A quickly bashed out manifesto, if I were to have such a thing

April 28, 2009 36

Last night, a friend who I have not seen for a little while, asked me an important question. She was well aware of my blogging activities as my blog rss feed pipes through delicious and then twitter and onto my facebook account, or something. Why my fascination with criticising alternative medicine? A difficult question – and after a few pints and the energy for a one word answer, I responded [read more…]

Samuel Hahnemann and his Frankenstein Experiments

April 1, 2009 75

My automated scans of the internet for all things about quackery have thrown up some interesting news today. The German newspaper Bild is reporting that an academic homeopathy journal is about to publish the discovery of fragments of a new edition of Hahnemann’s Organon. (translation here from “Die Entdeckung einer verlorenen siebte Auflage des Organon?”) For those not familiar with the origins of homeopathy, its inventor, a German doctor, wrote [read more…]

Top Ten Tips For Creating Your Own New Alternative Medicine

March 29, 2009 29

The economic downturn may mean that you are thinking of retraining as an alternative healer. You might be tempted to invest your redundancy money or savings in training courses and equipment. Think again. It may be far cheaper and much more lucrative to invent your own brand new form of quackery. Most forms of alternative medicine are at most only a few decades old or have only become popular recently. [read more…]

The Epiphenomena of Quackery

September 21, 2008 11

Sometimes it can be hard to tell science from pseudoscience. On the surface, both can look the same. What is remarkable is how deep this mimicry goes. It is not enough to have a magic sugar pill that can cure all, you also have to have pharmacies, letters after your name, registration and regulatory bodies, brass plaques, published papers, white coats, diagrams, scientific jargon and conferences. This diverse and magnificent [read more…]

Write to Your MP about our Libel Laws

September 17, 2008 6

George Monbiot writes in today’s Guardian about the shame of our libel laws in the UK. The Rath case highlights the basic injustice of such laws, Rath, a German doctor, appears to have encouraged South Africans with HIV to stop using anti-retroviral drugs, and take his vitamin pills instead. Several of them died. It’s an important story, which shows journalists are of some use after all. But the Guardian stood [read more…]

Matthias Rath: The “Definitive Charlatan”

September 12, 2008 32

The highlight of this week has been the news that Matthias Rath has folded in his attempt to sue Ben Goldacre and the Guardian. Rath will end up paying about half a million pounds for his attempt to silence and harass his critics. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving man. Matthias Rath is a modern day Lysenko. Trofim Lysenko was the Russian peasant who worked his way up through [read more…]

As seen on Amazon…

September 2, 2008 1

(as seen here.) Congratulations Ben on finally getting the book out. I will review it as soon as your publisher sees fit to send me the promised free copy and stuffed brown envelope.     Update       this could get boring…

Dispatches from the Sceptic Fields

June 28, 2008 8

It’s Shakin’ Stevens o’clock here at Glastonbury. Lunchtime. Saturday, as we emerge from the first full day of hard core mud action. It’s not my first time here. I am not wearing flip flops and I did not bring a suitcase. My first visit was in the (coughs) mid eighties. Many things have changed. Gone are the rows of blackboards advertising various alternative pharmaceuticals. No more communal showers. There are [read more…]

Welcome to the Placebo Store.

May 28, 2008 18

The advert begins… I’m Jen. I am a mommy. It’s what I love. It’s my job to make owies go away. Whether it’s a kiss or a big hug, the magic happens immediately. This is the power of placebo. Yes, ‘regular strength’ Obecalp, from placebostore.com, is the new wonder pill for stressed parents to give to their kids when they want them to stop screaming. Obecalp fills the gap when [read more…]

The Age of Quackery

March 30, 2008 16

In my last post I discussed how Hopi Ear Candles has nothing to do with the American Hopi tribe and was a technique that had only been scalding ear drums since the Eighties. Quackery likes to sell itself on its ancient roots and traditional heritage. But, by the looks of it, most quackery techniques have much more modern roots. Someone emailed me to ask if I could expand on this, [read more…]

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