The onslaught begins…

April 10th, 2003 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, bbc, celebs, scare stories, water | 7 Comments »

The onslaught begins…

Ben Goldacre
Thursday April 10, 2003
The Guardian

As I rush towards the hideous reality of my 30th birthday, I am very excited to read about Longevity, a new kind of anti-ageing tablet that “delivers 2-AEP directly to outer cell walls to strengthen, seal and protect them”. The tablets have been awarded the National Council on Ageing’s Silver Fleece award for “the product that makes the most outrageous or exaggerated claims about human ageing”. Last year’s winner was “Clustered Water”, and their panel recently announced that “no effective anti-ageing intervention currently exists”. The marketers of Longevity have fought back, however, and their website has listed happy customers: John Wayne, Yul Brynner, Anthony Quinn, Princess Caroline of Monaco.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but as far as I can tell, at least three of those people are dead already.

It is also nice to see the Sars panic continuing, still with no actual information in most of the lengthy news reports. Any scientists looking for a new angle on where the virus came from might want to consult Cheryl, resident authority in the News of the World’s “Ask Cheryl” column. Writing on the link between relationships and ill-health, she points out that “years of arguing can weaken the immune system, causing viruses”.

If I went out Walking With Cavemen (BBC1, Thursdays) I think I’d be expecting to see some dangling penises, not to mention a bit of sex and the odd killing. Sadly, according to Auntie Beeb, things were a lot less decadent than I imagined _ actually this is too easy; I shall move on.

And finally, although it pains me to draw on anecdotal evidence for my sceptical stance on Feng Shui and the like, it is with almost sinister pleasure that I discover Anthea Turner, former darling of morning TV, paid through the nose to have her home Feng-Shuied last month. The very next weekend she was burgled and lost £40,000 of valuables. Proof, if proof were needed: I guess she should have left that wastebasket in the “wealth” corner of the room after all.

For God’s sake keep your bad science tips coming: I don’t know if I can bear trawling through this rubbish much longer. Although please, no more of your helpful “tips” about the Observer Magazine’s Barefoot Doctor. I know.

Send your favourite bad science to: bad.science@guardian.co.uk
Dr Goldacre will be back next week


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  7. Antonomasia said,

    August 14, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    [...] there is are online testimonials about what went right – and the sole negative story is when Ben Goldacre mentioned that Anthea Turner’s house was burgled a week after it was feng shui&#8…. There must surely be people who found that it made the place feel a bit nicer and tidier, but [...]

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