Category: Science and the Media

Deepak Chopra

Quackademic medicine and the delusion of being “science-based”

Last week, I was interviewed by the a reporter from the Georgetown student newsletter about its integrative medicine program. It got me to thinking how delusion that one's work is science-based can lead to collaborations with New Age "quantum" mystics like Deepak Chopra.

/ February 12, 2018

Fake News About Margarine

An alarmist email is circulating with misinformation about margarine. A little fact-checking shows that both margarine and butter can be part of a healthy diet.

/ January 23, 2018
Facebook

The characteristics of antivaccine networks on Facebook

Facebook has become a major hub by which antivaccine messages are propagated. A recent study examines the characteristics of antivaccine groups on Facebook and comes to some not-so-startling conclusions.

/ January 8, 2018
Kelly Brogan, MD

SXSW Wellness Expo and Goop: Accepting HIV/AIDS denialism and antivaccine pseudoscience by embracing Dr. Kelly Brogan

Dr. Kelly Brogan is doing well these days. Invited to be a headliner at Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop Summit and to be on the advisory board of the 2018 SXSW Wellness Expo, she's riding high. Unfortunately Goop and SXSW appear not to care about her being an HIV/AIDS denialist, antivaxer, and all around quack.

/ December 11, 2017

The Death of Expertise

In Tom Nichols' new book, The Death of Expertise, he explains how a misguided intellectual egalitarianism is harming our ability to assess the truth and solve problems, and discusses some of the responsible factors and possible long-term consequences.

/ November 21, 2017

UC-Irvine, integrative medicine, and the delusion of being “science-based”

Last month, a billionaire couple, Susan and Henry Samueli, announced a $200 million gift to UC-Irvine to found the Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences, which will be devoted to integrative medicine and studying "unconventional" treatments. Its founders promise that it will be rigorously science-based in articles in a large, glossy magazine. There are many reasons for doubts about this...

/ October 23, 2017

Integrative medicine advocates react to criticisms of the Samuelis’ $200 million gift to UC-Irvine

Last month, Susan and Henry Samueli donated $200 million to the University of California, Irvine to promote integrative medicine. We were pleasantly surprised by the unflattering coverage in the press of the gift. We were unpleasantly unsurprised by the reaction of integrative medicine advocates to the criticism.

/ October 16, 2017

The Pathological Optimist: More hagiography than documentary about Andrew Wakefield

The Pathological Optimist is a recently released documentary by Miranda Bailey about Andrew Wakefield that I got a chance to see. In interviews and in the film's promotional materials, Bailey takes great pains to emphasize that she "doesn't take a side" about Wakefield. Unfortunately, her film demonstrates that, when it comes to pseudoscience, "not taking a side" is taking a side, and...

/ October 9, 2017

The influenza vaccine and miscarriages: Much ado about nothing

A study published on Wednesday claims to have found a link between influenza vaccination and miscarriage, and antivaxers are gloating. The study itself suffers mightily from post hoc subgroup analyses on small numbers, so much so that even its authors don’t really believe its results. None of that stopped them from publishing the study, thus justifying "more research" that will almost certainly...

/ September 15, 2017

IBM’s Watson versus cancer: Hype meets reality

Five years ago, IBM announced that its supercomputer Watson would revolutionize cancer treatment by using its artificial intelligence to digest and distill the thousands of oncology studies published every year plus patient-level data and expert recommendations into treatment recommendation. Last week, a report published by STAT News shows that, years later, IBM's hubris and hype have crashed into reality.

/ September 11, 2017