Interview with Dr. Joe Schwarcz on Within Reason
Pseudoscience / Science Criticism / Science Education

Interview with Dr. Joe Schwarcz on Within Reason

Readers of this blog probably know that I also have a monthly podcast entitled Within Reason, which explores contentious issues from a rational perspective. While the topics are not always science-related, our latest episode features Dr. Joe Schwarcz, director of the Office for Science and Society at McGill University, on the subject of chemophobia. We talked … Continue reading

CRTKL: The Critical Reasoning Tool Kit Lecture (McGill, April 9, *ROOM CHANGE*)
Pseudoscience / Science Criticism / Science Education

CRTKL: The Critical Reasoning Tool Kit Lecture (McGill, April 9, *ROOM CHANGE*)

I have been graciously invited by the brand-spankin’-new Freethought Association at McGill to give a talk in the evening of April 9 on critical thinking skills. Why me? I used to head the Montreal chapter of the Centre for Inquiry; I have a background in biochemistry, molecular biology, and human genetics; and as one of the … Continue reading

Pseudoscience

Read: Drs. Paul Offit and Sarah Erush on Their Hospital’s Decision to Stop Administering Most Dietary Supplements

I stumbled upon a great article from the New York Times co-penned by the indefatigable Dr. Paul Offit, a fierce defender of evidence-based medicine and vaccination in particular. This one is about supplements, the unregulated, sometimes dangerous domain of charlatans. In the piece he explains why the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia will no longer be … Continue reading

Pseudoscience

When Nature Recalls: Would You Like a Boner with Your Green Algae? How About Taking Up Smoking?

A natural product is not de facto a safe product. As part of our on-going coverage of natural product recalls by Health Canada, we take a look at unwanted erections associated with all-natural weight loss. To be fair, Health Canada has not received any adverse reactions reports from consumers who bought and ingested Crane Beauty … Continue reading

Pseudoscience / Science Criticism

Read: Deconstructing Bad Science or How I Learned to Stop Acupuncturing and Love the Placebo

As most scientists learn the hard way, not all research studies are equal. It is not always easy, however, for members of the public to discern between a well-crafted study and a flawed one, especially when reading the sensationalized Cliff Notes appearing on the news. Dr. Steven Novella, neurologist and host of the fantastic weekly … Continue reading

Pseudoscience / Science Education

Read: How to Prevent and Fight the Common Cold (Answer: Not with Vitamin C)

Old family traditions and pseudoscientific quackery alike surround us with ways to prevent and combat the common cold. Vitamin C supplements, echinacea, garlic, zinc lozenges. What does science say about any of it? A new review by the Canadian Medical Association Journal looked at precisely what works and what doesn’t work: you can read an … Continue reading

Anti-Oxidants, Miracle Diets, and the Magic of Yoga: How to Be Fit and Healthy According to Science
Pseudoscience / Science Criticism / Science Education

Anti-Oxidants, Miracle Diets, and the Magic of Yoga: How to Be Fit and Healthy According to Science

As you may or may not know, I host a monthly podcast, Within Reason, with a fellow Montreal-based skeptic, Andrew Cody. This month, on Within Reason, your monthly rational podcast on contentious issues, we tackle the pernicious myths surrounding the fitness industry. Can you lose weight permanently? Do you deserve an after-run muffin and latte? … Continue reading

Pseudoscience

All-Natural Vitamins (Now with Antibiotics! But Sssh! Don’t Tell Anyone!)

I hope readers of the blog will never utter the sentence, “It’s safe: it’s natural!” For one thing, snake venom is natural, but I have it on good authority that it’s not safe for consumption. For another, we know that so-called “natural products” do not undergo the more rigorous quality assurance/quality control process actual drugs … Continue reading

Pseudoscience / Science Education

Jargon: Oscillococcinum (a homeopathic dilution of duck offals alleged to shorten flu symptoms)

Oscillococcinum: a homeopathic product claimed to reduce the duration of flu-like symptoms. Its preparation begins with duck liver and heart which is diluted 1 in a 100 two hundred times. The final preparation cannot scientifically contain a single molecule derived from the duck liver and heart. All it is is the dilution solvent packed in … Continue reading

Pseudoscience / Science Criticism / Science Education

Read: Joe Schwarcz on Why Not All Facts Are Created Equal

As a prelude to this year’s Lorne Trottier Symposium on Public Science, I encourage you to take a look at Joe Schwarcz’s latest article in The Montreal Gazette. Here’s an excerpt: “In science we don’t cherry pick. We shake the tree, collect all the cherries, mash them together and then taste. And that’s just what … Continue reading