Skepticism/critical thinking

Category archives for Skepticism/critical thinking

Naturopaths claim that licensure will guarantee that only naturopaths practicing based on scientific evidence are allowed to see patients. The real situation is that licensed naturopaths are just as quacky (and dangerous) as any other naturopath. This is demonstrated by a recent case in which a fully licensed naturopath who trained at the “finest” naturopathy school killed a patient with intravenous “turmeric.”

If you were to rely on much of what you see in the mainstream media and on social media, you probably have the impression that we are not doing very well against cancer. Indeed, a common trope I see in a lot of articles is that we are somehow “losing” the war on cancer. Just…

Cancer huckster Belle Gibson was recently fined for deceiving the public by claiming that she had brain cancer, a story that she used to sell all manner of dubious treatments. Was she delusional or a run-of-the-mill con artist? Does it matter?

Orac is attacked by Capt. Kirk using fake news over the course of several days. Truly, it is a strange world.

A few dozen antivaccine activists descended upon Washington, DC to protest and lobby their legislators. The protest itself was not impressive, but pro-science advocates shouldn’t let this pathetic march lead them to be complacent. Antivaxers are meeting with legislators, and President Trump is sympathetic to their aims.

In a forthcoming book The Boy in 7 Billion, Callie Blackwell claims that cannabis oil, which she had started giving her son Deryn to relieve his symptoms during a bone marrow transplant for two cancers, actually saved his life when the bone marrow transplant appeared to be failing. Unfortunately, her story appears to be another testimonial that confuses correlation with causation.

Elissa Meininger argues that homeopathy is better than vaccines, going so far to ask the question, “Is this the end of vaccines?” Vaccines have nothing to worry about from homeopathy, although those of us who don’t want to see the return of vaccine-preventable diseases have to worry about antivaccine cranks like Meininger.

“Battlefield acupuncture,” which is really a form of ear acupuncture based essentially on a homunculus on the ear, continues to invade and metastasize in the military, complete with Dr. Seuss monsters.

Just because people think that sticking needles into their meridians will somehow unblock their qi and fix whatever ails them doesn’t mean it’s OK to inflict the same nonsense on our pets. Unfortunately, a local TV station disagrees.

The legal world’s foremost defender of quacks issues a warning that the ACCME will stop accrediting continuing medical education courses that teach quackery credulously. Gee, he says that as though it would be a bad thing.

I’ve written before about how our vaccination rate here in Michigan are…suboptimal. Indeed, a couple of years ago, health officials were so alarmed at the increases in personal belief exemptions to school vaccine mandates that a new regulation was instituted that require parents seeking nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates to travel to an office…

Out of southern California, comes a lesson that something as seemingly benign as turmeric can kill when weaponized in the hands of a quack.

The grieving widower killed the naturopath who treated his wife with cancer after telling her that “chemo is for losers.” Where I see a tragedy, naturopaths see an opportunity to argue for naturopathic licensure.

Beginning a little over a year ago, Romania has been enduring a massive measles outbreak. The cause is familiar: Low MMR uptake below what is needed for herd immunity. Is this a warning to the US?

Quacks love to invoke experts who made predictions that turned out to be wrong or point to Galileo or Semmelweis as examples of scientists whose findings were rejected by the scientific or medical establishment of the time, as though poor prediction or rejection by the establishment means there must be something to their science. Guess what? As Michael Shermer put it, heresy does not equal correctness.

Dr. Sara Gottfried, MD, wants you to know she is a doctor. She also wants you to know that you can “reset” your hormones and genes with food and saunas. In the case of the saunas, she’s put the preclinical cart before the clinical horse and extrapolated animal and early molecular epidemiological data off of a cliff.

Every story must have a victim, a hero, and a villain, and the central antivaccine conspiracy myth is no different.

There might be an antivaxer in the White House right now, but it’s at the state level where vaccine policy and school vaccine mandates are decided.

I’ve been writing a long time about a phenomenon that I like to refer to as “quackademic medicine,” defined as the infiltration into academic medical centers and medical school of unscientific and pseudoscientific treatment modalities that are unproven or disproven. Few seem to listen. That’s why it’s reassuring to see a mainstream news publication get it (mostly) right about this phenomenon.

Antiabortion antivaccine activists like to claim that “aborted fetal cells” in vaccines mean that vaccines are contaminated products of evil. In reality, there are no “aborted fetal cells” in vaccines. A cell line derived from an aborted fetus in 1962 did, however, lead to huge advances in vaccine technology and the prevention of many millions of deaths worldwide.

I’ve been blogging fairly regularly about Houston cancer quack Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski since 2011, and now the story is over…sort of. Unfortunately, as you will see, the ending is far from ideal. It is, however, somewhat better than I had feared it might be. What I’m referring to, of course, is the final ruling of…

The impetus for the creation of this blog, lo these 12+ years ago, was growing alarm at the rising tide of pseudoscience then, such as quackery, antivaccine misinformation, creationism, Holocaust denial, and many other forms of attacks on science, history, and reality itself. I had cut my teeth on deconstructing such antiscience and pseudoscience on…

Antivaxers think they have a friend in the White House, and they might very well be right.

That the Cleveland Clinic has become one of the leading institutions, if not the leading institution, in embracing quackademic medicine is now indisputable. Indeed, 2017 greeted me with a reminder of just how low the Clinic has gone when the director of its Wellness Institute published a blatantly antivaccine article for a local publication, which…

Cranks love ’em: Cash “challenges” demanding that skeptics and scientists “prove” the scientific consensus. Of course, these challenges are always rigged.