Our world is awash in bullshit health claims and scientists want to train kids to spot them

Julia Belluz in Vox:

ScreenHunter_2304 Oct. 17 10.17Over my years in health journalism, I’ve debunked many dubious claims. I’ve discussed how to cover quacks like Dr. Oz and the Food Babe, and how to navigate a medical world so filled with hooey it can make your head spin.

But I wasn’t always fluent in the ways of detecting bull. My eyes were opened in my early 20s, when I met a group of researchers at McMaster University in Canada. They taught me about the limitations of different kinds of evidence, why anecdotes are often wildly misleading, and what a well-designed study looks like. This experience changed how I see the world.

I’ve often wondered why these concepts aren’t taught in schools. We are bombarded with health claims — in the news, on TV, in magazines, at the doctor’s office or the pharmacy — and many of us lack the basic skills to navigate them.

That’s why I found this giant new trial, which is just wrapping up now in Uganda, so compelling. Its mission, according to Sir Iain Chalmers, the Cochrane Collaboration co-founder who’s co-leading it, is to teach children to “detect bullshit when bullshit is being presented to them.”

More here.