¡No, no, no, no! ¡Los testimonios no son evidencia!

[This article is also available in English. Thanks to Pensar for the Spanish translation.] Estamos programados para responder a testimonios. Échale la culpa a la evolución. Durante la mayor parte de la historia de la humanidad, solo teníamos dos formas de aprender sobre el mundo: nuestras propias observaciones y lo que otras personas nos contaban

No, No, No, NO! Testimonials Are Not Evidence!

[Este artículo está disponible en español. La traducción al español apareció por primera vez en la revista Pensar.] We are programmed to respond to testimonials. Blame evolution. For most of human history, we had only two ways to learn about the world: our own observations, and what other people told us about their experiences. Gathering

Update on ASEA, Protandim, and dōTERRA

Multilevel marketing distributors of dietary supplements and essential oils point to studies that they think constitute evidence that their products work. They don’t understand why those studies are inadequate. I have written critiques of several dietary supplements sold through multilevel marketing (MLM) schemes, and they keep coming back to haunt me. I get testimonials from

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

Faith Healing

Faith healing is based on belief and is about as far as you can get from science-based medicine, but it is not exempt from science. If it really worked, science would be able to document its cures and would be the only reliable way to validate its effectiveness. Miraculous cures continue to be reported on

The Living Matrix: A Pseudoscientific Infomercial for Energy Medicine

The Living Matrix: A Film on the New Science of Healing is an atrociously bad movie that falls squarely in the tradition of What the Bleep Do We Know? In his book Nonsense on Stilts, Massimo Pigliucci characterized the “Bleep” movie as “one of the most spectacular examples of a horribly tangled mess of science

Why We Need Science: “I saw it with my own eyes” Is Not Enough

I recently wrote an article for a community newspaper attempting to explain to scientifically naive readers why testimonial “evidence” is unreliable; unfortunately, they decided not to print it. I considered using it here, but I thought it was too elementary for this audience. I have changed my mind and I am offering it below (with

My Response to An Alt-Muddled Friend

I’ve been discussing “alternative medicine” with a friend who is very intelligent but has no training in science. She uses chiropractic, magnets, vitamins, and acupuncture, and she says she doesn’t care what science says because science can be wrong, she trusts her personal experience more, and if something “works” for her, she doesn’t care how

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