What is “junk science”?
Junk science is faulty scientific data and analysis used to advance special interests and hidden agendas.
Examples of special interests include:
- The media may use junk science to produce sensational headlines and programming, the purpose of which is to generate increased readership and viewership. More readers and viewers mean more revenues from advertisement. The media may also use junk science to advance personal or organizationsl social and political agendas.
- Personal injury lawyers, sometimes referred to simply as trial lawyers (as in the American Association of Trial Lawyers or ATLA), may use junk science to extort settlements from deep-pocketed businesses or to bamboozle juries into awarding huge verdicts.
- Social and political activists may use junk science to achieve social and political change.
- Government regulators may use junk science to expand regulatory their authority, increase their budgets o advance the political agenda of elected officials.
- Businesses may use junk science to bad-mouth competitors’ products, make bogus claims about their own products, or to promote political or social change that would increase sales and profits.
- Politicians may use junk science to curry favor with special interest groups, to be politically correct or to advance their own personal political beliefs.
- Individual scientists may use junk science to achieve fame and fortune.
- Individuals who are ill (real or imagined) may use junk science to blame others for causing their illness. Individuals may also use junk science to seek fame and fortune.
CAUTION: Being wrong is not the same as being guilty of junk science.
The scientific method calls for trial-and-error until the truth is determined. More than likely, this means many trials and many errors. Scientists learn from their errors. So wrong science is part of the scientific method. (See Junk Science Judo, pp. 43-44)
Wrong science becomes junk science only when its obvious or easily-determined flaws are ignored and it is then used to advance some special interest.
What is JunkScience.com?
Since April 1, 1996, JunkScience.com has led the fight against junk science, including being named:
- a “Top Resource” and one of the “Most Popular” health news web sites by Yahoo!;
- “One of the 50 Best Web Sites” by Popular Science (August 1998), which stated: “Noted junk science expert Steven Milloy leads a spirited debate over the latest ‘scientific’ revelations regarding environmental, health and nutritional hazards, among other topics”; and
- a “Hot Pick” by Science, April 1998: Vol. 280 no. 5361 p. 171., which noted: “Self-appointed bad science debunker Steve Milloy skewers studies on everything from the risks of diet drugs to global warming on The Junk Science Home Page (http://www.junkscience.com/). Although Milloy’s acerbic wit makes some researchers’ blood boil, others find many of his points valid—or at least entertaining.
Who publishes JunkScience.com?
JunkScience.com is published by JunkScience.com, Inc. It is edited by Steve Milloy.