The Death of Expertise

In Tom Nichols’ new book, The Death of Expertise, he explains how a misguided intellectual egalitarianism is harming our ability to assess the truth and solve problems, and discusses some of the responsible factors and possible long-term consequences. Tom Nichols’ new book The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters has direct relevance

The Riddle of Consciousness

For most of human history, people have assumed that some kind of vitalistic essence had to be added to matter to produce life. The belief in an immaterial soul was pervasive. At one point, scientists even tried to weigh the soul by weighing a body right before and after death, expecting to find a decrease

Testosterone Rex

When a man does something silly, my daughters and I like to joke, “Testosterone poisoning strikes again!” Everybody knows women and men are different, not just anatomically but psychologically and behaviorally. That common knowledge is epitomized in the book title Men Are from Mars; Women Are from Venus. Sometimes common knowledge turns out to be

The Hormone Myth

“Mary is really bitchy today; she must be on the rag.” Comments like this are all too common, and are misguided. In her new book, Robyn Stein DeLuca dispels the myths about how hormones affect women’s moods and mental health, myths that have contributed to unequal treatment of women. Junk science supported the myths; good

Doc Doc Zeus: A Glimpse Behind the Scenes of Medical Boards

A novel about a doctor who raped a minor and is being investigated by his state medical board provides behind-the-scene insights into the workings of medical boards. It helps explain why these boards are so often ineffective, why medical malfeasance so often leads to a token disciplinary action rather than to loss of license. In

The Antithesis of Science-Based Medicine:  The Medical Medium’s Fantasy-Based Health Advice

Anthony William, the Medical Medium, hears voices that give him advanced scientific information from the spirit world. He offers reams of health advice based on nothing but fantasy. He even tells readers to call on 12 angels out loud by their name. I call bull. Anthony William calls himself the Medical Medium. He claims to

Confessions of a Quack: Holistic Harry Tells the Inside Story of Alternative Medicine

Confessions of a Quack is fiction, but it provides real insights into the thinking processes and motivations of quacks, alternative medicine providers, and their patients. He told her the butterbur had flushed out her triple heater meridian, spilling into Pingala Nadi, flooding her Agnya chakra and setting off a Herxheimer-like reaction. In the SBM comments section, someone (thanks,

Gary Taubes and the Case Against Sugar

Gary Taubes writes that sugar is the cause of obesity and most chronic diseases. He makes a good case for the prosecution, but he doesn’t convict. Gary Taubes is a journalist on a crusade. In two earlier books, Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It, he marshaled masses of evidence

Why Do Things That Are Unlikely to Harm Us Get the Most Attention?

We are very bad at assessing risk, often giving the most attention to the things that are least likely to harm us. Geoffrey Kabat’s new book teaches us how to think more clearly about scientific studies of environmental health risks. Sharks get a lot of bad press and inspire a lot of fear, but in

The Brain Warrior’s Way: Standard Health Advice Mixed with Misinformation and Fanciful Ideas

Daniel Amen, the media-savvy psychiatrist and promoter of SPECT scans, has teamed-up with his wife Tana to write a self-help book that hopelessly muddles good medical advice with misinformation and speculation. Dr. Daniel Amen has been called the most popular psychiatrist in America. His main claim to fame is the SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography)