Professor Gives Grades to Alternative Medicine

Edzard Ernst assigns a grade to 150 alternative medicine modalities, evaluating plausibility, efficacy, safety, cost, and risk/benefit balance. A very useful reference. Edzard Ernst has written another book, and it’s a real tour de force: Alternative Medicine: A Critical Assessment of 150 Modalities. He probably knows more about alternative medicine than anyone else alive, and he

Generic Drugs and Global Deception

Generic drugs are supposed to be equivalent to brand-name drugs, but all too often they are defective. Katherine Eban’s book shows that corrupt overseas manufacturers have committed intentional global fraud. The system is broken and the FDA lacks the power to correct abuses. I always thought generic drugs were the best choice. They were tested

National Geographic Book Is A ‘Natural’ Disaster

Nature’s Best Remedies: Top Medicinal Herbs, Spices, and Foods for Health and Well Being, by Nancy J. Hajeski. National Geographic. 318 pp. $35.00. The National Geographic store proclaims, “This authoritative guide to the foods, herbs, spices, essential oils, and other natural substances that alleviate common ailments will enhance your life—from treating illness to sharpening the

What Does It Feel Like to Die?

We’re all going to die; we wonder what it will feel like. This book describes what typically happens during the period between diagnosis of a fatal illness and death. ca. 1882, Washington, DC, USA — Washington, DC.: President Garfield Lying Wounded In His Room At The White House, Washington. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS We’re

I Was Wrong (And I Bet You Were Too)

For me, one of the great pleasures of skepticism is finding out I was wrong about something. Rather than feeling guilty about my error, I feel proud that I have learned something and have a better understanding of reality. When skeptics encounter a questionable claim, they do some fact-checking. But what if they don’t realize

The Scientific Attitude, Not the Scientific Method, Is the Key

A philosopher of science argues that science is not characterized by a specific scientific method but by the scientific attitude. Scientists value empirical evidence and follow the evidence wherever it leads. They are open to changing their mind rather than stubbornly clinging to an ideological belief system. Science is under attack. The evidence for global

Estaba equivocada (y apuesto a que tú también)

Para mí, uno de los grandes placeres del escepticismo es descubrir que me equivoqué en algo. Más que sentirme culpable por mi error, me siento orgullosa por haber aprendido algo y tener una mejor comprensión de la realidad. Cuando los escépticos encuentran una afirmación cuestionable, hacen algo para chequear los hechos. Pero ¿qué pasa si

Can A One-Minute Cure Really Heal Virtually All Diseases?

The author of this book claims to have found a one-minute cure that will heal virtually all diseases. The claim is ludicrous, and is not supported by any evidence. I guess medicine as we know it might as well quit. We don’t need it any more. Madison Cavanaugh has discovered The Secret to Healing Virtually

Science’s Triumph Over Infectious Disease Has a Downside

Book review: Plagues and the Paradox of Progress: Why the World Is Getting Healthier in Worrisome Ways, by Thomas J. Bollyky. MIT Press, Cambridge, 2018. ISBN 978-0-262-03844-4. 272 pages. $27.95 This book explains the history of infectious diseases and plagues and shows how science has worked to overcome them; the author, Thomas Bollyky, argues that the progress

Unintelligent Design

A review of the book The Not-So-Intelligent Designer: Why Evolution Explains the Human Body and Intelligent Design Does Not, by Abby Hafer Intelligent Design (ID) maintains that some features of the natural world are best explained by an intelligent cause (presumably God?) rather than by the natural process of evolution. That’s nonsense; evolution explains the natural world