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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

WDDTY’s ‘inconvenient’ editorial guide to recognising quackery

Quackery is seductive. For those who don’t know the signifiers, and/or are susceptible to its language, then it is understandable (to some extent) why many are beguiled. And once taken in, it is difficult to get them out again, so defensively protective do they become of their (self-) indulgence – think cult. But there is a pattern to quackery: commonly recurring rhetorical tools which the sufficiently sceptical can readily detect. And this particular WDDTY piece, with its woven inclusion of many of these identifying features, serves as an almost comprehensive guide to how to identify quackery.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

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.