Friday, August 9, 2013

#658: Kim Evans

Kim Evans is a detox maven who thinks that antibiotics cause cancer. Perhaps because the idea is so novel, she has been awarded with ample space in Huffington Post (more here, for instance) to spell out her misconceptions – and to sell her pseudo-scientific books after having explained how things “really” work (also here).

Of course, her claims have not been supported by science (in fact they are so breathtakingly off-base that even their coherence must be judged dubious), but Evans has an explanation for that: Scientists don’t rely enough on cognitive biases. As she puts it “[science] presumes that only by a very narrow method can we come to any valid conclusions or make any new discoveries about the world we live in – while also presuming that only a tiny portion of the population, with a very specific set of skills and communication methods, has the ability to do so […] I heartily disagree. I think it’s small minded thinking. I've never limited myself by what school I went to or any other largely esoteric sources that people regularly limit themselves by.” In other words, science cannot back up her claims because they overlook that she has Other Ways of Knowing what causes diseases, and it is undemocratic to say that she is wrong just because what she says is ridiculous and false, as exemplified by her claims that detox therapies and avoiding chemicals will prevent the swine flu. You can read about her broadsides against evidence and science here.

Her argument for why antibiotics is really bad for you reveals such absolutely breathtakingly abysmal ignorance that it almost defies words. Since she doesn’t understand even the basics of the issue, there is a very short step for her to reach her main point that instead of helping you antibiotics cause cancer.

Diagnosis: Among the most staunchly anti-science crackpots at HuffPo’s medical section, and that says a lot. And Evans is indeed a real threat to civilization with her deranged misconceptions

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