14 September 2011
Consumers, voters and patients should demand evidence for scientific and medical claims to counter a tide of misinformation, say leading scientists and public figures.
Derren Brown, Jonathan Ross and Dara Ó Briain have joined with representatives of Mumsnet, patient groups and science bodies to back a national campaign, Ask for Evidence, launched by the science education charity Sense About Science. Its aim is to get more members of the public asking advertisers, companies, government bodies and other organizations to set out the evidence they have for their claims.
The public are bombarded with scientific and medical information: on advertising material, product websites, advice columns, campaign statements, celebrity health fads and policy announcements. Even where there is some regulation, in advertising or trading standards, claims that are not based on good evidence keep reappearing. The only way to address this is to equip people to ask questions about evidence for themselves. Over 5,000 scientists and hundreds of organizations are now on hand to help.