Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

BMJ Group promotes acupuncture: pure greed

Posted in improbable science by Skepdude on November 11, 2008

Today brings a small setback for those  of us interested in spreading sensible ideas about science.  According to a press release

“The BMJ Group is to begin publishing a medical journal on acupuncture from next year, it was announced today (Tuesday 11 November 2008).

This will be the first complementary medicine title that the BMJ Group has published.”

And they are proud of that? What one earth is going on?   The BMJ group is a publishing company which says, of itself,

“Our brand stands for medical credibility.   We are one of the world’s best known and most respected medical publishers.”

Well perhaps it used to be.

They have certainly picked a very bad moment for this venture.  In the last year there have been at least five good books that assess the evidence carefully and honestly.  Of these, the ones that are perhaps the best on the subject of acupuncture are Singh & Ernst’s Trick or Treatment and Barker Bausell’s Snake Oil Science.  Both Ernst and Bausell have first hand experience of acupuncture research.  And crucially, none of these authors has any financial interest in whether the judgement goes for acupuncture or against it.

Here are quotations from Singh & Ernst’s conclusions

“Reliable conclusions from systematic reviews make it clear that acupuncture does not work for a whole range of conditions, except as a placebo.”

“There are some high quality trials that support the use of acupuncture for some types of pain and nausea, but there are also high quality trials that contradict this conclusion.  In short, the evidence is neither consistent nor convincing – it is borderline.”

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “DC’S IMPROBABLE SCIENCE”

Creationism in schools

Posted in improbable science by Skepdude on September 12, 2008

There has been something of a rumpus in the media today when the education secretary of the Royal Society, Michael Reiss, appeared to endorse the teaching of creationism on science classes,  The BBC’s report was only too typical.

“Call for creationism in science”

“Creationism should be discussed in school science lessons, rather than excluded, says the director  of education at the Royal Society.”

After lunch today the email below was sent out to Fellows

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “DC’S IMPROBABLE SCIENCE”

University announces review of woo

Posted in improbable science by Skepdude on September 4, 2008

After the announcement that the University of Central Lancashire (Uclan) was suspending its homeopathy “BSc” course, it seems that their vice chancellor has listened to the pressure, both internal and external, to stop bringing his university into disrepute.

An internal review of all their courses in alternative medicine was announced shortly after the course  closure.   Congratulations to Malcolm McVicar for grasping the nettle at last.  Let’s hope other universities follow his example soon.

I have acquired, indirectly, a copy of the announcement of the welcome news.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “IMPROBABLE SCIENCE”

University abandons homeopathy “degree”

Posted in improbable science by Skepdude on August 27, 2008

The first major victory in the battle for the integrity of universities seems to have been won. This email was sent by Kate Chatfield who is module leader for the “BSc” in homeopathic medicine at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN).

from Kate Chatfield…

Dear All,

It’s a sad day for us here at UCLan because we have taken the decision not to run a first year this year due to low recruitment. The course will be put ‘on hold’ for this year and next until we see what happens with the general climate. Fortunately our masters course is thriving and we have been asked to focus upon this
area and homeopathy research for the time being.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “DC’S IMPROBABLE SCIENCE”

An ex-chiropractor speaks out

Posted in improbable science by Skepdude on August 21, 2008

On 18th August I was surprised and delighted to get a letter from a young man who qualified at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic. His experiences in many ways justified what I said in my editorial, Dr Who?,, and in some cases went further. His inside knowledge is precisely what is needed.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the threatened legal action in the light of evidence like this. Now Jonathan has sent a version of his letter that he wishes to be publicised. It is a great pleasure to reproduce it below. It takes some courage for someone in his position to go public in this way. He has done an enormous service to openness, to honesty and to science itself.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “DC’S IMPROBABLE  SCIENCE”

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Doctor Who?

Posted in improbable science by Skepdude on July 25, 2008

Who should use the title ‘doctor’? The title is widely abused as shown by Gilbey1 in this issue of the NZMJ in an article entitled Use of inappropriate titles by New Zealand practitioners of acupuncture, chiropractic, and osteopathy. Meanwhile, Evans and colleagues 2, also in this issue, discuss usage and attitudes to alternative treatments.

Gilbey finds that the abuse of the title doctor is widespread and that chiropractors are the main culprits. An amazing 82% of 146 chiropractics used the title Doctor, andL most of them used the title to imply falsely that they were registered medical practitioners.

Read the full entry here at the Improbable Science website.

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