In our quest to live long and healthy lives, we often fall prey to advice from questionable sources. Scientific Myths attempts to decode a few of the most popular and suspicious health-related recommendations.
Does the iron content in spinach make you strong? Does reading in dark light damage your eyes? Is the process of detoxification a legitimate pursuit? Does the consumption of large amounts of chocolate help you lose weight? Is a daily glass of red wine good for the heart?
There are long-held beliefs regarding food, exercise and lifestyle practices that people have sworn by for many decades. These believers would be shocked to learn that many of their favorite remedies result from myths, misconceptions, antiquated concepts, deceptive public relations attempts, faulty research or precautions taken too far.
Our modern myths aren't limited to health and nutrition concerns. Urban legends can take hold and spread like wildfire in our increasingly paranoid and gullible society. Can cell phones cause planes to crash? Does listening to classical music in the womb have an impact on a child's intelligence?
The filmmakers put some of the most enduring of these myths to the test. They conduct cell phone tests in a large-scale airplane, follow a group of nutritional scientists as they embark on a phony chocolate diet study, and capture a team of young chemists who examine the chemical elements in spinach and compare their results to similar vegetables.
In addition to offering practical, evidence-based insights, the film examines the inner workings of myth-making, an especially robust process given our 24-hour news cycle and social media dominance. Often, in today's climate, fringe viewpoints can attract more attention and greater adoption than scientifically sound research. This is especially dangerous in regards to our current concerns over climate change.
By debunking these widely accepted practices and beliefs, Scientific Myths provides a valuable and educational service. These segments of the film are filled with the joy of discovery. But there's also a darker underbelly to the film's theme. It portrays a culture that chooses to believe even the most outrageous and impractical myths over concrete scientific data.
Directed by: Thomas Hies, Judith Schneider