Playing by the Rules

It is useless for skeptics to argue with someone who doesn’t play by the rules of science and reason. If no amount of evidence will change your opponent’s mind, you are wasting your breath. I recently read Flock of Dodos (no relation to the movie of the same name). It’s a hilarious no-holds-barred send-up of

Gary Schwartz’s Energy Healing Experiments: The Emperor’s New Clothes?

Gary Schwartz says his experiments reveal our natural power to heal based on our ability to sense and manipulate human energy fields. Has he discovered scientific truths, or has he only demonstrated the human talent for self-deception. Gary Schwartz believes many things. He believes in psychics, mediums, and life after death, and he believes there

Akavar 20/50 and Truth in Advertising

Over the last few months, I have had a truly surreal experience. It started when I noticed a two-page full color spread in TV Guide magazine advertising a product called Akavar 20/50. It contained the same claims that so many bogus weight loss products do: eat all you want and still lose weight. What attracted

Masaru Emoto’s Wonderful World of Water

It can read, listen to music, look at pictures, hear your thoughts, heal you, and create world peace. — The folks in my community have been arguing about fluoride again. A nutritionist wrote in the local newspaper that fluoride is a deadly poison, and it doesn’t reduce tooth decay. She recommended avoiding it entirely, even

Critical Chiropractor, Inept Publisher

Book review of: The P.R.E.S.T.O.N. Protocol for Back Pain: The Seven Evidence-Based Practices for Living Pain Free, by Preston H. Long. PublishAmerica: Baltimore, 2006. 84 pp. ISBN 1- 4241-0684-2. Paperback, $14.95.   I really, really wanted to recommend The P.R.E.S.T.O.N. Protocol for Back Pain, but I cannot. It is full of excellent information that I

Teaching Pigs to Sing: An Experiment in Bringing Critical Thinking to the Masses

A skeptic encounters psychics, astrologers, and other strange creatures and discovers firsthand how they react to science and reason. Included: a fable about testing the Tooth Fairy. A couple of years ago, I saw an announcement for an astrology presentation to a local discussion group called Mingling of the Minds. My first reaction was, “Surely,

Andrew Weil: Harvard Hatched a Gullible Guru

Book review of Natural Health, Natural Medicine: The Complete Guide to Wellness and Self-care for Optimum Health. By Andrew Weil. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2004. ISBN 0-618-47903-1. 432 pp. Softcover, $14. Andrew Weil’s Natural Health, Natural Medicine is a dangerous book. The preface states: “All the information is consistent with the best scientific evidence currently available.”

Fix Your Ruptured Disk Without Surgery? The Truth Behind the Ads

  “Space Age technology cures back pain without surgery – 86% success rate.” Ads like this have been inundating my local newspaper. I wanted to know more. I am a medical doctor, and I wondered why my medical journals had neglected to tell me about this wonderful new discovery. I sent in for the free

Blind Spots, Brain Maps, and Backaches: A New Chiropractic Delusion

My trip down the rabbit hole started when an ad in the newspaper caught my eye: “Do you have a good brain or a bad brain? One simple test may tell you… call today for a free brain exam.” I started to worry. I had always thought I had a pretty good brain, but what

Wired to the Kitchen Sink: Studying Weird Claims for Fun and Profit

After reading some particularly egregious nonsense, you have probably asked yourself; “How could anyone in his right mind believe that?” There is an answer to your question. In. fact, the person who believes the nonsense will usually provide the answer himself if you give him half a chance. Go to the source. Read the believer’s

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