Article Archive for November 2007

BBC Editorial Complaints Unit debags the Panorama WiFi scare
By Ben Goldacre
Posted in , syndicated on 30 November 2007
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You will remember Panorama’s WiFi program very clearly. Even the children in the school where they tried to film it spotted the problems with their methodology, and they were promptly booted out by a science teacher. I for one found those two little details truly mood enhancing, and you can read the full story here [...]

Patrick Holford: “New study finds the more supplements you take, the healthier you are”. Does it really?
By jonhw
Posted in , syndicated on 30 November 2007
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Here at Holford Watch, we like the idea of good research into nutrition. So, when we got an e-mail from Holford’s e-mail mailing list - telling us about a new article in the Nutrition Journal [PDF link] - we read it with interest. And we were really disappointed in the quality of this [...]

What’s Woo Worth?
By jdc325
Posted in , , , syndicated on 30 November 2007
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A common excuse for the lack of proper research in CAM is that “only Big Pharma can afford to do research”. Alt-Med apologists like to assert that there’s no money in it (homeopathy, herbal remedies etc) and so they can’t afford to do the research. I think that’s rubbish. Here’s why:

Jeanette Winterson: Art and ‘Misrepresentations’
By Le Canard Noir
Posted in , syndicated on 30 November 2007
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Healing fools. The seemingly miraculous ability of our bodies to naturally fight and recover from illness, and our inquisitive brains that are eager to seek out causative patterns in all things, means that we all too readily attribute our healing moments to whatever magic beans we were rubbing at the time. Some are so impressed by their own healing stories that they start to make businesses

Massively Distracting, Cruelly Deceiving Quackery
By Le Canard Noir
Posted in , syndicated on 30 November 2007
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On the eve of the Society of Homeopaths’ symposium in London on homeopathy and AIDS, the SoH issue a press release. It is a statement about how they are warm and cuddly and complementary and working oh so hard to dominate create a single register of homeopaths. They are definitely not promoting quack cures for AIDS.

It is well documented now about how so many of their press releases are simply

Massively Distracting, Cruelly Deceiving Quackery
By Le Canard Noir
Posted in , syndicated on 30 November 2007
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On the eve of the Society of Homeopaths’ symposium in London on homeopathy and AIDS, the SoH issue a press release. It is a statement about how they are warm and cuddly and complementary and working oh so hard to dominate create a single register of homeopaths. They are definitely not promoting quack cures for AIDS.

It is well documented now about how so many of their press releases are simply

Society of Homeopaths in untruthful hypocritical AIDS press release non-shock
By gimpy
Posted in , syndicated on 30 November 2007
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The Society of Homeopaths (SoH) have just released a press release justifying their astonishing AIDS conference. If you remember both Ben Goldacre and Nick Cohen have been highly critical of this conference. Fisked for your pleasure and my blood pressure below.

Skeptobot has stolen the Mini-blog idea!
By Lave
Posted in syndicated on 30 November 2007
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There has not been very many updates lately, as I’ve been far too busy with the final year of my PhD. But I have seen a number of great links I wanted to post. And I’ve had a few great things sent in by readers that I haven’t had time to post yet - bu…

What’s wrong with Shang et al.?
By Paul Wilson
Posted in , syndicated on 30 November 2007
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Shang et al. recently published a meta-analysis comparing homeopathy with ‘conventional’ treatments in the Lancet (Lancet 366; 726-732). This is the most recent of the meta-analyses cited by Ben Goldacre in his excellent Guardian piece on homeopathy. H…

Christina Odone and freedom of speech
By pj
Posted in , syndicated on 29 November 2007
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According to Channel 4 news that I’ve just watched Christina Odone was ‘censored’ for insulting atheists. Digging a little deeper reveals her on the Today programme (here around 21 mins in) and this from the New Humanist blog. Odone on the Today progra…

JML Pest Shield: ASA result!
By Poor Pothecary
Posted in , , syndicated on 29 November 2007
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See the update to Gnawing doubts: JML Pest Shield.

Did You Just Call Me A Cult?
By jdc325
Posted in , syndicated on 29 November 2007
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In the wake of Ben Goldacre’s excellent recent articles on homeopathy in The Lancet and The Guardian (reproduced in The Daily Mail), several blogs have been started with the intention of defending the indefensible - homeopathy.

L-Arginine: dubious supplement marketing
By Magic Darts
Posted in syndicated on 29 November 2007
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Miranda Holt in the Argus
By mugsandmoney
Posted in , syndicated on 28 November 2007
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WARNING – the health advice which follows is misleading, inaccurate, and dangerous. Meningitis is a serious illness which can cause death. If you suspect that you or anyone you know is suffering from meningitis, then you are advised to seek emergency medical attention immediately. Mumps is also potentially serious and you should consult a doctor.

The Myth of The Secret Eight
By apgaylard
Posted in , syndicated on 28 November 2007
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There seems to be a persistent myth among homeopathic apologists that the final eight homeopathic studies (large and of high quality) analysed in the famous Lancet paper by Shang et al. are somehow secret.
Here is a recent example of this piece of homeomythology:

“… When Shang et al (Lancet 2005) did a metaanalysis of 110 homeopathy [...]

Winterson/Goldacre Head-to-Head in the Daily Mail
By Le Canard Noir
Posted in , syndicated on 28 November 2007
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The Daily Mail have re-printed the Guardian’s homeopathic spat between Jeanette Winterson and Ben Goldacre. Both articles (trimmed down) are now head-to-head.

But not all is at it seams. I have done some photo analysis on the pictures on that page and uncovered a disturbing truth. Look at the picture below. After some photo manipulation I have been able to reveal this…

Look at the picture

Campaigns
By jdc325
Posted in , syndicated on 28 November 2007
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Just a brief post today on campaigns. Ben Goldacre’s latest post - http://www.badscience.net/2007/11/make-your-own-id/ - is on biometrics and ID theft and one of the comments on his blog linked to this site: http://www.no2id.net./ Apparently, “NOW is the time to write to your MP via WriteToThem.com asking that he or she demand an immediate and permanent stop to [...]

Daily Mail in reasonable journalism shocker…..
By Dr* T
Posted in , syndicated on 27 November 2007
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No. No. No. It’s true. Look here:The Case for and Against HomeopathyEveryone’s favourite tousle-haired Bad Science Ninja, Dr Ben Goldacre (ahem, Dr - as in medical, rather than Dr* as in Chemical…) has provided the common sense side of the argument -…

Here’s something you don’t see every day.
By Ben Goldacre
Posted in , syndicated on 27 November 2007
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Jesus Christ,

Homeopath bloggers
By gimpy
Posted in syndicated on 26 November 2007
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I’ve just noticed that some homeopaths have started blogging to defend their corner. These blogs are as follows:
http://freetochoosehealth.wordpress.com/
http://goodscience.wordpress.com/
http://newparadigmmedicine.wordpress.com/
http://laughingmysocksoff.wordpress.com/ 
I will be adding them to a new blogroll. I am sure these blogs would appreciate visits from commentators with opposing views willing to engage with them. If you do then please be polite. [...]

The nice people at the SHEAF trust practice dangerously delusional activities
By gimpy
Posted in , syndicated on 26 November 2007
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One of the most alarming things about homeopaths is that they are nice caring people but in the grip of a delusion so terrible that it has the potential to cause death and needless suffering. Take the SHEAF Trust for example, this is an organisation dedicated to improving healthcare in Africa, homeopathic healthcare. [...]

Homeopath saves Spice Girls performance, apocalypse please
By gimpy
Posted in syndicated on 26 November 2007
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The Spice Girls, a novelty act who got lucky, are about to embark on a world tour with the aim of making the coming apocalypse more appealing. Apparently, according to the Daily Star, we have a homeopath to thank for the Spice Girls being well enough to perform.

But Geri Halliwell, 35, was nearly too [...]

More Blasphemy
By pj
Posted in , syndicated on 26 November 2007
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Leaving aside that realistically it doesn’t look like she has actually violated this silly law, this is another example of blasphemy laws in action: “A British schoolteacher has been arrested in Sudan accused of insulting Islam’s Prophet, after she all…

They Work For You
By jdc325
Posted in , , syndicated on 26 November 2007
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As it is possible to contact MPs quite easily now and I was wondering why homeopathic remedies are exempt from the requirement for medicines to show proof of efficacy, I decided to ask a few questions.

The Snow Crash Conundrum
By Frank the SciencePunk
Posted in syndicated on 26 November 2007
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In the seminal cyberpunk novel Snow Crash, samurai pizza delivery man Hiro sums up the problem with children’s pyjamas: “You can have ‘em flame-retardant or non-carcinogenic, but not both.”. An article by Arlene Blum, published in Science recently, shows this is an issue that persists to this day.
Blum details how we’re still in a [...]

On Star Trek, and the Lack of Toilets
By Grey
Posted in syndicated on 26 November 2007
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On Star Trek, and the Lack of Toilets

Moving on
By Mike Stanton
Posted in , syndicated on 26 November 2007
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Action for Autism is moving. And it has its own name now.
http://actionforautism.co.uk/ 
I look forward to seeing you there.

Tube map of your guts
By Frank the SciencePunk
Posted in syndicated on 25 November 2007
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I spotted this splendid design over at Ben Blackburne’s blog. I think it’s fantastic!  Textbooks would be so much clearer if the London Underground designed them.

Also: you can get this on a t-shirt! Awesome!

Make your own ID
By Ben Goldacre
Posted in syndicated on 24 November 2007
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Ben Goldacre
The Guardian 
Saturday November 24 2007
Sometimes just throwing a few long words around can make people think you know what you’re talking about. Words like “biometric”. When Alistair Darling was asked if the government will ditch ID cards in the light of this week’s data cock-up, he replied: “The key thing about identity cards is, [...]

Homeopathy - FAQ
By jaycueaitch
Posted in , syndicated on 23 November 2007
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I thought I would post the most frequently asked questions about homeopathy with my answers to them. If I’ve missed any, please let me know.