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2009 Celebrities and Science Review Image

2009 Celebrities and Science Review

People in the public eye are often drawn to promoting theories, therapies and campaigns that make no scientific sense.  Sense About Science keeps a case file of examples of celebrity statements sent in by scientists and members of the public. Every year we review celebrities’ dodgy science claims -  from special diets and ‘miracle’ cures to chemicals, vaccines and evolution - and ask scientists what they should have said instead.

Download the review

See coverage from our 2009 review here

What’s new in the review of 2009?

  • We were disappointed to note that, for the first time, sporting names are prominent in the review, particularly for endorsing unproven therapies. Over 2010, we will be taking the ‘check your facts’ message into the sporting world, in an effort to turn this around so that UK athletes will lead on scientific sense in the 2012 Olympics.
  • Overall, the main message from scientists to celebrities this year is nutrition is neither the cure nor cause of everything.  We have seen a flurry of comments about diet and nutrition, such as Roger Moore’s claim that foie gras is causing Alzheimer’s disease and Heather Mills’ claim that meat gives you “the illness you die of”.
  • In the 2008 Celebrities and Science review, we were tentatively optimistic that celebrities had dropped their enthusiasm for ‘chemical free’ products and lifestyles. Sadly, like shoulder pads and mini-skirts, ‘chemical free’ claims never really go away and in 2009 we have seen renewed calls to avoid deodorants and the pill because they ‘contain chemicals’. Once again this year, scientists are stressing that nothing is chemical free and the effect of specific chemicals depends on the dose.

“By correcting these mistakes, the scientists are not just helping celebrities but also giving the public the means to explain why these claims are wrong. In 2010 we invite more celebrities to get in touch to check their facts before broadcasting them. We have over 4000 scientists willing to help and we do it for free.” Ellen Raphael, director UK, Sense About Science

Media coverage

The Sun  Celebs talk a load of non-science

Closeronline Celebrity health myths!

New Scientist  Politicians and celebrities shamed for science gaffes

The Daily Mail  Don’t be taken in by the celebrity quacks, says charity

The Telegraph  Beware the celebrity quacks: Megan Fox says vinegar will keep you slim

The Times  Celebrities named and shamed for crazy comments in the name of science

and From Heather Mills to Roger Moore: Celebrities’ cod science debunked

The Family GP I’m a celebrity - what do I know?

Document type: Celebrities and Science review

Published: 30 December 2009


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