The Honest Liar's Pseudoscience Collection! In this installment of The Honest Liar, Jamy Ian Swiss considers the differences between science and pseudoscience, and discusses some highlights from his vast and colorful pseudoscience collection, from Aromatherapy to Xenoglossy!
You may want to describe the current state of Africa in another way. You may choose to qualify it differently. But it is evident that most parts of sub Saharan Africa are currently being ravaged by the mindset of the dark ages, the type that prevailed in early modern Europe. Popular mentality is gripped by irrational fear and frenzy. Superstitious beliefs abound, driving people to attack and murder in cold blood those alleged to be witches, be they family or community members. Local authorities are doing very little to address this vicious phenomenon.
Recently I came across a piece in “The New York Times” health and science section entitled “Can You Read People’s Emotions?” After a brief introduction, the reader was presented with a test claiming to measure your ability to assess people’s emotions by “reading” the expression of their eyes.
Here is a recap of the stories that appeared last week at Science-Based Medicine, a multi-author skeptical blog that separates the science from the woo-woo in medicine.
Cancer Treatment Centers of America: Revisiting the epitome of “integrative” cancer care (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/cancer-treatment-centers-of-america-revisiting-the-epitome-of-integrative-cancer-care/ The Cancer Treatment Centers of America offer integrative oncology with treatments like naturopathy, homeopathy, herbal preparations, hydrotherapy, chiropractic, aromatherapy, and ear acupuncture. They also attempt to rebrand certain science-based modalities as somehow being “alternative.” And they offer “Genomic Tumor Assessment,” something that is promising but not yet ready for prime time. The entire enterprise is irredeemably tainted by pseudoscience and quackery.
Biotin: Haircuts Plus Health Advice? (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/biotin-haircuts-plus-health-advice/ Health advice from a questionable source (a hair salon) turns out to be reasonable. Biotin was shown effective for brittle nails in 3 small preliminary studies. While the evidence is still far from definitive, biotin appears to be safe, is based on a plausible mechanism, is supported by data from animal studies, and is arguably the best remedy to try for brittle nails as we wait for further research.