Sense about Science is a gang of young British scientists dedicated to bringing science into the public discourse. They dedicate their off-time to disproving public misconceptions about science and generally “adding evidence to the debate.” They’ve got 2,0000 members, ranging from Nobel laureates to grad students.
Recently they published an online pamphlet (download) documenting their attempts to understand a slew of alternative medical products, everything from a CD that will kill 100 parasites in your body when you play it on your computer to a liquid called “anaerobic oxygen” (it has no chemical formula!)that will kill only the harmful bacteria and not the good ones. The plan of attack wasn’t even to scientifically disprove the theories. It was simply to understand just how the products accomplish their aims. The pamphlet transcribes the conversations of young scientists with the salespeople, proprietors, and manufacturers of a whole slew of these products. The document would be a master piece of written comedy if so many real people weren’t being taken in by these things.
Anyway, all you young scientists who read this blog clearly need to get involved and start an American chapter, if there isn’t one already.