Michael Specter, author of the new book "Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives," talked to Stephen Colbert last night about how we as a country are lying to ourselves en masse. There is a major problem with reliance on placebos, like most vitamins and antioxidants, he claimed. "Everyone gets upset about Big Science, Big Pharma, but they love Big Placebo," he said. Really, said Specter, "daily vitamins are of no value," and "antioxidants are completely useless." Colbert responded: "What are you talking about? I drink that POM pomegranate stuff all the time. That, shot of vodka, I am never going to die!"
Specter also took aim at those who refuse to vaccinate their children because of irrational fears of harmful side effects, saying that they rely on the assumption that all of the other kids would get vaccines and that their own children wouldn't get sick, when in fact too many parents are following this logic, and it could have horrible consequences. "We're lying ourselves into believing things are are untrue," Specter said, "like organic food will solve all our problems, or vitamins will make us healthy, or we don't need to vaccinate our children."
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