The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


alternative medicine

eSkeptic for June 29, 2021

Shermer, Sanford, and Novella try wheatgrass juice, with amusing results. PLUS: in a column from Skeptic magazine 26.2 (2021), Harriet Hall, M.D. recounts that Mark Twain was an enthusiastic proponent of “alternative medicine” long before the term was coined — and much of it remains the same as in his time.

Mark Twain and Alternative Medicine

In this column from Skeptic magazine 26.2 (2021), Harriet Hall, M.D. recounts that Mark Twain was an enthusiastic proponent of “alternative medicine” long before the term was coined — and much of it remains the same as in his time.

Coconut Oil: Health Food or Health Hazard?

Incredible health claims are being made for coconut oil — from reversing Alzheimer’s, heart and liver disease, to treating epilepsy, slowing aging, and reducing asthma. Marketing hype has triumphed over scientific evidence. In this column from Skeptic magazine 24.3 (2019), Harriet Hall, M.D. looks at the evidence for some of these extraordinary claims.

eSkeptic for September 24, 2019

Science Salon # 84 Michael Shermer speaks with Christof Koch about his new book The Feeling of Life Itself: Why Consciousness is Widespread but Can’t Be Computed; PLUS, Harriet Hall, M.D. looks at the evidence for some of the extraordinary claims for coconut oil.

eSkeptic for May 22, 2019

In Science Salon # 67, Atheist Overreach, Christian Smith explains why we ought to be skeptical of the increasingly vociferous and confident claims of atheist apologists about morality, science, and human nature; PLUS Harriet Hall, M.D. examines the dubious claims of radiation hormesis — that low levels of radiation are beneficial to health.

Is Low-Dose Radiation Good for You? The Questionable Claims for Hormesis

Harriet Hall, M.D. examines the dubious claims of radiation hormesis — that low levels of radiation are beneficial to health.

Calling SCAM a Scam

Harriet Hall, M.D. (aka the SkepDoc) reviews SCAM: So-Called Alternative Medicine by Edzard Ernst (UK: Societas. 2018. ISBN 978-1845409708).

eSkeptic for July 25, 2018

In Science Salon # 30, Michael Shermer talks with University of Toronto psychiatrist Dr. Ralph Lewis about helping cancer patients cope without religion; Harriet Hall, M.D. reviews SCAM: So-Called Alternative Medicine by Edzard Ernst.

eSkeptic for February 28, 2018

In this week’s eSkeptic, Harriet Hall, M.D. (aka The SkepDoc) examines many of the health benefit claims for juicing, and finds them lacking scientific scrutiny.

Juicing for Health or Torture

Harriet Hall, M.D. (aka The SkepDoc) examines many of the health benefit claims for juicing, and finds them lacking scientific scrutiny.

eSkeptic for January 31, 2018

pH diets, alkaline water, urine pH tests, pseudoscience and bogus cancer cures abound. In this week’s eSkeptic, Harriet Hall, M.D. combats the plague of pH misinformation by distinguishing pHacts from pHiction.

pH Mythology: Separating pHacts from pHiction

pH diets, alkaline water, urine pH tests, pseudoscience and bogus cancer cures abound. In this column, Harriet Hall, M.D. combats the plague of pH misinformation by distinguishing pHacts from pHiction.

Functional Medicine: Pseudoscientific Silliness

Harriet Hall, M.D. (the SkepDoc) examines the latest flavor of integrative medicine called “functional medicine” (FM) — a Trojan horse designed to sneak non-science-based medicine into conventional medical practice.

eSkeptic for August 16, 2017

In this week’s eSkeptic Harriet, Hall, M.D. (the SkepDoc) examines the latest flavor of integrative medicine called “functional medicine” (FM) — a Trojan horse designed to sneak non-science-based medicine into conventional medical practice.

The Century-Long Fight Against American Quackery

Guest writer Robert Blaskiewicz reports on the early days of the ongoing battle to protect American patients from cynically fraudulent quack "medicine."

eSkeptic for July 27, 2016

Modern medicine deals in probabilities and informed guesses based on scientific evidence. Complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) deals in certainties based on fantasy and intuition. Harriet Hall, M.D. reminds us that, although modern medicine is riddled with uncertainty, it’s still far better than any other option.

Uncertainty in Medicine

Modern medicine deals in probabilities and informed guesses based on scientific evidence. Complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) deals in certainties based on fantasy and intuition. Harriet Hall, M.D. reminds us that, although modern medicine is riddled with uncertainty, it’s still far better than any other option.

Draw Them A Picture: How Skeptic Activists and a Cartoon Kept Quacks Away from Infants

What does it take to convince legislators with a negligible understanding of science or ignorance of alternative medicine to kill a bill that would allow parents to choose Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) providers and “natural remedies” for their infants? Linda Rosa takes a look at the many attempts naturopathic “doctors” have made seeking recognition as the equivalent of physicians.

eSkeptic for July 13, 2016

What does it take to convince legislators with a negligible understanding of science or ignorance of alternative medicine to kill a bill that would allow parents to choose Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) providers and “natural remedies” for their infants? Linda Rosa takes a look at the many attempts naturopathic “doctors” have made seeking recognition as the equivalent of physicians.

eSkeptic for June 22, 2016

Could it be that shoes are the world’s most dangerous invention and the cause of health problems ranging from autoimmune diseases to premature aging? In this week’s eSkeptic, Harriet Hall, M.D. examines the claims of “grounding” or “earthing” — the idea that shoes are the most destructive invention ever and that maintaining health requires direct contact with the earth.

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Detecting Baloney

Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic) by Deanna and Skylar (High Tech High Media Arts, San Diego, CA)

The Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic)

For a class project, a pair of 11th grade physics students created the infographic shown below, inspired by Michael Shermer’s Baloney Detection Kit: a 16-page booklet designed to hone your critical thinking skills.

FREE PDF Download

Wisdom of Harriet Hall

Top 10 Things to Know About Alternative Medicine

Harriet Hall M.D. discusses: alternative versus conventional medicine, flu fear mongering, chiropractic, vaccines and autism, placebo effect, diet, homeopathy, acupuncture, “natural remedies,” and detoxification.

FREE Video Series

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Understanding the difference could save your life! In this superb 10-part video lecture series, Harriet Hall M.D., contrasts science-based medicine with so-called “complementary and alternative” methods.

FREE PDF Download

The Top 10 Weirdest Things

The Top Ten Strangest Beliefs

Michael Shermer has compiled a list of the top 10 strangest beliefs that he has encountered in his quarter century as a professional skeptic.

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Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (paperback cover)

Who believes them? Why? How can you tell if they’re true?

What is a conspiracy theory, why do people believe in them, and can you tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?

FREE PDF Download

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

Mind altering experiences are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…

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Top 10 Myths About Evolution

Top 10 Myths About Evolution (and how we know it really happened)

If humans came from apes, why aren’t apes evolving into humans? Find out in this pamphlet!

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Learn to be a Psychic in 10 Easy Lessons

Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Easy Lessons

Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.

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