Interesting survey discussed at Science-Based Medicine] looking at belief in medical conspiracy theories. Not as high as I would have expected, but still kind of scary.
The Food and Drug Administration is deliberately preventing the public from getting natural cures for cancer and other diseases because of pressure from drug companies. (37% agree, 32% disagree) Health officials know that cell phones cause cancer but are doing nothing to stop it because large corporations won’t let them. (20% agree, 40% disagree) The CIA deliberately infected large numbers of African Americans with HIV under the guise of a hepatitis inoculation program. (12% agree, 51% disagree) The global dissemination of genetically modified foods by Monsanto Inc is part of a secret program, called Agenda 21, launched by the Rockefeller and Ford foundations to shrink the world’s population. (12% agree, 42% disagree) Doctors and the government still want to vaccinate children even though they know these vaccines cause autism and other psychological disorders. (20% agree, 44% disagree) Public water fluoridation is really just a secret way for chemical companies to dump the dangerous byproducts of phosphate mines into the environment. (12% agree, 46% disagree)Also interesting that belief in these correlates with the use of some alternative therapies, supporting the argument I've made for a while] that alt med is more about ideology and philosophy than about what works to prevent or treat disease:
Of those who did not believe in any of the six conspiracy theories, 13% said they use herbal remedies. However, for those who believed in 3 or more of the theories, 35% said they use herbal medicine. A similar correlation was seen for use of sunscreen and vaccines, purchasing of organic foods, and other alternative healthcare practices.