Fake science, real cash

The Huffington Post has an interesting exposé of the people making good money from bad takes and pseudoscience: you can make tens of thousands of dollars presenting pseudoscience in the employ of anti-trans religious extremists. And while the article is mainly about the US, the UK gets a look-in too. You may recognise the names here from their very frequent appearances in the UK press.

The spike in anti-trans legislation means states need even more experts to defend it. And in order to deepen the bench, states have started enlisting academics who aren’t in health care or don’t even primarily research humans. One is a Manchester University professor named Emma Hilton, who mainly studies a particular species of frog and how it offers an understanding of inherited human genetic disorders. Hilton is a founder of a British group, Sex Matters, that advocates for legally segregating spaces by sex. She earned $300 an hour last year defending bans on trans girls playing on girls’ sports teams in Utah and Indiana.

By way of explaining why she was qualified to weigh in on school sports, she told one court, “I participate keenly in sports at an amateur level, playing netball recreationally.”

“Our understanding of human biology is in part a result of the study of animal models,” Hilton said in an email. She declined to address the relevance of netball, which is like basketball without dribbling.

Another is Michael Biggs, an Oxford sociology professor who admitted in court to writing transphobic tweets under the pseudonymous handle @MrHenryWimbush and described himself as a “teenage shitlord [turned] Oxford professor.” “Transphobia is a word created by fascists, and used by cowards, to manipulate morons,” reads one representative post.

Florida paid Biggs $400 an hour to defend its Medicaid ban.



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