Living with Uncertainty

Uncertainty is uncomfortable. It is only natural to want certainty. It is more comfortable to be certain and wrong than to be uncertain. Like anyone else, I would like to be comfortable, but I think truth matters. I’d rather be uncertain than wrong; wouldn’t you?  As Voltaire said, “Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty

Illness, Healing, and Other Terms That Can Be Confusing

Disease vs. Illness The words “disease” and “illness” are often used interchangeably, but their meanings are very different. Diseases are biomedical entities where there is impairment of the normal functioning of the body. Illness refers to the way a patient experiences a sickness. There can be disease without illness and illness without disease. Diseases may

¿Qué es la hipnosis?

[This article is also available in English. Thanks to Pensar for the Spanish translation.] ¿La hipnosis es real? ¿La gente realmente entra en trance o es solo una cuestión de imaginación y juego de roles? Algunas personas lo juran. Un sitio web proclama que el poder de tu mente es ilimitado: “El estado mental altamente concentrado, pero

¿La fluoración del agua corriente hace que los niños sean menos inteligentes?

[This article is also available in English. Thanks to Pensar for the Spanish translation.] Los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades nombraron a la fluoración del agua comunitaria como uno de los diez mayores logros de la salud pública del siglo XX. En una declaración reciente, la Asociación Dental Americana (ADA) enfatizó

Does Public Water Fluoridation Make Children Less Intelligent?

[Este artículo está disponible en español. La traducción al español apareció por primera vez en la revista Pensar.] The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. In a recent statement, the American Dental Association (ADA) stressed that it is “committed to fluoridation of public water

Hypnosis Revisited

[Este artículo está disponible en español. La traducción al español apareció por primera vez en la revista Pensar.] Is hypnosis for real? Do people actually go into a trance, or is it just a matter of imagination and role playing? Some people swear by it. One website proclaims that “Your mind power is limitless…The highly focused, yet

Why We Need Science

Most patients, and even many medical doctors and scientists, have not grasped how important it is to use rigorous science to evaluate claims for medical treatments. All too often, people decide to try a treatment that is irrational, that hasn’t been tested, or that has been tested and shown not to work. Why do they

Restricting Freedom, from Typhoid Mary to Covid-19

We are seeing a lot of pushback on government restrictions imposed to limit the spread of COVID-19. Many people refuse to wear masks or practice social distancing. Some claim that the disease has been conquered, pointing to improvement in survival rates, and manage to ignore the increasing number of new infections and hospitalizations. Some continue

How a Drug Is Born

Big Pharma is not a misnomer. Pharmaceutical drugs are big business. The US is the world leader in producing new drugs and is  responsible for  nearly half of the new molecular entities (NME’s) that come on the market.  Americans spend well over $300 billion yearly on prescription drugs. Both Big Pharma and the FDA have come in for harsh criticism, much

Applied Kinesiology and Other Chiropractic Delusions

Kinesiology is the scientific study of movement. Applied kinesiology (AK) is a bogus muscle-testing technique most commonly used by chiropractors but also by some others. It is neither scientific nor valid. It’s based on a delusion. One commenter said, “It is denounced as an absurd and dishonest parlour trick by anyone else who knows anything

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