About Red Stick Skeptic

Despite the undeniable fact that our lives are increasingly impacted, for the better, by the fruits of scientific endeavor, I see evidence on a daily basis of the disconnect between the foundations of science and our general approach to understanding the natural world. It appears to me that critical thinking, skepticism and the methods of science, fundamental approaches to reality that have benefited mankind greatly, are largely ignored by the majority of our modern society. Worse than the cerebral “autopilot engaged” lifestyle that is the norm for far too many folks, where being uncritical and credulous is the default setting, there is an ever-growing number of quacks and charlatans deliberately taking advantage of our lack of critical thinking skills.

This blog is my own way, ineffective though it may come to be, of adding to the growing skeptical movement that has emerged to fight back. As a physician, specifically a pediatric hospitalist, my particular area of focus is that of pseudoscience as it applies to the practice of medicine. You will quickly learn that I am no fan of so-called alternative medicine, or whatever the descriptive term du jour is. Not because, as will surely be claimed, I am biased by the mindset of western science, yet another bogus and misleading use of language, or because I am in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry, but because it, whatever it is these days, isn’t supported by the evidence. But, as always, my mind is open to the possibility that a treatment modality once considered unproven may one day come to be legitimately assimilated into science-based medical practice. I am just not going to let my brain fall out in the process. 

I welcome constructive comments, even negative ones. Especially negative ones in fact. My intent is not to ridicule, although that may slip through my filter from time to time, but to educate. And, perhaps, to provide some measure of enjoyment for my readers.

4 comments so far

  1. [...] wait! Perhaps the future isn’t so opaque after all. Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Red Stick Skeptic has had a vision! He has cast aside self-doubt and bravely proclaimed his ability to see the [...]

  2. Dr. Marc on

    I totally understand the need for skeptism and critical thinking in this day and age. We have become much more focused on the almighty $ than anything else. However, to lump all alternative medicine practioners/practices into the category of pseudoscience is not only shortsighted but misleading. Some of these therapies have been around longer than medicine and have stood the test of time.

    I know that we are all essentially wired the same, however, how we respond to certain things can be completely different. So just because one person does not respond favorably to a particular therapy does not mean the next person won’t.

    Skepticism is healthy, denial is not. Millions of people have been helped in some way, shape, or form from alternative therapies. Have an open mind and ask questions, but try things for yourself and let your body determine what’s right for you.

  3. Donna M. Steel on

    I am a 70 yr. old retired RN. With this medical background I use this way of thinking about everything. I have been told I over analyze everything !
    I gather infornation, analyze it, then reduce something complicated so that a 7 yr old would understand it. I use a lot of common sense and use my present level of knowledge to solve something.

    I am skeptical now about the Science Based Medical web site. I was not able to sucessfully send my e-mail like I always do to several MD’s and the technical person named. I clicked on the SBM contact us. Like I always do on my Macbook Pro. An e-mail was sent back to me as “permanetly failed delivery”. So, being skeptical I asked myself why did this happen ??

    I am not paranoid. When things on the internet do not work properly such as “contact us”, I wonder if SBM is not what it says it is. I googled, “Is SBM a credible web site”. So………………….

    My dearest friend wanted me to research RASBERRY KEYTONES. I did this today. Eight hours later, I have come to a conclusion. My friend said, this person on “The Dr. Oz” show was promoting this as a panacea for weight loss. After a days worth of research I will relay to her my findings. It will be up to her to try it. It is being sold now in health food stores. Is this capitalism at it’s worst. Greed, opportunist preying on the obese in this country. Apparently, in Japan it was tested on mice. It finally took 2% of their daily diet to see the results. The other mouse given a plecebo gained weight. Is this the reverse what the pharmaceuticals do inorder to market a drug. The FDA will pull the supplements if people are harmed, they will not stand behind them as being safe.

    Thank you for reading this. I am happy to have found this site and have bookmarked it.

    Donna

  4. alba gandara on

    I am the mother of a son with Tourettes and like any other parent with a child with such a condition, I like to know what else is out there other than just plain old medicine. Does the body have the ability to heal itself with the help of chiropractic? Is medicine to suppress the symptoms the only answer to help my son? There is no cure for Tourettes there are only ways to suppress it. His brain will tell him when it wants to be calm and when it wants to have an outburst. His emotions are a deciding factor. Stress, happiness, etc…and yet I find myself asking the same question over and over about any “new therapy” or “discovery”. At the end of the day, my son still has Tourette Syndrome and all I can do about it is love him and make his life as comfortable at home as only mom can do. But I’m always on the look out. You just never know!


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