Dana’s Dojo: Conversations With Non-Writers About Writing »« How It All Began

Where to Go Before You Go Woo

I’m constantly amazed by the crazy shit people will believe.  Comes to that, I’m constantly amazed by the crazy shit I used to believe.  There was a time, for instance, where I believed that there might be something to Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).  That, of course, was before I began reading about it.

Really, people?  Really?  You really believe water without a single bloody molecule of active remedy in it can cure you?  Or that ear candling works?  Or that shooting coffee up your butt’s a cure rather than a fetish?

Some of the people I know IRL, otherwise sane and sober people, fall prey to this crazy crap.  They drop way too much money on woo.  And they believe in all sorts of nonsense, like vaccines causing autism (they don’t).

They’re not stupid.  It’s just that there’s so damned much misinformation out there, and the snake-oil salespeople have silver tongues.  So I think it’s time to put up, in one post which I can then point them to, a nice set of resources that might keep them from falling prey.  Especially now that homeopathic “remedies” are finding their way onto supermarket shelves, right alongside legitimate medicines, as if they belong there (they don’t).

Those of us who already like our medicine science-based could still use these sites.  They’re always good for a belly-laugh.  Sometimes for a primal scream.

Respectful Insolence: Orac’s delicious blog, in which all manner of cranks, woo-meisters, and ridiculous nonsense gets smacked down at length and without mercy.  His main focus is anti-vaccine nonsense, but he’ll battle any woo that strikes his fancy, and he’s especially useful for combating cancer woo, seeing as how he’s a surgeon and breast cancer researcher.

Science-Based Medicine: A blog on a wide range of woo-tastic topics by a stellar stable of medical bloggers.  It’s not as insolent as Respectful Insolence, but it’s solid stuff and sometimes hysterically funny.  There’s nothing quite like a science-based physician expressing their frustration at the more obstinate sorts of woo.  It’s also a good place to learn how science-based medicine works, how it could be improved, and why it’s different from evidence-based medicine.

Quackwatch: This should be your first stop in your quest to avoid all things quack.  It’s a tremendous resource.  No false balance, just facts.  Relentless, uncompromising facts.  Woo does not stand a chance here.

What’s the Harm?  The definitive answer to that question is contained in these pages.  Woo’s last defense is claiming that, even if it can’t cure absolutely everything just like it claims, it at least does no harm.  Wrongo.  You’d be amazed at the harm even the most harmless-seeming woo can do.

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