Watch: John Oliver Says "Science" Reporting Makes Coffee Seem Like God in the Old Testament

May 10 2016

Watch: John Oliver Says “Science” Reporting Makes Coffee Seem Like God in the Old Testament

May 10th, 2016

In his most recent episode, John Oliver tackles the barrage of overwhelming and often contradictory information we get from “new scientific studies.”

He says that the constant pressure on scientists to publish “new and striking” results, the habit of “p-hacking” (playing with data until you find something statistically significant, though it might be meaningless), and the game of “telephone” between academic journals and the media (who tend to only read press releases), result in the public getting information like: “A glass of wine is just as good as spending an hour at the gym,” “your cats might be thinking about killing you,” “smelling farts might prevent cancer,” and other phrases that sound less like science and more like “something your sassy aunt would have on a t-shirt.”

Coffee, Oliver notes, is a favorite subject for this type of report. It seems like every day we hear a new story about how coffee can do everything from reduce the risk of cancer to increase the risk of miscarriage. “Coffee is like God in the Old Testament. It will save you or kill you.”