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Corporations often use scientific language and imagery to make the products and services they are promoting appear more state-of-the-art or innovative than their competition's offerings. Such techniques are particularly prevalent amongst purveyors of alternative medicine, but also extend to consumer goods especially cosmetics. Words like “quantum”, “scientifically tested”, or “DNA”, and images of microscopes and white-coated lab workers not only blind consumers with science, but lend a false air of scientific legitimacy to products that may have little or no proof of efficacy.

This strategy can impart consumers with a sense of confidence, resulting in them handing over money for products and services which at worst are a scam or, at best, overpriced. In a time when there appears to be an under-current of mistrust in science, including but not exclusive to climate change and vaccination, this activity is particularly mischievous since it effectively co-opts science for nefarious purposes. The result is an undermining of the trust of scientists and science in general.

Deshmukh, N., Hussain, I., Barker, J., Petroczi, A., and Naughton, D. P. Steroids. 75, 710-714. Epub 2010 May 2018. PMID: 20435054
Borgese, L., Zacco, A., Bontempi, E., Pellegatta, M., Vigna, L., Patrini, L., Riboldi, L., Rubino, F. M., and Depero, L. E. J 52, 787-790. Epub 2010 Mar 2011. PMID: 20304577
Daniel, C. R., 3rd, Piraccini, B. M., and Tosti, A. 2004. J Am Acad Dermatol. 50, 258-261. PMID:14726882
Williams C. 2003. The Skeptic, Vol 23(2): 35
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Deshmukh, N., Hussain, I., Barker, J., Petroczi, A., and Naughton, D. P. Steroids. 75, 710-714. Epub 2010 May 2018. PMID: 20435054
Borgese, L., Zacco, A., Bontempi, E., Pellegatta, M., Vigna, L., Patrini, L., Riboldi, L., Rubino, F. M., and Depero, L. E. J 52, 787-790. Epub 2010 Mar 2011. PMID: 20304577
Daniel, C. R., 3rd, Piraccini, B. M., and Tosti, A. 2004. J Am Acad Dermatol. 50, 258-261. PMID:14726882
Williams C. 2003. The Skeptic, Vol 23(2): 35
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