Unscientific Nonsense on ‘Shark Tank’

This article was originally published on RealClearScience.

Shark Tank is one of my favorite television shows. Though its depiction of the angel investor/venture capital world is a bit skewed, it provides an amazing insight into the heart of American capitalism. Indeed, the show easily disproves the myth oft-repeated by certain politicians that “rich people don’t create jobs.” Yes, they do. Start-ups, which directly create jobs, often rely on the beneficence of monumentally rich investors to get their businesses off the ground. Shark Tank, therefore, provides Americans with a basic, 101-level course in entrepreneurialism.

Unfortunately, one of the lessons of entrepreneurialism is that “money matters more than science.” If a buck can be made, few business owners care if their products make a mockery of science. Businesses that peddle unscientific organic food regularly appear on Shark Tank. The owners proudly proclaim that their product has been selling well at Whole Foods — a business that blatantly lies to its customers — after which they often walk away with a sizable investment from the sharks. As a scientist, I am appalled by this. Continue reading

The Lies that Whole Foods Tells

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

The organic food market is estimated at $63 billion globally, with more than half of those sales occuring in the United States. (If “natural products” are included, the organic market is $290 billion in the U.S. alone.) It’s no wonder, then, why Wal-Mart and other mainstream retailers are jumping onto the organic bandwagon. There is an awful lot of money to be made. Continue reading