As anyone who has ever tried to make sense of whether sleep is really good for you or is actually killing you knows, there are a lot of widely-shared "scientific studies" which are mostly contradictory, uninformative noise. Or as John Oliver put it in the video below, a thorough and fun evisceration of this particular strain of junk science, "Coffee today is like God in the Old Testament: It will either save you or kill you depending on how much you believe in its magic powers," he said. "After a certain point, all that ridiculous information can make you wonder: is science bullshit? To which the answer is clearly no, but there is a lot of bullshit masquerading as science."
Oliver places some of the blame on the pressure in the scientific community to publish (with tenure and funding on the line), which leads to some scientists manipulating their findings for more striking results; then there is a lack of replication studies, which involves other scientists verifying the results ("Even the best designed studies can get flukish results...there's no Nobel Prize for fact checking"); there are exaggerated press releases with sexy headline-grabbing titles ("It's like a game of telephone. The substance gets distorted at every step"); and then the media really runs with these unverified reports of "fun-poppy science."
And now you have an idea why everyone wrote about whether dogs like or dislike hugs last week. John Oliver may have mistaken Al Roker's sarcasm for sincerity, but his response to Roker's Today Show line ("I think the way to live your life is you find the study that sounds best to you and you go with that") is a classic:
"No! No, no, no, no, no, no, no! In science, you don't just get to cherry-pick the parts that justify what you were going to do anyway. That's religion. You're thinking of religion."
And then H Jon Benjamin shows up for a TED Talk parody for people who just want a little more interesting bullshit in their lives.