The Gene: An Intimate History

A superb writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee’s books are easy to read. Six years ago I reviewed Siddhartha Mukherjee’s book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. It was hands-down one of the best books I have ever read on a medical topic. Now he’s done it again. His new book is titled The Gene: An Intimate History.

Stick It In Your Ear! How Not To Do Science

Have a sore throat? No worries! No need for lozenges, medicines, or home remedies. All you need to do is let someone stick needles in your ear! According to a recent study, ear acupuncture relieves sore throats. Do you believe that? I don’t. That’s one of those extraordinary claims that would require extraordinary evidence, but

Hallucination or Revelation?

A review of the book God: An Autobiography by Jerry Martin. Caladium Publishing Company, Doylestown PA, 2016. ISBN 978-0-9967253-1-6. 362 pages.  Jerry Martin was raised as a Christian but he had been an agnostic ever since college. Then one day God spoke to him. He was in the throes of new love with the woman

Clear Thinking About Cancer

Book Review of This Book Won’t Cure Your Cancer. By Gideon Burrows. 
NGO media, 2015. ISBN 978-0955369599. 212 pp. 
Paperback. $15.79. Gideon Burrows has inoperable brain cancer that is slow growing but is inevitably going to kill him. He has written a remarkable book about his experience, This Book Won’t Cure Your Cancer. He is a

Physician Wallace Sampson, Expert on False Medical Claims, Dies at Eighty-Five

The skeptical community has lost a shining star. On May 25, 2015, Wallace Sampson, MD, died in California at the age of eighty-five from complications of heart surgery; he had been in the hospital since February. He is survived by his wife of fifty-nine years, five sons, and nine grandchildren. Wally was an oncologist and

Psychology and Psychotherapy: How Much Is Evidence-Based?

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 the  Polish Skeptics Club; Zatonski

Pesticides: Just How Bad Are They?

I think everyone would agree that it would not be a good idea to put pesticides in a saltshaker and add them to our food at the table. But there is little agreement when it comes to their use in agriculture. How much gets into our food? What are the effects on our health? On

Defending Science-Based Medicine: 44 Doctor-Bashing Arguments …and Their Rebuttals

Supporters of alternative medicine and purveyors of quack remedies love to criticize conventional medicine and science. They keep repeating the same tired arguments that are easily rebutted. This handy guide will help skeptics answer common criticisms from doctor-bashers. Doctor-bashing is a popular sport practiced by believers in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and purveyors of

An Introduction to Homeopathy

A brief guide to a popular alternative system of remedies based on a nineteenth-century concept that has no scientific validity. In 1800, conventional medicine was a disaster. Doctors weakened patients with bloodletting and purging, they poisoned them with mercury and other harmful substances, and they often killed more patients than they cured. Dr. Samuel Hahnemann

Philosophy Meets Medicine

Note: This was written as a book review for Skeptical Inquirer magazine and will be published in its Jan/Feb 2014 issue. Medical Philosophy: Conceptual Issues in Medicine by Mario Bunge. World Scientific Publishing, 2013. 300 pages. Price $48; Kindle version $25.19. ISBN 978-9814508940 Medicine is chock-full of philosophy and doesn’t know it.  Mario Bunge, a philosopher, physicist, and

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