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

It Worked for Me (But You Are Not a Clinical Trial)
Pseudoscience / Science Education

It Worked for Me (But You Are Not a Clinical Trial)

Most people don’t care about clinical trials when it comes to treatment efficacy; they trust personal experience. If an infinitesimally diluted solution of nightshade seems to work for them, then this is their pudding and the proof is in it. Some puddings, however, are better than others, and the “it worked for me” pudding is … Continue reading

Science Education

Jargon: Chemotherapy (A treatment modality by which potent chemicals kill fast-growing cells)

Chemotherapy: A medical treatment modality, commonly used against cancer, by which strong chemicals are used to destroy rapidly dividing cells. One of the classic characteristics of cancer cells is that they divide uncontrollably: they can thus be killed by agents that target fast-growing cells. Unfortunately, chemotherapeutic drugs also, by their very nature, target healthy cells … 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

Science Criticism

Read: Dr. John Ioannidis on Why You Shouldn’t Trust Scientific Findings (But Science Is Still Awesome!)

Dr. Ioannidis is a hero of mine. In fact, he’s a hero of many a scientist who has found him- or herself shaking their heads upon finding out how the contemporary scientific establishment functions. He came to Montreal in October to give a public science talk on the lack of reproducibility in the scientific literature. … Continue reading

Science Education

Watch: The Miracle Cure for Jet Lag and Shift Work (Wait Until You See What They Called It)

If you are wide awake as I post this, you may enjoy watching this short 2-minute news report on a compound that seems to help influence fish’s circadian clocks. The video is available here. What are they calling this molecule? Yes. Scientists are human, too. Maybe the person who named it was jet-lagged…. (This video … Continue reading