Category: Reiki

Top Ten Popular Posts on The Science Bit, 2013

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Here are the top ten most read posts on The Science Bit in 2013: Continue reading “Top Ten Popular Posts on The Science Bit, 2013”

American Psychological Association promotes pseudotherapies. Again.

As we all know, the old days were the best. You know. Ye olden days. This is what I thought when I received this tweet alert from @ClaireMcCallion earlier today:

It links to an article just out in the American Psychological Association’s house journal, Monitor on Psychology and yes, @ClaireMcCallion’s right, it does SCREAM pseudoscience.

This all reminds me of an incident many years ago, when the Monitor published another article about pseudotherapies in psychology. Essentially, that article soft-soaped the use of complementary/alternative approaches in clinical psychology and encouraged psychologists to collaborate with the National Council for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) in researching and developing CAM approaches.

Let’s remind ourselves, for a moment, that such therapies — by definition — (a) lack biological plausibility and are argued to operate using forces that are as yet inexplicable to mainstream science, and (b) have not demonstrated medicinal effects in ways that can be demonstrated in unambiguous, rigorous, empirical trials.

You might refer to such therapies as quackery. I couldn’t possibly comment.

Nonetheless, back in ’04 I was in the habit of banging my letter-writing head off the brick wall that is the editorial offices of such publications. As per the following: Continue reading “American Psychological Association promotes pseudotherapies. Again.”

Skeptics vs. Quacks: Who’s winning?

http://twitter.com/#!/bengoldacre/status/60028892009861120

Last week, the British market research firm YouGov published findings from a national UK opinion survey on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). While the survey focused on CAM in general, YouGov chose to focus on the findings for homeopathy in their publicity materials. In summary, 43% of the sample believed homeopathy to be either “definitely” or “possibly” effective. Given that 20% reported not having a particular view (i.e., “Don’t know”), this meant that only 37% explicitly reported skepticism. In other words, of those adults willing to express an opinion, the majority expressed some level of belief in the effectiveness of homeopathy. This is despite the well established biological implausibility and medical inefficacy of homeopathic treatment.

Similar results emerged for other CAM treatments, suggesting that belief in pseudoscientific medicine continues to prosper in the UK. Noted science writer, blogger, and top skeptic Ben Goldacre even posted a tweet implying that the figures undermined claims that science advocates were “winning” the war on quackery (a point he elaborated in a subsequent blog post). However, should we really be that pessimistic? Because despite these initial impressions, the details within the figures may actually contain some encouraging signs. Continue reading “Skeptics vs. Quacks: Who’s winning?”

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