This is a condensation of an excellent article from DawnsBrain. I’ve summarized the ten here for easy consumption, but her complete article is worth a read.
☛ TL;DR – these websites promote pseudoscientific woo¹, and are dangerous in that they lead people to shun and be afraid of science-based health and medicine. ☚
10) Alex Jones
Mr. Jones uses a ton of hyperbole, conspiracy theories, and a loose connection to reality, to whip up fear and loathing in his audience.
9) The Food Babe
Ms. Hari, the “Food Babe”, parrots Dr. Mercola and cobbles together cherry-picked blurbs from questionable studies and Wikipedia. She uses the term “investigation” to excuse the fact that she often gives medical advice without having any education in the life sciences. She picks the weirdest ingredients to go after.
#8 Eat Clean. Train Mean. Live Green.
Ms. McDonald mixes some common-sense dietary advice with a shot of “detox” and disordered eating, GMO and fluoride fearmongering, and pondering about chemtrails. She even claims that honey is medicine. Proof that even registered dietitians can be wacko.
#7 Dr. Joseph Mercola
Dr. Mercola, by virtue of his credentials and large fanbase, is possibly one of the most dangerous people on Facebook. Because he generates fear around science-based medicine, he discourages people from seeking real help for illness. He also scares people away from vaccinations, fluoride, GMO food, pasteurized dairy, and dental fillings. But you know, buy his line of supplements and all will be well.
#6 Prevention Magazine
Everyone that promotes “natural cures” above all else seems to jump from one cure-all to another. WebMD specifically states that there is insufficient evidence for at least three items on their list.
NaturalNews.com is arguably the most balls-to-the-wall looniest page on Facebook. They have never met a conspiracy theory they don’t love.
#4 Collective Evolution
All the misinformation, all the time.
The “conversations about health” are decidedly in favor of “natural remedies” that are not supported by scientific research. People who waste their time mucking about with ineffective alternative treatments often die much sooner.
#2 Spirit Science
Most of their posts are harmless new-agey spiritual stuff and kookiness. But sometimes they veer into unsupportable natural remedies and outright pseudoscience.
#1 The Mind Unleashed
They’re a good example of slipping in a bit of bullshit here and there amongst the standard viral Facebook stuff. There’s a theme of immature hippy-style mistrust of any and every authority. What are you rebelling against? What have you got?
Ernest Hemingway coined the term Crap Detector to refer to the little mechanism that ought to be working inside each person’s brain.
The most certain way to develop this ability to discern truth from baloney is education. In particular, an education in science will help protect you from the charlatans and cranks of the world.
I highly recommend starting with one of the many free online resources, such as Crash Course: Biology, Crash Course: Chemistry, and Crash Course: Anatomy and Physiology.
Dawn did not mention him, but I personally would add Mehmet Oz to the list. A sad case of a classically-trained physician who has sold his reputation for a mess of pottage, and in his quest to find natural remedies has devolved into a pitchman for the most ridiculous and worthless products known to man.
Disclaimer: Even with education in the hard sciences, it’s wise to remember that not everything is known that can be known. Aspirin is a direct outgrowth of historical use of willow bark to treat fevers. I have a strong conviction that there are literally countless chemical compounds out in nature that remain to be discovered that can have beneficial effects on human health and disease… but most of them have not been discovered yet.
Heath and wellness is soon to be, if it’s not already, a trillion-dollar industry – and everyone and their dog wants a slice of that pie. Trouble is, most of those dollars will be made selling bullcrap to the ignorant. There are very few exceptions.
The Old Wolf has spoken.
¹ Woo is a term used among skeptical writers to describe pseudoscientific explanations that have certain common characteristics.