[ASC-list] Science Outreach vs Marketing

Chris Forbes-EWan forbes-ewan at tassie.net.au
Mon Mar 12 09:01:49 UTC 2012


I agree that there is nothing wrong with 'marketing' or even 'proselytising'
science. 

 

And as James Watson (co-discoverer with Francis Crick that the DNA molecule
holds the genetic code) says in his book Avoid Boring People, scientists
occasionally must exaggerate when writing for the general public. No-one
wants to hear "There is some evidence that ..." or ''It may be that ...".
The general public wants to know the answers (and they want them now!)
However, Watson also says that the exaggeration should be ethical. 

 

One of the many problems I have with David Gillespie (a lawyer, who has
appointed himself as the world's greatest expert on diet for weight loss,
despite having no relevant qualifications, no research experience and no
papers in the peer-reviewed literature) is that he misrepresents the
scientific evidence to the extent that his exaggeration is unethical (and he
does so to an extreme level). 

 

In his most recent book Big Fat Lies Gillespie shows that he has become even
more extreme (and unscientific) in his approach. As in his earlier books
Sweet Poison and The Sweet Poison Quit Plan, he continues to claim that the
scientific evidence undoubtedly proves that added fructose in the diet is
the sole cause of the epidemics of obesity, heart disease and type 2
diabetes. (In fact, the evidence suggests that added fructose may be making
a small contribution to these epidemics, but that it is very unlikely to be
a major cause, let alone the sole cause). But Gillespie has now added the
claims that saturated fat should be eaten at the expense of polyunsaturated
fat (which 'causes cancer') and that exercise should be avoided because it
leads to weight gain. (Each of these claims is diametrically opposed to the
scientific evidence).

 

I have it on good authority that he has sold more than 70 000 copies of his
books to an unsuspecting public. He is also receiving a lot of publicity for
his quackery on prime-time TV and radio. Because he is such a good
communicator, I don't doubt that the vast majority of people who read his
books or see him on TV are duped by his smooth talking. Even after I wrote
two articles published in The Skeptic (the periodical of the Australian
Skeptics) debunking Gillespie's wacky claims, several members of AS wrote
letters to the editor in favour of Gillespie, based on his replies to my
articles. 

 

This 'rant' may not be directly related to the discussion about Outreach
versus Marketing, but I thought some ASC members may be interested in
hearing about the way a non-scientist has hijacked the agenda in an area of
nutritional science, and is raking in money with very clever marketing of
his pseudo-science.

 

Finally, if you would like to read about Gillespie's many errors, an open
letter I wrote to him on behalf of the Nutritionists Network about his book
Sweet Poison and a related Ockham's Razor program is available through:

 

http://www.skeptics.com.au/latest/news/david-gillespies-errors-a-summary/

 

About a year after it was sent to him, he still hasn't replied to the open
letter. 

 

Chris Forbes-Ewan

 

19 Hedley St

Scottsdale  Tas  7260

 

 

From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au
[mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Derek Williamson
Sent: Monday, 12 March 2012 1:44 PM
To: Emma Donnelly; list at asc.asn.au
Cc: Karyn Lovatsis
Subject: Re: [ASC-list] Science Outreach vs Marketing

 

IMHO

 

The only way I know to differentiate is "intent".  And secretly, just like
social media, I think all sci coms is marketing or at least proselytising.

 

Nothing wrong with that.

 

 

Derek

Museum Manager

Museum of Human Disease

(02) 9385 2190

UNSW CRICOS Provider Code 00098G

 

From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au
[mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Emma Donnelly
Sent: Monday, 12 March 2012 1:24 PM
To: list at asc.asn.au
Cc: Karyn Lovatsis
Subject: [ASC-list] Science Outreach vs Marketing

 

Hi everyone,

I have just been asked..

"What is the difference between outreach and marketing?"

 

I am keen to hear what your "definitions" or thoughts are differences and
similarities between these two tools.

 

Thanks

Emma

 

Emma Donnelly


Science Outreach Coordinator | Faculty Science and Engineering

Curtin University
Tel | +61 8 9266 1021
Fax | +61 8 9266 2021
Office | Building 311 Room 117

Email | e.donnelly at curtin.edu.au
<applewebdata://7F2B93E1-E3F9-48E4-9CA7-6BA57BE6EE67/e.donnelly@curtin.edu.a
u>  
Web | http://science.curtin.edu.au/outreach 
Postal address | GPO Box U1987, Perth, Western Australia, 6845

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Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology. 
CRICOS Provider Code 00301J (WA), 02637B (NSW)


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