Respectful Insolence

The red flags of quackery

Via Stupid Evil Bastard, here’s a great cartoon that points out the red flags that indicate most of the major red flags of quackery (click to embiggen and see the whole cartoon):

i-9f0843135c0cd0fd24a6c430756eb34b-Quantum.jpg

I have to admit. The main ones are all there.

Comments

  1. #1 Todd W.
    March 9, 2011

    Haha! Love it. Some clever pics to accompany the text.

  2. #2 Red Queen
    March 9, 2011

    What about the many shameful misuses of “Balance”? Does it fall under one of the big quacks here (“Energy balancing”, “Balancing your chakras”…) or is it a distinct kind of silly?

  3. #3 Cuttlefish
    March 9, 2011

    The accompanying (google) ad was for a line of homeopathic remedies.

    *sigh*

  4. #4 Jennifer Ouellette
    March 9, 2011

    Exception: if someone is referring to quantum physics as relating to cutting edge computation. Then, it’s valid. But only then. :)

  5. #5 lilady
    March 9, 2011

    Love it and I’ve already forwarded it.

  6. #6 scott
    March 9, 2011

    I usually show this to anyone I suspect is on the fence about Chopra.

    http://www.quackwatch.org/04ConsumerEducation/chopra.html

    Most of the time they just become an apologist and dig their heels in deeper.

  7. #7 scott
    March 9, 2011

    I usually show this to anyone I suspect is on the fence about Chopra.

    http://www.quackwatch.org/04ConsumerEducation/chopra.html

    Most of the time they just become an apologist and dig their heels in deeper.

  8. #8 Joseph
    March 9, 2011

    One that you’ll often encounter: “It cures autism!”

  9. #9 Pablo
    March 9, 2011

    One that you’ll often encounter: “It cures autism!”

    There is the “miracle cure-all” panel. I think that covers it.

  10. #10 Prometheus
    March 9, 2011

    Quantum: it doesn’t mean what Chopra (and so many others) think it does.

    To be fair, in my quantum chemistry class (so many years ago) we were taught that all chemistry is a manifestation of quantum interactions (orbitals, paired and unpaired electrons, etc.) and since all biology is simply an inter-connected series of chemical reactions, you could say that quantum effects are a significant part of day-to-day life.

    However, Chopra’s idea that photon entanglement shows how we are all connected and his outdated belief that the presence of an observer alters the quantum state (“collapses the wave function”) and thus shows that we can change reality with our thoughts… well, that is just bulls***t.

    So, I’ll continue to use my maxim that whenever someone mixes quantum mechanics and medicine there is a 99+% probability that they misunderstand either quantum mechanics, medicine or both.

    BTW, with Chopra, it’s “both”.

    Prometheus

  11. #11 Sastra
    March 9, 2011

    They left out “holistic” — which usually signals an attempt to encompass the entire reality of Mind, Body, AND Spirit. Western reductionist materialist science forgets to connect it all together like that.

  12. #12 mk
    March 10, 2011

    Too bad the author has apparently never seen poison ivy.

  13. #13 Joe T.
    March 10, 2011

    I like the “it’s probably Chopra” tagline — with its tone of him being a unpleasant force of nature one occasionally encounters, like, say, flash flooding or tornadoes.

  14. #14 Scott Cunningham
    March 10, 2011

    More Red Flags of Quackery:

    “Boosts the immune system” – without warnings about autoimmune diseases getting worse and the very real possibility that your T lymphocytes might kill you to death.

    “Activates the body’s own inner wisdom to heal itself” etc.

    I’m always suspicious of people promising to put the power to heal “in your own hands!” Because it seems to me Big Pharma does that for sixty bucks and no fanfare. Here’s a bottle of pills literally in your hands. So if they have to shout from the mountaintops that that’s what it does, it must not be self-evident.

    OT, I checked out an article refuting the Jesus=Horus internet trope on SEB, and made the big mistake of following a troll’s link.

    Oh my H. P. Lovecraft’s entire pantheon. The crazy was not what my migrainey, recupperating head with stuffy sinuses needed.

  15. #15 Anthony
    March 11, 2011

    Don’t such boring things as semiconductors and lasers require QM to explain?

  16. #16 Maki
    March 15, 2011

    Woah! Thanks for the plug! Some rebuttal: Yes, I know that’s not what poison ivy looks like, it’s a stylized leaf thing out of photoshop :)

    Also, I state that QM can’t help you directly. I do mention semiconductors and flash memory in the accompanying article.

    The Telltale Quack

    Thanks again, glad you like it!

  17. #17 Wade
    January 10, 2012

    Please make an elementary school safe version of this, without the unnecessary finger, and Fucking, and bullshit. Seriously.