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Doubtful News

Doubtful News

Sam Harris NeuroLogica Blog Jan 13 2017 Cognitive Biases in Health Care Decision Making This was an unexpected pleasant find in an unusual place. The Gerontological Society of America recently put out a free publication designed to educate patients about cognitive biases and heuristics and how they can adversely affect decision making about health care. The publication is aimed at older health care consumers, but the information it contains is applicable to all people and situations. What is most encouraging about this publication is the simple fact that it recognizes that this is an issue. The report is aimed simultaneously at health care providers and patients. Continue Reading » Jan 12 2017 Curcumin Hype vs Reality A recent systematic review of the alleged health benefits of curcumin show that, yet again, hype based on “traditional use” is not a reliable guide. Curcumin is a spice that makes up about 5% of turmeric, a yellow spice used in many curries. The systematic review had two main findings: Continue Reading »

The Big Pharma Conspiracy Popular claims of a Big Pharma Conspiracy don't stand up to any rational scrutiny. by Brian Dunning Filed under Alternative Medicine, Conspiracy Theories, Health Skeptoid Podcast #589 September 19, 2017 Podcast transcript | Download | Subscribe Listen: Beware! How could it be that I've been doing Skeptoid for almost 11 years and never covered the Big Pharma Conspiracy? The basic Big Pharma Conspiracy says that pharmaceutical companies suppress natural cures on the principle that they are not patentable and thus not profitable to sell; so they instead distribute only patented, expensive, and less effective drugs. Who exactly is Big Pharma? ...An abstract entity comprised of corporations, regulators, NGOs, politicians, and often physicians, all with a finger in the trillion-dollar prescription pharmaceutical pie. This definition is important, because it allows the conspiracy theorist to vastly simplify what is, in reality, a complicated industry filled with conflicting roles and interests.

Skeptoid | Critical Analysis of Pop Phenomena There are different ways of learning, but they are not mutually exclusive. Battling and countering myths is, of course, something we skeptics do a lot, especially here at the Skeptoid podcast and blog. But once in a while, some organization outside of the skeptical circle also tackles the topic of countering common myths. In their July issue of their McKinsey Quarterly, they critically analyze three myths about learning. L'incantation est-elle une stratégie efficace ? par Hervé This, réponses en notes de Martin Brunschwig - SPS n° 302, octobre 2012 Nous publions ici une lettre que nous a adressée Hervé This à propos de notre action en général, et de son efficacité en particulier. Une version abrégée a été publiée dans le n° 302 de Science et pseudo-sciences. Des hésitations Alors que je me préparais récemment à rédiger une « brève » pour la revue de cette association d’intérêt public qu’est l’AFIS, je me suis demandé si j’avais raison de prendre un peu de temps pour faire une sorte de résumé de travaux marquants dans mon champ disciplinaire. Bien sûr, comme tout scientifique ulcéré par les marchands de peur, les escrocs à la santé, les prometteurs d’Eden et autres malhonnêtes, je suis attiré par l’adhésion à l’AFIS et la lecture de son journal. Par exemple, si j’examine le numéro consacré aux attentats du 11 septembre, ne suis-je pas convaincu, avant même de lire le premier des articles, qu’il n’y a pas eu de complot ? Comment nous y prendre ? 8 Oui !

Science-Based Medicine Vaccine Ingredients The claims made about the dangerous chemicals in vaccines are all either false or misrepresented. by Brian Dunning Filed under Alternative Medicine, Conspiracy Theories, General Science, Health Skeptoid Podcast #180 November 17, 2009 Podcast transcript | Download | Subscribe Also available in Chinese | Russian Listen: Today we're going to point our skeptical eye at some of the claims made by antivaccine activists, in particular, their lists of frightening chemicals and other dangerous toxins they say are included in vaccines. You don't have to go to the antivaccine websites to find this horrifying list of witch's-brew ingredients. This is a case where cooler heads need to prevail. When you're exposed to a pathogen, it irritates your body. So now that we understand that a vaccine is not pretending to be a shot of Mickey Mouse sunshine, let's take a look at some of these frightening sounding ingredients: Formaldehyde Absolutely true. Antifreeze This one is simply untrue. Mercury Latex Rubber

Blog Posts The Problematic Process of Cryptozoologification How did the traditional character of the cannibal ogress Dzunuk’wa come to be claimed by cryptozoologists as a depiction of their hypothesized “Bigfoot” cryptid species? (Kwakwaka’wakw heraldic pole. Much of my skeptical research traces the historical pathways through which pseudoscientific and paranormal beliefs emerge and evolve over time. My research has often led me to consider how folkloric phenomena are brought under the umbrella of cryptozoology (the largely pseudoscientific “study” of legendary, allegedly “hidden” animals). Daniel Loxton is the Editor of INSIGHT at and of Junior Skeptic, the 10-page kids’ science section bound within Skeptic magazine. Resolving Conflicts in Findings: Vaccine Promotion is Tricky A few months ago I wrote about the psychology of vaccine denial. None of the interventions increased parents’ intent to vaccinate. These two conclusions seem to contradict each other. Pilgrimage to Bigfoot Country

CAMcheck Ten Science and Skepticism Blogs You Need to Read in 2016 | Vol. 3 / No. 8.3 – This Week In Tomorrow Not pictured above: “the blogosphere”| Photo: orihaus, CC BY 2.0 I don’t normally do end-of-the-year lists — except for my annual list of year-end lists, which will be happening again, I can assure you — but as a self-described internet bottom-feeder, I do have one area of expertise: blogs. So without further ado, and in no particular order, here’s a list of ten science and skepticism blogs that, if you haven’t checked out already, you really should. Skeptical Raptor The Skeptical Raptor posts pretty regularly about the latest occurrences at the intersection of science and skepticism. Whenever a study hits the news on anything from vaccines to e-cigarettes to the so-called “paleo” diet, SR has what you’re looking for when you see an outlandish headline with a biology or chemistry pseudoscientific bent and you find yourself in need of a little sanity. Respectful Insolence Bad Astronomy Skepchick NeuroLogicaBlog NeuroLogicaBlog is the personal blog of Dr. Not Exactly Rocket Science Bad Science

The Simple Proof of Man-Made Global Warming The two most basic Smoking Guns proving that carbon from fossil fuels is warming the Earth. by Brian Dunning Filed under Environment, General Science, Logic & Persuasion Skeptoid Podcast #549 December 13, 2016 Podcast transcript | Download | Subscribe Listen: I encourage everyone to listen to this episode, or to read and share its transcript online. I am only going to make two points today, and they are to share two of the "smoking guns" by which we know that this is happening. Proof that the atmosphere's excess CO2 is human generated You might think that carbon is carbon, and that if we find there's more CO2 in the atmosphere, its source can't easily be proven. You've heard of carbon dating; this is done by comparing the relative amounts of carbon-12 and carbon-14 in a sample. When a forest fire burns, the CO2 in the smoke came from living or recently dead fuel, so the smoke contains the same proportions of carbon-12 and carbon-14 as the atmosphere. Spectroscopy is hard science.

The Skeptic's Dictionary Antireality: Antivaxxers, global warming denial, and religious oppression. “Against unreason, the gods themselves contend in vain.” —with apologies to Friedrich Schiller Lately I’ve been trying to write more about science, rather than write about those who attack it. I love science, and I love promoting it. But the forces of antireality keep plodding forward, shouting and frothing and making a mess of things. This is me, saying something. Vaccines save lives. Vaccines don’t contain toxins in the way antivaxxers want you to believe. And, of course, vaccines don’t cause autism. Oh, that last bit. I understand the fear a parent has over their child’s health; I’m a parent and along with my wife I had to make a lot of health decisions for my daughter, when she was a baby and even still today. Read up on vaccines. Also: My pal Tara Smith wrote an open letter to her father about his antivax leanings. [Update (14:00 UTC Apr. 5, 2013): In case you think this isn't really a problem, there is currently a measles outbreak in Swansea, Wales. Global Warming? OK, I’m done.