Quackwatch And The Skeptics Society – Web Sites For Rationalists

imageI’ve just finished reading Dan Brown’s latest novel – The Lost Symbol. If you don’t recognize Brown, you’ll know who I mean when I tell you that’s he’s the author of The Da Vinci Code – a novel which was roundly criticized for its historical and scientific inaccuracies. Despite the criticism, the novel went on to become a best seller (80 Million copies sold), and a film which has racked up almost a Billon Dollars in ticket sales.

This latest novel is written in the same (Da Vinci Code) style – relying on social-science fiction to advance the plot. And, as in his earlier novels, Brown’s continued use of symbolic pseudo science – in this case, Noetic Science, (the theory that the Brain holds untapped extraordinary power), will be lapped up by those who bought into the mystical nonsense in The Da Vinci Code; Jesus had a wife, a family, and didn’t actually die by crucifixion.

I recall reading several years ago that “Roughly one out of six Canadians — and one out of eight Americans – believe that Jesus faked his death on the cross, got married, and had a family”. Very weird!

I have to admit – I had a minor struggle trying to comprehend why otherwise intelligent people are so ready to take Brown’s fictional representations as factual, and literally accurate. But only a minor struggle – given the large numbers of Internet users who are so easily convinced to act against their own best interests, by cyber criminals, I’m more than aware that peoples’ behavior is often stranger than fiction.

After finishing reading the novel, curiosity got the better of me, and I spent some time researching Noetic Science in an attempt to learn the mysteries involved in turning Lead into Gold.  Smile

In that journey, I discovered a couple of web sites, Quackwatch, and The Skeptics Society, that are worth considering as additions to your Bookmarks.

Quackwatch – From the site:

Quackwatch has grown considerably. To help visitors with special areas of interest, we maintain 22 additional sites for autism, chiropractic, dentistry, multilevel marketing, and many other hot topics. We are also closely affiliated with the National Council Against Health Fraud, which cosponsors our free weekly newsletter, and with Bioethics Watch, which highlights issues of questionable research on humans.

Our Internet Health Pilot site provides links to hundreds of reliable health sites. Our Casewatch site contains a large library of legal cases, licensing board actions, government sanctions, and regulatory actions against questionable medical products. These sites can be accessed through the “Visit Our Affiliated Sites” drop-down menu above. Their contents can be searched selectively with our WebGlimpse multi-site search engine or all at once through our Google search page.

The Skeptics Society – From the site:

The Skeptics Society is a scientific and educational organization of scholars, scientists, historians, magicians, professors and teachers, and anyone curious about controversial ideas, extraordinary claims, revolutionary ideas, and the promotion of science. Our mission is to serve as an educational tool for those seeking clarification and viewpoints on those controversial ideas and claims.

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16 Comments

Filed under Communication, Education, Living Life, Opinion, Personal Perspective, Recommended Web Sites

16 responses to “Quackwatch And The Skeptics Society – Web Sites For Rationalists

  1. Mal

    Hey Bill,
    Yes, Dan Brown was right. I saw Jesus serving groceries at my local shop, helped by Elvis and Bruce Lee.
    Some people really are sucked in very easily aren’t they lol.
    Cheers
    Mal

  2. Michael Fisher

    Nice one Bill ~ you & your readers might enjoy this short comedy video (fingers crossed):
    Homeopathic A&E

    • Thanks Michael,

      What a good laugh – my views exactly.

      This past January, the CBC did a piece on Homeopathy – Cure or Con? Video (22.39). From the comments on the site, its plain to see that the Homeopathy community launched an aggressive campaign in an attempt to undermine the report. I suspect these same people have no doubts as to the validity of Noetic Science.

      Best,

      Bill

      • dar

        Homeopathy is bunk- No Way! Y’all should know that this ret. mechanic/cynic would not champion anything that’s not been self-tested. back in 1988 was laid low by rheumatoid arthritis, which was in All the joints.Read a book from the library on homeopathy:it sounded absurd, but then so is quantum physics…the amelioration of inflammation/pain was instantaneous…well, that could of been wishful thinking on my part,you say…in the ensuing decades have seen homeopathy work wonders on critters& by gum,THEY don’t lie… Homeopathy isn’t patented,it has no dire side effects ,& why would a country like India with milleniums old Ayurvedic healing tradition subscribe to a system discovered by a German physician two hundred years ago, if it was bunk? How many of you have tried it?How can you condemn it? Are You not channeling BigPharma/Brother? Go to mercola.com, naturalnews.com & do a search…FYI, during the spanish flu epidemic, homeopathy had a success rate of over 90%; in the early 20th ct [before the rise of Rockerfeller&drug cos] there were hundreds of homeopathic colleges in the US. Follow the money.
        As for the CBC’s condemnation of homeopathy, it was a journalistically appalling joke of a show…Sad thing is, it’s no skin off my back if you lay your lives on the line with allopathy’s poison,burn,cut,irradiate methods & become another pathetic statistic on it’s altar of crimes against humanity.
        cheers

        • Hey Dar,

          I have no problem accepting your experience with homeopathy as your reality. What works for you – works for you.

          On the other hand, I have had my own experiences with homeopathy and I can assure you – it did not work. That’s my reality.

          There’s no need to address each of your proof statements individually since the following program from the BBC’s Science and Nature – Homeopathy: The Test – programme summary deals with some of the questions you raise.

          Best,

          Bill

  3. Hi Bill,

    I think I am somewhere in the middle on this. I’m not into the conspiracy theories against medicine but I do believe there are natural ways to cure illness.

    So although I am not buying stock in crystals or in that lady’s kit of medicines. I don’t believe the medical community is completely honest in everything they put out. As with everything else, just follow the money trail.

    The same logic we use about the computer user being the ultimate protection applies to life as well. I don’t think we need the government to regulate homeopathy medicines, the people just need to be smarter in making decisions.

    Thanks for the article and the sites, I will be checking them out

    • Hey TeX,

      Yes, I strongly agree – there are natural ways to cure illness. And you’re right – the medical community, particularly the pharmaceutical industry, has a less than stellar reputation for honesty and self governance. But, I have strong reservations when it comes to homeopathy. Frankly, I think it’s hogwash.

      Like you, I don’t think homeopathy should be regulated (at least not at this stage) – let those who believe in its effectiveness exercise their right to free choice.

      Best,

      Bill

  4. “I have to admit – I had a minor struggle trying to comprehend why otherwise intelligent people are so ready to take Brown’s fictional representations as factual, and literally accurate.”

    Someone like Brown cleverly weaves fact with fiction with the intention of making a convincing result. If it did not convince on some level it would flop. it also establishes an intellectual gloss that appeals to those who want it to be true.

    Your experience here can be a good example of your question. Quackwatch is on a similar type of quest as The DaVinci Code. Its goal is to shill for the corporate faction of the medical industry. To do so, Quackwatch weaves its fabric with both fact and fiction, ensuring that there is enough of the former to make the latter convincing. The members write pieces about well-established scientific concepts, then turn around and make conclusive pronouncements about what they consider questionable (i.e., competing) modalities long before science ever has the chance to arrive at a conclusion.

    One laughable example is acupuncture. Quackwatch has attempted to discredit acupuncture from day one (which incidentally needn’t ‘compete’ with western medicine. One working colleague of mine was an anesthesiologist who included acupuncture in his bag of tricks at a major hospital). When presented with a study that demonstrated that acupuncture worked on animals, his response was maybe animals respond to a placebo effect. Clearly desperation on the cusp of madness.

    Speaking of madness: Barrett’s medical credentials are in the field of psychiatry, a career which he never managed to get off the ground. It’s curious that someone whose chosen field of medicine was clearly the least scientific, yet would go on to pontificate as an expert on all manner of scientific specialties. His court appearances as a “legal expert” were finally exposed when his legal expertise came from an incomplete correspondence course. His FDA expertise was thrown out of court when it was learned it consisted of a few conversations with someone who worked at the FDA.

    This shoddy track record carries on into The Skeptic Society, whose members get suckered into the same types of scenarios that you bring up. Quackwatch, junkscience.com, Michael Fumento, John Stossel . . . all examples of corporate shills masquerading as the gatekeepers of science.

  5. Oh: a couple of the most important terms: rationalist, reason, science, skeptic . . . all of these terms are used as bait on a hook.

  6. Keith

    The Quackwatch site is a FRAUD and FRONT for BIG PHARMA. He criticizes EVERYTHING having to do with natural health solutions and also other constructive groups that are doing good in society.

    http://www.canlyme.com/quackwatch.html
    http://quackpotwatch.org/

    At trial, under a heated cross-examination by Negrete, Barrett conceded that he was not a Medical Board Certified psychiatrist because he had failed the certification exam.

    This was a major revelation since Barrett had provided supposed expert testimony as a psychiatrist and had testified in numerous court cases. Barrett also had said that he was a legal expert even though he had no formal legal training.

    Barrett also had to concede his ties to the AMA, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

    • Thanks Keith,

      Glad you brought this information forward.

      Bill

    • The board certification issue is misunderstood. It’s true he failed it, but back then it was not required to become a psychiatrist. Barrett has had a long string of courtroom failures, particularly in defamation suits, none of which he has won.

      He’s used to lost court cases though. What he does is file complaints with the government about practitioners of medical techniques that he does not like. The government then raids the victim’s office and takes his records and equipment. Over the course of the next couple of years or so, the practitioner is without income and indeed, even if he eventually wins, his reputation has taken a fatal hit and his patients have gone elsewhere.

      Keep your eyes open for the American Council on Science and Health. They are of the same variety as Quackwatch, though they’re much more successful. You see them all over the media.

  7. Fred

    (the theory that the Brain holds untapped extraordinary power)
    The idea being people only use 10% of their brain ability.
    The guy who thought that up was using 10% of his brain.

    Orwell’s 1984 explains the state of society today.
    That and Edward Bernay, Freud’s nephew.
    Knowledge is fear.

    Eddie BABY:
    “If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it?”

    “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized.”