Thursday, August 26, 2010

Scientology marries the Nation of Islam

Fascinating thread at Why We Protest. Apparently Farrakhan is requiring all his ministers and staff to take Dianetics courses.

This post made me lol:

Scientology = Space Opera
NOI = Race Opera

I think I see how you develop an explanation of the world and our place in it when you found a cult.

You just make up any unlikely nonsense and dox be damned.

In my cult, Grebnon made our nostrils by poking our noses with a poking stick, um, 12ty thousand years ago. How do I know this? Well, I just do.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New England Journal of Mendacity

Some loser doctors who pander to gullible rich people who Want to Believe have reviewed the evidence for acupuncture in the July 29th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

For those who don't subscribe to the NEJM, Steve Novella at Science Based Medicine has excerpts. Here's the paper's conclusion:
"As noted above, the most recent well powered clinical trials of acupuncture for chronic low back pain showed that sham acupuncture was as effective as real acupuncture. The simplest explanation of such findings is that the specific therapeutic effects of acupuncture, if present, are small, whereas its clinically relevant benefits are mostly attributable to contextual and psychosocial factors, such as patients’ beliefs and expectations, attention from the acupuncturist, and highly focused, spatially directed attention on the part of the patient."
And the author's recommendations for a hypothetical middle-aged male with chronic low back pain:
"He has specifically requested a referral for acupuncture, and we would suggest a course of 10 to 12 treatments over a period of 8 weeks from a licensed acupuncturist or a physician trained in medical acupuncture."
tl;dr: Acupuncture is crap. But tell your patients to go ahead and drop about a thousand bucks on it.

Someone commenting on Novella's article using the nick "urodovic" said this:
I e-mailed the NEJM editors and got a quick reply. Due to confidentiality issues I cannot post their exact response.

Briefly, they state that they are aware of the controversial aspect of the published article but that the ultimate judge once "the evidence" is presented, will be the reader.

OK now that just makes me rage.

Imagine if we were talking engineering or accounting rather than medicine. Someone says, "Hey the numbers in that article don't add up," and the journal editor says, "You, dear reader, can use your own math skills to calculate the correct answer."

Sorry, not good enough.

There's a right way and a wrong way to respond to valid criticism. The right way involves admitting the mistake, investigating why it happened, and making some effort to prevent it from happening again.

My email:

Dear NEJM editors,



The Tufted Titmouse

NEJM: Even the best can publish nonsense, by Mark Crislip.
Acupuncture Pseudoscience in the New England Journal of Medicine, by Steve Novella.
Credulity about acupuncture infiltrates the New England Journal of Medicine, by David Gorski.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Naturopaths Hate Rhinos

Neurologica discusses a photo gallery entitled, Unorthodox Cures.  Many of the pics are wacky.

But this one made me tearful:

It reminded me of this:

"Poachers have butchered the last adult rhinoceros at a South African game reserve, cutting off her horn and letting her bleed to death, the chief game ranger says." Link.

The world rhino population has been decimated by more than 90 percent over the past 40 years, thanks to Traditional Chinese Medicine.

"Natural" medicine never says, "We tested treatment X and discovered it doesn't work and therefore we don't use it any more." 

And that is why so-called "natural" medicine is evil.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

Naturopathy is witchcraft

Two days until the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians holds their annual meeting. This year the United States government will be honoring them by sending Dr. Josephine Briggs, director of the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, to speak. Our tax dollars at work!

Naturopathy is a religion with the "Vital Force" as the supreme being dictating what is good and what is evil, what is holy and what is unclean.

Naturopathy is also witchcraft –a set of rituals and practices believed to ward off misfortune via the manipulation of unseen, supernatural forces.

Naturopathy in this country is also a political movement. Its enemy is "materialism," and thus it finds allies among those who like their government with a bit of old-school divine blessing and guidance.

My government involving itself with naturopathy forgets its Enlightenment foundation. America was to be a nation of individuals capable of self-rule via appeals to reason and evidence rather than divine or "natural" authority.

What’s up, Dr. Briggs?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Hermit Thrush

The last minute of this video captures the haunting, flute-like song of hermit thrush nicely.

If you've wandered through a forest on a summer day and suddenly felt a moment of enchantment, it's possible the hermit thrush had cast a spell upon you.

Like all ground nesting birds, the hermit thrush is having a hard time in many places.  The reasons: 1) habitat loss and 2) cats. 

Cats are not native to North America but were introduced by European settlers.  Consequently, there are several American mammals and birds ill equipped to deal with the selective pressure of cat predation. 

Basically, anything that nests on the ground is toast if cats are allowed to roam free.

As the human population has expanded into woodlands and wetlands, so too have the cats.  We must raise awareness of the problem of cat predation now if we hope to reverse the steady decline in song bird populations along the eastern United States.

Keep your cat indoors, please --especially if you live near a river or a lake where birds tend to nest.

Monday, August 2, 2010