Water Fluoridation: Public Health, Not Poison

I think we can all agree that “Look, Mom – no cavities!” is good news. But we continue to disagree about the best way to achieve that. Fluoridation of public water sources remains controversial as a public health measure despite the strong evidence that fluoride prevents tooth decay. Public debates can become quite heated, with

Darwin’s Apostles: The Battle Continues

David Orenstein and Abby Hafer have written a delightful new book, Darwin’s Apostles: The Men Who Fought to Have Evolution Accepted, Their Times, and How the Battle Continues. Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859. In the 160 years since then, much has been written about Darwin and evolution, but this entertaining, well-written book sheds new light

Laser Therapy: Hope or Hype and Hokum?

I love to watch TV reality shows about veterinarians. There are quite a few of them now; my favorite is “The Incredible Dr. Pol.” I learn a lot from them. For instance, I have learned that “polio” in goats means a vitamin deficiency disease, not the infectious disease that humans get. And I have learned

How to Know What’s Really Real

Review of book: The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe: How to Know What’s Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake, by Steven Novella et al. There are many classics of skeptical literature. We often hear how someone became a skeptic because they read a book by Carl Sagan, James Randi, Michael Shermer, or some

Health Freedom, Right to Try, and Informed Consent

Starting with the Terrible Twos, when toddlers hear the word “No” on a regular basis, people don’t like to be told they can’t do something. They often believe government regulations interfere with their rights. The government requires vaccinations for school attendance; parents complain that they should be able to make their own decisions about whether

Health Freedom, Right to Try, and Informed Consent

Starting with the Terrible Twos, when toddlers hear the word “No” on a regular basis, people don’t like to be told they can’t do something. They often believe government regulations interfere with their rights. The government requires vaccinations for school attendance; parents complain that they should be able to make their own decisions about whether

Beware Stem Cell Clinics that Offer Untested Treatments

Stem cell treatments are all the rage. Since they’re mostly illegal in the US, patients have been going to other countries for treatment (stem cell tourism). The claims are grandiose, but the evidence to support those claims is thin gruel. What are stem cells? Embryonic stem cells are the cells in the early embryo that

Premature Ejaculation in the News

No, this is not about sex. Ejaculation doesn’t only mean discharge of semen, it also means “a short, sudden emotional utterance.” People make verbal ejaculations when they’re excited or have something important to say. Headlines are frequently ejaculations. They often express premature enthusiasm, hyping the questionable results of a new research study as if it

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

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