SciBabe is sick of all the woo taking over the very necessary discussions we need to have about food. Whether it’s the fearmongering to be found on social media coming from the notoriously fact-averse Food Babe or the anti-vaxxer brigade, SciBabe, aka Yvette d’Entremont, is ready to take them on using scientific evidence coupled with a dose of good old fashioned smarty-pants debunking.
SciBabe is one of the new generation of skeptics who are countering the surfeit of social media malarkey with pointed, well reasoned attacks on the “findings” of these self-styled gurus of wellness. Pre-internet, the most likely suspects of this kind of snake-oil salesmanship were celebrities. In her take-down of celebrity lifestyle gurus in the New York Post, Maureen Callahan very aptly describes the dynamic that drives this industry.
“Today, the most coveted job description in America is ‘lifestyle guru,’ and a gaggle of aging actresses, careers waning, are jockeying for your money and your envy.”
The wired world has created a wider, farther reaching venue for these ladies who lunch on the wispiest of carb-free repasts and some competition for them as well. We are now seeing the second wave of aspirational bloggers who want you to buy their wares, support their sponsors, and try to live just like them. Their prevalence online and the armies of fans who hang on their every word have spawned sites all over the internet whose main purpose is to question the validity of the claims put forth by health and wellness bloggers. One of the biggest and best established is Get Off My Internets (or GOMI).
Many of these bloggers are women who are trying for careers in mainstream media. The obvious goal is stardom and a healthy income stream by way of personal branding. While a few might have some credentials to give their claims the appearance of legitimacy, many are marginally better educated than the starlets touting their latest diet plans.
The majority of the alleged experts on better living through spurious assumption are not trained to do any sort of research much less the kind that creates results that can be duplicated under specific, relevant conditions. They’re performers using dog whistle tactics to get attention. SciBabe not only possesses, but admits to some past aspirations to show business by disclosing her degree in theatre. That’s where the resemblance between her and the shills ends. Alongside the piece of parchment that attests to her aptitude for the arts is a Bachelor’s degree of Science in Chemistry and a Master’s degree in forensic science with a concentration in biological criminalistics. It’s a safe assumption that if it comes down to who has a better idea of what is going to kill a person, Yvette d’Entremont is more likely to have accurate information than Vani Hari, who majored in computer science and worked in consulting before jumping into the arena of food activism.
Yvette d’Entremont, who posted under “Science Babe,” and now posts as SciBabe, initially created a Facebook page for her cheeky brand of outreach in the name of reason. She can also be found on Twitter, where she shares links to her latest articles, communicates with fans about her appearances at conferences, and raises the profiles of scientists and members of the skeptic community. The home base for SciBabe would be her website, where she posts a blog and an expose (that really deserves resurrection) called “Weekly Woo.”
In the “about” section on her blog, SciBabe.com, d’Entremont is flip and funny when she describes the origin of her mission.
“When Vani Hari, a.k.a. the Food Babe, took a swipe at her Pumpkin Spice Lattes? It was a call to arms. You just don’t mess with a native Bostonian’s PSL.”
Along with the humor and the woo-busting, there is the underlying purposeful use of SciBabe’s superpowers for the greater good. Employing sharp wit, the gleeful potty-mouthed brashness of a denizen of South Park, and a wicked smart knowledge of good science, SciBabe sets up purveyors of pseudoscience and knocks them flat on their baseless conceits of being right just because.
So should you follow SciBabe? Sensitive types should be forewarned. She doesn’t mince words. In fact, on her Twitter page, she describes herself as a “fan of science, Diet Coke, swearing, and the Oxford comma.” On all of her pages and her essays published elsewhere, especially her elegantly reasoned and hilariously profane dissection of Food Babe, she is the unholy lovechild of Jessica Rabbit and Harlan Ellison.
If you need another reason to check out SciBabe, before you pass up that scary McDonalds St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Shake for another year (some outlets will be selling them through the weekend) because of the chemicals, read what SciBabe has to say about the alternatives. Whether you go to the drive-through, pour your treat from a Vitamix, or get it from home-churned goodness, SciBabe wants you to choose facts over fear.
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