Category Archives: Pseudoscience

An Apple a Day – Why Steve Jobs REALLY Died

The news of Steve Jobs’ death has been exploding in the international media, shocking Apple lovers from all over the world. Much has been said about him today, and I’m sure over the next few days (at least), archives of his various public appearances and quotes are going to be shown all over the TV and internet. His death was a shock to most people, but after hearing about the sad news, I came across an article that really shocked me, with a twisted new piece of information. Jobs’ death could have been prevented – he could have been saved. What went wrong? Unfortunately, pseudoscience.

Posted in Activism, Biographical, Medicine & Health, Pseudoscience, Science, Skepticism, Technology | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Exorcism in Japan, and Another Dead Child

“With God by your side, you can do no wrong,” says Father Jose Francisco Syquia, who heads the Manila Archdiocese’s Office of Exorcism in the Philippines. And he should know, since he’s been through hundreds of exorcisms. Indeed, he should know, but clearly he has no idea what it means to be “wrong,” or else he would not try to justify the torturous treatment of mentally ill people. But this caliber of fool doesn’t understand that demonic spirits don’t reside in the victims of exorcisms, but in the minds of those who perpetuate this archaic practice.

Posted in Abnormal & Clinical Psych, Activism, Japan, Pseudoscience, Psychology, Science, Skepticism | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Say No to YES – Flower Essence

I know that Americans are big on believing that foreign things are somehow mystical, magical things, but my Japanese colleague showed the opposite stereotype when she bought some alternative medicine during a trip to America. When she came back, she asked me to check what it does and how it works. It is a liquid in a small vial, administered by taking a drop of the substance and putting it on your tongue. Being Japanese, she admitted that she couldn’t fully read the information on their English website, but thought that at the very least, the product couldn’t be harmful. The brand is “Yarrow Environmental Solution” (YES), and I decided to use the opportunity to highlight the kinds of things alternative medicine purveyors do to pussy-foot around the fact that their products are not supported by science. This is a brief analysis of the red flags for the “flower essence” product that is prospering.

Posted in Anti-science, Medicine & Health, Pseudoscience, Science, Skepticism | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My (animal) Kingdom for a Horse… or bull

Many alternative medicines use parts from various animals, regardless of their actual effectiveness. Animals are also sacrificed for the sake of magic rituals, and there are always buyers somewhere. Unfortunately, that means that such pseudoscience is being funded at these animals’ expenses. We need animals. We eat them, wear them, keep them as pets, use them in medicines and cosmetics, and even stuff or skin them and call them art. This is the way of life most of us are used to, and I’m not going to preach the extremist PETA dogma or pass any judgment. The issue is about wasting limited resources. For example, as I mentioned before, killing a single alpha-male lion disrupts the entire pride, resulting in the death of the slain male’s cubs, as well as all those who try to protect them. So what makes the gradual extinction of multitudes of species truly deplorable is that the demand for these animal parts is highly driven by pseudoscience – the biggest waste of them all.

Posted in Activism, Culture, Legal Issues, Media, Medicine & Health, Pseudoscience, Skepticism | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Oz and Eastern Wizardry

Mehmet Oz, or “Dr. Oz,” as he’s known on TV, is a brilliant ivy-league educated surgeon, who has saved many lives in the operating room. He’s well respected in America, where he started appearing on Oprah in 2004, and debuted The Dr. Oz Show in September 2009. He has also written books on topics such as dieting, staying young, beauty, child-birth, and overall healthy living. He seems to be a medical jack-of-all-trades, though I never paid much attention to him until I saw his January 6 show from 2010, where he stood out by introducing an alternative medicine technique called “reiki.” It wasn’t the only alternative medicine there, but it particularly caught my attention. Much to my dismay, after investigating further, I learnt that this well-educated, well-spoken doctor is in bed with the alternative medicine industry. Literally.

Posted in Activism, Anti-science, Biographical, Media, Medicine & Health, Pseudoscience, Science, Skepticism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Orange and Black Market

The illegal trade in wildlife parts is now worth 10 billion dollars a year, making it the third most valuable illegal commodity in the world, following drugs and weapons. On the Chinese calendar, the next Year of the Tiger is 2022, which is ironic for the country who uses the tiger as a cultural symbol, because it may be the year in which the feline becomes extinct.

Posted in Activism, Culture, Legal Issues, Medicine & Health, Pseudoscience, TED | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

After the dust settles, the BS appears

I intended to write lots on this blog about pseudoscience, but people like me who have been living in North-Eastern Japan have been busy, among other things, with getting used to the idea of living with constant blackouts, avoiding certain food, and reducing the frequency of drinking tap water. As I was searching for information germane to my last few articles, I realized that there was a lot of nonsense being spread around the world, regarding the current situation in Japan. A piece I wrote has been published on the JREF (James Randi Educational Foundation) blog, where I talk about the hoaxes, scams, and pseudoscience that I discovered through my research.

Posted in Activism, Biographical, Japan, Pseudoscience, Skepticism, TED | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ignorance is Bliss: How homeopathy works, and why it doesn’t

I’m going to explain homeopathy in three sentences, but just know that I’m not making any of this up. Homeopathy is based on two principles. The first is that like cures like… so if you’re bitten by a poisonous snake, the antidote would clearly be “more venom!”  But not just any amount of venom – the second principle is that you should dilute the antidote, because it’s more potent that way.


Posted in Activism, Medicine & Health, Pseudoscience, Skepticism | Tagged , | 2 Comments