Freedom of the Press or Profiteering from Lies about Science!

Vani Hari‘s book has been out since February 10, 2015. In less than a week, it climbed to #15 on amazon.com’s best selling books. Subsequently it has been staying in the top 25, and a whopping 83% of the reviewers have given it 5 stars. It is bound to end up in the NY Times best sellers list.

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 2.16.08 PMThe book has a foreword by Mark Hyman, MD, known for his Functional Medicine, which follows Sir William Osler’s admonition that “It is more important to know what patient has the disease than to know what disease the patient has.” Hyman is also a columnist for Huffington Post, and the author of an article written in 2011, in which he claims a correlation between MMR vaccination and the occurrence of autism and bowel disease. This is 7 years after the author of the correlation, Andrew Wakefield, was reported to have been involved in undisclosed financial conflicts of interest and most of his co-authors withdrew their support for the study’s interpretations. 2011 was also just one year after a five-member statutory tribunal of the British General Medical Council ruled that Wakefield had “failed in his duties as a responsible consultant”, acted both against the interests of his patients, and “dishonestly and irresponsibly” in his published research.

Food Babe’s is just the latest addition to the deluge of pseudo-scientific (even anti-scientific) books printed by large publishers who have no other interest but maximizing their profits. The demand for pseudoscience is so high that major publishers have created imprints devoted primarily to such books: Harmony Books is an imprint of Penguin Random House, “dedicated to helping readers achieve personal transformation and well-being,” and has published many of Deepak Chopra‘s books; Atria Publishing Group is an imprint of Simon and Schuster, which has published Gary Schwartz‘s books; and HarperOne is an imprint of Harper Collins, which has published several of Larry Dossey‘s books. In case you don’t know, Gary Schwartz and Larry Dossey are two of the eight authors of the “Manifesto for a Post-Materialist Science.

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