Are the views of the scientific community accurately portrayed

nquiring Minds Want to Know…Is it Science? Introduction Drink coffee its good for you! No! Don’t drink coffee, its bad for you. Drink wine it will save your life! No! Don’t drink wine, it will kill you faster. Eggs will kill you! No! Eggs are the perfect food. Cell phones give you cancer. No! Cell phones just annoy everyone around you. We are constantly getting mixed messages from the media. Remember, news programs, internet news services, newspapers, etc. are all trying to get your interest; they want to hook you, even if their “teasers” are not entirely true. So, what can you do? What information is good? What information is based on science? What is just plain trash?

Instructions Read the attached article and evaluate its scientific message. Write your answers on this sheet. 1. Where does the information

come from? 2. Are the views of the

scientific community accurately portrayed?

3. Is a controversy

misrepresented or blown out of proportion?

4. Where could you get more information?

5. How strong is the evidence?

PICKLES CAUSE INFERTILITY (Miami, Florida) Stay away from pickles if you are

even thinking of having children. Brined cucumbers can

cause sterility in women according to researchers in

Florida. “Pickles are made with vinegar which can

cause abdominal problems in some people” says Dr.

Tom White of The Institute of Reproductive and

Digestion Disorders at the University of Miami, Florida.

A 45-year woman desperate to have children found this

out the hard-way. “I have eaten pickles all my life…I

can’t seem to get pregnant,” stated Lila-Sue Turner of

Tallahasee, Florida. Mrs. Turner, a new bride, wants to

have children, but is unable to conceive due to medical

problems. “It has to be the pickles. I am a healthy

woman otherwise,” stated Turner. Dr. Denton, Turner’s

gynecologist, declined to comment.

Pickles contain salt, vinegar and spices. Any of these

can cause digestive discomfort and/or intestinal stress in

a person. According to 1989 published study by the

National Institute of Health (NIH), increased stress can

cause issues with fertility in women.

Final Evaluation/Drawing conclusions 1. Is this good science? Is it fair? Is it accurate?

2. Give an example of something that you “heard” or “saw” on the news that confused you OR may have been bad science.

3. Why would being able to evaluate scientific messages a good quality for everyone to


Inquiring Minds: Misconceptions

Read each of the following statements and evaluate if it is a True OR a False statement about science. For each, give a brief explanation for your answer. Questions generated from 1. Science is a collection of facts. 2. The Scientific Method is only way to do a scientific experiment. 3. Science only involves analyzing data; there is no creativity involved. 4. Experiments are the only way to conduct science; observations are not science. 5. Because science’s ideas are tentative or changing, they cannot be trusted. 6. An experiment is wrong [or not good science] if it didn’t work. 7. If evidence supports a hypothesis, then it is upgraded to a theory.

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