Quackery

Category archives for Quackery

There can be no doubt that, when it comes to medicine, The Atlantic has an enormous blind spot. Under the guise of being seemingly “skeptical,” the magazine has, over the last few years, published some truly atrocious articles about medicine. I first noticed this during the H1N1 pandemic, when The Atlantic published an article lionizing…

Dammit. I had planned on posting something else tomorrow that, because it had been posted elsewhere, would be minimal work. The reason, of course, is because it’s the 4th of July weekend and today is a federal holiday. Unfortunately, sometimes things happen that I cannot ignore, even though all sorts of other bloggers are writing…

In the wake of the passage of SB 277 into law in California, the antivaccine contingent went full mental jacket. SB 277, as you might recall, eliminates non-medical exemptions (i.e., religious and personal belief exemptions) to school vaccine mandates. One thing watching the crazy was good for, at least for me, was to note how…

Sometimes, I think advocates of “integrative” medicine are trolling me. Of course, unlike antivaccine advocates, I realize it (usually) isn’t about me at all and they’re just writing what they believe and have (usually in the vast majority of cases) never encountered me and (usually in the vast majority of cases) aren’t considering me at…

My original intention was to write about something entirely different today, but, really, how could I, given that SB277 has become law in California and non-medical exemptions to school vaccine mandates are a thing of the past? The topic I had in mind for today can easily keep for a day or two anyway. Besides,…

Late last week, something happened that I never would have predicted, and it’s all due to how the politics of the issue changed in the wake of the Disneyland measles outbreak earlier this year. The state that contains some of the most famous pockets of low vaccine uptake and some of the most famous antivaccine…

The overarching goal that proponents of so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or, as is becoming the preferred term, “integrative” medicine is the mainstreaming of the “unconventional” treatments that fall under the rubric of these two terms. Indeed, that’s the very reason why they so insisted on the shift from calling it CAM to calling…

Orac note: Congratulations on California and everyone who reads this blog who helped pass SB 277 to protect California’s children. Here’s hoping Governor Jerry Brown signs the bill! I had a big talk to give this morning that required a massive rewrite of my slide set last night; so there wasn’t time for the usual…

About a year and a half ago, I began an intermittent series that I called How “They” View “Us.” There are several posts in the series now. Basically, given the amount of nastiness directed at those of us who refute pseudoscience, in particular quackery and antivaccine pseudoscience, by those who believe in it, I tried…

Has Western medicine lost its soul?

If there’s one message that I’ve been trying to promote, regardless of whether it’s on this blog or my not-so-super-secret other blog, it’s the concept that there should be one standard of evidence—one scientific standard of evidence—for evaluating health claims and medical treatments. It doesn’t matter if it’s the latest drug from big pharma, the…

Last Thursday I took note of a rather fascinating confluence of cranks who have come together to oppose SB 277 in California. For those not familiar with SB 277, it is a bill currently under consideration in the California Assembly that would eliminate nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates. It was passed by the Senate…

Even if you’re a relative newbie to this blog, you probably wouldn’t be particularly surprised to learn that I don’t much like Dr. Mehmet Oz, a.k.a. “America’s Doctor.” Of course, I refer to him as something slightly different, namely “America’s Quack,” for a whole host of reasons, including his featuring psychic mediums like John Edward…

The saga of SB 277 just keeps getting stranger and stranger as its end game comes into view. SB 277 is, of course, a big deal. If it’s passed by the California Assembly and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, it would eliminate nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates, making the largest state in…

Antivaccinationists like Holocaust analogies. I’ve described this particularly loathsome phenomenon more times than I can remember, most recently when Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. compared the “vaccine-induced autism epidemic” (vaccine-induced only in RFK, Jr.’s imagination and that of antivaccinationists) to the Holocaust. True, even he was forced to apologize, although it was a classic “notpology”: “I…

A common question, rhetorical or otherwise, that skeptics are asked about alternative medicine is, “What’s the harm?” It’s seemingly an effective ploy for some modalities, so much so that years ago Tim Farley felt obligated to try to answer the question on a website (whatstheharm.net) that catalogues examples of the harm alternative medicine, supernatural and…

Before 2005, I did pay attention to the antivaccine movement, but it wasn’t one of my biggest priorities when it comes to promoting science-based medicine. That all changed when Robert F. Kennedy published his incredibly conspiracy-packed black whole of antivaccine pseudoscience entitled Deadly Immunity. Sadly, almost exactly ten years later, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. hasn’t…

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. – attributed to Hippocrates Who said anything about medicine? Let’s eat! – attributed to one of Hippocrates forgotten (and skeptical) students   Who hasn’t seen or heard Hippocrates’ famous quote about letting food be your medicine and your medicine your food? If you have Facebook…

One of the odd things about having been a blogger as long as I have been is that, occasionally, posts that I wrote years ago rise up to bite me long after I’ve forgotten that I even wrote them. Actually, that’s usually not the right way to put it. Blogging is a very short term…

As depressing as the litany of quackery and patient harm that I follow nearly every day can become, occasionally I am heartened to learn of a victory for science-based medicine and, more importantly, for the patients being victimized by pseudoscientific treatments. One of the most simultaneously ridiculous and vile of these treatments is a solution…

I’ve been following Mike Adams a long time, going back to 2007 and even before. It’s difficult to find anyone who can pack more pseudoscience, conspiracy mongering, and outright hateful bile into an article when he has a mind to do so. I’ve documented this tendency many times, so many times that, each time I…

In Memoriam: Wallace Sampson, MD

I have some sad news for my readers today. It’s even sadder given that it’s only been two and a half weeks since I last had to mourn the passing of one of our own, a champion of science-based medicine, a regular commenter of five years, lilady. Unfortunately, this time around, it is my sad…

I’ve frequently written about the “arrogance of ignorance,” a phenomenon that anyone who’s paid attention to what quacks, cranks, or antivaccine activists (but I repeat myself) write and say beyond a certain period of time will have encountered. Basically, it’s the belief found in such people—and amplified in groups—that somehow they can master a subject…

When it comes to the use of what is sometimes called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or, increasingly, “integrative medicine,” there is a certain narrative. It’s a narrative promoted by CAM proponents that does its best to convince the public that there is nothing unusual, untoward, or odd about CAM use, even though much of…

Antivaccine activism endangers children. Of that there is no longer any doubt. As vaccination rates fall, the risk of outbreaks of dangerous vaccine-preventable infectious diseases among children rise. In the wake of the Disneyland measles outbreak earlier this year, several states introduced measures to restrict nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine requirements. The record in passing…

Epigenetics. As I’ve described before, to alternative medicine practitioners, epigenetics seems to mean something akin to what the word “quantum” means: Magic. I’ve covered, for example, the woo-filled stylings of Deepak Chopra invoking things like “quantum consciousness,” and seemingly for quite a few years the best way to slap a patina of “sciencey”-sounding credibility on…