Synopsis

Absinthe was banned in the U.S. and many other parts of the world in the early 20th cen­tury after a faulty sci­en­tific study deter­mined it was likely to pro­voke hal­lu­ci­na­tions, seizures, and vio­lence. Ninety years later, absinthe has re-emerged on the inter­na­tional mar­ket­place because it has been deter­mined, by all accounts, to be safe for con­sump­tion. Why was it banned in the first place? David Cook, a retired Neu­ro­sur­geon and occa­sional absinthe drinker, helps unlock the neu­ro­log­i­cal mys­ter­ies of “the green fairy” and tes­ti­fies about how sci­ence, rit­ual, and his­tory often con­verge in unusual ways. The ulti­mate cause of the absinthe ban was polit­i­cal, due to the influ­ence of wine­mak­ers and tem­per­ance advo­cates, not sci­en­tific. This case reveals yet another exam­ple of how “bad sci­ence” is often­times uti­lized to manip­u­late pub­lic opin­ion. Unfor­tu­nately, this is just as true today as it was 100 years ago. Though peer-reviewed sources con­sis­tently acknowl­edge the prob­lems of cli­mate change, strate­gic mis­in­for­ma­tion still often wins the day with the press, the pub­lic, and our legislators.

Category:

Culture

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