Who Am I and What are My Qualifications?
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The Quackometer and blog are experiments in critical thinking. If you read what I am writing, I very rarely venture past using a basic understanding of science. Most of the time, what I am doing is spotting common errors of thinking and argument, such as post hoc thinking, magical thinking, selective thinking and appeals to authority. As such, examining the claims of alleged quacks rarely relies on detailed medical knowledge. As such, being critical of health claims rarely needs detailed medical knowledge and, as such, this is something we can all take part in and debate.
A common response to my posts has been to question my qualifications for writing. This is known as an ad hominem attack and I will always try not to engage. The truth of whether homeopathy is better than a placebo has nothing to with what exams I have sat, and how many hours I have studied homeopathy texts. Either it works or it doesn't. Our food today is either OK to eat or worryingly nutrient poor. The certificates on my study wall have nothing to do with this. These days, we all have access to vast amounts of information on the web. I want to debate what is good evidence and what is rubbish. I want to see who is presenting good arguments for their claims and who is talking gobbledegook.
For this reason, I do not want to offer chances for my critics to start fights about my education. I want to stick to the arguments. I am not trying to be anonymous. You can contact me whenever you like and I will gladly engage with you, but lets focus on the arguments rather than personal details.
Oh, and the usual disclaimer. This is a site about critical thinking - it is not giving medical advice. Go and see your doctor if something is worrying you.
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*photo by blue matrix photography