A proposal: four new principles of science communication on the cutting edge of science, quackery, and patient care

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1. If a quack is promoting an underused but scientifically legitimate therapy and helping people, critics have the moral responsibility to promote this intervention themselves or they do not have the right to criticize the quack about what the quack says about the intervention. This applies even if the quack’s explanation of the science is wrong.

2. Nobody has the moral responsibility or right to withhold scientific information from the public just because it can be abused by quacks.

3. However, scientists and other public figures have the moral responsibility to denounce the misuse by prominent quacks of the science they have produced.

4. Scientists and other public figures who associate with and support quacks share moral responsibility in the misinformation and harm these quacks cause.

* A note on quacks: A quack is someone who makes a livelihood from exaggerated or false claims about what the science says about health. Quacks can include academics, activists, popular media figures, university press release office workers, etc., and is not limited to the traditional figure of the “snake oil salesman”.

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1 Comment

  1. Some that might be called a “quack” are kind of onto something. But their “thing” only applies to a very very narrow set of the population (<5%? <1%???). However they don't seen to recognize this and assume it's "everywhere".

    I'm suspecting this applies to:
    * Oxalates
    * Soy / Thyroid
    * Histamine
    * Glyphosate
    * Some types of "leaky gut"
    * Omega 6???
    * …

    Are these people quacks for not digging into the percents of the population of their issue?
    Are these people generally quacks?

    As usual the line can be difficult to draw.

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