Weekend Reading


Links, posts, and articles of interest to SBP readers:

Science and Science Communication

How can science advocates improve their communication? By using stories, argues Keith Kloor: Why Science Fails to Persuade.

Good science vs. bad science from Julia Belluz.

Jonathan Kay: The Suzanne Somers effect: Responding to medical conspiracy theories.


Don’t legitimize the witch doctors says Timothy Caulfield. Why do governments allow naturopaths and homeopaths to self-regulate? An important column. Highlights:

In general, the services provided by naturopaths reside either in the realm of commonsense lifestyle advice (get lots of sleep, eat well and stay active) or they have little empirical evidence to support their use. In fact, many naturopathic practices are based on a semi-spiritual theory (the healing power of nature), and have no foundation in science. They reside largely in the realm of pseudoscience.


Homeopathy is a “treatment” so obviously devoid of scientific merit that it is consistently mocked on TV shows, by comedians and, of course, by skeptics. Nevertheless, for naturopaths, homeopathy is not some fringe practice utilized by a few rogue clinics that have decided to shun modern science. Homeopathy is central to naturopathic medicine. The website for the newly formed Alberta college has a picture of an attractive naturopath dispensing what looks to be a homeopathic solution. The text under the picture proudly notes the use of homeopathy. The president of the new college reiterated this message in the speech he delivered after Minister Horne gave his speech. And, of course, it is a practice that is taught in Canada’s leading school of naturopathic medicine.

When Minister Horne tells the world that the Alberta government believes that the practices of naturopaths are effective, he is talking about homeopathy. This is not implied legitimization of a bogus treatment; this is official and overt legitimization of a bogus treatment.

And check out naturocrit for some whoppers from Alberta naturopaths. Saying “science” a lot doesn’t make it so.

Naturopaths push for licensing in Massachusetts (again) via Science-Based Medicine. Vetoed by the Governor.

Chatelaine magazine asks a naturopath about influenza: Evidence-free “tips” include vitamins, supplements, and (!) wearing wet socks.

From Steve Hoffman and Julia Belluz: Don’t believe medicine’s wizards of Oz.

Homeopathic vaccines: an impassioned challenge – post from a new pharmacist blogger:

 Ainsworths is a real life, registered pharmacy, and Mr Pinkus is a real life, registered pharmacist. The main problem with this story, however, is that Mr Pinkus is not selling real life medicines to his real-life patients, and in doing so he is putting peoples’ lives at risk. In an expose by BBC News, Mr Pinkus has been caught recommending by email that homeopathic whooping cough “vaccines” are used instead of getting a proper, real-life vaccine.

This story has also been covered by Chemist and Druggist. You need to be a member to see the column, but scroll down to check out the comments, some of whom claim to be pharmacists. And also see MHRA orders homoeopathic pharmacy to stop advertising “vaccines”.

“I am a huge proponent of evidence-based medicine.” says the homeopath. Guess that’s going to limit what he recommends. Oh wait. No it doesn’t.

Also on homeopathy, from The Telegraph: Homeopathy is ‘rubbish’, says chief medical officer:

Professor Dame Sally Davies said she was “perpetually surprised” homeopathy was provided on the NHS, and branded homeopaths “peddlers.” Giving evidence to the Commons Science and Technology committee, she also expressed fears about the prescription of homeopathic remedies to treat malaria and other illnesses.‘I’m very concerned when homeopathic practitioners try to peddle this way of life to prevent malaria or other infectious disease,” she said.“I am perpetually surprised that homeopathy is available on the NHS.”Dame Sally, who is England’s most senior doctor, concluded by remarking that homeopathy “is rubbish”.

The Chiropractor as a Primary Care Provider? The battle continues.

Judge Forces Parents to Vaccinate Child. Parent had been advised by a homeopath to use “homeopathic” vaccines and avoid real vaccines.

If you try one detox this year, make it this one says Scicurious. Also check out the Detox Delusion tumblr and Twitter.

The Most Extreme Diets, Detoxes, And Cleanses

The Most Extreme Diets, Detoxes, And Cleanses

Juice cleanses don’t cure cancer, but that doesn’t stop claims that they do (video).

General Medicine

A Different Model — Medical Care in Cuba

Dr Bob’s Alternative Vaccine Schedule? He made it up.

Boy almost dies of tetanus because he was unvaccinated. Son’s ordeal was our fault, say parents, who are now vaccine advocates.

“Placebo effects” are often misunderstood. Steven Novella explains

The Daily Beast’s shameful anti-vaccine rant.


Do you fear fructose? Good info here: What journalists should know before writing about fructophobia.

Reality Check: 5 Risks of a Raw Vegan Diet

Photo from flickr user Banff Lake Louise under a CC licence.

4 thoughts on “Weekend Reading

  1. Thank you for this terrific reading list.
    It is hard to find stuff that is relevant and useful from a critical point of view.
    Hope you make this a series!

  2. Hi,

    Just to say thank you very much for linking to my blogpost. Really appreciate it!

    Great reading list, will be having a good look at a few of these sites

  3. Thank you! Now I have something to relax to this weekend as an ex tropical cyclone bears down on us. Too hot to snuggle up, too wet to go outside!

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