I discovered the Skeptical Inquirer shortly after its name change from The Zetetic. It changed my life. I had already rejected religion after reading atheist writings, but I was still open to belief in UFOs, ESP, and all sorts of other weird things, simply because I had never come across… read more "My Personal Odyssey in Skepticism"
Quackery: The 20 Million Dollar Duck
The publisher recently sent me a review copy of Quackery: The 20 Million Dollar Duck, by Tony Robertson. My first thought was “Do we really need another book on this subject? Don’t I know all this stuff already?” I was very pleasantly surprised. Robertson has ferreted out an impressive array of… read more "Quackery: The 20 Million Dollar Duck"
Statistics Done Wrong, And How To Do Better
Statistics is hard, often counterintuitive, and burdened with esoteric mathematical equations. Statistics classes can be boring and demanding; students might be tempted to call it “Sadistics.” Good statistics are essential to good research; unfortunately many scientists and even some statisticians are doing statistics wrong. Statistician Alex Reinhart has written a… read more "Statistics Done Wrong, And How To Do Better"
“Biomagnetism Therapy”: Pseudoscientific Twaddle
In a television interview, a practitioner of biomagnetic therapy claimed she had cured her own breast lump and the metastatic cancer of another person. I wonder how many viewers believed her. On the “official website” of biomagnetism therapy, http://biomagnetism.net/, they claim it is “the answer to ALL your health problems…… read more "“Biomagnetism Therapy”: Pseudoscientific Twaddle"
This Book Won’t Cure Your Cancer, But It Will Help You Think More Clearly About It
Gideon Burrows has an inoperable brain cancer that is slow growing but is inevitably going to kill him. He has written a remarkable book about his experience, This Book Won’t Cure Your Cancer. A professional wordsmith, he is able to describe his experience of illness so vividly that the reader enters… read more "This Book Won’t Cure Your Cancer, But It Will Help You Think More Clearly About It"
Answering Cancer Quackery: The Sophisticated Approach to True Believers
I got an e-mail with a link to a video featuring “Dr.” Leonard Coldwell, a naturopath who has been characterized on RationalWiki as a scammer and all-round mountebank. Here are just a few examples of his claims in that video: Every cancer can be cured in 2-16 weeks. The second you are alkaline, the… read more "Answering Cancer Quackery: The Sophisticated Approach to True Believers"
A Scientist in Wonderland
Edzard Ernst is one of those rare people who dare to question their own beliefs, look at the evidence without bias, and change their minds. He went from practicing alternative medicine to questioning it, to researching it, to becoming its most prolific critic. I have long admired his work, and… read more "A Scientist in Wonderland"
Shedding Light on Unreasonable Decisions
One of the biggest frustrations for a doctor is when a patient refuses to take science-based medical advice. We would like to believe that giving a patient accurate information will lead him to make good decisions that will improve his health or save his life. But that’s not how it… read more "Shedding Light on Unreasonable Decisions"
Pesticides: Just How Bad Are They?
I think everyone would agree that it would not be a good idea to put pesticides in a saltshaker and add them to our food at the table. But there is little agreement when it comes to their use in agriculture. How much gets into our food? What are the… read more "Pesticides: Just How Bad Are They?"
Defending Science-Based Medicine: 44 Doctor-Bashing Arguments …and Their Rebuttals
Supporters of alternative medicine and purveyors of quack remedies love to criticize conventional medicine and science. They keep repeating the same tired arguments that are easily rebutted. This handy guide will help skeptics answer common criticisms from doctor-bashers. Doctor-bashing is a popular sport practiced by believers in complementary and alternative… read more "Defending Science-Based Medicine: 44 Doctor-Bashing Arguments …and Their Rebuttals"