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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.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

In reply to Michael Fitzpatrick | Western Sloth

In a recent article on Spiked, the author Dr Michael Fitzpatrick took to ‘slamming the campaign to ban a wacky health mag from shops’. Fitzpatrick takes considerable dislike to my blog posts in his article, and although attempts to fairly discredit my view, fails to fully understand the context of what I wrote.

First off, Spiked editorial have made the mistake of throwing a sub-heading on the story claiming we are trying to ‘ban’ WDDTY...

Read the full post: In reply to Michael Fitzpatrick | Western Sloth

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.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Sick as a dog – another worthless advert in WDDTY | Western Sloth

So I was just casually scanning over the most recent (November) issue of WDDTY – yes that issue with the atrocious homeopathy and cancer article – when my eyes glanced over an advert for:

‘Apocaps –The world’s first all-natural apoptogen formula’

Now I have to admit, when I see the prefix ‘apop’, I automatically think of apoptosis, the process of programmed cell death that plays such a vital role in many aspects of an organism’s development. On closer inspection it’s clear that the product in question is selling something about apoptosis – something that got my interest having previously spent time in the lab researching that very mechanism.

Read the full post: Sick as a dog – another worthless advert in WDDTY | Western Sloth

Friday, 8 November 2013

Encyclopedia of American Loons: #783: Suzanne Humphries

Suzanne Humphries is a nephrologist turned vocal proponent of pseudoscience, woo, and worse. She has been involved with the International Medical Council on Vaccination, a front group for anti-vaccinationism, and has written several blog posts and done several podcasts and interviews (e.g. for NaturalNews) insinuating that kidney failure is caused by vaccines...

Full lunacy here: Encyclopedia of American Loons: #783: Suzanne Humphries

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Encyclopedia of American Loons: #780: Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington is – as most of you know – the socialite founder of Huffington Post. Despite other potential virtues, the Huffington Post’s attitude to science, especially in their health and well-being sections, is more than questionable; indeed, Huffpo is an abysmally shameless pusher of pseudoscience and woo, including anti-vaccinationism, Deepak Chopra-style altmed garbage; and self-help articles most of all reminiscent of The Secret....

Full lunacy here: Encyclopedia of American Loons: #780: Arianna Huffington

Trolled by WDDTY?! | Western Sloth

On October 31stWDDTY released the November issue of their magazine.  As expected, it was a ‘cancer special’, carrying the front page head line ‘New Light on Cancer’.  The apparent ‘new light’ may refer to an article about homeopathy titled ‘Like Water for Chemo’.  This article was written by Bryan Hubbard, the co-editor of WDDTY who refused to answer my emails when I questioned him about the accuracy and truthfulness in his writings.  The way Bryan writes in this article is actually quite amusing.  It reads like he knows it’s a load of bullshit but is desperate to draw out any minute piece of evidence he can find to make it all sound plausible...

Read on: Trolled by WDDTY?! | Western Sloth