From MMR to the formula for the worst day of the year: every day in the media we are bombarded with miracle cures, hidden threats, amazing breakthroughs, and wacky boffin stories. But is there any evidence behind them?
Often there is none: but we can find patterns in the dirt, reflecting broader themes. If we are charitable, the pace of medical development has changed since the golden age of medicine, and the many smaller, incremental discoveries of modern medicine don't lend themselves so readily to exotic headlines.
But there are also more sinister forces at work. Bizarre and bad science reporting in the media may well be the product of ignorance among journalists, and the need to sell readers to advertisers. But more than that, these stories are often planted by people with clear personal and commercial interests, who exploit the flaws in the media's approach to science for their own gain.
And if the stories weren't so funny, it would all be very upsetting.
Venue: Small Hall, Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ
Tickets cost £8/5 Ri Members and concessions.
Official Website: http://www.rigb.org/rimain/calendar/detail.jsp?&id=341
Added by alanconnor on May 1, 2007