Not In Your Stars

Astronomy is science; astrology is superstition, mythology, and pseudoscience. Depending on how surveys ask the question, anywhere from 22 percent to 73 percent of people believe astrology is valid. Horoscopes still appear regularly in newspapers. Over 90 percent of adults know their zodiac sign. It never occurs to some people to question whether horoscopes are

Barefoot In Sedona: Bogus Claims About Grounding Your Feet to Earth Promote Medical Pseudoscience

There is a website that reveals “The world’s most dangerous invention.” Care to speculate what that invention might be? I might have guessed nuclear weapons. Others have incriminated guns, cigarettes, genetic engineering, religion, The Web, The Large Hadron Collider, and automobiles. But this website was not talking about any of those, but about a far

Acupuncture miracle

Correspondent Lorne Oliver is highly skeptical of acupuncture, but faced cognitive dissonance because he believed acupuncture saved his life. He describes the experience on his blog at http://www.filletofseoul.com/2008/10/acupuncture.html Briefly, he developed itching after eating a dried persimmon, broke out in hives, developed a rapid pulse, then shallow, rapid breathing and dizziness. He concluded that his

Train Track Therapy

 April 18, 2018 There seems to be many uses for the trains in Indonesia. Shown above, the over-crowded locomotive is taken on by “surfers”. Courtesy of Wikipedia I am constantly amazed by the ingenuity of humans in coming up with weird and funny treatments for real and imagined illnesses. One of my favorites is train

Pseudoscience: The Conspiracy Against Science

We live in a post-truth, anti-intellectual world where intuition, “common sense,” and fake news are often preferred to scientific evidence and where pseudoscience is often presented as valid science. Assuming that truth exists and is worth searching for, and that science is our most reliable tool in that search, how can we identify pseudoscience and

Announcing: Video Lecture Course on Science-Based Medicine

A couple of years ago, the James Randi Educational Foundation commissioned me to develop a series of 10 video lectures on Science-Based Medicine. After a lot of work and many vicissitudes, it is now available. The lecture titles are: Science-Based Medicine vs. Evidence-Based Medicine What Is CAM? Chiropractic Acupuncture Homeopathy Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine Energy Medicine Miscellaneous

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

On Guard,  DōTERRA, Essential Oils, and a Lesson in Reading Research Studies

A study of On Guard, a mixture of essential oils, showed that it reduced the infectivity of influenza virus in dog kidney cells in the lab; but that’s irrelevant to the question of whether the product has any clinical effect in humans. Essential oils smell good, but the claims of health benefits are exaggerated. I