Pandemic Stories in the News: Something to Laugh About

Steven Novella said it best: “Pandemics breed more than a contagious disease. They spread fear, misinformation, pseudoscience, and exploitation.” I would add, “and humor.” I have written about Covid-19 before, first on the 4th of February in an article on Science-Based Medicine about how alternative medicine had jumped on the bandwagon, then again in my March 23rd SkepDoc’s Corner

Covid-19: A Field Day for Scams and Misinformation

Our world has been disrupted due to legitimate fears about COVID-19. People are afraid, and unscrupulous and/or misinformed people have been quick to exploit those fears.  The FTC has offered advice for consumers to help them avoid coronavirus scammers. On March 19 they published Part 2, and the FTC and FDA have sent out warning letters to these companies:

A Test For Earlier Diagnosis Of Autism? Not Convincing

Autism is diagnosed on clinical grounds by observing the child’s behavior. There is no blood test or any other objective test to diagnose it. But that hasn’t stopped people from claiming to have found one. Among other candidates, a saliva test has been proposed, and now an eye scan. In summer 2019, a press release from Flinders University reported

Bigfoot Reconsidered

I recently came across an advertisement for a “One-Of-A-Kind Adventure,” a Bigfoot Adventures Tour Company endeavor that offers single-day, multi-day, and even Bigfoot-by-bike experiences. Their website promises to take you to sites where Bigfoot has been spotted numerous times and tracks have been found. They utilize “proven methods to call one in” and carry high-tech night-vision and

Why ‘Trying It For Yourself’ Is A Bad Idea

When I write about a treatment that has been inadequately tested (or that has never been tested or has been tested and shown not to work), someone always asks if I have tried it myself. Apparently, they believe it really works, and if only I would try it for myself, I would believe too. If it worked

Don’t Believe The Ads: Dietary Supplements Don’t Cure Tinnitus

Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is a hallucination. The sounds can’t be heard by anyone else; they are illusory sensations produced by the brain. For some, it is only a minor annoyance; for others, it interferes with sleep and quality of life and sometimes causes severe suffering. There is no cure. Nothing will stop

You Can’t Pray The Gay Away

Tolerance for the full spectrum of human sexuality has made great strides. LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) issues are frequently in the news. Same-sex marriage is now legal in all U.S. states and in numerous other countries around the world. But in seventy-two countries, homosexuality is a crime, and in thirteen countries, gay

How Not To Do Science

According to research methodologist R. Barker Bausell, “CAM [complementary and alternative medicine] therapists simply do not value (and most, in my experience, do not understand) the scientific process.” They have seen their patients improve, and that’s all the “evidence” they think they need. They don’t understand that they may have been deceived by the post hoc ergo

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

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

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