As I was feeding the dog, it occurred to me that dogs have a very straightforward relationship with food. Our Labrador’s philosophy seems to be “eat everything you can get and as much of it as possible, whether it’s food, ice cubes, pine cones, wood, or anything else you can… read more "What to Eat: Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants."
I’m an equal opportunity skeptic. I’m skeptical about alternative medicine, pseudoscience, and quackery; but I apply the same standards of skepticism to conventional medicine. I don’t write about conventional medicine so much, because I don’t need to. Science itself is inherently skeptical and scientific medicine is self-criticizing and self-correcting. When… read more "A Skeptical Look at Screening Tests"
JANE D. WAS A REGULAR VISITOR TO OUR ER, usually showing up late at night demanding an injection of the narcotic Demerol, the only thing that worked for her severe headaches. One night the staff psychiatrist had the nurse give her an injection of saline instead. It worked! He told… read more "The Placebo Effect"
“Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after.” — Jonathan Swift DURING A QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION after a talk I recently gave, I was asked for my opinion about the vaccine/autism controversy. That was easy: my opinion is that there is no controversy. The evidence is in. The scientific… read more "Vaccines & Autism: A Deadly Manufactroversy"
Review of Render Unto Darwin: Philosophical Aspects of the Christian Right’s Crusade against Science, by James H. Fetzer. THIS BOOK STARTS OUT WELL BUT ENDS BADLY. It is an awkward compilation of three different subjects: evolution science, morality, and politics. The science is well done. Fetzer begins by explaining the difference between science… read more "Science & Morality"
We frequently criticize the media for gullible reporting of pseudoscience and inaccurate reporting of real science. But sometimes they exceed our fondest hopes and get it spectacularly right. On December 25, 2008, the Wall Street Journal gave us all a Christmas present: they printed an article by Steve Salerno that… read more "The Wall Street Journal Debunks the Myth of Alternative Medicine"
At the request of a correspondent from the Quackwatch Healthfraud discussion list, I recently got embroiled in a debate with a couple of anti-vaccinationists in the pages of an Amish community newspaper, Plain Interests, published in Millersburg PA. They followed the usual pattern: they told the same old lies, they… read more "The $150,000 Vaccine Challenge"
Since Val has broken the ice, I thought I would offer some more Christmas humor. The following is a Narrative Summary (a report of a hospitalization) that was circulated at the Plattsburgh Air Force hospital where I worked in 1986. I published it in my memoirs, Women Aren’t Supposed to… read more "Santa Visits the Hospital"
Paternalism is out of fashion. Doctors used to have a parent-child relationship with their patients: they concealed the truth if they thought it was in the patient’s best interest, they dictated the treatment and did not have to justify it to the patient. “You have to take this pill because… read more "Paternalism Revisited"
Note: This article was originally published in Skeptic magazine. Space limitations resulted in omitting some of what I wanted to say. I’m taking advantage of having a blog to publish the entire article as originally submitted. —————— On an episode of Mythbusters, Adam Savage was shown a video clip that… read more "“I Reject Your Reality” – Germ Theory Denial and Other Curiosities"