her hair red? -- Artificial Intelligence.

I don't recall any symmetrical responses, but at least Kidman is not as bad as Lindsay Lohan...

50 posted on 01/03/2008 10:10:53 PM PST by Calvin Locke
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