What is junk science?

To paraphrase what Supreme Court Potter Stewart said about obscenity in Jacobellis v. State of Ohio in 1964, "I can't define junk science, but I know it when I see it." But to put it in a sentence:

"Junk science" is bad science used by lawsuit-happy trial lawyers, the "food police," environmental Chicken Littles, power-drunk regulators, and unethical-to-dishonest scientists to fuel specious lawsuits, wacky social and political agendas, and the quest for personal fame and fortune.

Here's junk science in a picture:

What are some characteristics of junk science?

Here are some tips to help you spot junk science. Each one should raise a red flag.

Click here for Steve's stump speech on junk science.

Is all science "junk science"?

No... not by a longshot. The vast majority of scientists are talented, hardworking, underpaid and honest individuals. The work they do is solid, but unheralded. In contrast, there is a very vocal minority of "junk scientists" who are somewhat lacking in the honesty department. These are the "one-study wonders" who practice "science by press conference." They add little to scientific knowledge. Aside from providing headlines, their major contribution is to divert funding and attention from deserving scientists.

What is the purpose of the Junk Science Home Page?

The purpose of the Junk Science Home Page is to help distinguish good science from bad. Everyday we're bombarded by headlines proclaiming this or that is bad (or even good) for us. What's the truth? And do you need to be a scientist to figure it out? Find out for yourself by visiting regularly!

Who is Steve Milloy?

Click here to find out about the "Junkman."

Why is Steve Milloy so outspoken about junk science?

Click here to read the preface to Science Without Sense: The Risky Business of Public Health Research.

Who pays for the Junk Science Home Page?

Steve Milloy. But who pays isn't important; the substance is. Steve figures he has the junk science debate won when an opponent raises a collateral issue like funding.

Material presented on this home page constitutes opinion of Steven J. Milloy. Copyright © 1998 Steven J. Milloy. All rights reserved on original material. Material copyrighted by others is used either with permission or under a claim of "fair use." Site developed and hosted by WestLake Solutions, Inc.