Category: Science and the Media

An open letter to Dr. J. Douglas Bremner

Peter Lipson wrote a post last week entitled Before You Trust That Blog…, which was a criticism of Dr. J. Douglas Bremner’s blog Before You Take That Pill. Dr. Bremner was not pleased, and posted a rebuttal entitled Response to Peter Lipson MD of “Science” Based Blogs, My Blog Does Not Suck, Yours Does. Given the kerfuffle and my role as managing...

/ September 12, 2009

“Oh, come on, Superman!”: Bill Maher versus “Western medicine”

I realize that I’ve spent a fair amount of verbiage (to put it mildly) expressing my frustration with celebrities whose support for pseudoscience and even outright quackery endanger public health. The two most frequent targets of the wrath, sarcasm, frustration, and puzzlement of me and my partners in crime at SBM have been Jenny McCarthy and her boyfriend Jim Carrey for their...

/ September 7, 2009

Book Review: Don’t Be Such A Scientist

Preamble I’ll never forget the day when I argued for protecting parents against misleading and false information about the treatment of autism. I was working at a large consumer health organization whose mission was to “empower patients with accurate information” so that they could take control of their health. My opposition was himself a physician who requested that our organization publish an...

/ September 3, 2009
EndocrineDisruptors

“The Disappearing Male” – A Pinch of Science, a Pound of Speculation

A documentary film entitled “The Disappearing Male” was first shown on CBC in June, 2009. It can be viewed online here. Some of its rhetoric is reminiscent of Chicken Little: “Where have all the boys gone?” “Millions of males are disappearing.” “We’re on the Titanic and we see the iceberg but we just can’t turn the ship.” “It may be a threat...

/ September 1, 2009

James Reston’s Tooth of Gold

One of the fathers of critical thinking and skeptical inquiry, the French philosopher Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle (1657–1757) recounts in 1687 in his Histoire des oracles–a debunking book on popular beliefs, myths and superstitions that caused tremendous stir in theological and philosophical circles of his time–a colorful story that could very well illustrate the flurry of interest and research in acupuncture...

/ August 25, 2009

Science versus pseudoscience

I know this one’s been floating around the blogosphere for a while, but it finally made its way to me at a time when I needed something lighthearted and amusing (warning: some profanity and at least one use of the “F” word): Best quotes: “Well, science doesn’t know everything.” Well, science knows it doesn’t know anything, otherwise it would stop … But...

/ August 23, 2009

WooMD

Consider this list: Sex Matters: tuning in to what turns you on. Ticker tune-up tips for guys. Manatomy explained. Burning down under? It’s time to fess up. Pumped Up: ED meds aren’t working? An implant could be the solution. When your hoo-ha’s burning, don’t use this common cure! Go Om: Meditation can be the healthy answer for type A’s. Sexy Seniors: The...

/ August 21, 2009

Science-Based Medicine 101: Reproducibility

So far I have explained why most research (if not carefully designed) will lead to a false positive result. This inherent bias is responsible for many of the illusionary treatment benefits that we hear about so commonly through the media (whether they’re reporting about CAM or Western medicine), because it is their job to relay information in an entertaining way more so...

/ August 20, 2009

New SBM Resource – and a Word on Vaccines

We frequently receive requests from readers, our colleagues in medicine or fellow science bloggers for the best reference site that has all the information they need on a specific topic. There are many excellent resources on the net, but nothing I know of that quite puts it all together in that way – one-stop shopping for up-to-date information on the topics we...

/ August 19, 2009