Every day we hear claims about what is good for our health, bad for the environment, how to improve education, cut crime, and treat disease. Some claims are based on reliable evidence and scientific rigour. Many are not. These claims can’t be regulated; every time one is debunked another pops up – like a game of whack-a-mole. So how can we make companies, politicians, commentators and official bodies accountable for the claims they make? If they want us to vote for them, believe them, or buy their products, then we should ask them for evidence, as consumers, patients, voters and citizens.
The Ask for Evidence campaign has seen people ask a retail chain for the evidence behind its MRSA resistant pyjamas; ask a juice bar for the evidence behind wheatgrass detox claims; ask the health department about rules for Viagra prescriptions; ask for the studies behind treatments for Crohn’s disease, and hundreds more. As a result, claims are being withdrawn and bodies held to account.
This is geeks, working with the public, to park their tanks on the lawn of those who seek to influence us. And it’s starting to work. Come and hear what the campaign is going to do next and how you can get involved.
Dr Chris Peters joined Sense About Science as Campaigns and Policy Officer in 2012. He has a PhD in plant biology from the University of Sheffield and a MSc in biological sciences. Prior to joining Sense About Science, Chris worked as a policy intern at the British Ecological Society and as a blog writer/researcher at Carbon Brief. He co-ordinates the Ask for Evidence and Libel Reform campaigns.
Doors 10.30. Entry £3, £2 concs./free to Conway Hall Ethical Society members.
Tea, coffee & biscuits will be available.