Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More BBC Breakfast science ineptitude

The very next day after this, Breakfast interviewed the one-time TV presenter Gail Porter, who lost her hair five years ago for reasons that don't seem to be well understood.  She said a few astonishing things, abetted by the Breakfast presenters.  For example:

1. She attributes the reason her hair is growing back to the fact that she's fallen in love.  Bless and you never know....but she *doesn't* know.  She's making a random claim for no good reason.

2. She also, confusingly, attributes her hair re-growth to the fact that she rubs a mixture of olive and avocado oil into her scalp every night.  She's been doing this for five years, her hair has only just started to grow back, yet she still seems to think the oil is responsible.  Maybe it just takes five years to work.  Incidentally, she’s been rubbing the same mixture on the rest of her body too because she has decided for no reason that it keeps her skin looking young.  Interestingly, excess hair hasn’t begun to grow on the rest of her body.

3. She had a few bits of hair growing in patches, so understandably she shaved her head.  After five years, she stopped shaving her head for some reason and….her hair grew back all over.  It kind of makes me wonder whether she could have done this earlier.  No sniping about that; it would be a real shame if she’d missed out on having hair because she didn’t realise it was growing back after all. But there’s a possibly blithering act of credulous stupidity in deciding that stopping shaving her head just happened to coincide with her hair growing back.  I doubt it was that simple, but that’s how she reported it on Breakfast and the thought that she might have looked at her hair one day, thought it looked a bit thicker, decided to give it a few weeks and then suddenly realised that it was growing back seems to fit her MO.

4. Some clips were shown of a documentary she made when her hair first fell out.  It was sad: there was a clip of her doctor saying that her hair probably wouldn’t grow back and she cried because this was the first time it had really hit home.  Sad.  But when the clip had finished, she went on to criticise the doctor for….well….as far as I can tell for giving her an accurate prognosis, which turned out to be wrong.  The attitude was very definitely one of scientists and doctors plainly not knowing what they are talking about (after all, one doctor was wrong about one thing even though his prognosis was entirely the right one to make. 

And the Breakfast presenters lapped it up.  They didn’t challenge her on anything at all.  It’s sad.  It’s inadequate. It’s anti-science and almost desperately so.  It’s probably giving false hope to other people in that situation and it’s harmful.  No biscuit.

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