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Let's check in with the skeptics! (They're way more fun than the credulous)

February 5, 2010 |  7:00 am

BrainIf you find a heavy dose of skepticism intellectually bracing -- or you're simply weary of headlines touting unproven cures or encouraging unfounded fears -- check out these blogs. They're worth adding to your "favorites" list. Heck, put 'em on RSS feeds.

Many of the writers have been a bit preoccupied this week, as you might notice.

 Science-Based Medicine Blog: The self-description sums it up: "The editorial staff of Science-Based Medicine is composed of physicians who, alarmed at the manner in which unscientific and pseudoscientific health care ideas have increasingly infiltrated academic medicine and medicine at large, have decided to do their part to examine these claims in the light of science and skepticism. We at SBM believe that medicine based on science is the best medicine and tirelessly promote science-based medicine through discussion of the role of science and medicine, as well as the interface between science, medicine, and (unfortunately) pseudoscience."

It's more fun than it sounds. Really.

This week's topics include energy healing, antidepressants and Andrew Wakefield.

 NeuroLogica Blog: Called a daily fix of neuroscience, skepticism and critical thinking, it's written by Dr. Steven Novella, a neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine. 

This week's topics include a woman who reportedly developed dystonia after flu vaccination (Novella is skeptical); YouFOs; and Andrew Wakefield. 

 Respectful Insolence. A longtime favorite, this is described as "a repository for the ramblings of the aforementioned pseudonymous surgeon/scientist concerning medicine and quackery, science and pseudoscience, history and pseudohistory, politics, and anything else that interests him (or pushes his buttons). Orac's motto is: "A statement of fact cannot be insolent." "

There's more, as you might imagine. 

This week's topics include ... well, mostly just Andrew Wakefield.

 Quackwatch: This is a goldmine. The self-description: "Quackwatch is now an international network of people who are concerned about health-related frauds, myths, fads, fallacies, and misconduct. Its primary focus is on quackery-related information that is difficult or impossible to get elsewhere. Founded by Dr. Stephen Barrett in 1969 as the Lehigh Valley Committee Against Health Fraud (Allentown, Pennsylvania), it was incorporated in 1970. In 1997, it assumed its current name and began developing a worldwide network of volunteers and expert advisors."

Some of the specific take-downs are dated, but as there's always a new quack cure or product coming along, the general information holds up just fine. 

... Now for some skeptical blogs new to us. Thanks to Randy for passing them along:

Skepticblog: Described as "a collaboration among some of the most recognized names in promoting science, critical thinking, and skepticism. It also features the cast and producers of The Skeptologists, a pilot skeptical reality show." 

Seriously. A pilot skeptical reality show. 

This week's topics include ... you know.

 Skepchick: Written by "a group of women (and one deserving guy) who write about science, skepticism, and pseudoscience. With intelligence, curiosity, and occasional snark, the group tackles diverse topics from astronomy to astrology, psychics to psychology."

Alas, there seems to be no recent mention of what was his name? Oh, right, Andrew Wakefield. But the site does offer a fine list of other worthwhile sites, including {teen}skepchick, which recently tackled the "War on Splenda."

Pharyngula: Self-described as "evolution, development, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal."

Richard Wiseman's blog: This isn't a traditional forum for skeptical diatribes, but the blog does encourage one to think -- all by oneself! By self-described psychologist, magician, author and professor Richard Wiseman.

This week's highlight is a little psychological test for people who profess no religious beliefs. It asks: Would you sign a pact with the devil? If so, Mr. Wiseman wants to know about it.


-- Tami Dennis

Photo: No one's saying you have to agree, just asking you to think about it.


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Comments (10)

You left out some other good ones.
Two of the best are the James Randi Educational Foundation and the Discover Magazine Bad Astronomy blog .
James Randi used to do stage magic as The Amazing Randi and uses his expertise to head up a foundation geared to exposing deception in all matters scientific, pseudoscientific and paranormal. The Bad Astronomer is Phil Plait, who of course mostly discusses astronomy, mixed with a hefty dose of common sense and skepticism about other matters.
Since nonsense and mistaken belief is not limited to matters paranormal, and look into matters political, and looks at rumors and urban legends. looks at what's circulating in e-mail inboxes.

Wonderful article! Thank you for highlighting some of the best sites of the skeptical community. (They are all favorites of mine.) I would love to see more reporting about skeptical topics in the L.A. Times -- perhaps a feature on the Center for Inquiry West or the Independent Investigations Group?

Thank for shouting out to skeptics.

Don't forget the parenting blogs written for skeptics...
Science-Based Parenting
Rational Moms
Mainstream Parenting
Skeptical OB

Thanks for this great shout-out. Anything to push homeopathy and other nonsense to the back page for at least for one day is worthwhile.

These are the best of the best of skeptical blogs. Neurologica is really great for science based skepticism.

There are also many great podcasts available. I recommend The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe (hosted by Dr. Novella), Skeptoid, and Skepticality. I'm sure there are other great science and skepticism podcasts I haven't tried yet.

I can't argue with any of those. Great blogs the lot of them and all in my news reader. But you can't leave out Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy blog!

Super comments and super article. Who broke into my bookmarks?

Throwing my skeptical towel into the ring. Here are a couple of my blogs that are not just for skeptics, but for skeptics that like a good joke.

Thanks so much for doing these. All of these are great blogs and I second the recommendation for podcasts as well, such as the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe (which features Dr. Novella of Neurologica and Rebecca Watson of Skepchick). Even if you thought you weren't a "science person," these sources can really change your mind, as they are very accessible, entertaining and informative and I would highly recommend people who normally aren't interested in science to check these out as an entry point and be pleasantly surprised!


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