Category Archives: 3 – Scepticism

Health, science and scepticism/skepticism, reblogged from around the web because it’s important.

What magazines don’t tell you|paedspoliticsbiscuits



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Last week I read a spectacularly bad article. Titled “Seven steps to a smarter child” it made wild, unsubstantiated claims about the terrible harms to the developing brain from tap water (too many metal ions), wheat, tooth filings and msg. Advice was given to avoid fluoride toothpaste and limit sunscreen use, despite the benefits of these. Unpasteurized milk and fish oils are enthusiastically endorsed without a balanced view of their risks and benefits.
So what, you may be thinking, there’s a lot of weird stuff on the internet. But I didn’t pick this article up from a link deployed in a Twitter argument. It was in my daughter’s school bag, put there by her teacher.
The article was printed in Families Oxfordshire, a free magazine distributed by local schools. It’s one of 39 national franchises offering local listings and “reliable advice on parenting and health”.
The article, which can be…

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How to build a body of misleading pseudo-evidence for bogus treatments and mislead us all | Edzard Ernst

Because this sort of thing can’t be said often enough.

Some sceptics are convinced that, in alternative medicine, there is no evidence. This assumption is wrong, I am afraid, and statements of this nature can actually play into the hands of apologists of bogus treatments: they can then  easily demonstrate the sceptics to be mistaken or “biased”, as they would probably say. The truth is that there is plenty of evidence – and lots of it is positive, at least at first glance.

Alternative medicine researchers have been very industrious during the last two decades to build up a sizable body of ‘evidence’. Consequently, one often finds data even for the most bizarre and implausible treatments. Take, for instance, the claim that homeopathy is an effective treatment for cancer. Those who promote this assumption have no difficulties in locating some weird in-vitro study that seems to support their opinion. When sceptics subsequently counter that in-vitro experiments tell us nothing about the clinical situation, apologists quickly unearth what they consider to be sound clinical evidence.

Read the rest here: How to build a body of misleading pseudo-evidence for bogus treatments and mislead us all | Edzard Ernst.