October 25, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Why the Pepsi stem cell myth matters: the dangerous spread of fiction-based reality

Lately the urban myth that there are embryonic stem cells in Pepsi has been spreading like wildfire.

I’ve been doing some mythbusting part to squelch these flames (and not by pouring Pepsi on them), but it isn’t easy.

Why does it even matter if some folks are going around saying there are embryonic stem cells in Pepsi?

It matters because facts are important.

It matters because facts are a key part of the stem cell field and propaganda based on fiction is so often used to try to damage legitimate stem cell research.

However, I believe this goes well beyond just stem cells.

The American system of justice and freedom depends on fact-based reality and for that reason upon science. Thus, when people spread myths and propagandize through paradoxical fiction- or faith-based realities as is happening so often now, it hurts science and our society. Of course fiction-based reality, which some might call “lying” is nothing new in America at all, but that doesn’t mean we should let it stand. Scientists in particular have a duty to defend data and factual reality.

If it were just a few extremists I would agree with the sentiment “who cares?”, but it is a far broader anti-science trend.