Papers for Skeptics

August 11, 2011 at 3:42 pm (Miscellaneous) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I’m sure everyone has favourite research articles (please tell me it’s not just me). I thought I’d share some of mine. Most are available as free full text, but there are a few where I link to an abstract. Some links will open in PDF, but I’ve tried to make these obvious in the post. I think I’ve saved copies of each paper where full text was available, so if a link to the full text of a paper dies and you can’t get hold of it elsewhere do feel free to email me or leave a comment below and ask for a copy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Homeopathy: Extraordinary Claims And Excuses

February 7, 2011 at 7:20 pm (Homeopathy) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Homeopathy makes perhaps the most extraordinary claims of any branch of alternative medicine, yet the extraordinary evidence required for such claims has not been provided. In fact, homeopaths have trouble providing ordinary evidence that their treatments work. What they are quite good at is providing excuses… Read the rest of this entry »

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The Placebo Effect In 60 Seconds

January 1, 2011 at 3:53 pm (Placebo) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

In which I attempt to explain a phenomenon I do not understand. Within an arbitrary time limit. Read the rest of this entry »

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What Was The Question Again? Or: The GCC Respond To My Email

June 8, 2009 at 6:40 pm (Alternative Medicine, Chiropractic) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I emailed the GCC to ask for clarification on a point that relates to my correspondence with Bassett Chiropractic Clinics, of St Albans Chiropractic Clinic, The Hertford Chiropractic Clinic, Watford Chiropractic Clinic, and Kings Langley Chiropractic Clinic (Bassett Chiropractic Clinics are members of the British Chiropractic Association – the organisation suing Simon Singh, who co-authored the excellent Trick or Treatment with Edzard Ernst). Here is my email, followed by their reply, and my follow-up email: Read the rest of this entry »

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Bartlett Joshua Palmer – Profiteur Par Excellence

May 15, 2009 at 8:39 pm (Alternative Medicine, Chiropractic) (, , , , , , , , )

The son of Daniel David Palmer, Bartlett Joshua Palmer was the leader of the “Universal Chiropractic Association”. BJ Palmer leased neurocalometers, devices which contained a thermocouple (a piece of electrical equipment that measures temperature). Read the rest of this entry »

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“Homeopathy Works – So Show Us The Money…”

February 18, 2009 at 5:48 pm (Alternative Medicine, Bad Science, Homeopathy, Media) (, , , , , )

A quick post just to point to this comedy gold here on Pulse: “As our news story elsewhere on the site shows, an NHS trial has backed homeopathy”; and “treatments could even save the health service money, it found, after 81% of patients receiving the treatments on referral from their GP reported improvements in their physical health, and 79% in their mental health”. Brilliant. A customer satisfaction survey proves homeopathy works. It gets better:

“So on behalf of the Government come in Professor Edzard Ernst, one of the leading professors of complementary medicine – and a man with a professor’s name if ever there was one – who last year offered a £10,000 cash prize to anyone who can prove homeopathy actually works”

There’s a brilliant comment on the website from Prof David Colquhoun of Improbable Science. He begins: “This is one of the worst pieces of journalism I have ever read. The Daily Mail does better.” Go read the whole comment – it’s ace.

EDIT 09/06/2009

I’d just like to point out that Homeopathy Awareness Week is coming soon and there is a post here that may be of interest: Homeopathy Awareness Week. This year Homeopathy Awareness Week (14th to 24th June) will focus on hay fever. EDIT 13/06/2009: AP Gaylard has taken a look at the evidence relating to homeopathy for hayfever. Homeopathy Awareness Week and hay fever sorts the wheat from the chaff and tells us where the evidence leads:

Would I trust in homeopathy for hay fever?  Not on this evidence.  On the whole, I would say that there is enough trial data to say that the incredible dilutions peddled by many homeopaths don’t work, and why should they?  Perhaps some of the less dilute interventions might – but more work is needed.

So what does this make Homeopathic Awareness Week?  In my opinion, nothing more than a sales drive.

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British Chiropractic Association: Afraid of Criticism

August 18, 2008 at 11:44 am (Alternative Medicine, Chiropractic, Legal Chill, Woo) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

 Well I’m late to the party, but I’ve never been one to turn down an opportunity to highlight the cowardice of Alternative Medicine practitioners so frightened of legitimate criticism that they will run to the law to silence dissent – so here’s a bit more on Chiropractic legal threats. Sadly, Simon Singh is being sued. Holford Watch have a post up with links to coverage of the affair and some background to it (see also links to Frank Frizelle saga below), Dr* T has something on this: another back cracking quack attack and Gimpy has posted the full article and a separate commentary on the situation. Jack of Kent makes reference to the Derbyshire Rule and the right to freedom of expression in his commentary. Basically, Simon Singh wrote a piece for the Guardian that was critical of Chiropractic and the British Chiropractic Association have issued a writ through the High Court. This follows recent legal letters in New Zealand sent to Professor Frank Frizelle and the NZJM (also naming Professor David Colquhoun and Mr Andrew Gilbey). The Holford Watch piece on Frank Frizelle includes a fairly comprehensive list of legal threats from Alt Med types that should cover the ones I referred to in Legal Chill and Other Threats. I will also point to a couple of bits linked to from the NZJM response to Chiropractors, the brief piece Frank Frizelle wrote in 2005 titled Lawyers and Letters and a couple of webpages on publication ethics at icmje.org: Uniform Requirements and Sponsorship, Authorship and Accountability. As Frank Frizelle said to the Chiropractors’ Association in New Zealand, so I say to the British Chiropractors’ Association: Show us your evidence, not your legal muscle.

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