Forensic evidence largely not supported by sound science – now what?

“A groundbreaking 2009 report from the National Academy of Sciences finally drew the curtain back to reveal that the wizardry of forensics was more art than science. The report assessed forensic science’s methods and developed recommendations to increase validity and reliability among many of its disciplines.”

Homeopathy effective for 0 out of 68 illnesses, study finds

“The review found “no discernible convincing effects beyond placebo” and concluded “there was no reliable evidence from research in humans that homeopathy was effective for treating the range of health conditions considered”. ”

When Continental Drift Was Considered Pseudoscience

“We like to imagine that knowledge advances fact upon dispassionate fact to reveal precise and irrefutable truths. But there is hardly a better example of just how messy and emotional science can be than Wegener’s discovery of the vast, turbulent forces moving within the earth’s crust. As often happens when confronted with difficult new ideas, the establishment joined ranks and tore holes in his theories, mocked his evidence and maligned his character. It might have been the end of a lesser man, but as with the vicious battles over topics ranging from Darwinian evolution to climate change, the conflict ultimately worked to the benefit of scientific truth.”

Once Again, Scientists Conclude That There’s No Evidence That Homeopathy Works

“A debate has been recently published in the British Medical Journal about whether doctors should practice homoeopathy alongside evidence-based medicine. The debate came out in response to a study from the Australian Government’s National Health and Medical Research Council, which was released this March. It concluded that there was no reliable evidence that homoeopathy was effective in treating a range of health conditions.”

The American Medical Association is finally taking a stand on quacks like Dr. Oz

The issue of has taken on increasing significance of late. Wrapped up in this issue are several key issues:

  • What is the role of professional organizations and authorities in enforcing certain practices and ethical standards?
  • How do we define and distinguish between science and pseudoscience?
  • What does “evidence based” practice mean?
  • How do we determine “truth” in the natural sciences and in particular, the medical sciences?
  • Upon what should ethical standards in medicine be based? How should those standards be enforced? Who should do the enforcing?

“The AMA will look at creating ethical guidelines for physicians in the media, write a report on how doctors may be disciplined for violating medical ethics through their press involvement, and release a public statement denouncing the dissemination of dubious medical information through the radio, TV, newspapers, or websites.”

A Discredited Vaccine Study’s Continuing Impact on Public Health

“Some parents feel certain that vaccines can lead to autism, if only because there have been instances when a child got a shot and then became autistic. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc. Making that connection between the two events, most health experts say, is as fallacious in the world of medicine as it is in the field of logic.”

Overview of Acupuncture

“Acupuncture was developed in a pre-scientific culture, before anything significant was understood about biology, the normal functioning of the human body or disease pathology. The healing practices of the time were part of what is called philosophy-based medicine, to be distinguished from modern science-based medicine. Philosophy-based systems began with a set of ideas about health and illness and based their treatments on those ideas.”

Antivaccine hero Andrew Wakefield: Scientific fraud?

“Over the next decade, aided and abetted by useful idiots in the media, by British newspapers and other media that sensationalized the story, and the antivaccine movement, which hailed Wakefield as a hero, Wakefield managed to drive MMR vaccination rates in the U.K. below the level of herd immunity, from 93% to 75% (and as low as 50% in some parts of London). As a result Wakefield has been frequently sarcastically “thanked” for his leadership role in bringing the measles back to the U.K. to the point where, fourteen years after measles had been declared under control in the U.K., it was in 2008 declared endemic again.”