The Institute of Science in Society purports to be about promoting a socially responsible approach to science. It combines some reasonable stuff about global warming with a lot of utter rubbish about homeopathy (mainly written by the Institute’s director, Dr Mae-Wan Ho).
(This item has been transferred from the old IMPROBABLE SCIENCE page.)
I just stumbled across this organisation. At first sight, its theme of “science, society and sustainability” sounded right up my street. It seems to be predominantly an anti-GM, pro-organic farming, organisation. Although some of their contributors seem to be somewhat paranoid, there is much that I can agree with in what they say about that.
But they completely ruin their case by including quite barmy homilies about homeopathy (and here), water structure and traditional chinese medicine. There is also an amazing piece of sheer pseudo-scientific nonsense, “Homeopathic Medicine is Nanopharmacology” by Dana Ullman (though elsewhere on the site, nanotechnology gets a bad press).
Most of the nutty content seems to be written by the director of the Institute herself. Dr Mae-Wan Ho, who is listed as “Reader in Biology at the Open University” (that’s odd -no trace of her on the Open University web site). In fact some doubts have been cast on her biography. Wikipedia says “She is former head of the Bio-Electrodynamics laboratory at the Open University in Milton Keynes after either having been fired for incompetence or resigning because of personal reasons.” Whatever the truth in that may be, she clearly doesn’t understand homeopathy.
The board of directors of the Institute includes Zac Goldsmith (editor of The Ecologist) and it is advised by some apparently respectable scientists.
It is sad that an organisation with a respectable sounding title like the Institute of Science in Society is being used to propagate some pure pseudo-scientific gobblydegook. Is it any wonder that journalists and the general public get confused?