Category: Critical Thinking

Randomized Controlled Trial Schematic

Dexamethasone and Hydroxychloroquine: Why Randomized Controlled Trials Matter

What does the best evidence tell us about hydroxychloroquine and dexamethasone?

/ August 20, 2020

HCQTrial.com: Astroturf and disinformation about hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19 on steroids

Late last week, a "study" published on HCQTrial.com by an anonymous source claiming to be a group of PhD scientists went viral. It claimed that countries that used hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 had a 79% lower fatality rate than those who didn't. It was horrible science and quickly debunked on Twitter by several epidemiologists. That didn't stop it from going viral. Disinformation...

/ August 10, 2020

The perils and pitfalls of “doing your own research” about COVID-19 (or any other science)

Ethan Siegel at Forbes argues that you "must not 'do your own research.'" While the title grates, Siegel is correct that most of us are not really capable of "doing our own research" about most scientific and medical questions because we lack the necessary background. We must therefore be humble and be very, very careful about "doing our own research."

/ August 3, 2020
COVID party

COVID-19 parties: Urban legend or real thing?

You've probably seen breathlessly scolding stories in the media about young people holding "COVID parties", in which attendees intentionally try to become infected with COVID-19. Are these parties really a thing, or are they an urban legend? The answer is not entirely clear yet, but current evidence (more specifically, the lack of evidence) for them is much more consistent with the latter...

/ July 13, 2020
Sneeze COVID

Is COVID-19 transmitted by airborne aerosols?

A recurring debate about COVID-19 bubbled up late last week, when a group of scientists announced an as-yet unpublished open letter to the World Health Organization arguing that COVID-19 transmission is airborne and urging it to change its recommendations. What is this debate about, and, if coronavirus is airborne, should we be more scared?

/ July 6, 2020
Mask exemption

Misinformation and disinformation about facemasks and COVID-19

As evidence accumulates that facemasks work to decrease the risk of spreading COVID-19, new myths have arisen claiming that, not only do facemasks not work, but that they are actively harmful. These myths have no basis in physiology or chemistry, but that hasn't stopped anti-mask activists from using them to claim protection under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

/ June 29, 2020

Don’t Believe What You Think

A new book by Edzard Ernst provides a concise course in critical thinking as well as a wealth of good science-based information to counter the widespread misinformation about SCAM.

/ May 19, 2020

Medical conspiracy theories and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned almost innumerable conspiracy theories, and conspiracists like the antivaccine movement have joined forces with COVID-19 conspiracy theorists. To combat the proliferation of pseudoscience rooted in conspiracy theories, it is useful to step back and examine the nature of conspiracy theories, including ones that are not medical, even ones like QAnon. Critical thinking is the key to inoculating...

/ May 18, 2020
Judy Mikovits on Pandemic

Plandemic: Judy Mikovits and the mother of all COVID-19 conspiracy theories

Judy Mikovits is a disgraced scientist who published a paper claiming that a retrovirus called XMRV causes chronic fatigue syndrome, results that other investigators were unable to replicate. Since then, she's been a regular on the antivaccine circuit, but now she's been reborn as a "Fire Fauci" COVID-19 conspiracy theorist. Sadly, it worked. Her book is #1 on Amazon.

/ May 8, 2020
COVID-19

COVID-19: Out-of-control science and bypassing science-based medicine

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there hasn't just been a pandemic of coronavirus-caused disease. There's also a pandemic of misinformation and bad science. It turns out that doctors today are just as prone as doctors 100 years ago during the 1918-19 influenza pandemic to bypass science-based medicine in their desperation to treat patients.

/ May 4, 2020