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rampant

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Shilling for Big Herba

All drugs are bad, in any amount. All vitamins, supplements and other SCAM products are good, and the more the better.

That’s the message of WDDTY, brought to you by the advertising budgets of people selling vitamins, supplements and SCAM products. Sunshine News #1: You’re only getting a tenth of what you need No, you really aren’t. Unless …

Read on: Continue reading Shilling for Big Herba

Independent on Sunday’s HPV Scare Story | Stuff And Nonsense

The Independent on Sunday apparently thought it would be a good idea to publish a front page story scaremongering about the HPV vaccine. Some elements remind me of previous unfounded vaccine scares promoted by the press and the anti-vaccine movement.

Here’s the article. The bases for the article appear to be: adverse reaction reports taken out of context; the anecdote of a patient; and a review of case series and anecdotal reports.

Adverse events reports – misusing these figures is the kind of thing anti-vaccine campaigners do. As the IoS eventually point out (in paragraphs 22-24 right at the bottom of the article – this is a known problem), the MHRA make the point that...

Read on: Independent on Sunday’s HPV Scare Story | Stuff And Nonsense

Shilling for quacks

As you will no doubt have realised, in most cases when doctors don’t tell you something, it’s because it is wrong (or at least unsupported by credible evidence). Sometimes, though, it goes a bit further. June’s leader is one of those cases.

Barry Durrant-Peatfield is a former GP who had an active practice treating what he diagnosed as … Continue reading Shilling for quacks

Alan Hunter’s wibble

Alan Hunter is an obvious crank. His is now barrred from using our email feedback form because he seems unable to comprehend the simple business of comments under blog posts. Unlike Lynne McTaggart, we don’t believe in suppression of speech (mockery is a far more effective way of addressing opposition), so this is a placeholder for a …

Continue reading Alan Hunter’s wibble

Homeopathy experiment, Day 2, dose 1 | adamschechner

Good morning! It’s 7:17AM on Sunday May the 31st. I’m a touch grouchy right now, but that’s only because I got no sleep last night (I was up all night seeing patients), and I can’t have my Sunday coffee until I’ve waited 30 minutes after taking my dose, which I just did roughly 10 minutes ago. Here is my journal since my last dose...

Read on: Homeopathy experiment, Day 2, dose 1 | adamschechner

A homeopath I respect | Edzard Ernst

If I tell you that I just read a book by a homeopath writing about homeopathy, would you doubt my sanity? But I did, and I read it in one session with great interest. The book is (in German) by Natalie Grams (perhaps I should mention that I had never heard of her before Springer sent me her book), a German doctor; it is entitled HOMOEOPATHIE NEU GEDACHT (Homeopathy newly considered). I liked it a lot. […]

Read on: A homeopath I respect

Amazon ban on – sorry, sales of – herbal products “illegal” – sorry, illegal.

Call the police! A shrieking headline says:
Amazon ban on herbal products ‘illegal’ Wow, really? Let’s look a little closer: The online retailer Amazon has pulled more than a hundred St John’s wort products, a herbal remedy for depression, after it was approached by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
So the statutory regulatory body approached Amazon, and …

Continue reading Amazon ban on – sorry, sales of – herbal products “illegal” – sorry, illegal.

Homeopathy Experiment Day #1, Dose #2 | adamschechner

I’ve kept a running tab of the effects I’ve felt so far today. Here it is:
  • 2PM: Boy, I’m hungry. I probably should have eaten lunch.
  • 3PM: Ate pizza. No longer hungry.
That’s it. It’s now 8:15PM and I took the second dose. I didn’t touch it (as advised), and I’ve avoided both food and drink for the past 30 minutes. Here is the video...

 Read on: Homeopathy Experiment Day #1, Dose #2 | adamschechner

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Soy supplements for asthma? Thanks, but no thanks! | Edzard Ernst

Soy isoflavone supplements are used to treat several chronic diseases, although the data supporting their use are limited. Some data suggest that supplementation with soy isoflavone may be an effective treatment for patients with poor asthma control. In fact, genistein, one isoflavones in soy, is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and as such it might help control asthma symptoms. But speculation and wishful thinking does not lead anywhere. What we need is a good study to test the efficacy of soy in asthma patients […]

Read on: Soy supplements for asthma? Thanks, but no thanks!

Homeopathy – Unsafe Bullshit

Today’s post will not be the painstaking deconstruction and conscientious mockery of untrue, misleading or absurd claims on a website. Today is Expose a Quack Day.

Connoisseurs of cackling stupidity, deliberate misinformation and malevolent profiteering are doubtless well acquainted with the name of Steve Scrutton. Scrutton is and English homeopath and one of the more extreme cases of rabid fuckwittery currently roaming the wider areas of Internet. Puerile as it may seem, he’s been nicknamed “Scrotum” because he talks nothing but bollocks. Witness the following recent pronouncements on Twitter... Continue reading

The post Homeopathy – Unsafe Bullshit by Anarchic Teapot first appeared on Plague of Mice.

Homeopathy challenge | adamschechner

My name is Adam Schechner, and I’m a general surgeon in Maryland. I first became interested in homeopathy a few years ago when a friend recommended I take a remedy for a cold. I had never heard of homeopathy, so I looked into it, and the entire concept seemed so ridiculous it was difficult to describe. Nevertheless, I’m going to try to do it briefly...

Read on: Homeopathy challenge | adamschechner

Friday, 29 May 2015

Legal Musings Blog: The Actual Truth about the Saatchi Bill

Well everyone, we should be happy shouldn’t we? The Saatchi Bill is dead according to the Telegraph because the Liberal Democrats ‘vetoed’ it. Well actually, it isn’t dead at all. Nowhere near dead in fact. All the Liberal Democrat ‘veto’ actually was just a refusal to debate the Bill in government time. The Bill will still be debated, just in the time set aside for Private Members’ Bills and not Government Bills.

Also, the Labour Party have now come out in support of the Saatchi Bill with Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham (see more on the Labour Party later) stating in The Telegraph, “I worry a little bit that those who are opposed to it don’t realise that it is actually quite a different Bill now.” Now, I’m sorry, that is just not true. There are many, many issues with the Saatchi Bill...

Read the full dissection here: Legal Musings Blog: The Actual Truth about the Saatchi Bill

A further strong nail in the coffin of homeopathy | Edzard Ernst

The RACGP just issued an important statement on homeopathy which, in several ways, goes beyond previous announcements on this subject. I take the liberty of reproducing it here in full:

The RACGP supports the use of evidence-based medicine, in which current research information is used as the basis for clinical decision-making. In light of strong […]

Read on: A further strong nail in the coffin of homeopathy

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The ‘Amazing Randi, the ‘Philosopher’ and a bonanza of unreason | Edzard Ernst

On 26/5/2015, I received the email reproduced below. I thought it was interesting, looked up its author (“Shawn is a philosopher and writer educated at York University in Toronto, and the author of two books. He’s also worked with Aboriginal youth in the Northwest Territories of Canada”) and decided to respond by writing a blog-post rather than by answering Alli directly […]

Read on: The ‘Amazing Randi, the ‘Philosopher’ and a bonanza of unreason

Another WDDTY advertiser in hot water - The Nightingale Collaboration

Our last sojourn into adverts in the monthly magazine, What Doctors Don't Tell You (WDDTY) concerned claims about Treating Ebola with 'bioresonance'.

This time, we submitted a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about an ad by Water for Health Ltd in the December 2014 and January 2015 issues and the advertiser's website. In their adjudication published today, the ASA identified two points and upheld them both.

Because of the number and extent of the claims being made, the points relate to those claims made on the advertiser's website, but the ruling applies to all media where the same claims are made — including WDDTY ads, of course...

Read the full story here: Another WDDTY advertiser in hot water - The Nightingale Collaboration

Breaking news! Dr Burzynski cancer cure finally released by the Feds! | Guy Chapman's Blahg

This is a comment seen on many, many tweets, going in surges as the Burzynski astroturf machine plants his propaganda on one credulous website after another.

The facts never change:
  1. It’s not breaking news: The partial hold on the fraudulent “antineoplaston” trials was lifted in June 2014. I don’t believe they are still open to new patients, this is solely about closing off the running trials.
  2. It’s not a cure. The fact that it’s the trials where the hold has been lifted, tells you everything you need to know. Burzynski has been selling this snake oil for four decades and has yet to complete and fully publish a single trial.
  3. It’s not been released by the Feds. The drugs are not approved. They almost certainly never will be, because he shows absolutely no sign of even trying to get them approved. His own lawyer admits the trials are an artifice to allow him to continue in practice.
Burzynski is a charlatan. He does not give a toss about the patients, he is blinded by self-belief and a Messiah complex.

Read and comment at: Breaking news! Dr Burzynski cancer cure finally released by the Feds! | Guy Chapman's Blahg

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Lynne McTaggart – champion of free speech? | Majikthyse

The proprietor of the magazine `What Doctors Don’t Tell You‘ has a rather selective definition of free speech. Lynne McTaggart has repeatedly railed against sceptics in her blog, which currently carries a highly defamatory rant about the “bullies” who try to shut her up. Believe me, I would love her to shut up. But in the spirit of intelligent debate (OK that’s hardly possible with la McTaggart) I am wont to ask searching questions via the comments facility. However I’m finding that my comments mysteriously have stopped appearing...

Read on: Lynne McTaggart – champion of free speech? | Majikthyse

Monday, 25 May 2015

Avoid pink Himalayan salt if on a WTF-free diet

There are days when you wonder if there isn’t a god after all. Possibly one with a Lokiesque sense of humour, though. This remarkable specimen of extreme out-to-lunchism was recently brought to my attention. It’s not so much facepalm stuff as pure and unadulterated facewall.

Ladies, gentlemen and others, I present to you: the Byron Bay Healthy Salt Co. They sell salt, in case this was not immediately obvious. They also make some quite impressive claims for its health benefits. Well, we all need some salt, aka sodium chloride (NaCl), but you shouldn’t get carried away. All sorts of health problems of the cardiovascular variety are available for those who do.

WTFometers at the ready? Here we go  Continue reading

The post Avoid pink Himalayan salt if on a WTF-free diet by Anarchic Teapot first appeared on Plague of Mice.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

A charlatan’s dictionary of medical research | Edzard Ernst

Time for some fun!

In alternative medicine, there often seems to be an uneasy uncertainty about research methodology. This is, of course, regrettable, as it can (and often does) lead to misunderstandings. I feel that I have some responsibility to educate research-naïve practitioners. I hope this little dictionary of research terminology turns out to be a valuable contribution in this respect.

Adverse reaction: a side effect of a therapy that I do not practise […]

Read on: A charlatan’s dictionary of medical research

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Labelling GMOs, Yay or Nay?

By @TakeThatGMOs

It’s our right to know, right? This is the single most common line mentioned about GMOs coming in from the anti-GMOs movement. Labeling GMOs is practically the unified primary objective when it comes to the anti-GMOs movement. It has become so mainstream and so mediocre and has crossed over to everywhere. You can even find people pro-GMOs who support labeling GMOs. After all, what’s the harm, if GMOs are so good, shouldn’t they be labelled? […]

Read the rest at: Labelling GMOs, Yay or Nay?}

The "Take This" blog is written by a collective of skeptics hunting down misleading, uninformed and sometimes outright insane claims on social media.

Herbal does not mean harmless | Edzard Ernst

I have repeatedly stressed that herbal remedies can cause harm in a range of ways. Indian rheumatologists recently enforced this point by publishing a case-report of adrenal suppression caused by herbal remedies.

A 49-year-old male presented with polyarthritis from which he had suffered for more than 10 years. His serum cortisol levels were extremely low, he had vitamin D deficiency, […]

Read on: Herbal does not mean harmless

Lynne McTaggart, false martyr and bully

Others have already thoroughly kicked the arse out of the latest venom-soaked post by Lynne McTaggart, both the original and revamped-for-extra-nastiness versions (see WWDDTYDTY links below for details). So I won’t spend all night ripping the rant apart, despicable though it be. Despicable even by McTaggart’s usual level of self-pity laced with self-glorifying nastiness, which is quite the achievement.

No, I’ll just settle for pointing out in as many words that what she’s doing is projecting.

People disagree with her? She deletes all comments and bans them from her blog and Facebook pages, and blocks them on Twitter. But ask a newsagent not to carry her foul, anti-science rag chock full of misleading advertisements for useless or even dangerous “therapies” and it’s her FREE SPEECH UNDER ATTACK!!! Except it’s not free speech when you’re running a business; as Guy Chapman points out, it’s commercial and subject to such things – … Continue reading

The post Lynne McTaggart, false martyr and bully by Anarchic Teapot first appeared on Plague of Mice.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Under attack? Try smearing someone who had absolutely nothing to do with it.

The best defence, they say,is a strong offence. Lynne McTaggart’s clearly taken this to heart, as she’s decided to hit back at the people who defaced her webshite by attacking someone who not only didn’t do it, but expressed disapproval of the vandalism.

I’m sure there’s some sort of logic behind that, but I’m glad I don’t understand it …

Continue reading: Under attack? Try smearing someone who had absolutely nothing to do with it

Thursday, 21 May 2015

How do you solve a problem like a cyber Lynne mob?

Loon “Lynne” McTaggart has the whole martyr complex thing off to a T: it’s all about her, and her exaggerated sense of entitlement. After all, who could possibly have any valid objection to her pimping black salve, a bogus cancer cure that just happens to eat away your skin? Surely the excruciating pain, weight loss, anaemia and cost experienced by her reader are vastly better than a surgical procedure under general anaesthetic …

Continue reading: How do you solve a problem like a cyber Lynne mob?

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Keep it up, anti-vaccine nuts, you’re your own worst enemy

If we were to no longer write anything in our blogs and just post comments from the anti-vaccine community, we probably would get more pro-vaccine bills and pro-science policies passed. Why? Because the most vocal anti-vaccine leaders out there are, quite simply, nuts.

Exhibit A is “MaMa Wendy” on YouTube. It takes her about 57 seconds before she validates Godwin’s law by comparing the vaccination of children to the Holocaust. Also, the “struggle” of the anti-vaccine club, according to this white woman, is a lot like MLK’s and Rosa Parks’ struggle for Civil Rights […]

Read more at: Keep it up, anti-vaccine nuts, you’re your own worst enemy by Reuben

Why Words?

By @TkThtEtymology

Hi Kids. I’m Take That Etymology, and I’d like to talk to you about the exciting field of linguistics and how it’s abused by creationists, new agers, and other people that like to make shit up. With all the science denial that goes around the Take That scene, where do words come in? I had two major claims as inspiration for starting Take That Etymology. First off is The Uni-Verse Thing – as I like to think of it, my Monkey Question […]


Read the rest at: Why Words?}

The "Take This" blog is written by a collective of skeptics hunting down misleading, uninformed and sometimes outright insane claims on social media.

Where is the line between meaningless and unethical research? | Edzard Ernst

This is a question which I have asked myself more often than I care to remember. The reason is probably that, in alternative medicine, I feel surrounded by so much dodgy research that I simply cannot avoid asking it.

In particular, the co-called ‘pragmatic’ trials which are so much ‘en vogue’ at present are, in my view, a reason for concern. Take a study of cancer patients, for instance, where one group is randomized to get the usual treatments and care, while the experimental group receives the same and several alternative treatments in addition […]

Read on: Where is the line between meaningless and unethical research?

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The bizarre world of homeopathy: “Eight reasons to vaccinate your child” | Edzard Ernst

In the world of homeopathy, the truth is often much weirder than fiction. Take this recent article, for instance; it was published by the famous lay homeopath Alan Schmukler in the current issue of ‘HOMEOPATHY 4 EVERYONE’.

Before you read the text in question, it might be relevant to explain who Schmukler is: he attended Temple University, where he added humanistic psychology to his passions […]

Read on: The bizarre world of homeopathy: “Eight reasons to vaccinate your child”

Monday, 18 May 2015

Lokiarchaeum: Another Thing Creationists Are Going to Ignore

by @TakeThatDarwin

Two weeks ago, a Swedish team revealed that, while sifting through sediment near Loki’s Castle, a field of hydrothermal vents in the Arctic Ocean, they had discovered metagenomic evidence of a hitherto unknown phylum of the kingdom Archaea. This phylum straddles the line between prokaryotes, simple single-celled organisms which have no nuclei or organelles, and eukaryotes, the domain of more complex organisms that also contains all multicellular life. Some publications have gone so far as to describe this phylum — Lokiarchaeota, named after Tom Hiddleston’s character in “The Avengers” — as the “missing link” in eukaryote evolution, even though personally I wish they wouldn’t, because usually use of the term “missing link” causes creationists to put on their Denouncing Hats and start shrieking […]

Read the rest at: Lokiarchaeum: Another Thing Creationists Are Going to Ignore}

The "Take This" blog is written by a collective of skeptics hunting down misleading, uninformed and sometimes outright insane claims on social media.

Reiki is nonsense and further research should be discouraged | Edzard Ernst

Many people suffering from depression or anxiety are tempted to try alternative therapies. One of those is Reiki, a 2500 year old treatment described as a vibrational or subtle energy therapy, and is most commonly facilitated by light touch on or above the body. On this blog, we have repeatedly discussed Reiki and the fact that there is no good evidence for this utterly implausible approach (e.g. here, here and here). Yet, there have been reports of Reiki alleviating anxiety and depression – but what does the totality of the available evidence show when it is submitted to an impartial assessment? […]

Read on: Reiki is nonsense and further research should be discouraged

Saturday, 16 May 2015

A(nother case) for Coleus fornicans

... I suggested a homeopathic remedy to calm his nerves. Being a scientist (a label that, by his own admission, was becoming tenuous), he was initially very sceptical. However, desperate for help and the avoidance of another sleepless night, he acquiesced to my proffering of 50c pilules of extract of Coleus fornicans, to be taken regularly...

[Read more... ]

Grasping at straws to blame vaccines for an infant’s death

I will never, ever be happy that a child dies. You will never hear me say that they are in a “better place” or that there is some grander plan behind said death. And I can only imagine how tough it must be for a parent to lose a child.

What really grinds my gears is when a parent who loses a child goes to great lengths to blame vaccines. It’s one thing to grieve and want to blame something, but it’s another to waste money and resources in order to blame vaccines. This is the story of such a story […]

Read more at: Grasping at straws to blame vaccines for an infant’s death by Reuben

The opposite of good… | Edzard Ernst

There are things that cannot be said too often. In medicine, these are often related to issues that can save lives. In alternative medicine, it is worth remembering that there is nothing that can save more lives than the following rule: EVEN AN APPARENTLY HARMLESS REMEDY WILL BECOME LIFE-THREATENING, IF IT IS USED AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO AN EFFECTIVE THERAPY FOR A SERIOUS CONDITION […]

Read on: The opposite of good…

Presuppositional Apologetics

By @ScienceWasWrong

After realizing that they never win arguments about science against atheists, creationists have adopted a bold new strategy: making a mockery of philosophy. It was a smart choice, since atheists seem to have the same weird contempt for philosophy that creationists have for science.
All philosophy a footnote to Plato? I’m sincerely curious why Plato is […]
Read the rest at: Presuppositional Apologetics}

The "Take This" blog is written by a collective of skeptics hunting down misleading, uninformed and sometimes outright insane claims on social media.

We lost a good one, a very good one

I’m not going to dwell on it much, not because she doesn’t deserve it but because I don’t do well with death. Our beloved “lilady” passed away recently.

Ren and others eulogized her on their blogs.

May she and Edward Jenner be sharing a good laugh in the afterlife at the stupidity of every anti-vaccine […]


Read more at: We lost a good one, a very good one by Reuben

Friday, 15 May 2015

It’s Just Not NATURAL, Damnit!!!

Or… “The Inigo Montoya Fallacy” by @TakeThatHomo

One of the most popular attempts at a non-religious argument against homosexuality is the Appeal to Nature, or the Naturalistic Fallacy. It’s one of those arguments that make me roll my eyes and shake my head. I try, most of the time, not to judge any of the […]


Read the rest at: It’s Just Not NATURAL, Damnit!!!

The "Take This" blog is written by a collective of skeptics hunting down misleading, uninformed and sometimes outright insane claims on social media.

Just the Vax: In Remembrance of Lilady


A friend and fellow skeptic known as "Lilady" has passed away leaving a huge hole in our hearts and on the internet.   She was an omnipresent voice on numerous blogs and articles regarding vaccines and autism and will be sorely missed...

Just the Vax: In Remembrance of Lilady

Homeopathic arnica works! One only needs to change the definitions | Edzard Ernst

A new study of homeopathic arnica suggests efficacy. How come?

Subjects scheduled for rhinoplasty surgery with nasal bone osteotomies by a single surgeon were prospectively randomized to receive either oral perioperative arnica or placebo in a double-blinded fashion. A commercially available preparation was used which contained 12 capsules: one 500 mg capsule with arnica 1M is given preoperatively
on the morning of surgery and two more later that day after surgery. Thereafter, arnica was administered in the 12C potency three times daily for the next 3 days (‘‘C’’ indicates a 100-fold serial dilution; and M, a 1000-fold dilution) […]

Read on: Homeopathic arnica works! One only needs to change the definitions

Prince Charles’ letters confirm that he’s not fit to be king

pow
Picture: Getty

This post was written for the Spectator Health section, at short notice after the release of the spider letters. The following version is almost the same as appeared there, with a few updates. Some of the later sections are self-plagiarised from earlier posts.

The age of enlightenment was a beautiful thing. People cast aside dogma and authority. They started to think for themselves. Natural science flourished. Understanding of the natural world increased. The hegemony of religion slowly declined. Eventually real universities were created and real democracy developed. The modern world was born.

People like Francis Bacon, Voltaire and Isaac Newton changed the world for the better. Well, that’s what most people think. But not Charles, Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall.

In 2010 he said...


Read more at Prince Charles’ letters confirm that he’s not fit to be king by David Colquhoun

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Help, help, help! Can someone please explain? | Edzard Ernst

I thought I had a fairly good understanding of homeopathy; well I seem to have been wrong. A German child/adolescent psychiatrist and homeopathic physician has recently published a paper which I find most impressive. Not that it conveys new data or facts, quite the opposite. I find it impressive, because I do not understand a word of it. Here is the summary and the conclusion; if you want to read the full article, this link will take you to it […]

Read on: Help, help, help! Can someone please explain?

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Have I told you about my ‘miraculous’ cure? | Edzard Ernst

A few years ago, I fell ill with shingles. When patients had consulted me for this condition, during the times when I still was a clinician, I always had to stop myself smiling; they complained bitterly but, really, this was far from serious. Now, affected myself, I did not smile a bit: this was incredibly painful!

I promptly saw my GP in Exeter who, to my utter amazement, prescribed paracetamol. She too seemed to think that this was really nothing to bother her with. As I had feared, the paracetamol did absolutely nothing to my pain. After a few sleepless nights, I went back and asked for something a little more effective. She refused, and I decided to change GP
 […]

Read on: Have I told you about my ‘miraculous’ cure?

Monday, 11 May 2015

Special | the unwholesome


Hey, guy.

You’re special.

I know, I know, you’re probably thinking to yourself “but I’m just one regular, independent, concerned mother/victim/guy who is once and for all taking a stand against Big Pharma/authority/established scientific practice- how special can I really be?”

Truly, very special.

I guess this is something I’ve noticed since my blog was reshared by a number of sceptics, and as is their right I have had a couple of anti-vaccine supporters contact me to share their unsolicited thoughts. All fine. But the nature of the contact did prompt reflection and consideration: why are they contacting me, uninformed and impotent member of the sceptic community that I am with a small reader base, no influence over the scientific community, or even any power to implement policy?

It was a question I put to a Twitter follower this morning who offered me the exciting opportunity to ‘discuss’ my vaccine views with them...

Read the rest at: Special | the unwholesome

Sunday, 10 May 2015

The Kalam Cosmological Argument | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

  1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
  2. The universe began to exist.
  3. Therefore the universe had a cause.

(P.S. the cause is God.)

This argument is disarmingly simple. It is intuitive, seemingly reasonable, and a person doesn’t have to go against the entire scientific establishment to make it. However, it is only simple out of necessity, for the differences between our understanding of causality and the conditions at the beginning of the universe will soon make themselves apparent...

Read on: The Kalam Cosmological Argument | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

Saturday, 9 May 2015

It’s Not Just A Little Snip | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

Many of us are used to hearing – about male circumcision – that it is just a snip or that it is merely the removal of a little  piece of skin and that it is no big deal or even it is healthier – we also often hear that it is a parent’s choice.

Are these some of the things that you have been inculcated with about circumcision?...

Read on: It’s Not Just A Little Snip | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

The best of homeopathy on the web – at either end of the spectrum | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

Folks, Amedeo here. Now, being a ghost, I am not one for big words. I therefore present you here the best and the rest from my link collection – enjoy!

Top Ten...

Read on: The best of homeopathy on the web – at either end of the spectrum | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

When it Comes to GMOs and Food, the Misconceptions are at Their Highest | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts



Many misconceptions exist about GMOs. Misinformation and even disinformation cloud the scene. Do a quick Google search of GMOs, and what do you get?

You get this:


The very fact that the Institute of Responsible Technology (which by the way sells non-GM food products, see any conflicts here?), NaturalNews, Dr Mercola, Non-GMO Project and Kids Right to Know are all on the front page of the search is seriously worrying. Not only does this clearly show how misinformed the public is (Google ranks most visited websites first), it should also be ringing bells about how far the truth is from the public...

Read on: When it Comes to GMOs and Food, the Misconceptions are at Their Highest | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

Does Hillary Clinton believe in evolution? | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts



The 2016 U.S. presidential campaign season is quickly approaching. Many politicians have already declared their candidacy. Over the next eighteen months we will hear their platforms expanded upon ad nauseam. I consider the candidates’ views on scientific issues to be important. This will be the beginning of a series where I examine the presidential hopefuls and investigate their stances on evolution. Do they consider evolution to be a scientific fact? Are there any signs of support for the teaching of intelligent design in biology class? I’ll start with the presumptive democratic nominee: Hillary Clinton...

 Read on: Does Hillary Clinton believe in evolution? | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

Craniosacral therapy: for ‘physical aches and pains, acute and chronic disease, emotional or psychological disturbances’ ? | Edzard Ernst

In my last post, I made a fairly bold statement without any evidence to support it: “[this] demonstrates once again that, in the realm of alternative medicine, organisations and individuals make statements that sound fine and are politically correct, while at the same time disregarding these pompous aims/visions/objectives by promoting outright quackery. This sort of thing is so wide-spread that most of us just take it for granted and very few have the nerve to object. The result of this collective behaviour is obvious: on the one hand, charlatans can claim to be entirely in line with public health, EBM etc.; on the other hand, they are free to exploit the public with their bogus treatments.” […]

Read on: Craniosacral therapy: for ‘physical aches and pains, acute and chronic disease, emotional or psychological disturbances’ ?

Friday, 8 May 2015

10 Ways to Spot Health Quackery | Berkeley Wellness

If it ducks like a quack . . .

Dubious or outright fraudulent health products and treatments cost Americans billions of dollars a year. Worse than the money that this wastes, it can cause harm and lead people away from the medical help they really need.

Don't be fooled! Here are 10 warning signs of health quackery.

  • Words such as "miraculous," "instant," "secret," or "amazing."
  • Vague claims such as "purifies your body," "raise your energy level," or "boosts immune system."
  • Testimonials and anecdotes that are the sole or primary support for the claims.
  • Ad copy that tries to diagnose health problems: for example, an ad that leads you to believe you have vitamin deficiencies, and then offers to sell you a cure.
  • Claims that doctors don’t want you to know about "cures" because they would lose business.
  • "Spot-reducers" or any gadget promising to reduce weight without exercise—or while you sleep!
  • Diet plans "guaranteed" to take off a pound a day. A diet that rigorous would be dangerous.
  • Health-related products sold via multi-level (network) marketing, which turns customers into salespeople.
  • Claims about curing arthritis, cancer, or AIDS.
  • Claims that a product will cure a wide variety of illnesses. Cure-alls seldom cure anything.
  • Think you've spotted a scam? You can report it to the FDA here. You can also check Snopes.com and Quackwatch for roundups of Internet rumors and myths.

This article 10 Ways to Spot Health Quackery | Berkeley Wellness originally appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter in April 2007. It was updated in March 2015.

What Fundamentalists Believe About… Global Warming

Welcome to the first of a new series. It should more accurately be called What I Used To Believe About… but that wouldn’t be as good for SEO. Fundamentalists can’t be lumped into one big group. Aside from a handful of core tenets (Jesus is the Son of God who rose from the dead, the Bible is inerrant), you can’t say “This is what all fundamentalists believe” with any authority.

Of course, as I’ve already argued, the fact that fundamentalists claim to take the Bible literally, yet can’t agree on the interpretation of all but a few points, should shoot the whole thing down before we start. But that doesn’t seem to put them off, so we’ll fight on...

 Read the rest at: What Fundamentalists Believe About… Global Warming

Naturopathy and homeopathy: united in quackery? | Edzard Ernst

A recent post of mine prompted this categorical statement by one of the leading alt med researchers in Germany: “naturopathy does not include homeopathy.” This caused several counter-comments claiming that homeopathy is an established part of naturopathy. Now a regular reader has alerted me to the current position paper on homeopathy by the ‘AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF NATUROPATHIC PHYSICIANS’ (AANP). It clarifies the issue fairly well, and I therefore take the liberty of citing it here in full […]

Read on: Naturopathy and homeopathy: united in quackery?

Thursday, 7 May 2015

The Moral Argument | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

The moral argument for God’s existence, as formulated by professional philosopher William Lane Craig goes like this:
  1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
  2. Objective moral values and duties do exist
  3. Therefore God exists
It is important to ask exactly how objective moral values exist if God exists. People who make this argument usually subscribe to a divine command theory of ethics, which asserts that what is moral is determined by what God commands, and that to be moral is to follow his commands...

Read on: The Moral Argument | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

Take That, General Ignorance | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

Here at Teh Food Bae Labs, we have one simple guideline for deciding what is good and what is bad for you: “Don’t ingest what you can’t pronounce.” Unluckily for us, in a world that’s getting stupider because of fluoride in our water, chemtrails in our skies, and GMOs in our foods, it’s often difficult to know where to start , so some things are getting harder to pronounce.

 

THE DANGER: DYHYDROGEN MONOXIDE IS EVERYWHERE

That’s right! There are many chemicals in foods, including many that you will find in your household, including that ever-present bugbear dihydrogen monoxide. My tests have shown conclusively that MOST of the food we eat, and EVERYTHING we drink contains this chemical. Want to know more about this insidious chemical? The website dhmo.org has this to say about it...


Read more: Take That, General Ignorance | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

What About Whataboutism? | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

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We’ve all been there. We’ve seen it happen. You’ll be happily pointing out the errors in someone’s argument or having a general debate on whether George Lucas should be flayed for making the Star Wars prequels when your opposition trots out a time honoured tactic for diverting the subject. You’ll be making valid points, whilst possibly adding them to some convoluted scoring system that you’ve created in your head until you reach the point when you’ve “won”, when they pull out the “whatabout” card.

Let’s say you’re discussing one of my favourite topics: equality for homosexuals. Last month I had the joy of retweeting wingnuts who had a biblical perspective on a dinky little place called...

Read on: What About Whataboutism? | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

The Gay Marriage “Debate” | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

Most of my retweets come via America, since the only basis for opposing homosexuality (that I have found) comes from a religious viewpoint. Despite being founded on a secular ideal, the land of the free and the home of the brave is ridiculously religious, which is particularly strange for me since I come from a Christian country that has a fairly secular society. Recently, however, there has been an upsurge of anti-gay tweets from a little closer to home...

Read on: The Gay Marriage “Debate” | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

Why We Expanded | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

What can 140 characters do? 140 characters can make you divorce your wife of 30 years. 140 characters can suspend you from school. 140 characters can make you look like an absolute genius, or you can cram creationism into those precious 140 characters and that can make you look like an absolute idiot. Whatever you do with your 140 characters, you need to remember how powerful they are...

Read on: Why We Expanded | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

A Change of Kinds | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

Ray Comfort once ventured to a mysterious pagan temple known only as a university with one goal in mind: like Darth Vader searching for the stolen plans, he would stick his microphone in the face of every sentient creature there until one of them gave him observable evidence of a change of kinds. When no one had any idea what he was talking about, he declared that the jig was up and evolution had finally been debunked. Ever since that day...

Read the rest at: A Change of Kinds | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

Godwinning | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

We have all been there. Picture the following: You are having a difference of opinion with someone. Someone you deem worthy enough at that moment to actually engage regarding that subject. The discussion becomes heated and in a moment of desperation, or in an attempt to be funny, you utter the words “Yeah, well, Hitler…”

Read on: Godwinning | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

Homeopathy in France: a triumph of profit over reason | Edzard Ernst

These days, I spend much of my time in France (my wife is French), and one striking thing about this country is the popularity of homeopathy. For instance, it is hard to find a pharmacy where the pharmacist does not approach you trying to sell you a homeopathic remedy for your health problem. But, of course, this is all far too anecdotal. The question therefore is, are there any reliable data on France’s usage of homeopathy?

The answer is YES […]

Read on: Homeopathy in France: a triumph of profit over reason

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Why Twitter? | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

The year: 1981. The place: UCLA’s secret underground laboratories. Professor Heinrich Rudolf von Internet has just put the finishing touches on his masterwork. “At last, I have done it,” he muses, basking in the glow of accomplishment. “I have created the Internet. Soon, perhaps within my lifetime, people around the world will be able to exchange rage comics, half-baked political views, cat photos with captions written on them in the Impact typeface, conspiracy theories, animated gifs of Gary Busey, and pornography. So very, very much pornography”...

Why Twitter? | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

Take This Blog | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

Greetings and behold! We are a group of skeptics (some might say skepdicks, especially when arguing, ah ha ha) who are sometimes known as the Take That Crowd on Twitter. If you’re here you have probably come to know and love/hate us for showing off the best of the worst arguments presented by creationists, new agers, conspiracy theorists, insane racists, various bigots, and others for whom evidence and logic do not fall high on the list of virtues. But now the fun and excitement can no longer be contained in 140-character bursts, and so we offer you this blog, and give you the chance to Take This Blog...


Read on: Take This Blog | Take This: A Skeptical Blog by TakeThat Accounts

That Time I ….. Ruined Friendships By Telling The Truth | The Laura Experiment

About a year ago I quit my job. I quit because I had to. I found working for the company that employed me extremely stressful, and it was not only affecting my ability to do my job but also ruining my personal life too. I was with the company 7 years before I finally quit. Not all of those years were stressful, I had some amazing times and I learnt so much, but on the whole it was a bad experience for me.

After I left I wrote a blog post about my time at the company (on a now deleted blog). In no part did i mention where the company was located, the name of the company or the names of anyone who worked there. I made sure it was unidentifiable (the only way you would know where it was was if you know me and you also worked there). I wrote, in an informal style, about my experience. Why did I do it? It was part of the healing process for me. I also wanted to share my experience of working within an Anthroposophical company with the world, as I felt at the time it was important for the outside world to know a little of the truth. Nothing I wrote was a lie, and it was all about MY experience and MY feelings...

Read on: That Time I ….. Ruined Friendships By Telling The Truth | The Laura Experiment

Heavy metal poisoning as a result of using Ayurvedic remedies | Edzard Ernst

Ayurvedic medicine has become highly popular in Western countries; it originates, of course, from India, and is considered to be one of the world’s oldest health care systems. Its adherents claim to create harmony between the body, mind, and spirit, maintaining that this balance prevents illness, treats acute conditions, and contributes to a long and healthy life. In India Ayurveda is mainstream and more than 90% of the population are said to use it. Outside India, Ayurveda is usually classified as an alternative therapy […]

Read on: Heavy metal poisoning as a result of using Ayurvedic remedies

Monday, 4 May 2015

How naïve ‘alternativists’ lead us (and themselves) up the garden path | Edzard Ernst

A recent comment to a post of mine (by a well-known and experienced German alt med researcher) made the following bold statement aimed directly at me and at my apparent lack of understanding research methodology: C´mon , as researcher you should know the difference between efficacy and effectiveness. This is pharmacological basic knowledge. Specific (efficacy) […]
Read on: How naïve ‘alternativists’ lead us (and themselves) up the garden path

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Grounded Parents | Meet the Pro-Vax Bullies

As National Infant Immunization Week winds down, it seems like a good time to take a good look at the Vaccine Bullies. According to countless pro-vax blogs and memes they’re everywhere, pushing a pro vax agenda and stepping all over parents’ freedom.

 It turns out that pro-vaccine bullies in my town are super easy to find. Just hang out on the parent side of the two-way mirror at my kids’ therapy center during a developmental playgroup.

While the average vaccination rate at our local schools is near 95%, here at the playgroup it’s closer to 70%, so statistically it’s the last place you’d expect pro-vaxxers to hold court, and yet here they are...

Read on:  Grounded Parents | Meet the Pro-Vax Bullies

Irish Catholics worry whether homophobic behaviour makes you a homophobe

I remember my mother’s irritation when my aunt converted to Catholicism on the death of her husband. She claimed that Catholicism is for those who want others to do their thinking, as opposed to Protestantism, which she reckoned requires you to square your acts with your own conscience, not somebody else’s idea of what’s right or wrong. However simplistic and bigoted this view may be, it has to be said that there are always fully-fledged jerks in expensive robes who seem determined to prove her right. Step forward the Irish bishops.

For any one you unfamiliar with that particular variant of Christianity known as Roman Catholicism, it involves – over and above depicting as white a man who, if he actually existed, certainly wasn’t – lots of little demigods called “saints”; women considered as second-class citizens, some of whom dress in burqas (called “nuns”); a personality cult around a theocrat …

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The post Irish Catholics worry whether homophobic behaviour makes you a homophobe by Jay H first appeared on Plague of Mice.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Homeopaths: Call me. Let’s Talk � Good Thinking Society

UPDATE

2 days ago, I invited critics (particularly homeopaths) to call me in order to discuss their concerns, but nobody took me up on my offer. Instead, just more attacks on facebook, blogs and comments. The comments on one post alone call me a bully, mentally ill, a moron and a cock. At best, only one of those accusations is half true...

 Read on: Homeopaths: Call me. Let’s Talk � Good Thinking Society

A salve for a tumour

This article plumbs new depths, even for WDDTY. Let’s look at the infobox for a second.
The essential points
DO:
  • Work with a qualified practitioner who has his own reliable source of Black Salve 
  • Use it sparingly and make sure any wound that remains is properly and hygienically treated 
  • Anticipate excruciating pain and long periods of exhaustion and incapacity, when work …

Continue reading A salve for a tumour

Johrei healing and the amazing Dr Dixon (presidential candidate for the RCGP) | Edzard Ernst

The founder of Johrei Healing (JH), Mokichi Okada, believed that “all human beings have toxins in their physical bodies. Some are inherited, others are acquired by ingesting medicines, food additives, unnatural food, unclean air, most drugs, etc. all of these contain chemicals which cannot be used by the body and are treated as poisons…….. Illness is no more than the body’s way of purifying itself to regain health……

Read on: Johrei healing and the amazing Dr Dixon (presidential candidate for the RCGP)

Available now from all bad newsagents!

The May 2015 issue of WDDTY has, like the steaming turds emanating from Her Majesty’s guards’ horses, hit the streets. And it’s a cracker. It looks as if they are playing pseudo-medical Limbo, a game of “how low can you go?” After flipping through it several skeptics are now looking sadly at the smoking ruins of their WTF meters, overloaded by the unprecedented outpouring of bollocks between the cover …

Continue reading Available now from all bad newsagents!