Skepticism/critical thinking

Category archives for Skepticism/critical thinking

They’re here, they’re there, they’re everywhere! If you believe certain quacks, nanoparticles are the new One True Cause of All Disease, and the evil food industry and big pharma are trying to poison you with them.

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, people.

When it comes to vaccines, sometimes skeptics think that all is lost, that the antivaccine movement has won. A new Pew Research survey suggests reasons for hope.

It is an article of faith among antivaxers that vaccines are “dirty” and “contaminated.” So when antivaccine “scientists” try to show how contaminated vaccines are and wind up actually showing how pure they are, I laugh.

I must admit that the last couple of weeks have been rather grim here on the old blog. Betweemn Donald Trump’s White House spewing , an unfortunate patient embracing quackery, pseudoscience at the VA, and more. So it is that I feel as though it might not be a bad idea to step back for…

I always wondered how low Donald Trump could go. Now I know. Only I fear this is nowhere near the bottom.

About a week ago, I happened upon a number of stories about a study and project that demonstrates a key difference between science and pseudoscience. They had titles like, “Rigorous replication effort succeeds for just two of five cancer papers” (Science), “Cancer reproducibility project releases first results: An open-science effort to replicate dozens of cancer-biology…

Kellyanne Conaway inadvertently gave us one of the most descriptive terms ever: Alternative facts. Alternative medicine is a lot like alternative facts in that it is unmoored from reality. Like alternative facts, it can also kill.

One of the core beliefs of the antivaccine movement is that there is an “autism epidemic.” The observation that autism prevalence has been climbing for the last two to three decades led some parents with autistic children to look for a cause, specifically an environmental cause, for autism. Because several vaccines are given in the…

Everything old is new again in China. Just as Chairman Mao promoted the “integration” of traditional Chinese medicine with “Western” medicine 65 years ago, the Chinese government today is doing the same thing for the same reasons.

In a (very) few short hours, Donald Trump will take the oath of office and become the 45th President of the United States. I realize that I don’t normally blog about politics, at least other than that related to medicine, but I make no bones about it. I’m dreading 12 Noon ET on January 20,…

So I was distracted yesterday from what I had intended to write about by an irresistible target provided me courtesy of Toby Cosgrove, MD, CEO of The Cleveland Clinic, who bemoaned all those nasty pro-science advocates who had had the temerity to link the antivaccine rant by the director of the Clinic’s Wellness Institute to…

I’ve been pretty hard on The Cleveland Clinic over the years, but justifiably so. After all, The Cleveland Clinic is one of the leading centers of quackademic medicine in the US; i.e., an academic medical center that studies and uses quackery as though it were legitimate medicine. Of course, this is a problem that is…

I’ve written quite a bit about how our soon-to-be President Donald Trump has consistently expressed antivaccine views over the years, such as his oft-stated (on Twitter and elsewhere) beliefs that it’s a “monster” shot that causes autism and infants get “too many” vaccines “too soon.” I’ve heard Trump supporters who are pro-vaccine pooh-pooh these statements…

One of the most important, if not the most important, officials in the federal government responsible for applying science-based medicine to the regulation of medicine is the FDA Commissioner. As you might imagine, particularly after his having met with antivaccinationists like Andrew Wakefield and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., I am concerned, and I think I…

This week hasn’t been a particularly good week for science. It started out on Monday with news of the social media storm from over the weekend over a blatantly antivaccine screed published the Friday before by the director of The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Clinic. Then, towards the middle of the week, we learned that our…

I was busy last night doing something other than actually blogging. Perhaps I was recovering from the one-two punch of the antivaccine rant penned by the director of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute followed by Donald Trump’s meeting with antivaccine crank Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Whatever the case I crashed early. However, I can’t help…

I remember when I first heard on Twitter yesterday afternoon that our President-Elect, Donald Trump, was going to meet with longtime antivaccine crank Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Remembering how Trump had met with antivaccine “hero” Andrew Wakefield before the election and how after the election antivaccine activists were practically salivating over the thought of what…

The fallout from the social media firestorm from the antivaccine rant written by the Medical Director of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute and published by Cleveland.com last Friday has abated but far from faded away. The offending physician, Dr. Daniel Neides, was forced to issue an apology, which was one of the least convincing apologies…

Over the weekend, a most unusual social media firestorm erupted in response to a blog post by Daniel Neides, MD, MBA, Acting Medical Director of the Tanya I. Edwards Center for Integrative Medicine, Vice Chair and Chief Operating Officer of Cleveland Clinic Wellness, as well as the Associate Director of Clinical Education for The Cleveland…

In a perverse way, one almost has to admire naturopaths. If there’s anything that characterizes naturopaths in their pursuit of legitimacy and licensure, it’s an amazing relentlessness. In this, they are not unlike The Terminator. As Kyle Reese described him in the first Terminator movie, the Terminator “can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned…

Back in the day, quacks and cranks liked Wikipedia. Because anyone can become an editor on Wikipedia, they assumed that they could just sign up to edit Wikipedia pages and change them to reflect their views on alternative medicine or whatever other pseudoscientific topic they believed in. When Wikipedia first emerged on the scene, I…

The unreality of reiki and distance healing

Well, it’s 2017. In a mere 17 days, unreality will become reality, as the most unlikely and terrifying President in my lifetime is sworn in. Consequently, as I was thinking about what I’d like to write about for my first post of the new year, only one thing came to mind. Only one thing that…

2016: The year bullshit was weaponized

Conspiracy theories, pseudoscience, quackery, and belief in things that can be objectively demonstrated not to be true have always been with us. Unfortunately, 2016 was the year that this bullshit was weaponized, and we may never recover.

Quackademic medicine. I didn’t invent the term. (Dr. R. W. Donnell did—nearly nine years ago.) However, I sure use it a lot, because it perfectly describes a phenomenon that has proliferated and metastasized throughout the body of academic medicine like the cancer it is. I like to think that, in my own way, I’ve popularized…