What am I doing? Why do I keep returning to this theme of bullshit? As I begin to write this post, that is what I ask myself. And I find that I have an answer. We all have a great need to categorize. To recognize, and to define. Why are conspiracy theories so popular? They simplify. They categorize the unknowable; what may seem like chaos. They bring an illusion of order. So, the question I ask is whether there is order to bullshit, pseudoscience, fraud, lying, bad science, or just plain stupidity. Can we draw a line between them?
Continue Reading » Bullshit, Pseudoscience, Or Bad Science: Which is It?
Misconceptions About Food Nutrients, Toxic Plant Compounds, and Nutrition Information Versus Alternative Medicine
In my post Homeopathy Is Not a Drug and Other Babbles I had quite a rant, albeit a very informative one, about some idiotic things a NaturalHealth.com article said about homeopathy and about homeopathy quackery in general. If you read that you will be more in flow with what is to follow. Cuz I'm not done!
Much of that post concerned chemicals. The food faddist or the homeopathic zealot, when he hears the word chemical, cries "POISON!" Yet, chemicals are what our food is made of and the term toxic chemical, taken by itself, is meaningless.
There is a myth out there in webernet land: You must be balanced and consider all opinions and arguments. You must weigh them all equally. If you don't you are not thinking "critically".
I deal with this all the time. "Is this program any good?," I am asked. "No," I say, "It's crap."
"Why?" They say. "Why don't you ask me why can't dogs fly?" I reply.
Continue Reading » All Opinions are Equally Valid: The Myth of Balance in Critical Thinking
When critics point out to politicians or regulators that homeopathy is not backed by any good evidence and is just a placebo, one response is "What's the harm?". In other words, if the placebo effect is positive and the side effects are zero, then what's wrong if people want to waste a bit of money on sugar pills? But is homeopathy really safe?
Unfortunately, homeopathy can have surprising and dangerous side-effects. These have nothing to do directly with any particular homeopathic remedy, but rather they are an indirect result of what happens when homeopaths replace doctors as sources of medical advice.
Continue Reading » Homeopathy: What's the harm?
Recently I published some information on homeopathy from the 10:23 Campaign. This is a group that has staged some public mass homeopathic drug "overdoses". Don't worry it ain't no Jim Jones thing. It's a simple demonstration of the fact that no amount of a homeopathic drug can harm you because there is simply nothing in it but water and sugar.
Continue Reading » Homeopathy is Not a Drug and Other Babbles
By Merseyside Skeptics Society
Contrary to popular belief, 'homeopathy' is not the same as herbal medicine. Homeopathy is based on three central tenets, unchanged since their invention by Samuel Hahnemann in 1796.
The Law of Similars
The law of similars states that whatever would cause your symptoms, will also cure those same symptoms. Thus, if you find yourself unable to sleep, taking caffeine will help; streaming eyes due to hayfever can be treated with onions, and so on. This so-called law was based upon nothing other than Hahnemann's own imagination. You don't need to have a medical degree to see the flawed reasoning in taking caffeine - a stimulant - to help you sleep; yet caffeine is, even today, prescribed by homeopaths (under the name 'coffea') as a treatment for insomnia.
Continue Reading » What Is Homeopathy?
Although dietary supplements (DS) are widely sold in pharmacies, the legal, ethical, and practice responsibilities of pharmacists with respect to these products have not been well defined. This systematic review of pharmacists' attitudes, knowledge, and professional practice behaviours toward DS is intended to inform pharmacy regulators' and educators' decision making around this topic.
Continue Reading » Pharmacists and Dietary Supplements