7 (Stupid) People Who Sued the Scientific Method

#3. Vitamins Cure AIDS

Vitamins are good for you, but it's not like they can cure AIDS. If you agree with that statement, you could be sued for one and a half million dollars. That's what journalist Ben Goldacre discovered when he called attention to some slightly dodgy behavior by Matthias Rath. Here "slightly dodgy" is defined as "putting out full page ads in South Africa, claiming that AIDS medicines are useless but vitamin pills will cure you, where tens of thousands of people die every month from AIDS".


"Well I do want to get rid of this AIDS. But $15.99? I don't know..."

Why yes, Mr. Rath does own a vitamin company and, while we don't know this information firsthand, we can only speculate that his balls are somewhere in the realm of "super huge." While the case failed, for the entire year it dragged on Mr. Goldacre was barred from even mentioning anything to do with the case. Which, since he's a journalist, kind of made it hard for him to do his job.

What a Victory Would Imply:

When you can be successfully sued for claiming that vitamins don't cure AIDS, it's the end of public communication, since the last count of "things that don't cure AIDS" came in at approximately "everything." If someone can be sued in the face of such a basic fact, we'll have to take up coded sign language just to avoid litigation.

#2. Suing About Polar Bears Being Endangered

The Center for Biological Diversity counted the number of polar bears left and found that, holy shit, those things are endangered. In a sign of just how legally messed up things are, they're having to sue the government to get the status changed from "threatened" to "endangered." That's right, the scientists whose job it is to track endangered animals still have to bring a court case to get that tracking recorded, and that's not even the worst lawsuit involved.

A countersuit has been filed by the American Petroleum Institute, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Iron and Steel Institute and others who clearly have no ulterior motives whatsoever. The countersuit is seeking to not only block the upgrade but to remove the "threatened" status, even though few of their legal statements even address the number of polar bears at all and amount to "Ah, they'll be fine".


Look at that guy. He's living the dream.

They point out that with the cost of gas the way it is, the bears should not be considered "endangered." Our understanding of bear-mating is woefully underdeveloped, but we don't think those things check the price at the pump before deciding whether or not to produce offspring. The companies also complain that Alaska has to deal with special conservation rules that other states don't. The fact that Alaska is the only state that actually has polar bears doesn't really seem relevant to them.

What a Victory Would Imply:

That you don't even have to address the issue of the case. For example, you could beat a murder rap by simply proving conclusively that going to jail for twenty years would significantly damage your ability to make a decent living as a hitman.

#1. Deep Impact Suit

The Deep Impact mission was an effort by NASA to find out what was inside the comet 9P/Tempel, which they did by slamming a three hundred kilogram copper bullet into it at ten kilometers per second.

Which was awesome, because not nearly enough space missions are directed by Michael Bay. The day after the mission, Russian astrologer Mirana Bai sued NASA for $300 million for "moral suffering." Apparently, making a small hole in a comet no one had ever heard of in its un-holed state had ruined the natural balance of the universe and affected her horoscope.

The thing is, 9P/Tempel doesn't actually appear on the horoscope. Pedantic, we know, but if you're going to go to court based on the magic future-predictions of little spots in the sky, you should make sure that you're actually talking about one. And three $300 million? Is she claiming that the change to her horoscope prevented her from meeting a tall dark stranger? A tall dark stranger with forty winning lottery tickets in his pocket?

What a Victory Would Imply:

When an astrologer is credited with a better understanding of space than NASA, it's time to turn off modern civilization, move everyone back to the caves and start over.

Read more of Luke's stuff at LukeMcKinney.org.

For more infuriating cases, check out Luke's look at 9 Insane Cases that Prove the US Legal System Is Screwed. Or for examples of why you may not want to mess with scientists, check out his look at The 6 Most Badass Stunts Ever Pulled in the Name of Science.

Or, visit Cracked.com's Top Picks to see what sites we were surfing while avoiding the inlaws this holiday season.

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