About SBM


Exploring issues and controversies in the relationship between science and medicine

Science-Based Medicine is dedicated to evaluating medical treatments and products of interest to the public in a scientific light, and promoting the highest standards and traditions of science in health care. Online information about alternative medicine is overwhelmingly credulous and uncritical, and even mainstream media and some medical schools have bought into the hype and failed to ask the hard questions.

We provide a much needed “alternative” perspective — the scientific perspective.

Good science is the best and only way to determine which treatments and products are truly safe and effective. That idea is already formalized in a movement known as evidence-based medicine (EBM). EBM is a vital and positive influence on the practice of medicine, but it has limitations and problems in practice: it often overemphasizes the value of evidence from clinical trials alone, with some unintended consequences, such as taxpayer dollars spent on “more research” of questionable value. The idea of SBM is not to compete with EBM, but a call to enhance it with a broader view: to answer the question “what works?” we must give more importance to our cumulative scientific knowledge from all relevant disciplines.

SBM’s authors are all medically trained and have spent years writing for the public about science and medicine, tirelessly advocating for high scientific standards in health care.


SBM is entirely owned and operated by the New England Skeptical Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting science and critical thinking. The NESS does not have any corporate or government sponsorship. It is entirely funded by individual donations. The NESS also co-organizes and operates (with the New York City Skeptics) a yearly science conference, the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism (NECSS) which prominently features SBM content. Admission prices and honoraria are set so that the conference is generally a break-even event.

Further Reading

We deal with many controversial topics on this website, but even the idea of “science-based” medicine itself is often criticized by doctors and scientists, concerned that SBM is an unnecessary challenge to the idealism of EBM. This is a listing of most of the articles on ScienceBasedMedicine.org that explain SBM, its differences from EBM, and the reasons for the existence of the blog, in the order that they have appeared:



  • Vancouver science journalist best known for publishing PainScience.com, which is "the SBM of pain and injury medicine." Although Paul grew up believing in anything, Carl Sagan turned him into a skeptic. Paul is also a programmer, a gamer, a science fiction fan, and chases Frisbees more than a Border Collie. Oh, and he was the assistant editor of ScienceBasedMedicine.org for a while (2009-2016).