Monday, June 22, 2009

Science Centre Promoting Pseudo-Science?

I recently came back from a trip to Dynamic Earth in Sudbury, Ontario with my daughter's class. Great facility and a fun tour into a inactive mine!

However, while perusing the Gift Shop I came across some magnetic jewelry. However, under the display was a bunch of cards from the manufacturer of the jewelry that was extolling the virtues of magnets and how researchers are finding health benefits from them.

Wait.

Pseudo-scientific claims at a Science facility?!?

I've sent off a letter to them and will post their response. The letter is below:

On June 11th, I was a parent volunteer with a Grade 5 class visiting Dynamic Earth. The kids thoroughly enjoyed the facility and enjoyed learning about the science of mining, rocks and minerals.

As always, the gift shop is a fun place for the children to browse and find science-related gifts and memorabilia. However, I was shocked and deeply disappointed to see a small card on display near the magnetic jewelry that was promoting the 'health benefits' of wearing magnetic bracelets. Although I misplaced the card, I remember it saying something about 'researchers have found benefits of magnets for health'.

I am a teacher, skeptic and staunch defender of science. How could a 'science' facility actually promote pseudo-science about magnetic jewelry?

I've taken the liberty to give you a website that looks at the research done on 'magnetic healing' here:

http://skepdic.com/magnetic.html

However, I'm sure you have real scientists at your facility that could look up research into 'magnetic healing' and form their own opinions.

Please, for the good of science, remove any and all claims that magnets might heal people. A scientific facility has an obligation to promote real science and never, ever, promote pseudo-science that is permeating our culture and standing in the way of valuable research. If people want to buy jewelry that is magnetic, fine, but don't promote non-scientific nonsense.

1 comment:

Rob A said...

Good work!