Who Am I and What are My Qualifications?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

My name is Andy Lewis and I am the mad inventor of the quackometer. I also write the blog.

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.

See also:
Who Funds the Quackometer?


*photo by blue matrix photography

2 Comments:

Anonymous jim and theresa ream said...

Dear Sir,
My husband and I thought your comments were very well written, as
we recognize intelligence when we encounter it. We agree with you on some things, such as chiropractic & homeopathy being largely bunk. Also, we've not read you before. (Psychic pun Not intended!)
We don't believe in western medicine being the right choice for all ills. Of course we need good surgeons, but non-invasive surgery is sometimes the best choice.
For example, Statins to me are pretty much deadly garbage. I could cite many examples,but I won't.
I do want to ask you a question, 'cos my husband & I have been taking Drs. Whitaker & Williams nutritional supplements for roughly a year & we've not found anything bad about either of 'em!
We've looked pretty hard, too. (At least we think we have. What do you
have on these two? Thank you, sincerely, jimntess2001@yahoo.com
PS we'll be looking forward to hearing from you.

July 19, 2007 11:31 AM  
Anonymous jim and theresa said...

Dear Sir,
My husband and I thought your comments were very well written, as
we recognize intelligence when we encounter it. We agree with you on some things, such as chiropractic & homeopathy being largely bunk. Also, we've not read you before. (Psychic pun Not intended!)
We don't believe in western medicine being the right choice for all ills. Of course we need good surgeons, but non-invasive surgery is sometimes the best choice. The "big pharma" machine is pretty scary!
Statins to me are pretty much deadly garbage. SSRI's? I could cite many examples,but I won't.
I do want to ask you a question, 'cos my husband & I have been taking Drs. Whitaker & Williams nutritional supplements for roughly a year & we've not found anything bad about either of 'em!
We've looked pretty hard, too. (At least we think we have.) What do you have on these two? Thank you! -Sincerely, jimntess2001@yahoo.com
PS we'll be looking forward to hearing from you.

July 19, 2007 11:47 AM  

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