Acupuncture, the Navy, and Faulty Thinking

A Navy neurologist, Capt. Elwood Hopkins, has posted a 3-part article on  “The Power of Acupuncture” on Navy Medicine Live, the official blog of Navy and Marine Corps Health Care. It can serve as a useful lesson in how not to think about medicine. It is a prime example of how an intelligent, educated doctor

Two Views of the War on Cancer

Pink Ribbon Blues: How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women’s Health. By Gayle Sulik. Oxford University Press, New York, 2010. ISBN: 0199740453. 424 pp. Hardcover, $29.95.  The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. By Siddhartha Mukherjee. Scribner, New York, 2010. ISBN: 978-1-4391-0795-9. 571 pp. Hardcover, $30. The pink ribbon is a widely recognized symbol

Defending Isagenix: A Case Study in Flawed Thinking

The Internet is a wonderful new medium for communicating ideas and information in a rapid and interactive way. Many articles are followed by a “comments” section. Like so many things in this imperfect world, comments are a mixed blessing. They can enhance the article by correcting errors, adding further information, and contributing useful thoughts to

Power Balance Technology:Pseudoscientific Silliness Suckers Card-Carrying Surfers

Carrying a Power Balance card in your pocket will supposedly improve your athletic performance and cure what ails you. The alleged mechanism (“frequencies” in an embedded hologram) is laughable pseudoscientific bunk. Remember when professional golfers were wearing Q-ray bracelets to improve their game? The Q-ray folks recently had a run-in with the courts. They admitted

The One True Cause of All Disease

Alternative practitioners constantly claim that conventional medicine treats only symptoms while they treat underlying causes. They’ve got it backwards. Chiropractors, homeopaths, naturopaths, acupuncturists, and other alternative medicine practitioners constantly criticize conventional medicine for “only treating the symptoms,” while alternative medicine allegedly treats “the underlying causes” of disease. Nope. Not true. Exactly backwards. Think about it:

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

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