Yesterday, the producers of the long-running game show produced Jeopardy! announced two new co-hosts to replace the late Alex Trebek: the show’s executive producer Mike Richards and actress Mayim Bialik. Richards has his own questions– including being named in an employment case against pregnancy discrimination – but I want to let others open it can of worms.
Instead, I will focus on Bialik. On paper, she seems like a good choice for a show that celebrates the human intellect: Most famous for her starring roles in TV sitcoms Flower and Big Bang theories, she also has a Ph.D. in neuroscience. Despite his scientific bonafides, Bialik has dabbled in realms that are evident anti-science. Let’s look at her track record.
First, there are Bialik’s mixed messages about vaccines. Back in 2009, she told People the magazine that her family was “unvaccinated”. In 2012, i en post on the website Sources, she approved parenting books against vaccines, including one by Dr. Bob Sears, the California pediatrician who had his medical license revoked for the issuance of questionable medical exemptions for immunizations. She has since gone back to that statement – in 2015, she said in one tweet that her children were vaccinated. Last year, she released a YouTube video where she cryptically said she “delayed vaccinations for reasons you don’t necessarily get to know about.” She has publicly approved the COVID-19 vaccines, but still told Yahoo Life in January, “I have a lot of questions about the vaccine industry, just like a lot of people have. I have many questions about profits. ”
Bialik is also a longtime advocate of the pseudo-scientific naturopathy field. She has hawked a dubious supplement that claims to improve brain function, including in one ad it’s in the air right now and where she’s taking advantage of her degrees. She has been featured recently on one naturopathy podcast. In April, Bialik ran one on his own podcast episode called “Alternative Medicine, Acupuncture and Adrenal Failure – Doulas Do It Right.” In the show, she interviewed midwife Elizabeth Bachner, whose naturopathic clinic in Los Angeles, Gracefull, peddles scientifically unjustified treatments, including IV treatment for aging, oral chelation for heavy metals and “homeopathic hormone balancing injections.”
But wait, there’s more: Abundant research shows that birth control pills and devices are safe and effective. Still, Bialik has teamed up with actor Ricki Lake about her crusade against hormonal contraception. Last year, she was speaking at Lake’s Body Literacy Summit, which warned women about the perceived dangers of the pill. Other speakers included midwife Aviva Romm, a notorious vaccine skeptic. Bialik too been Lake on an episode of her podcast dedicated to criticizing birth control pills.
I could go on. Bialik has worked extensively with the La Leche League, an organization that often promotes some scientifically dubious methods, including the discredited view that maternity interventions such as IV fluids and epidurals can prevent women from breastfeeding. She has also written a book on foster parenting, a philosophy of child rearing that, among other dubious lessons, warns parents that sleep education for babies will harm them permanently. And all this is not even to mention Bialik’s strange hypocrisy about feminism: She has written an empowerment book for teenage girls, but still in a 2017 New York Times op-ed, she suggested that women invite sexual harassment by dressing modestly.
It is incredibly depressing that someone as skilled as Bialik promotes medical and scientific misinformation. But it is far from disappointing Jeopardy!– a show that is literally about facts – would choose her to be its public face. I’m taking “someone else please” for $ 1,000.
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