Alternative Medicine: Weapons of Influence

July 21, 2009 at 3:11 pm (Alternative Medicine) (, , , , )

In 2001, the fourth edition of a book titled Influence: Science and Practice written by Robert Cialdini was published. The book explained several mental shortcuts that we use – and how they can be used to persuade or to influence people. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ignoreland: A Refusal To Engage

June 26, 2009 at 8:36 pm (Miscellaneous) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I’ve been attempting to communicate with various people and institutions recently and I’ve been having a little trouble. I don’t seem to be getting responses to my emails. Let’s see if we can figure out where I’ve been going wrong. Read the rest of this entry »

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Are Multivitamin Users Younger?

June 20, 2009 at 8:30 pm (Nutritionism, Patrick Holford) (, , , , , , , )

Patrick Holford thinks so. Let’s see what evidence he uses as the basis for this assertion. Read the rest of this entry »

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Deflecting Criticism: The Well-Meaning Defence

June 19, 2009 at 10:01 pm (Miscellaneous, Patrick Holford) (, , )

I’ve noticed that, on occasion, criticism of the views, policies, or recommendations of individuals or organisations elicits the response that the individual or group being criticised is “well-meaning”, “sensitive” or “nice”, or even “sincere” and the suggestion that perhaps they should not be the subject of criticism. Read the rest of this entry »

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Last of The Summer Whine?

June 11, 2009 at 5:14 pm (Alternative Medicine, Chiropractic) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I feel that I should point out, with reference to my writing that “It feels perhaps a little harsh to make a formal complaint about someone in this way” in a previous post on complaining to the GCC, that I have now seen people commenting on the problems that chiropractors may be facing and whether we sceptics are adding to their distress. Read the rest of this entry »

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Targets: Aids, Cancer, Autism and Dyslexia

April 23, 2009 at 9:59 pm (Bad Science, Conspiracy, Dangerously Wrong, Homeopathy, Nutritionism, Patrick Holford) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Some fields seem to attract quackery. Energy production is an obvious one (I predict that the idea of perpetual motion machines will never die – the idea is too attractive and there will probably always be sufficiently gullible/ignorant people in the world), but there are certain fields which seem to attract medical quackery more than others. I thought I’d list a few of the apparent similarities between some of the areas that I see as attracting quackery or, at best, dubious claims. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Paper That Never Was

April 13, 2009 at 8:53 pm (Bad Science, Referenciness) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Several sites cite a paper they claim was published in the Lancet in, variously, 1989, 1990, or 1991. All agree that the paper was written by Ulrich Abel and published in the Lancet. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Promotion of Counterknowledge

March 24, 2009 at 6:09 pm (Alternative Medicine, Anti-Vaccination, Bad Science, Bloggers, Briffa, Conspiracy, Dangerously Wrong, government, Media, Nutritionism, Patrick Holford, Religion, Supplements, Woo) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

[BPSDB] Those promoting Counterknowledge are winning. Possibly because the public actually don’t really care that much*. (Damien Thompson’s book Counterknowledge is available from local libraries in my area, yet I am the first person in the 14 months since it has been in the library catalogue to borrow it.) It is also possible that Counterknowledge is spreading at least partly because people with a measure of influence in society are among those who promote it. Members of the British royal family, politicians, the mainstream media, celebrities, Alternative Medicine practitioners posing as authority figures, members of churches, and even universities have helped to promote Counterknowledge. Not to mention maverick scientists such as Andrew Wakefield. Those with less authority are playing an important part too, though. For example, full-time conspiracy theorists such as the owner of the whale.to website are disseminating bullshit that is reproduced on forums such as What Doctors Don’t Tell You, or JABS. Read the rest of this entry »

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AltMed Responses To Criticism – from Holford to Barnett

February 11, 2009 at 5:45 pm (Alternative Medicine, Bad Science) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Here, I have some examples of the, fairly limited, debate between sceptics and proponents of Alternative Medicine – and a couple of examples of how scientists generally respond to criticism. The most recent example of a supporter of Alternative Medicine (anti-vaccinationism, with a smidge of homeopathy) responding to criticism is Jeni Barnett. She referred on her blog to incandescently stupid comments she made about MMR during a radio broadcast on LBC, and the fuss that followed the broadcast. The comments section soon included critics explaining why Jeni was so dangerously wrong. Jeni’s response to the criticism? To remove the blog post and the comments. Thankfully, it’s been preserved and is available at The Quackometer website. Further discussion at Holford Watch. LBC’s response to the original criticisms? Legal chill tactics – a pretty disgusting way to tackle legitimate criticism. Other examples of legal chill (and other threats) come from nutritionists, chiropractors, homeopaths, herbalists, and an American Christian organisation. Read the rest of this entry »

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MMR Round-up [UPDATED. Again.]

February 7, 2009 at 10:18 pm (Anti-Vaccination, Bad Science) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Recently, MMR seems to have been quite a hot topic. Ben Goldacre of the badscience.net blog wrote about Jeni Barnett’s LBC broadcast (which contained an incredible amount of misinformation). As have many other bloggers – most (or perhaps all) of whom are listed at Holford Watch. Holford Watch also have a post up listing some rebuttals to Jeni Barnett’s canards. Meanwhile, Sensibly Common has updated the graph of measles cases in the UK (the original is here) and the post including the updated graph ties in quite well with a news story on the BBC website Read the rest of this entry »

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