Swine Flu Vaccine Fearmongering

Fear is a curious thing. It often bears no relation to the actual risk of what we fear. When swine flu first broke out in Mexico, people were understandably afraid. Travel was restricted, schools were closed, and so many people stayed home that the streets of Mexico City were empty. As the disease spread around

“The Disappearing Male” – A Pinch of Science, a Pound of Speculation

A documentary film entitled “The Disappearing Male” was first shown on CBC in June, 2009. It can be viewed online here: Part I, Part II, Part III Some of its rhetoric is reminiscent of Chicken Little: “Where have all the boys gone?” “Millions of males are disappearing.” “We’re on the Titanic and we see the

Diagnosis by Handwriting and Dreams

In a recent press release http://www.nbc15.com/home/headlines/54591417.html the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing announced that they had suspended chiropractor Judith Yager’s license for one year. Her transgressions? Practicing with a lapsed license Using a banned device to treat patients (device not named in press release) Hiring an unlicensed chiropractor to treat patients in her clinic Engaging in

Protandim: Another Kind of Antioxidant

Four years ago I received an e-mail inquiry about Protandim. I had never heard of it; but I looked it up and wrote a quick, informal, somewhat snarky answer that got posted on the Internet. It got a lot of attention. Googling for Protandim now brings up my critique right after the Protandim website itself:

Why We Need Science: “I saw it with my own eyes” Is Not Enough

I recently wrote an article for a community newspaper attempting to explain to scientifically naive readers why testimonial “evidence” is unreliable; unfortunately, they decided not to print it. I considered using it here, but I thought it was too elementary for this audience. I have changed my mind and I am offering it below (with

“Quantum” Arguments Can’t Explain Consciousness or the Supernatural

Victor Stenger is a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and an accomplished quantum physicist who has written numerous books explaining physics, analyzing religious claims, and debunking popular ideas supposedly derived from quantum physics. In the foreword to Stenger’s latest book, Quantum Gods: Creation, Chaos, and the Search for Cosmic Consciousness, Michael Shermer writes, Either

Chiropractic and Deafness: Back to 1895

Chiropractic originated in 1895 when D.D. Palmer claimed to have restored deaf janitor Harvey Lillard’s hearing by manipulating his spine. This makes no anatomical sense, and few if any chiropractors claim to be able to reverse deafness today. But now a chiropractic website is attempting to vindicate D. D. Palmer. They list deafness among a

Science-Based Medicine Meets Medical Ethics

There are four main principles in medical ethics:  Autonomy  Beneficence  Non-maleficence  Justice Autonomy means the patient has the right to consent to treatment or to reject it. Autonomy has to be balanced against the good of society. What if a patient’s rejection of treatment or quarantine allows an epidemic to spread? Beneficence means we should

Incorporating Placebos into Mainstream Medicine

Alternative medicine by definition is medicine that has not been shown to work any better than placebo. Patients think they are helped by alternative medicine. Placebos, by definition, do “please” patients. We would all like to please our patients, but we don’t want to lie to them. Is there a compromise? Is there a way

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