Celebs called out on misleading pseudoscience

Posted by Kate Taylor

X Factor producer Simon Cowell, TV host Bill O'Reilly and actress Gwyneth Paltrow have all come in for special mentions in Sense About Science's Celebrities and Science report.

Simon Cowell gets his place in the hall of fame for his enthusiasm for intravenous vitamins, while Paltrow endorses a stream of expensive and useless detox treatments. Meanwhile, O'Reilly claimed scientists had no idea how tides work.

"In my opinion – alright? Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that. You can’t explain why the tide goes in," he said.

The review is the sixth from Sense About Science, which campaigns to get science discussed intelligently in the media.

"We’re seeing changes – people are contacting us, medical charities are briefing their celebrities more and working with us to follow up dangerous advice, and we now have over 5,000 scientists and hundreds of organisations signed up to offer help. So there really is no excuse for celebrities promulgating misleading claims," says Sense About Science managing director Tracey Brown.

"While it gives us a good reason to talk about sound science on subjects like oceans and diets, sadly our publications don’t go nearly so far so fast as a comment by an A-list actress."

Michelle Bachman gets a mention in the report for her assertion that the HPV vaccine causes mental retardation. And singer Suzi Quatro has an odd take on medicine: "I used to get a lot of sore throats and then one of my sisters told me that all illnesses start in the colon," she explains.

"I started taking a daily colon cleanser powder mixed with fresh juice every morning and it made an enormous difference. I’ve been doing it for 20 years."

But none of these is quite as bonkers as reality TV’s Snooki Polizzi,  who has her own theory about why the sea is salty. Too much whale sperm, apparently.