Cracked Science is run by Jonathan Jarry. To reach him, jonathan (dot) jarry (magic symbol) gmail (dot) com. Its associated YouTube channel can be found here.
Portrait by the amazing Isabelle Stephen.
Its aims are threefold:
- To demystify the language of contemporary science for the public, particularly with regards to biology and medicine. It is an unfortunate consequence of our Western education system that most people stop studying science in high school. Science, however, touches every one of us in a multitude of ways, particularly when our health declines. The language of medicine has grown over the decades even more tortuous to people not “in the know”: our understanding of disease has increased exponentially and, with it, concepts, terminology, and technologies have arisen which are rarely well understood by the public. I believe that knowledge carries with it the power to make more rational decisions and, as such, will endeavour to decode or “crack” the language of modern science so that patients and healthy-but-curious minds alike can clearly understand what seems shrouded in darkness.
- To keep a critical eye on recent scientific discoveries and news reports. Yes, science is the best tool we have to learn about the world around us, but science is unfortunately being done by fallible human beings. This means that some of the science out there is “cracked”. Even well established scientists can become corrupted by their desire for prestige, grants, and publications. The scientific literature is occasionally visited by rushed studies, erroneous conclusions, concealed data, even sometimes fabricated evidence. And when new discoveries are reported by journalists who lack the proper scientific knowledge and who are pushed to glamourize the news, well, it can quickly spin out of control. The good news is that science tends to correct itself over time; in the meantime, however, I’ll be keeping a close eye on bad science in the fields of biology and medicine.
- To debunk pseudoscience. Magnetic bracelets. Reflexology. Chiropractic. Questionable hokum making healing claims of various kinds has been with us for millennia, some unfortunately returning in various guises after having been debunked time and time again. Why are people tempted by these snake-oil merchants and peddlers of unproven alternative medicine? Because modern medicine does not live up to most patients’ expectations. We want attention from our physicians. We want efficient drugs with no side effects. We want a cure for every ill. Since medicine can rarely satisfy these demands, we turn to charlatans who claim they can. Even more “cracked” than a proper science that is incorrectly done, pseudoscience is not science. It can harm you and, in some cases, even kill you. I will be exposing healing frauds both old and new and bursting a lot of bubbles along the way. Sorry. Time to rejoin the real world.
Jonathan Jarry is a biological scientist born and bred in Canada who once worked for the U.S. Armed Forces, using the power of DNA technology to identify really old American soldiers. He has also helped to characterize a new form of muscular dystrophy and spent many years in a clinical laboratory, designing assays and managing rapid-turnover diagnostic tests which allow physicians to make informed decisions regarding cancer patient care.
He is the creator and host of Within Reason, a monthly podcast that explores contentious issues from a rational perspective. Together with a local panel of skeptics—including Andrew Cody, with whom he co-hosted the first season–, he has taken on the topics of secularism in the province of Quebec, health and fitness myths, integrative medicine and more, and has had the distinction of welcoming both local gems, like Drs. Christopher Labos and Shuvo Ghosh, and American near-celebrities, like Drs. Jill Tarter, Michael Shermer, and Eugenie Scott. Within Reason is also available on iTunes.
Jonathan is also the co-creator of a local production team, Moutons No More, along with Isabelle Stephen, Guy Renaud Sully, and Andrew Cody. The goal of Moutons No More is to create multimedia content—such as blogs, podcasts, and videos—on the subject of rationality and to host events in Montreal to foster freethought and to help fellow citizens become better critical thinkers. Don’t miss our amazing stage show, Funny You Should Think That!, which takes place every month in Montreal. For more information, check out http://www.MoutonsNoMore.com.
In the end, Jonathan believes each and every person should be empowered with the necessary knowledge to make rational, informed decisions about their health and the world around them. This scientific literacy can only come from curiosity. One of his heroes’ would agree:
“Incuriousity is the oddest and most foolish failing there is.”
— Stephen Fry, The Fry Chronicles