Pseudoscience

Category archives for Pseudoscience

Vaccine mandates for school used to be about as nonpartisan an issue as we had in the US. There was broad bipartisan support for policies to assure that children are vaccinated before they attend school, and it was a policy that worked for decades. Unfortunately, increasing politicization of vaccine policy threatens to destroy that consensus and undermine public health.

Antivaxers like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. bend over backwards to represent themselves as “not antivaccine.” Don’t believe them. They are. It’s how they suck in the clueless, like Robert De Niro and Pratik Chougule.

Longtime vaccine advocates will likely remember Jock Doubleday’s “vaccine challenge,” in which he offered up to $150,000 to anyone who would drink a body-weight calibrated dose of the vaccine additives in the childhood vaccine schedule. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Robert De Niro have teamed up to issue a challenge every bit as nonsensical from a scientific standpoint, with the added bonus of its being a scam as well.

The latest study being promoted as evidence that vaccines cause autism is truly atrocious. Basically, like many epidemiological studies examining putative links between vaccines and adverse health outcomes, it’s mistaking statistical noise for signal. What’s odd about this study is that not a single statistician or epidemiologist appears to have been involved with its design or execution, although a lawyer, a health economist, and an investment banker were.

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…

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,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

As hard as it is to believe, I’ve been at this blogging thing for 12 years now. In fact, it’s been so long that this year I didn’t even remember to mention it when it happened nearly two weeks ago. Over that time period, I’ve dealt with a large number of conspiracy theories. Indeed, skeptics…

Three weeks ago, I wrote a post that, much to my surprise, went viral, garnering more Facebook “Likes” than any before it, although it only came in maybe third in traffic after the all-time record-holding post from a couple of years ago. Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised. It was, after all, about Tom Price,…

Blogging is a funny thing. Sometimes the coincidence involved is epic. For instance, as I do on many Mondays, yesterday I crossposted a modified and updated version of a post from a week ago from my not-so-super-secret other blog. This time around, it just so happened to be a post about what I like to…