Down the Docks

September 9, 2006

Bad Science, Bad Education

Filed under: Current Affairs — ealing @ 8:34 pm

The badscience blog brings up an impressively misconceived “study” to take place in County Durham.

The “study” will involve giving a cohort of students fish oils and observing their performance in their GCSE exams. There will be no control group. No results can have any validity, since the results have not been controlled for things like the placebo effect or the Hawthorne effect.

Since this cannot be a trial of any use, I’m left to wonder what it’s purpose is. Well, the purpose for Equazen, the suppliers of the fish oil pills in question, is suggested by badscience:

[Equazen’s] Eye-Q tablets cost £7.99 for a ten day supply, and they have given £1 million worth to Durham (street value, as the drug squad say). This has bought them flattering news items on peak time terrestrial television, and large colour photos of their products on prominent news pages.

Just how much coverage Equazen have got can be seen on their news page. I have no idea what’s in it for Durham County Council.

On the subject of bad science, the issue of Northern schools reminds me of Emmanuel College, a school mostly funded by the taxpayer, in which Creationist rubbish is taught to children because Sir Peter Vardy paid a small proportion of the cost of the school.

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