Julia Belluz in Vox:
Over 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.”