Further Reading

Websites for principal information and further reading:

www.wikipedia.com. Where else!
Bear in mind that when the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology (which promotes a variety of ‘energy’ techniques) began a petition asking Wikipedia to ‘create and enforce new policies that allow for true scientific discourse about holistic approaches to healing’, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales refused, saying:
“Wikipedia’s policies around this kind of thing are exactly spot-on and correct. If you can get your work published in respectable scientific journals—that is to say, if you can produce evidence through replicable scientific experiments, then Wikipedia will cover it appropriately. Wikipedia does not publish original thought: all material in Wikipedia must be attributable to a reliable, published source. What we won’t do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of ‘true scientific discourse.’ It isn’t.” whttp://arstechnica.com/science/2014/03/wikipedia-founder-calls-alt-medicine-practitioners-lunatic-charlatans/.

Controls Cartoon

Douglas Harper.
Provides excellent explanations of where all these words come from – and helps understanding of how their meaning may be manipulated by marketeers.

www.library.nhs.uk. Reliable information from up-to-date systematic reviews.

Provides guidelines for the management of most diseases, conditions and illnesses More on the way all the time.
But guidelines are guide lines as to reasonable options, not recommendations as to what is best – the patient and doctor have to decide whether they should be followed in any particular case.
For homeopathy most guidelines are “Do not…” Others simply advise there is insufficient data on which to base a guideline.

UK perspective. The James Lind Alliance, National Institute of Health Research, Evaluation Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre.              Brings physicians, patients and politicians together to prioritise research efforts.

The Cochrane Collaboration is the premier international not-for-profit organisation preparing, maintaining and promoting the accessibility of systematic reviews of the effects of health care. The go-to site for genuine knowledge and understanding.

Register on this site to receive regular updates about alternative medicines offered by the National Center for Clinical and Alternative Medicine.  US perspective.

Robert Todd Carroll – an extension of The Skeptics Dictionary.

Dr Stephen Barrett. Started in 1970, this name has been used since 1997. The Grand Daddy of them all.

Dr Harriett Hall MD, contributing editor to Science Based Medicine, and former USAF pilot.

Physicist Dr Andy Lewis. Perspicacious, insightful, and essential reading. Andy also delivers a number of talks and contributes to debates on CAM. Catch him if you can.

Founded by Dr Steve Novella. Highly rational – even critiques Evidence Based Medicine!

Prof. David Colquhoun.
A high grade site analysing intellectual dysfunction. Is particularly concerned with academic standards in universities and Quackademia.

Dr R. W. Donnell. The first use of the term ‘quackademic medicine’ I can find.

Promoting ‘The assessment and testing of treatments, whether ‘orthodox’ or ‘alternative’; Consumer protection of all forms of health care, both by thorough testing of all products and procedures, and better regulation of all practitioners; Better understanding by the public and the media that valid clinical trials are the best way of ensuring protection’.
President: Nick Ross. HealthWatch Award 2013: Dr Fiona Godlee; 2014: Dr Simon Singh; 2015: Dr Mark Porter (journalist).

www.badscience.net. & www.bengoldacre.posterous.com.
Dr. Ben Goldacre. Columnist, The Guardian; author of Bad Medicine and Bad Pharma, HealthWatch-UK Award winner.                                  In the second site Ben witters – more than a twitter, less serious than his principal blog.

Founded in London in 1999 for informal talks and discussions on science, history, psychology, critical thinking, and how to examine extraordinary claims. There is now a network of SitP in most major cities and many towns. International venues are developing. Check the site and see if there is one near you. There is even one in Totnes, which is twinned with Narnia.
(TV’s Thomas the Tank Engine theme is sung by Totnes Primary School choir. I thought you’d like to know).

Extensive information on non-evidence based care.

Giving a sound rational account of issues in cancer care and helping patients avoid scams.

A summary by Chiropractor Preston H. Long of his Chiropractic Abuse—A Chiropractor’s Lament’.

‘Equipping people to make sense of science and evidence.’ Offers a helpful download on making sense of statistics.

Australia’s combination of HealthWatch and Sense about Science.

The home of 10,000 secrets! Pay a visit.

Critical thinking:

The most complete list found to date.
A reduced number of fallacies, but presented with excellent graphics and ideal for teaching.
US based magazine to keep you up to date with scepticism and critical thinking.

Unrelated to the US magazine, save in subject matter.

Quack duck

A comprehensive contemporary review of the clinical, legal, regulatory and ethical issues. Essential reading if you intend taking any.


David Martin Shaw. University of Glasgow.
The Swiss report on homeopathy: a case study of research misconduct. Editorial, Swiss Medical Weekly, 31st May 2013. For a critique of a paper on the efficacy of homeopathy, wrongly described as being a ‘Swiss Government Report’. It had nothing directly to do with ‘the Swiss Government’ and was in fact written principally by homeopaths who selectively chose data to fit in with their contention that homeopathic remedies have a value. This paper is of importance if consideration ever needs to be given to the so called ‘Swiss Report’.

Homeopathic surgeon



“Quick nurse, hand me the nothing!”


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Profs. David Colquhoun and Steve Novella:
Acupuncture is a Theatrical Placebo at (Journal of International Anaesthesia Research Society, June 2013 Vol. 116 No. 6). Reveals all.

Reporting in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Vol 22, Issue 4, August 2014, pages 724-730, Yong-Chen Zheng, Ting-Ting Yuan and Tao Liu found that ‘numerous high quality randomised controlled trial found that acupuncture is no better than its placebo control.’

Non-specific spinal manipulation and mobilisation, Osteopathy and Chiropractic:

Gert Bronfort et al, Effectiveness of Manual Therapies: The UK Evidence Report. Chiropractic & Manual Therapies.Written by chiropractors, funded by the General Chiropractic Council, cited by both osteopaths and chiropractors. The report does not identify any unique difference between a range of manual therapies including physiotherapy.                                                                                                              Osteopathy and chiropractic are particular systems relying on faith in constructs having no reality discernible by conventional practitioners.

‘What chiropractors might not tell you.’
In 2009, Timothy A. Mirtz, et al, using Hill’s criteria of causation, reported that “No supportive evidence is found for the chiropractic subluxation being associated with any disease process or of creating suboptimal health conditions requiring intervention.” (Chiropractic and Manual Therapies 17:13)

Issues of contemporary chiropractic are fully reviewed by chiropractor Sam Homola.



A comprehensive review by the US National Institutes of Health of all the commonly encountered herbs, explaining their history and science. Virtually all conclusions are that ‘There is not enough scientific evidence to support xxx for any of its claimed uses.’

Not the ship inn    Herbal preparations might provide benefit.

A review of regulatory issues surrounding Chinese herbalism.   China’s TCM exports to the EU were valued at £152 M in 2010, £276 M in 2016, and are predicted to reach sales of $2.0B by 2030 – so financial interests have to be be considered.