Let’s Question

HACKS, QUACKS & ANTI-VAX

At THINK INC. we believe it is important to question unsubstantiated and untruthful health claims. We also believe in being informed about the potential agendas behind the propagators of pseudoscience rhetoric, and the dangers of spreading medical misinformation to our society and to the integrity of scientific method.

Joining us in our cause is Dr Ben Goldacre

Physician, Academic and Author

ToURING WITH THINK INC. THIS SEPTEMBER

Dr Ben Goldacre is a Senior Clinical Research Fellow at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine. He is also a founder of the AllTrials campaign to require open science practices in clinical trials.

See Dr Ben Goldacre LIVE this September

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SELF-DESCRIBED HEALTH GURUS

Freedom of speech or malignant misinformation?

In an era where information flows freely, medically-unqualified ‘health gurus’ capitalise on this exchange to subvert decades worth of rigorous empirical research and peddle their private agenda... as well as their products.

The Truth About Nutritionists

“My future is in the stars” may sound more magical than “My future is in an analysis of mathematical outcomes based on chance and probability”, but psychics don’t predict personal accountability for their client’s bad decisions.

Crystal Balls & Positive Predictive Values

Crystal BALLS, horoscopes & spiritualism

Innocuous ignorance or dangerous deception?

MEDIA ETHICS & RESPONSIBILITY

Should the media be trusted with interpreting medical data for general audiences?

Your news anchor is likely not your family doctor, let alone a qualified medical researcher. However, the people behind the research are, so perhaps they ought to be given the opportunity to communicate it?

Bad Science Health Reporting

Refusing vaccinations out of fear of autism, in light of further research that has disqualified such claims and concerns, not only exposes one’s children to illnesses – it exposes everybody else to them too.

The Media’s MMR Hoax

AnTI-VAX & DISTRUST OF SCIENCE

Personal choice or social irresponsibility?

VITAMINS & SUPPLEMENTS

Evidence-backed alternatives or unhealthy industry incapable of critical self-appraisal?

Were it so simple that we could live in an age where virtually any ailment could be offset by swallowing a capsule and the only side-effect is a surge of ‘broscience’ forum posts.

Vitamin Pills Lead You to Take Risks

Empty pills that deliver empty promises should not empty wallets. If all it took to actually be better was to believe we’re better and consequently feel we’re better, placebo would be nothing more than a rock band’s namesake.

Kind of Magic?

HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES

Complimentary cure or an industry as void of evidence as its products.

HIV/AIDS DENIALISM

Decades-long disaster or decades-long disaster of denial?

When NBA star ‘Magic’ Johnson has continued to live a quarter-century with HIV, he doesn’t attribute his survival to a complete non-existence of AIDS; instead, he heads a foundation for HIV/AIDS research. What’s a denier’s excuse?

AIDS/HIV Denier Christine Maggiore
IDENTIFYING PSEUDOSCIENCE

PSEUDOSCIENCE

  • Begins with a fixed idea or existing conclusion, then works backward to justify and confirm
  • Hostile to criticism: Any challenge is an unwarranted attack or conspiracy, and is often met with attempts to discredit an argument by attacking a critic’s motive or characte
  • Relies on subjective validation, and presents unverifiable and anecdotal testimonial as irrefutable evidence
  • Conflict of interest: Spokespersons and founders are often self-described “entrepreneurs” driven by ideological, cultural, or commercial goals
  • Appeals to emotion, faith, sentiment, fear, and a distrust of established institutions by employing rhetoric, deception and misrepresentation
  • Takes advantage of popular fads to promote transient theories which are not improved upon or explored over time
  • Alludes to magical, paranormal or spiritual ideas, and fabricates mystery, often by omitting important information.

SCIENCE

  • Follows the evidence wherever it leads with a willingness to change with new evidence
  • Openly invites criticism: Demands a rigorous process of peer-review, independently replicable results, and a continued engagement with the scientific community
  • Arguments are based on logical or mathematical reasoning, empiracle evidence, with meticulous standards for honesty and accuracy
  • Lacks conflict of interest: Scientists and researchers have no personal financial stake in any specific outcome of a study
  • Claims are conservative, tentative, and are documented in unambiguous terms using precise measurements and explicit definitions
  • Scientific fields are subject to intense research which result in the continual expansion of knowledge in the discipline
  • Science is a systematic, data based pursuit of knowledge through reason – it is not about what we believe, but how we arrived there.