Know The Implications These Beliefs HaveForOne’s Health
Health brouhahas with little to no scientific basis crowd our Facebook newsfeeds all the time. Tips like “Eat This Fruit To Lose Weight Fast” or “The Cell Phone Health Dangers Nobody Told You About” are just a norm on social media platforms that most of us have learned to just ignore them…or have we?
Participants were MORE likely to use supernatural explanations for these sorts of events with age, rather than less likely. — Jacqueline Woolley Ph.D.
One study confirmed that about 50% of the American population believes these seemingly-authentic-but-at-most-crazy conspiracy theories on health and medicine. Know why this is a valid cause for alarm.
The Study’s Premise
Researchers polled over a thousand people online asking them about the most commonly known health and medicine-related conspiracy theories and what’s their standing on each – believe, don’t accept it as authentic or is at a crossroads. Then, their health habits were taken into account along with their answers to see if their beliefs affected how they managed theirs and their families’ healthcare.
These were the following health and medicine-related conspiracy theories the researchers used for the study:
- The FDA covers the truth about effective herbal remedies for physical maladies because the market doesn’t generate as much money as synthetic drugs do.
- Doctors fully know that vaccines cause disorders such as autism but administer them anyway because the government obligates them to do so.
- Adding fluoride to water is just the big corporations’ way to dump other harmful chemicals into the people’s tap water.
- Cell phones are cancer-causing agents. However, cell phone companies pay health officials so they won’t let this out to the masses.
- The CIA infected a large percentage of the African-American population with HIV covering it up as vaccinations for hepatitis.
- GMOs (Genetically Modified Foods) are part of a government-sanctioned global-scale genocide to control world population.
To be secular is to maintain a naturalistic worldview in which belief in anything is always proportioned to the evidence available. — Phil Zuckerman Ph.D.
Through the said undertaking, the group found out that:
- 49% of the respondents believed in at least one of the health conspiracy theories mentioned above.
- 18% of the polled individuals believed three of the abovementioned medical-related schemes to be true (dubbed by the researchers as the high conspiracists).
- The FDA’s cover-up of potent herbal supplements for disease eradication gets the highest percentage of believers at 37% followed by doctors’ knowledge on vaccines and cell phones causing cancer which both got 20%. Lastly, the fluoride-big corporations’ scheme and GMOs for population culling both received 12% shares of the truth votes.
- One interesting note about the results is that the conspiracy believers cover both ends of the political spectrum (35% said they were liberals while 41% were conservatives).
80% of those who said they believed at least one of the theories mentioned above were most likely to favor health diagnosis and advice dished out by celebrity doctors and herbal medicine practitioners like Dr. Mehmet Oz. They also prefer consulting these people or the Internet than going to medical professionals when looking for treatments for themselves and their families.Furthermore, they’re very likely to forego regular physical check-ups, sunscreen use and traditional shots like those for the flu as well as vaccinations. They’re also local, and organic produce consumers and use alternative natural-herbal medicines.
The desire to explain the unexplainable and recognize the presence of a different and possibly higher plane of existence or consciousness is a universal dimension of the human experience, proof that the supernatural offers something of value to people and should be taken seriously. — Lawrence R. Samuel Ph.D.
For its conclusion, the study was able to prove that belief in pseudoscience ideals directly affects how a person takes care of his health and that of his family. And while there’s nothing wrong with going organic or using alternative medicine, health-related conspiracy theories, at times, promote some very dangerous principles.
For one, there’s a recent hype about raw, untreated water consumption with every bottle sold at $60.99. These bottles of water are peddled as “all natural, so they’re good” drinks but at the cost of the drinker’s health. Raw and untreated water is unsafe and carries germs. These microorganisms could cause a wide range of maladies from diarrhea to typhoid to even polio. Not only that! Shunning vaccines could bring harm to unvaccinated kids in the long run.
But as one of the researchers pointed out, correcting conspiracy theory believers is difficult.
“They strongly believe what they know is better and more reliable than the information traditional medicine offers,” he said. “And correcting them is quite a complicated process. Most of these pseudoscience ideas and their peddlers can be very convincing.”