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… read more "Not In Your Stars"
As if we didn’t have enough things to worry about already, now we are being told to fear our toasters. A typical headline trumpets “The Effects of Invisible Waves.” We are increasingly exposed to electromagnetic radiation from cell phones, cell phone towers, wireless Internet routers, cordless phones, and power lines.… read more "Myths About Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity"
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… read more "Acupuncture miracle"
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… read more "Announcing: Video Lecture Course on Science-Based Medicine"
Psychiatry is arguably the least science-based of all the medical specialties, and Freudian psychoanalysis is arguably the least science-based psychotherapy. Freud’s theories have been widely criticized as unscientific, and treatment of mental disorders has increasingly turned to psychotropic medications and effective therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Freud’s impact on… read more "Freud Was a Fraud: A Triumph of Pseudoscience"
When we get sick we naturally want to understand what is happening to us. Our first question is: What is it? We want to put a name to our suffering by establishing a diagnosis. Then we ask: “Why is this happening to me?” “What caused it?” “Could I have done… read more "Self-Hatred: The Cause of Autoimmune Disease?"
Despite all those Polish jokes, Poland has its share of good scientists and critical thinkers. A superb new book illustrates that fact in spades: Psychology Gone Wrong: The Dark Side of Science and Therapy, by Tomasz Witkowski and Maciej Zatonski, http://www.amazon.com/Psychology-Gone-Wrong-Science-Therapy/dp/1627345280 Witkowski is a psychologist, science writer, and founder of… read more "Psychology and Psychotherapy: How Much Is Evidence-Based?"
What does it mean to be crazy? We use the word loosely. In casual conversation we might say “He’s crazy” or “That’s insane!” but that doesn’t mean we really think the person is certifiable. Sometimes all it means is “He doesn’t agree with me.” What does it take to be… read more "Who’s Crazy Now? DSM-5 and the Classification of Mental Disorders"
Robert Todd Carroll, the author of The Skeptic’s Dictionary, has a new book out: The Critical Thinker’s Dictionary: Biases, Fallacies, and Illusion and what you can do about them. Since some of our commenters and most of the CAM advocates we critique are constantly committing logical fallacies, a survey of logical fallacies is a… read more "How to Think"
Men and women don’t come from Mars and Venus, but they are undeniably different. Vive la différence! Without it life would be far less interesting. It’s not just the anatomical differences like chest bumps versus dangly bits; there are also differences in psychology and behavior. My daughters and I are… read more "Gender Differences: What Science Says and Why It’s Mostly Wrong"