Junkfood Science: Friday funnies

November 17, 2006

Friday funnies

Today’s funnies are from Respectful Insolence:

Your Friday Dose of Woo: Getting it on for peace

Given my love of science and advocacy of evidence-based medicine, people may have come to the erroneous conclusion that I hate all woo. Nothing could be further from the truth. I just want medical woo to be subject to the same scientific testing as conventional medicine, because I believe that there should not even be a difference between “alternative medicine” and medicine. There's just medicine that has good scientific, clinical, and epidemiological evidence to suggest it works, and that's all I care about. Heck, if someone produced good scientific evidence that there was something to previous topics of Your Friday Dose of Woo as far out as quantum homeopathy, DNA activation, detoxifying boots, liver flushes, or spiritually guided surgery, I'd take a second look and perhaps even change my mind.

It's a pretty safe bet, however, that that's not going to happen, given the level of woo demonstrated by those “treatments.”

However, sometimes I come across some woo that really intrigues me, woo that I could really get into, if you know what I mean. I'm talking about woo that sounds like so much fun that even the skeptic in me (who knows that it's all woo) is still tempted by it. In fact, here's just such an example…

While the doctor notes that many claim to have produced “scientific evidence” to support their ideas, not all science is created equal. “Given a huge database consisting of sequences of random numbers, you expect to see small deviations....The more measurements that you make, the more likely you are to pick up anomalous values just by sheer random chance...like an example of the Texas sharpshooter fallacy.”

I would add another please-don’t-try-this-at-home “healing” modality discovered by the critical thinkers at Quackwatch’s healthfraud forum: self-medication with urine homeopathy. The website is complete with a Rot & Rust Tour!

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