If you hadn’t heard of the movie Forks Over Knives (FOK) you probably aren’t vegan. It’s a movie based upon the work of a couple guru doctors who espouse a plant-based (read: vegan) diet for combating a plethora of human ailments. Released in 2011 it’s a little bit over a year-old now and injects a renewed interest in the waning popularity of the China Study book by T. Colin Campbell. A new fervor has been whipped up on the celluloid tip and a slew of new adherents have been spawned with many vegans soaking up this new batch of pseudoscience slop. These FOKers (heh) are a particularly rabid bunch and even started an onslaught os Forks Over Knives Meetups (albeit the membership numbers tend to be shallow)!
Now I must disclose that I haven’t seen the movie myself but I’m not repentant. I’m already quite familiar with all the guru doctors featured and the China Study as I was myself a China Study true believer back in the day. The benefit of the doubt isn’t well warranted especially after reading the following reports1:
Movie Review: Forks Over Knives | Let Them Eat Meat
Ex-vegan Rhys Southan sits in with true believers on a screening. DERP ensues.
“Forks Over Knives”: Is the Science Legit? (A Review and Critique) | Raw Food SOS
Denise Minger continues her T. Colin Campbell hate parade and gets way TL;DR yet again.
Fork over that Knife | SkepticRD
A paleo-ish RD reviews. Those paleos sure are gunning for this movie.
A review of Forks Over Knives | Committee for Skeptical Inquiry
Skeptics take a critical view.
Dietary Pet Views (Greg Linster guest post) | Rationally Speaking
Roger Ebert’s review though was completely positive. The difference here is that he’s a movie critic being swayed by craft and not science.
There’s a bigger question here though. Should we be getting our science from movies? I mean, movies can maybe make science topics more palatable or entertaining for the masses but should the fringes be so flaunted? Whether or not the science is solid this is a bad precedent. If people are so swayed by this pseudoscientific display will they just as likely be swayed away by a paleo diet movie? Should we make our science decisions based upon the latest blockbuster movie utilizing emotion-tugging screenwriting and the latest in 3D CGI surround-sound technology?
Science is science and a plant-based diet panacea needs to go through the same rigors any other science–informed topic should. Until then it’s relegated to the realm of pseudoscience until it validates itself through peer-review and garners acceptance by the consensus of experts, not vegans. Anything less and vegans may have to eat crow and that’s just as NOT VEGAN as baloney.
Let’s just hope Skinny Bitch never becomes a movie. *shudder*
For further perusal regarding the China Study:
The China Study: A Formal Analysis and Response | Raw Food SOS
The China Study | Science-Based Medicine
The China Study Revisited: New Analysis of Raw Data Doesn’t Support Vegetarian Ideology | Science-Based Medicine
- Naturally, consider the source when reading. If anybody has some other decent reviews please comment and let me know.Thanks! ↩