Health

Pseudo-science and COVID-19

The science community should take the pen and screen in the fight against brags.

Cat urine, bleach and cocaine have been suggested as treatments against Covid-19: They’re all bullshit. Pandemic was shown as a leaked biological weapon, a byproduct of 5G technology and a political game: it’s all bullshit. On top of it, countless health gurus and alternative medicines have come up with potions, pills, and methods that have no evidence of its utility as a way to “strengthen” the immune system.

Fortunately, this misinformation-or “infodemic”, as the World Health Organization uses it, has made it possible for many people to try to reveal whether what is said is correct or to spread the truth. Strict regulations have been made to stop those who market unproven treatment methods. Funding agencies are supporting researchers working on ways to prevent the spread of bullshit on Covid-19.

For years, studies have been made on the spread and impact of false information about health, and I have never seen this issue taken as seriously as it is now. This is probably due to the magnitude of the crisis and the abundance of those who emit absurd misinformation, including some very prominent politicians. In order for the science-oriented attitude that develops in our current state to be permanent, not only a few but all scientists should defend qualified information.

We can start this from two places.

First, we must stop ignoring and legitimizing pseudoscience, especially in universities and healthcare institutions. Many of the phony Covid-19 treatments around embraced the holistic health centers of leading universities and hospitals. Some people think that their immune systems will be strengthened by this method if they are reikied in a reputable organization such as the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio in the USA (this is an unrelated science, without touching the patient, “the vital life force energy flowing from all living beings” with your hands), Is there any wonder that the chances of getting infected with the virus will thus decrease? A similar thing can be said for public health institutions in Canada and the UK: By doing homeopathy, they actually encourage the idea that this scientifically impossible method can be effective against Covid-19. Just a few of the many kinds of examples I count.

Legal regulations in Canada at this time, chiropractors, who market products against Covid-19, do not open up to naturopaths, healers who say they are herbal and holistic. But the idea that manual spinal correction, intravenous vitamin therapy, or homeopathy could keep an infectious disease away from the person was also absurd before the pandemic.

The struggle against pseudoscience is weakened when trusted health institutions condemn non-evidence-based practices in one context and legitimize it in another. We always need solid science, especially in disaster situations we need it even more.

There is some evidence that alternative therapies and the placebo effect relieve people. This is a widely used reason to excuse unproven alternative treatments. But it is not right to mislead people with magical thoughts (even if you are doing this for them), it is also not true that scientists do not interfere with such wrong information, and they do not tolerate them.

Second, more researchers should be actively involved in the public fight against misinformation. Advocates of unproven ideas use the language of true science to justify their own products.

We need to tell physicists, microbiologists, immune specialists, gastrointestinal diseases specialists and all scientists in the relevant disciplines simply and shareably why it is wrong to use such research irregularly and that it is incompatible with honesty in science.

It has to be said that quantum physics has nothing to do with homeopathy and energy therapies like reiki. It is necessary to explain that hydrotherapy to your intestines will not strengthen your immune system. No, the booster spray does not strengthen your stem cells, we really need to explain that.

We live in a world where vaccine opponents and those who deny climate change can exist, and social media algorithms and deliberate evil reinforce these pseudo-messages. In these circumstances, speaking rationally may seem like a hopeless effort. There is no easy way to solve this issue, but let’s also know that finding answers based on science is not easy. Scientists working in this field should be more crowded. When I did a quick research, I was able to find a single physicist who publicly opposed the claims that quantum physics explained homeopathy, although I know that physicists are in agreement on this issue.

Claire Wardle, a disinformation expert at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said: “The best way to combat misinformation is to equip the environment with the right information that is easy to understand, fluently written and suitable for sharing on a mobile phone.” Well, let’s out!

Of course, one aspect of the scientific community’s struggle with pseudoscience is to look at itself first. Those who spread biomedical conspiracy theories and other nonsense draw attention to the disruptions in funding, interpretation, and dissemination of research, and what they say is justified. Honesty in science – especially avoiding overstating results and acting transparently about the controversial aspects of work – is crucial. We must try to have confidence in science and to make science reliable.

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