Separating Truth from Fiction in Science

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Last year, headlines all over the world claimed that eating dark chocolate would help people lose weight. The London tabloid, Daily Star proclaimed, "Eating Chocolate Can Help You Lose Weight;" the June issue of Shape magazine told readers, "Why You Must Eat Chocolate Daily." The story behind the hype was based on science. In fact, it was a ruse — designed to demonstrate how easy it is to circulate conclusions drawn from poorly designed studies that don't really prove what they claim to – and the bad science was passed along by reporters and editors who failed to check out the facts. How does the public know what to believe? It's a question as old as journalism, but harder than ever to answer in the age of the Internet. We hear how junk science finds its way into what look like reliable places that aren't what they seem.




Warren Olney