One of my biggest pet peeves is advertisements for bogus health-related products that are deceptively presented as news stories. These appear regularly in many newspapers, including my own local paper The Tacoma News Tribune, and they typically fill a full half page. They usually include the words “advertisement” or “paid advertisement” in small print that is
Artículo traducido por Alejandro Borgo, Director del CFI/Argentina. You can read the original English article here. En el clásico artículo de James. E. Alcock, que se publicó en el Skeptical Inquirer en 1995, The belief engine (La máquina de creencias), el autor escribió: “Nuestros cerebros y sistemas nerviosos constituyen una máquina generadora de creencias, un sistema que evolucionó, no
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you could actually meet a character from fiction and chat with him over dinner? Who would you choose? One character I would enjoy meeting is Dumbledore, the kindly wizard who is the headmaster of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter books. Here are some of his
When I first heard of acupuncture, in medical school in the late 60’s, I became convinced that it worked. I read impressive media reports from China touting it for everything from pain relief to anesthesia for open heart surgery. Our Chief of Anesthesiology, Dr. John Bonica, was convinced it worked and was studying it. As
In James Alcock’s classic 1995 article “The Belief Engine,” he said, “Our brains and nervous systems constitute a belief-generating machine, a system that evolved to assure not truth, logic, and reason, but survival.” Now he has expanded that thesis into a book, Belief: What It Means to Believe and Why Our Convictions Are So Compelling.
The status of women in our society continues to improve. As the cigarette commercial says, “You’ve come a long way, baby.” Indeed, it seems we now have Equal Opportunity Quackery. Sex sells. It’s always been a popular target for quackery, but the quackery used to be directed mainly at men. In the early 20thcentury, Dr.
Edzard Ernst is arguably the world’s foremost expert on the claims and the evidence (or lack thereof) for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Now he has teamed up with a medical ethicist, Kevin Smith, to co-author a new book, More Harm than Good? The Moral Maze of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Much has been written on
A review of Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia, By Michael Shermer, Henry Holt and Co., 2018. $30.00. 320 pages. ISBN-13: 978-1-62779-857-0. In 1997, Michael Shermer wrote one of the classics of skepticism, Why People Believe Weird Things. He has continued to produce skeptical books at regular intervals, with topics
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