Announcing the Society for Science-Based Medicine

We are proud to announce a new organization: The Society for Science-Based Medicine.
A Society for a community of like-minded individuals, both in and out of health care, who support the goals of Science-Based Medicine.

People should not suffer, die, go bankrupt, and lose time and hope because of complementary and alternative pseudo-medicine.

The mission of the Society for Science-Based Medicine includes, but is not limited to,

  1. Educating consumers, professionals, business people, legislators, law enforcement personnel, organizations and agencies about Science-Based Medicine.
  2. Providing resources and information for information concerning all aspects of Science-Based Medicine.
  3. Providing a central resource for communication between individuals and organizations concerned about Science-Based Medicine.
  4. Supporting sound consumer health laws for the practice of Science-Based Medicine and opposing legislation that undermines Science-Based Medicine.
  5. Encouraging and aiding legal actions in support of the practice of Science-Based Medicine.

Why another organization? Why a Society for Science-Based Medicine?

A problem with Science-Based Medicine (SBM) is what we support often manifests in what we oppose: those medical practices that are not based in science and reality. Those who promote Supplements, Complementary and Alternative Medicine are well organized and well funded: There are organizations for every conceivable pseudo-medical therapy, dozens upon dozens of them.

In contrast there are almost no organizations devoted promoting Science-Based Medicine. There is the Institute for Science in Medicine, an excellent policy group, and in Australia the Friends of Science in Medicine.

That is it.

In the US there are the two organizations, the Center for Inquiry (CFI) and the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), both of which address issues related to SBM but as a small component of their overall mission.

This lack is due in part to the expertise it requires to critically address issues related to complementary and alternative pseudo-medicine. If you have not spent a life immersed in medicine and the medical literature, it is more difficult to critique a study on the efficacy of acupuncture or understand why antineoplastons are not an effective therapy for cancer.

And yet.

Medicine is a team sport. Medicine cannot be practiced well by the lone provider. You need all the other medical and nonmedical colleagues. There are many who contribute to the care of patients. The Society for Science-Based Medicine will be no different. We will all get ill, we will all decline, and we will all die. We all need to participate in, and understand the complex issues around, medical care, both science-based and fantasy-based.

We need to do it together.

Health care providers and skeptics are notoriously difficult to organize. We pay for our lack of organization. Little voice in the political process, little recognition, and few resources to advocate for change. Scattered bloggers, however eloquent, will not have the impact of even a small but organized and modestly funded organization.

Organization leads to the power to change the status quo, and in part due to well-funded organizations, as well documented in the Bravewell report, pseudo-medicine is becoming part of the status quo. Organization results in a larger voice and money. And, unfortunately, money is superior to a pure heart and good intentions for accomplishing goals.

The issues related to science-based medicine need a larger voice and more prominent position since there no areas of pseudo-science that result in as much daily morbidity, mortality and expense as the use of pseudo-medicine.

No one routinely declares bankruptcy over issues related UFOs or dies because of Bigfoot or has chronic disability from ghost hunting. Pseudo-medicine routinely kills, damages, and financially exhausts patients and their families.

Complementary and alternative pseudo-medicine is a minor issue for main stream medical organizations who lack the interest and expertise to oppose them. Most in the medical world shrug their shoulders when it comes to pseudo-medicine. As the Bravewell Collaborative demonstrates, when busy people shrug their shoulders, medical nonsense insinuates itself into otherwise-excellent medical schools and hospitals.

What we are for, our guiding principles, were summed up by Steven Novella, slightly modified:

Respect for knowledge and truth – SBM values reality and what is true. We therefore endeavor to be as reality-based as possible in our beliefs and opinions. This means subjecting all claims to a valid process of evaluation.

Methodological naturalism – SBM believes that the world is knowable because it follows certain rules, or laws of nature. The only legitimate methods for knowing anything empirical about the universe follows this naturalistic assumption. In other words – within the realm of the empirical, you don’t get to invoke magic or the supernatural.

Promotion of science – Science is the only set of methods for investigating and understanding the natural world. Science is therefore a powerful tool, and one of the best developments of human civilization. We therefore endeavor to promote the role of science in our society, public understanding of the findings and methods of science, and high-quality science education. This includes protecting the integrity of science and education from ideological intrusion or anti-scientific attacks. This also includes promoting high quality science, which requires examining the process, culture, and institutions of science for flaws, biases, weaknesses, and fraud.

Promotion of reason and critical thinking – Science works hand-in-hand with logic and philosophy, and therefore SBM also promotes understanding of these fields and the promotion of critical thinking skills.

Science vs. pseudoscience – SBM seeks to identify and elucidate the borders between legitimate science and pseudoscience, to expose pseudoscience for what it is, and to promote knowledge of how to tell the difference.

Ideological freedom/free inquiry – Science and reason can only flourish in a secular society in which no ideology (religious or otherwise) is imposed upon individuals or the process of science or free inquiry.

Neuropsychological humility – Being a functional SBM proponent requires knowledge of all the various ways in which we deceive ourselves, the limits and flaws in human perception and memory, the inherent biases and fallacies in cognition, and the methods that can help mitigate all these flaws and biases.

Consumer protection – SBM endeavors to protect themselves and others from fraud and deception by exposing fraud and educating the public and policy-makers to recognize deceptive or misleading claims or practices.

What we oppose is summarized in Dr. Mehmet Oz’s pronouncement:

“Medicine is a very religious experience. I have my religion and you have yours. It becomes difficult for us to agree on what we think works, since so much of it is in the eye of the beholder. Data is rarely clean. You find the arguments that support your data, and it’s my fact versus your fact.”

Dr. Oz is wrong. We have a way of determining what works: the methods of science. Like all tools it is only as effective as the person wielding it.

There are many short-term and long-term goals and projects for the Society. While we are starting small, our vision for Science-Based Medicine (SBM) is large.


The site will be a place for like-minded individuals to communicate, educate and organize. Unfortunately, being online, without beer.

We want there to be local branches of the SfSBM, at your medical school, to have your own SBM at the pub, to organize lectures, and to advocate for SBM in your community.


We want the site to be a central repository for all aspects of SBM: reference material, blogs, wiki, audio, video, reviews, legal and legislative advocacy, links and more.

The SfSBM blog

There is a blog for the Society, concerning pseudo-medicine, activities of the Society and the SfSBM web site.

The SfSBM conference

There has never been a scientific conference devoted to SBM and there needs to be a regular meeting. It should be CME-accredited.

The SfSBM podcast

Currently the Quackcast is the only SBM-related podcast.

The SfSBM wiki

Available at, eventually to become the central source for information on all aspects of SBM.

The SfSBM medical school core curriculum

Many medical school curricula are designed by proponents of complementary and alternative pseudo-medicine. There needs to be a core body of information, perhaps as an iBook or other ebook format, for all health care students.

The SfSBM journal

Once there was the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, “Devoted to objectively analyzing the claims of alternative medicine.” This journal, or an equivalent, needs to be revived, perhaps as an electronic journal on the model of PLOS.


Currently available at the JREF, Amazon, Nook and iTunes, the essays through June 2011 from the SBM blog have been organized into a dozen volumes. Every two years there will be new versions.

SfSBM advocacy

Complementary and alternative pseudo-medicine proponents are actively engaged in expanding their practice by legislative means. There needs to be a voice of reality to counter the efforts of Complementary and alternative pseudo-medicine practitioners.

And more.

So welcome to the Society for Science-Based Medicine. Those who agree with the concept that the best medical care should be based on reality and science need a voice and an organization for everyone.

An educational organization devoted to understanding and education, ‘exploring issues and controversies in the relationship between science and medicine.’

As a group we can accomplish almost anything.

Jann Bellamy

Mark Crislip

David Gorski

Harriet Hall

Steven Novella

Founders and Officers, Society for Science-Based Medicine

Posted in: Announcements, Science and Medicine

Leave a Comment (132) ↓

132 thoughts on “Announcing the Society for Science-Based Medicine

  1. Val Jones says:

    Terrific news! How do others join? ;-) Link please?

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      Go to the home page
      Click on the link at the top right that says “Join the SfSBM”.

      1. Harriet Hall says:

        Note: joining SfSBM does not automatically register you. You also have to register by clicking the “register for the site” link.

        1. Andrey Pavlov says:

          Thanks for letting us know. I will do that now.

  2. I’m now a member. I feel better already.

  3. Andrey Pavlov says:

    I am now a member as well and paid the full price since I am technically no longer a student ;-) Though I would have paid the full price anyways since it is supporting an excellent cause.

    I am also a member of the Friends of Science in Medicine and the medical student organization that I helped found and was recently President of is working to align itself with the FSM and promote those ideals. The SfSBM is something that we can – and will – promote amongst our students and work towards affiliating our organization with you as well. In fact, I am giving a brief lecture on medical professionalism, ethics, and building your CV for residency applications to the new Year 3 students this Friday. I’ll chuck in a quick plug at that time.

  4. Thank you for all that you do. Visiting your site every day keeps me sane. It is always refreshing to be in the company of rational thinkers. Keep the light shining.
    Sadie Kendall

  5. naturocrit says:

    Sounds great!


  6. Birdy says:

    Is the student price for medical students or any student? I’m applying to medicine this year, but am still an undergraduate.

  7. Jann Bellamy says:

    Dr. Crislip won’t tell you this, but I will. He put this website together all by himself. He wrote the vast majority of what you see on the site. Dr. Steve Barrett has graciously agreed to SfSBM’s use of Quackwatch content in the SfSBM wiki. (Dr. Barrett is also helping with the Fact Sheets available on the site.) All the content transferred to date was done by Mark. It was a gargantuan task and he deserves the credit. And he deserves some help, so please volunteer!

  8. windriven says:

    I’m signed up. Great idea. Great site. Many thanks to you, Dr. Crislip, Dr. Barrett, and all the others who put this together.

    I’d volunteer to help but frankly I am not particularly adept at coding HTML. I fear I’d be more trouble than I’d be worth.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Most html coding is easy – quality content generation is the limiting factor, now and ever. As Maddox once said, words > fancy html.

  9. bluedevilRA says:

    This is fantastic. I will gladly attend an SfSBM conference. Cannot wait for that to happen.

  10. Thor says:

    What fantastic news! I just now eagerly joined. I’m so excited, and grateful. Verging on pessimism, this brings a renewed sense of hope and purpose. No doubt this will be a valuable tool and resource, far surpassing SBM blog itself. I cannot thank you enough, Dr. Crislip. And all the other SBMers. Your dedication is humbling and inspiring.
    (I’m actually breathing a bit better now, and my shoulders don’t feel quite as heavy.)
    Kudos and cheers!

  11. liz de Laperouse says:

    Fantastic. I just joined. With the Affordable Care Act, there must be a counter balance to CAM and a load voice for Science directing public policy. All the States will be trying to figure out best practices and how to take care of sick people. CAM offers low cost and “proven” to work answers that confuse many and seduce those with chronic illness who see only declining health in their futures. Thank you for creating this group.

  12. DCtyler says:

    I am not sure whether or not I have joined. I could only pay using the donate button which seemed not to be part of the membership information part of the page. I have made an 85 dollar donation as David Tyler which I intended to be my membership dues.

  13. Chris Howard says:

    This is so VERY positive! As soon as I have the annual dues, they’re yours!

    Thank you, so very much, for doing this!

  14. Megan says:

    Are other health care professionals (RNs, RTs, PT/OT) encouraged to join?

    1. Andrey Pavlov says:


      I feel like I can speak for the authorship and editors here safely when I say – ABSOLUTELY! The more science based providers of medical care we have the better! Welcome aboard!

      1. Harriet Hall says:

        The very first sentence says “a community of like-minded individuals, BOTH IN AND OUT of health care, who support the goals of Science-Based Medicine.” Everyone is welcome whether they are in the health care professions or not.

  15. Neil Pearson says:

    Hey there – congratulations on this.

    If I can ever be of assistance, let me know.

    I straddle into the yoga world, and am dismayed by an amount of what I read there, at the same time as seeing the evidence supporting mindful movement systems.

    1. Andrey Pavlov says:

      @Neil Pearson:

      I agree. I am constantly annoyed by how exercise and mindfulness is somehow “alternative.” I commented elsewhere about he (perhaps intentional) use of double meaning terms in CAM to obfuscate rank quackery. This is one of those cases. Many science based practitioners would not object to yoga or exercise for perfectly rational reasons and then buy into the idea that this is an “integrative” or “alternative” modality. Then the real sCAMsters will take that and run, infusing the exercise with magical properties and vastly oversell the benefits. We talk about it here as the Trojan Horse.

      Yoga is fabulous. I’ve done my fair share of it (and will start up again now that the holidays are over!) and I definitely find it both meditative and renewing. Same goes with mindfulness and meditation. But there is no magic to it, energies being aligned, chakras molded, or whatever. There are perfectly rational and science based reasons why these things work and why would should endorse them as science based medical practitioners.

      1. John Mayer says:

        I don’t know why yoga and meditation are so helpful, but they are. The greater flexibility I derive (or did; gotta get back) from yoga is not hard to understand on a purely physiological basis. Secret oriental wisdom not required. Likewise, the apparent benefits of Tai Chi to the elderly, especially as relates to balance and reduced falling, does not require mysticism to see why it might be helpful. However, the meditative, mystical frame of mind does seem to add to the experience, again, I’m sure, for reasons purely neurological.

        1. Andrey Pavlov says:

          Yes, I am starting back up on yoga and am incredibly sore! (In a good way)

          And yes, no magical thinking needed to understand why a strenuous exercise with plenty of stretching is good for you.

  16. wow says:

    It is shocking to me that we need a “Science-based medicine”. Isn’t all academic medicine science-based, at least to some degree? What about the peer review process in top journals like N.Engl.J.Med. and JAMA – does it not filter out articles that are not science-based? Also there are groups like GRADE, PRISMA and CONSORT which have made it much easier to assess clinical trials and other forms of research. My understanding is that all medicine is science-based and all science (in health) is medicine-based and that doctors are practicing the good medicine, the scientific medicine. If people are not “consuming” science-based medicine — are they suckers? Leave them alone?

    It just seems to me that the whole term “science-based medicine” is internally redundant. But I practice in an academic health sciences center and I am a clinician-scientist, so what do I know.

    The very raison d’etre for this website and now the society — is it truly necessary?

    1. Andrey Pavlov says:


      Sadly it is. Just read some of the documentation of it by Kimball Atwood, particularly the stuff about Harvard and Ted Kaptchuk. Also look at how Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is offering reflexology and reiki for their cancer patients as just one example off the top of my head. If a renowned academic cancer center can offer such patently ridiculous therapies, that is worrying. Also look at the literature on acupuncture – you can start here – and see how much garbage is out there.

      1. Tallise says:

        MD Anderson also has a CAM clinic :/ it’s very frustrating, but I’m afraid to say something as a student.

        1. Andrey Pavlov says:


          That is indeed tricky. I have gotten a lot of support from the faculty and staff at my program, but even then I was largely unable to get traction. We also have a CAM section at my school with a very woo-y professor there who believes in tripe like personality dictating what cancers you are prone to and what cancer treatments you will respond to (amongst a bunch of other garbage). I complained about it and felt that the “support” I got in pressing the issue was to just ignore me, whereas Tim Kreider got actively reprimanded at his institution for doing the same. I took that as a sign that really pressing the issue could land me in trouble and in a realistic assessment felt that it wouldn’t accomplish much (in other words, not a good return on investment and risk). I still raise awareness amongst the class as much as I can and demonstrate to people how ridiculous and dangerous his ideas and lectures are, because I think that reaching a critical mass is the only real way to effect significant and lasting change. Me being the lone (well, I had a few friends in my court) ranger would simply be ineffectual at best and possibly lead to trouble for me at worst. Now that I am graduated I no longer have such concerns and am happy to comment that his lectures are bad medicine, bad science, and dangerous ideas that have no place in a medical school. At this point if the issue gets forced I am no longer subject to any kind of action by my school of medicine and firmly believe I have science and reason behind me as well as plenty of well documented evidence to support my case.

          In your situation I would advise to raise awareness amongst your classmates and use it as an opportunity to learn. Build your case with scientific rigor and a deep understanding so that you can present it from a purely dispassionate stance. Yes, you should be dismayed and pissed off that this exists – I certainly was when I encountered it at my school – but that is not why it is wrong. That is just your reasonable response to the wrongness. Focus on why it is actually wrong, become well versed in it, understand it well enough to be able to explain it in less than 2 minutes, and you will have all the weapons and ammo you need to do as much as you possibly can. I know Dr. Gorski would agree with me here, though due to Tim Kreider’s experience he would reasonably advise you to be a little less directly vocal and active than I would. Be safe, watch out for yourself, but push the envelope a little. Don’t forget that you will be able to do much, much, much more as an attending later on than as a student now so don’t jeopardize that. We all must work through the system to get to a position where we can change it.

          Best of luck!

    2. Pmoran says:

      CAM raises a variety of questions peculiar to CAM theory and practice, also questions to do with how well mainstream medical systems are dealing with public medical and psychosocial needs in an ever-changing environment.

      So specialist sites are needed.

    3. Thor says:

      wow, it’s absolutely necessary. Just read the Mission Statement and Goals (see links under Home). This blog doesn’t have near that scope of activity. Plus, no money. Activity is limited to reading a post, and perhaps making a comment. SSBM offers so much more. It is a broader vehicle. The SBM blog will be one of many active parts of SSBM. SBM will continue its focus on what it is designed for—a place where important pertinent issues are addressed and discussed, mainly but not only, amongst people in the overall field. Peruse the sight in detail.

      PS. Of course all ‘real’ medicine is science-based (the result of our current understanding, at least). But, the vast world of CAM claims to be science-based, although we know it to be pseudo-science. And they claim to offer medicine as well. People aren’t necessarily suckers, but certainly duped, uneducated perhaps. Critical thinking, and a grounding in science and philosophy is definitely NOT a given. When an airline shows antivax ads to thousands of people, we know we’re in trouble. How is a normal person supposed to navigate through the endless claims made? We, they, need protection from this and the encroachment upon things we cherish, such as truth: in education, medical institutions, science and medicine, advertising.
      Thus, SSBM and SBM. That’s at least worth $85, lol.

    4. MadisonMD says:

      Wow– I also work in academic medicine and I think SBM is needed. I agree heartily with Andrey and Peter Moran– this might be the first time I’ve seen them agree!

      Nobody is perfect, but Wow, you should take note of the occasional nonsense served up by NEJM.

      and EBM’s over-reliance on RCTs to the exclusion of other data, leading Cochrane to make some stinker conclusions like this one:

      This systematic review has clearly identified the need for randomised or controlled clinical trials assessing the effectiveness of Laetrile or amygdalin for cancer treatment.

      Also reviewed on SBM.

      It does look like Cochrane is seeing the light a bit, though and updated this laetrile review:

      The claims that laetrile or amygdalin have beneficial effects for cancer patients are not currently supported by sound clinical data. There is a considerable risk of serious adverse effects from cyanide poisoning after laetrile or amygdalin, especially after oral ingestion. The risk-benefit balance of laetrile or amygdalin as a treatment for cancer is therefore unambiguously negative.

      There is some reason to believe that SBM has played a role in Cochrane seeing the light.

      So… not only necessary, but having an impact. Kudos to SBM.

      1. Andrey Pavlov says:


        Haha… yeah, we do tend to get into it, don’t we? But the reality is that those who differ vastly in opinion tend not to get into it too much. The closer you are, the more…. passion there will be to an argument. We do agree on most things. It’s just that when we don’t agree….

  17. goodnightirene says:

    Yay! I know I have posted at least one comment suggesting something of this sort and am so very pleased to see it happening.

    Thank you Dr C for getting it up and running. I have no idea what would be helpful as a volunteer, but being a “taker” (retired), I have more time than others and will do whatever I can.

    I cannot wait for our first CONFERENCE!

  18. windriven says:

    “I cannot wait for our first CONFERENCE!”

    I can’t either. It can be almost anywhere: Stockton, CA; Poplarville, MS; Anywhere in KS; just please, pretty please, not in Las Vegas.

    1. Andrey Pavlov says:

      First off, I find it quite amusing that the comment right below yours is by “BobbyGvegas.”

      But yes, I would tend to agree. Though Vegas is very close to home, we own a house out there, and my grandfather lived there for as long as I can remember.

      New Orleans is not such a bad place for a meetup. Neither is San Diego. Though I may be biased ;-)

      My only request would be that it be somewhere WARM. I am freezing my tuccus off thanks to these damned polar vortex shenanigans. Of course, this does prove that global warming is a hoax, right windriven? ;-)

      (now watch some right wing nutjob cherry pick and say “See! Dr. Pavlov agrees it’s a hoax!” Thankfully I am still a nobody right now)

      1. windriven says:

        @The Distinguished Dr. Pavlov

        How does a good Bulgarian boy freeze his tuccus in New Orleans??? Did you get stuck in somebody’s meat locker?

        “Of course, this does prove that global warming is a hoax, right windriven?”

        Rush Limbaugh said it, I believe it, that settles it! ;-)

        1. Andrey Pavlov says:

          @Captain Windriven:

          I came to your fair country when I was just a toddler and grew up in sunny, beautiful, warm, Southern California. Orange County, to be specific. Christmas day can be spent doing my favorite triathlon – surfing in the morning, a nice bike ride (last time I did 50km) in 25oC weather, finished up with a few hours on the slopes; all in the same day.

          And thanks to this polar vortex* it is currently, as I write this, -3oC. Yes, that’s negative 3 degrees centigrade. And my 95 year old home that I am currently living in is…. shall we say, not well insulated? With a heater that works “ok” and some humidity to boot.

          So I freeze. Even though over Christmas I was in northern Nevada with 6 inches of snow and did not feel as cold there. Damned humidity always finds a way to get you in the Dirty South.

          And yes, once Bill O’ Reilly concurs we reach 9 sigma certainty.

          *the only benefit of the polar vortex is that I spent all day inside and read up on it. Seems it is because of a consistent cyclone that always exists at the poles (at least in part due to the Coriolis effect) has weakened (for unknown reasons but definitely not climate change) and thus allowed the more dense arctic air to “spill” out onto our lovely secular nation. So, fluid dynamics and planetary science education for me today.

          1. CHotel says:

            It was -48oC with the windchill when I got in my car to go to work yesterday. I think I might be wearing a t-shirt where you are.

        2. Andrey Pavlov says:


          Well dangit! Those danged left wing liberals are at it again. Seems that the polar vortex may actually have been caused at least partly by global warming/climate change. How ridiculous! It’s cold!. Global warming can’t cause cold. And ya don’t need to be one of dem scientist types to know’d somethin’ that obvious!

      2. MadisonMD says:

        Was in NO a few weeks ago. If I remember correctly, it was in positive degrees–a bit warmer perhaps on Bourbon St.

        In my neck of the woods it hit -22F today. Felt colder with windchill. I was happy to find that an engine block heater was needless. But luckily it’s warmed up by 7 degrees since then.

        1. windriven says:

          “But luckily it’s warmed up by 7 degrees since then.”

          Perfect weather for Speedos and a Panama hat.

          It may drizzle from November to June in the PNW but today it was a balmy 45 or so.

        2. Andrey Pavlov says:

          In my neck of the woods it hit -22F today

          And that, dear sir, is why I do not live in your neck of the woods. I interviewed in Chicago when it got down to the single digits and that was more than enough of that kind of weather for me. My fiancee (who wasn’t even with me) was incredulous that anybody would ever want to live in such a locale. Needless to say we are Southern California beach bums.

        3. David Gorski says:

          I feel fortunate. We only hit -13° F last night, and by morning it was around -11°.

        4. mousethatroared says:

          22? yiks! – Yesterday was -17F here. Now I feel a wimp for my uncontrollable shivering attack after a trip through the parking lot.

          Usually I manage the cold okay, but this year I just can’t get the hang of it.

          1. mousethatroared says:

            -22 (yikes) that is…

    2. David Gorski says:

      just please, pretty please, not in Las Vegas.

      I agree. To be honest, I wish TAM weren’t in Las Vegas every year. With five TAMs under my belt now, I really am tired of Vegas, especially since TAM is always in July. In 2013 I didn’t even really bother to leave the hotel.

      I propose…Detroit! (I keeed, I keeed. I live in the Detroit area.)

      1. Xplodyncow says:

        I’ll bet Detroit is pretty nice in the summer / early fall, and it probably costs much less to hold a conference there than in many other cities.

      2. windriven says:

        Detroit’s not a bad idea. The airport used to be a dump but it has been remodeled and is now really nice. And echoing Xplodyncow, one suspects that competition for conference space wouldn’t be too intense these days. Chicago, St. Louis, and New Orleans (not in the summer though) would also be good picks. All these cities are more or less centrally located.

        Or you could have it in DC in the spring when the cherry trees are in bloom. We could meet in front of the Samuel Hanemann memorial.

        1. Sawyer says:

          I’d love to see one of these conferences in the Midwest. TAM and NECSS are on either side of the country, and us redneck hill-people could use a dose of the science virus every once in a while. If Chicago isn’t your cup of tea, Milwaukee is a bit smaller and quite nice in the summer.

          1. David Gorski says:

            Personally, I love Chicago, as I lived there for three years in the late 1990s and two of my sisters still live there. I also like hanging out with the Chicago Skeptics.

            If it weren’t always on Memorial Day weekend, I’d propose having the first SSBM conference somewhere in the Chicago area on the same weekend as the yearly Autism One quackfest that’s held at a suburban hotel in the Chicago area every year. Unfortunately, though, Autism One organizers zealously protect an echo chamber; anyone known to oppose the antivaccine movement and/or autism quackery will not be permitted to register and, if they manage to register and get in, will be expelled.

            1. brewandferment says:

              but wouldn’t it be entertaining if it could be booked at the same venue at the same time?

              1. David Gorski says:

                Do you really want to use a hotel out by O’Hare? That’s where the Autism One quackfest is booked every year. This year it’s at the InterContinental O’Hare. I suppose that’s not so bad. The Blue Line runs right from the airport to downtown, but I don’t like staying so far from downtown.

        2. David Gorski says:

          The airport is actually one of the best things about Detroit. It’s one of the nicest and best functioning airports in the country.

      3. mho says:

        Denver: Trees. Mountains, No humidity.
        or the Bahamas: snorkeling.

      4. CHotel says:

        I think Detroit would be a great idea. Maybe in the spring. During the playoffs. When there’s a couple Wings games I can go to. Or maybe the fall where there’s both Wings reg. season games and the Tigers might still be in the playoffs.

        Wait, what are we going there for again?

      5. Rick says:

        I would suggest my current home of Grand Rapids, on the mitt’s west side. More microbrews than you can shake a stick at.

        1. windriven says:

          “More microbrews than you can shake a stick at.”

          If that is the criterion: Portland. Beervana.

          “Grand Rapids, on the mitt’s west side”

          Actually, I think the Mittster has decamped for San Diego with Wagner’s Gotterdammerung playing in the background.

          1. Andrey Pavlov says:

            Seattle works. My future BIL just moved there for a job at Microsoft. I’d have a place to stay and another reason to visit.

            1. Chris says:

              Just for future reference:

              Oh, there is surfing on the coast. Just be sure to have a good wetsuit. It gets a bit chilly.

              1. Andrey Pavlov says:

                Oof. I already wear a wetsuit in Southern California in the wintertime. A full 3/4 (actually I need a new one). I can’t imagine what I’d need to wear up there to go surfing.

                But thanks for the reference. BIL might be interested in it, especially depending on how his new love interest works out. She is awesome and fascinating. Grew up hardcore Mormon until one day her parents realized it was all a crock of $hit. Now they are all atheist and it is quite entertaining to see her parents doing all the normal stuff college kids do but in their 50’s because they never did it before. And she is particularly insightful, flat out saying that she hates having been raised and taught in a way that leaves her without critical thinking skills. She actually recognizes that she does not have a robust ability to successfully determine the veracity of truth claims and asked me for help. So of course I had a few references to send her way. Something like this may prove useful as well!

          2. Angora Rabbit says:

            Gotterdammerung. I could do with some Magic Fire music and fire everywhere about now. It dropped to -18F yesterday before WC and is now 0F. Tropical.

            If we meet in Detroit, I propose a hunt to find Jimmy Hoffa at the RenCen. With plenty of Founder’s aie (a fine Grand Rapids product).

            But seriously, congratulations. This is desperately needed and I am delighted to see this larger effort being launched!

            1. windriven says:

              ” It dropped to -18F yesterday before WC and is now 0F.”

              But at least it’s a dry cold, right? ;-)

              1. mousethatroared says:

                To continue my wimpy tread I will point out that it’s the dry part of dry/cold that causes the cracked finger tips. I hate those. They hurt so much more than they should (like long term paper cuts).

          3. mousethatroared says:

            Windriven – I think Mitt as in Mitten (because Michigander’s hold their hand up to show where we live) rather than Mitt as in Romney.

            1. windriven says:

              Thanks, mouse. But you know I never let the facts get in the way of a good story ;-)

              1. mousethatroared says:

                Oye, I hate it when I get caught up in details and miss the joke. :)

                As an aside, the west side of Michigan is the more conservative side…Mitten’s side of the mitten, if you will.

                It is lovely over there and pretty close to Chicago too.

  19. BobbyGvegas says:

    I will be joining, and will pump it on my blog and social media.

    1. BobbyGvegas says:

      I am now a paid member.

  20. Newcoaster says:

    FInally a Medical Society I would be enthused to join, not merely required of me !

    There is so little CME on CAM and it would be great to have a conference like TAM, except devoted to SBM.

    1. Andrey Pavlov says:

      I would love it if these became worth CME. I would definitely have a better excuse to attend and be able to write off the cost. (well, once i’m done with residency)

    2. Rick says:

      Would be great if nurses could get CE’s too. Sadly I find much woo in nursing.

  21. lilady says:

    So…I think I registered successfully, using my credit card. Do I need to have a Facebook account in order to log in? (“I don’t do Facebook”).

    1. Mark Crislip says:

      if you join the society it is not the same as registering for the site. Has to do with back end issues and the two need to be separate. So once you register in the log in register menu item I will ‘approve’ you and you will get all the functionality

  22. Congratulations on the launch of SSBM. Delighted to see that you have gotten this off the ground. It would be wonderful to see more organisations like SSBM and FSM globally. A united international front would go a long way to halting the insidious creep of CAM into our hospitals and academic institutions.

  23. James Randi says:

    Picky, picky me. In point 4, above, under “Mission,” “Science-Base” should be “Science-Based”.

    A very interesting and much-needed development, one that I hope to be part of in any way I can manage. After colon cancer, cardiac bypass, aneurism problems, etc., I at least have some tales to tell, for whatever that’s worth…

    85 going on 100 is also perhaps another vantage point?

    All best, folks!


    1. Mark A Crislip says:

      thanks, my skills as a copy editor as a constant source of amusement or irritation to my fellow bloggers.

  24. This is great! I think a site and a society with a bit more feeling of education is really needed. I go to a med school that loves to tout it’s national rankings, but the sheer number of CAM advocates in the faculty have me groaning in lecture almost daily. I am very concerned that most of my classmates are probably a bit naive about alternative therapies and are being led astray as to its effectiveness (lack of!). This should be a good resource.

  25. This is fantastic! Let me know if I can ever help or contribute a blog post. I aim to put a parent’s face on obstetric and pediatric issues. And YES it is absolutely necessary. The medical establishment can no longer ignore the fact that people everywhere are turning to and trusting social media rather than their own physicians. “Seattle Mama Doc” Wendy Sue Swanson did a TED talk on that:

    My own blog post “Vaccination: A Layperson’s Perspective” went viral. I “got the science” (of at least 24 legitimate, peer-reviewed studies and other sources) to over half a million people. YES, SBM needs to be online – and everywhere else it can be.

    1. MadisonMD says:

      Thumbs up on your blog post, Lisa.

  26. Dr Rob Morrison says:

    Terrific news. Perhaps you and we in FSM (Australia) can work toward swapping resources, ideas and even relevant documents. We have a regular Column (The Bitter Pill) in Australasian Science that your members might enjoy, as well. I wish you every success with this; it is sorely needed worldwide. Your members might like to add their names to our list of Friends at

    Dr Rob Morrison
    VP, Friends of Science in Medicine (Aust)

    1. Mark Crislip says:

      Excellent idea once we get our feet under us more securely

      1. Andrey Pavlov says:

        Doubly excellent since my medical school cohort does half its education in Australia and the other half in the US, and the part of our student society in Australia has been forging a relationship with the FSM in which we are striving to be listed as affiliates and promote the goals of FSM and SSBM. I am also a member as is the current President of our student society. It would be great to have our student society also be affiliated with the SSBM.

  27. kevin says:

    Maybe you guys could go after some big targets one day. Sure, many “alternative” practitioners are full of crap, but I bet many of them wouldn’t let their children ingest this CRAP eaten by millions and millions of children each school day

    These menus are pathetically similar across the U.S. and are all presented under the guise of meeting SCIENTIFIC determined guidelines established by government entities. Geez, how many forms of cheap pizza can America’s food SCIENTISTS devise?

    Where is the outrage in the Medical professional community? Wouldn’t you rather see children grow into healthy adults instead of showing up in your office one day pale. scared and obese?

    1. Excellent observation … but these guys don’t believe someone else’s observations.

      May I say, I’ve use alternatives for the past 15 years and kinda know where the crap is in both. I use most of the good stuff from both disciplines which IMO is the best way to practice in 2014.

      If I were in court in a failed surgical case and a traditional doctor had not offer viable alternatives like massage, adjustment, acupuncture etc, I would have to commit them to jail.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        It’s cute that you think this Stephen, but your comments in the past have clearly shown that you are willing to ignore and belittle the science if it contradicts your day to day experience, pretty much the least scientific approach one can adopt and if widely practiced would drive life expectancies down by a dozen or more years. For instance, your claim that massage, adjustments and acupuncture are equivalent to surgery. Since you seem to focus on chronic pain, probably back pain, I’ll point out that acupuncture has has been tested and found ineffective beyond giving the patient something to do while their back gets better on its own. Massage and adjustments are effective for acute back pain, not chronic.

        And to address Kevin’s initial point – food faces a tension between macrocaloric intake, microcaloric intake, and cost. Cheap, filling food is actually rather vital for a nation of hungry students. High-nutrient value foods, delivered in sufficient quantities to feed a nation of students, would require a substantial tax hike, or movement from one budget line to another. “Gwar, these stupid menus and these fat kids” rather simplifies a complicated issue with national implications, and one (presumably middle-class or higher) man’s “crap” is a poor child’s only meal they get in a day, making the calorie load more important than meeting 100% of your RDI of vitamins.

        And of course, food isn’t medicine, though it is important for long-term health. But how much nanny state do you want in your stomach? Shall we legislate that students be unable to buy pizza?

    2. windriven says:


      With all due respect, the menu you linked looks pretty good to me. In a month of meals I counted two pizzas and a calzone. What do you think elementary school kids are going to eat, macrobiotic rice and steamed kale? The food doesn’t do any good sitting on the plate. It has to get into the kids’ mouths. I’d probably add more veg to the diet but there is a nice serving of fruit with every meal.

      What precisely would you like medicine to do about the lunch menu at Westerville Elementary?

      1. kevin says:

        all the main courses are fast food reheated from a box. btw what do you think an “italian dunker” and “cheesy breadstick” is? American children are getting shorter and fatter. Fodder for the big pharma’s and their henchmen with the letters behind their names.

        1. windriven says:


          Are you interested in slinging crap or having a rational discussion about establishing good dietary habits for the nation’s youth? I don’t know what an Italian dunker is but I have a fair idea what a cheesy breadstick is. I wouldn’t characterize it as pizza.

          If you are a parent of one of a child attending that school, have you taken your concerns to the administration? Your PTA? The school board?

          But look, let’s get back to science here. I have no idea what the federal regulations for school lunches are. If you do you should link it. If you have a reputable citation for what an appropriate school lunch should look like, link that too. Then we have at least the foundation for a discussion.

          Right now you’re just ranting and I don’t want your spittle on me.

        2. MadisonMD says:

          I wonder if Kevin has tried to help out. There are plenty of programs that are trying to make a difference in what is served at school.

          It must be difficult to meet federal regulations and daily serve large numbers of mandated school lunches below cost and without a budget for a chef or someone to procure large quantity of fresh produce daily. However, I’ve definitely seen some improvements– vending machines of candy and soda have been removed from schools I visit.

          So Kevin: School lunches could be better. Why don’t you join the local PTA, volunteer, raise money or donations from local produce growers or join an advocacy group.

          I guess I’m not sure what this has to do with SBM.

          1. Andrey Pavlov says:


            I don’t know much about it and what I do know could very well be propaganda, but from I do know it seems that there IS an influence of food suppliers selling below grade and relatively unhealthy foods because of deals with districts when fresh, better tasting, more nutritious, and higher grade food could be supplied for the same or even less cost. Now, I honestly don’t know how rigorous a statement that is, but from my limited knowledge on it seems quite plausible.

            That said, Kevin’s approach seems counterproductive to me. Ranting unintelligibly about what we think “Italian dunkers” are is not helpful. Stating that the food is “reheated out of a cardboard box” is also meaningless. I reheat and get prepackaged food and it is perfectly healthy. My point is that his complaints – although maybe valid in the end – are not valid in process. Like how marijuana advocates tout all these benefits that are simply false and deny risks of use. I actually agree that the risks are pretty low and that if we can countenance alcohol I don’t see a good argument against marijuana. But using poor science and fallacious arguments doesn’t do any good.

            That and, as windriven pointed out, I don’t see much of what that topic has to do with medicine.

            Anyways, my two cents.

            1. MadisonMD says:

              I don’t know much about it and what I do know could very well be propaganda, but from I do know it seems that there IS an influence of food suppliers selling below grade and relatively unhealthy foods because of deals with districts when fresh, better tasting, more nutritious, and higher grade food could be supplied for the same or even less cost. Now, I honestly don’t know how rigorous a statement that is, but from my limited knowledge on it seems quite plausible.

              I’d like to see where you get this information from– sounds a bit, er. .. like a conspiracy theory? I do anticipate that shelf life and USDA purchase of surplus and donation to schools plays a role in food selection. However, there is also a federally funded Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program. The USDA Nutrition program doesn’t look so nefarious to me. Recall that this program is meant in part, also, to feed children who are for, one reason or another, not getting adequate food at home–hence the breakfast program.

              Never heard of Italian Dunkers before this– but quick search suggests they are bread sticks, cheese (hopefully low-fat), and you dunk them in tomato sauce. Probably a fairly effective way to get kids to actually eat grains, dairy, and vegetable. Kevin seems to begrudge children a ‘fun name’ for food that encourages them to eat a vegetable serving.

              1. Andrey Pavlov says:


                As I said, very unresearched opinion. Happy to change my mind with any proper evidence, which you do seem to provide. I honestly can’t recall where I got the info from but I do recall some sort of TV news program about it. Yes I know, not exactly reliable. The plausible part for me though is that it is entirely possible for large food suppliers to ply hard to make a deal with school systems to supply them food and then try and cut corners to increase profit margin. It may not happen very often or be a big concern or it may be. I honestly don’t know, but I’d be surprised if such things never happened. There is a lot of corruption with such things.

                But I digress. My real point was exactly as you said – there is nothing about a single food that makes it inherently “unhealthy.” It is in the context of your entire diet that something can become unhealthy. A double bacon cheeseburger would be an unhealthy choice for an overweight sedentary person who eats them every day. When I used to work out 40 hours per week (yes, literally) I needed to ingest 5,000 calories per day to not lose weight. So for me, the double bacon cheeseburger was a necessary way to pack in calories. Obviously certain things (like double bacon cheeseburgers) are harder to fit into the average person’s healthy diet, but the reality is we need to take a school’s menu offerings in context of everything offered and how access and availability is structured. With such captive and impressionable audiences it makes sense to me to make “healthy” choices (i.e. those that are easier to fit into the average person’s healthy diet) more common and more easily accessible with those that are less “healthy” less accessible.

                But to just rag on something because it has cheese or has a particular name makes no sense.

    3. Anna says:

      If you don’t see “outrage in the Medical professional community” over poor American diets, then not only are you not looking hard enough, you’re not even trying to look at all.

      1. Andrey Pavlov says:

        Oh, we certainly advocate for a healthy diet. But as I said above it is a more complex issue than just “eat these foods, they’re good for you; don’t eat these foods, they’re bad for you.” It is really taken into context of the entire diet and lifestyle of the person and changes over time. So, just like most things, the eating habits and obesity of people is largely a culturally and socially determined thing. So changing up menus at schools and forcing what we consider to be “good choices” is both not likely to fit all (or even most) people and is unlikely to actually change behaviors since we can’t control what people eat the entire rest of their lives outside of school.

        So we are concerned – and we do write about diets, nutrition, etc – but spearheading a grassroots campaign to change lunch menus at high schools seems (to me at least) not the best use of our time. Important? Perhaps. Just not exactly what I would focus on it context of SBM.

    4. Angora Rabbit says:

      Kevin, look more carefully at the menus, please. It looks pretty good, a compromise between healthy choices and getting kids to eat. Note that many of the breads are whole grain (and fiber rich), the meats are lean cuts rather than fatty beef, and the sides are veggies and fruits. Go beyond the selling label (which is only marketing) and consider the actual composition.

    5. mousethatroared says:

      From my perspective, That menu looks pretty good. I know my children’s school menu was much worse a few years ago. Many days with no veggy or fruit option with the meal. That’s why I got in the habit of packing lunch for them. Of course the families relying on free lunch don’t have that option. Happily the menu has improved over the last two years. I suspect there is a general trend for improvement in many schools.

      As a parent (who hopes to soon be a member of the Society for Science-Based Medicine,) that’s sounds pretty tertiary to the topics I’d expect them to focus on, though. Although I suspect you won’t find lots of folks here who are AGAINST having a reasonable and tasty science based nutritional standard for school lunches.

  28. jacobv says:

    Joined and happy to support what I consider the very necessary efforts of the SfSBM!

  29. Art Malernee Dvm says:

    I paid my 85 dollars to be a member. Do I still need to register?

    1. DevoutCatalyst says:

      Art, yes, you must also register. And welcome aboard !

  30. Dr Robert peers says:

    There are two types of unscientific medicine out there…pseudo medicine and real medicine….so when we finish with the first, we need to also look at the second, which uses science mainly to identify drugs to treat diseases that medicine cannot solve…magnet man William Gilbert, in 1600, warned against PRETENDERS TO SCIENCE, WHO VAINLY AND PREPOSTEROUSLY SEEK NEW REMEDIES, FOR LUCRE’S SAKE, IGNORANT OF THE TRUE CAUSES OF DISEASES….I will post more on this later….bye now

    1. zntne0 says:

      Um I’m not sure quoting someone way before even evidence based medicine came around (and who’s called magnet man) means much now.

    2. Frederick says:

      Ok so a man in the 1600 with no possible way of analyzing, proving, or even understand was he was saying, or to research if what he was clamming WORK, got all the answers? All miracle cure-all, get-rich easy solution are shams. That 16hundred man probably get rich with money of poor innocent people.

    3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      pseudo medicine and real medicine….so when we finish with the first, we need to also look at the second, which uses science mainly to identify drugs to treat diseases that medicine cannot solve

      Um…what’s the problem here? What you’re saying here is “science identifies drugs to treat diseases that currently lack treatments”. Huzzah? Isn’t that what it’s supposed to do? What should “real medicine” focus on, fake diseases?

      If you’re saying “real medicine shouldn’t focus just on drug therapy”, well, that’s hardly a revolutionary insight, is it? Did you not notice the ongoing advice to quit smoking, exercise and eat better? The constant debate over what to do about the obesity epidemic? What we really need is a pill that gets patients to follow their doctors’ orders to eat better, get enough exercise, quit smoking, lose weight and get enough sleep. Then many of the chronic conditions that accumulate over a lifetime of ignoring doctors’ orders will disappear.

      What are doctors supposed to do with a 400 pound patient with high blood pressure and a two-pack-a-day habit who comes in with type II diabetes? Let him die of it or maybe give him something to lower his blood pressure to give him time to lose weight, quit smoking and control his blood sugar?

      I’ll never understand blaming doctors for the epidemic of lifestyle conditions brought about by patients who refuse to follow doctors’ orders.

  31. mousethatroared says:

    Congratulations on the Society! I wish I heard about it before the holiday spending spree. I will have to save up to join.

  32. Frederick says:

    That’s great news, That a great step toward bringing rational thinking and critical thinking, double with proven facts, to the people. A good way to fight the Dogma of the CAM, never ever changing anything, blinding themselves and peoples with their magical thinking. Of course true believers are lost cause, but you might be able to help the people not getting abuse by pseudo-science.

    I’m not a USA resident, can i still be a member?
    Is there a ‘free membership’ ? because right now , despite my 34 years of age, i’m a student so maybe that could apply to me :-)
    Even if I Cannot, I’m a regular reader, and i believe in the cause :-)

  33. Frederick says:

    I don’t know if you have control over the ADD below SFSBM page, i understand you need for ADD. But i was offered a miracle testosterone cure… you might want eventual do something about that.

    1. windriven says:

      Click on the advertisements every time you get bored, Frederick. The advertisers pay by the click :-)

      1. Frederick says:

        Yeah well i guess, we can take that the funny way. If i see any pseudo-science marketing gimmick the best his to click on it, so a part of the money they made will be use against them :). I guess we can see it that way :-)

  34. Tallise says:

    After I pay for my text books I’ll see what I have left! Bookmarked and will for sure post this on Facebook and in my student group!

  35. tjohnson_nb says:

    I think this should be called Sarcasm Based Medicine – thats what these blogs mostly seem to be.

    1. Chris says:

      You can catch more flies with sarcastic humor than cynical observations.

  36. Grayson Wood says:

    Oh, goody! Just what we need! A new ‘Society’ for “like-minded individuals”. Let’s all chip in and see if we can buy them a boat! Oh, and just enough fuel to get out to the 2-mile limit!

    In defense of the scientific method, and all it has taught us about learning, and about Truth, over the past the past several hundred years; and with homage and deep respect for critical thinkers everywhere, as well as for yourselves, who are most graciously on the same road as all the rest of us, I beseech you: Please find a more suitable title for your little group.

    Yeah…. so sorry guys. You can dress a pig in a tuxedo, but it’s still a pig.

    Do the right thing, and strive to acknowledge your true dharma.

    Many blessings await…

    1. Andrey Pavlov says:

      Writing Truth with a capital “T” is a sure sign of crankery and ideology.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        100% sensitive and specific.

      2. mousethatroared says:

        It’s a sickness, I can’t help myself

        The Fool’s Song

        I tried to put a bird in a cage.
        O fool that I am!
        For the bird was Truth.
        Sing merrily, Truth: I tried to put
        Truth in a cage!

        And when I had the bird in the cage,
        O fool that I am!
        Why, it broke my pretty cage.
        Sing merrily, Truth; I tried to put
        Truth in a cage!

        And when the bird was flown from the cage,
        O fool that I am!
        Why, I had nor bird nor cage.
        Sing merrily, Truth: I tried to put
        Truth in a cage!
        Heigh-ho! Truth in a cage.

        ~William Carlos Williams

    2. Sawyer says:

      Yes, what a terribly deceitful move to name the group after its primary area of interest and underlying mission statement. As everyone knows, political advocacy groups are supposed to be named the exact opposite of their goals. Shame on the SFSBM for not living up to the standards of The Discovery Institute, Generation Rescue, and the Institute for Historical Review.

      How dare you Mark Crislip? HOW DARE YOU!


      1. Andrey Pavlov says:


  37. graywood says:

    Okay. I can see that there is some hope for discovering intelligent life within this Society. So, I’d like to suggest beginning with a very basic exercise, which is the first principle of the scientific method — namely, “observation”. Let’s take a look at a fairly widely-held agreement (found in the O.E.D) on the definitions of “medicine”, and of “science”.

    Here we go…

    med·i·cine  (md-sn)
    a. The science of diagnosing, treating, or preventing disease and other damage to the body or mind.
    b. The branch of this science encompassing treatment by drugs, diet, exercise, and other nonsurgical means.
    2. The practice of medicine.
    3. An agent, such as a drug, used to treat disease or injury.
    4. Something that serves as a remedy or corrective: medicine for rebuilding the economy; measures that were harsh medicine.
    a. Shamanistic practices or beliefs, especially among Native Americans.
    b. Something, such as a ritual practice or sacred object, believed to control natural or supernatural powers or serve as a preventive or remedy.
    Well, it appears that the use of the word “science”, in the suggested concept of “Science-Based Medicine”, is actually redundant. But here’s what the O.E.D says, anyway:

    sci·ence  (sns)
    a. The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena.
    b. Such activities restricted to a class of natural phenomena.
    c. Such activities applied to an object of inquiry or study.
    2. Methodological activity, discipline, or study: I’ve got packing a suitcase down to a science.
    3. An activity that appears to require study and method: the science of purchasing.
    4. Knowledge, especially that gained through experience.
    5. Science Christian Science….

    … and so on.

    Observation! Discipline! Study! Experience! These are important tenets, to be fiercely safeguarded and defended against all who would be caught up in ego-based mythologies, or the stated results of poorly designed, so-called “research studies” that have failed to consider even the most basic definition of things.

    One quick example are these ridiculous trials conducted with “acupuncture vs sham acupuncture”. There have been no intelligently-designed trials on the efficacy of acupuncture, any more than there might be for one of the modern, commonly-used surgical procedures. There is no placebo for either one! Raine, et al., 2013 (citation, below) is a good case in point.

    Furthermore, there is really no rational basis on which to define, or even suggest that the practice of acupuncture has been represented by the irresponsible insertion of needles into the bodies of human subjects, any more than there would be in characterizing modern conventional medicine by the use of a Babinsky hammer, and then using it in clinical trials for treating migraine headache. This is just plain stupid!

    Anyway…. we don’t REALLY want you on a boat to the open sea. That would just be creating one more island of isolated thinking. No. As stated and implied more than once in your own basic manifesto, we need to be unified and cooperative; drawing on the special contributions of each and every concerned scientist and health-care provider.

    So how about we all do the exercise I’m suggesting, and re-examine the definitions, above? Pick out some of the words that somehow jump out at you, from among those used in defining the terms “medicine” and “science”. Write them down, and repeat them to yourself tonight, before you fall asleep. This is a type of “discipline”, and an instrument used in “study”. Have fun with it, and see what happens in the morning.

    Cited reference:
    Raine Sihvonen, M.D., Mika Paavola, M.D., Ph.D., Antti Malmivaara, M.D., Ph.D., Ari Itälä, M.D., Ph.D., Antti Joukainen, M.D., Ph.D., Heikki Nurmi, M.D., Juha Kalske, M.D., and Teppo L.N. Järvinen, M.D., Ph.D. for the Finnish Degenerative Meniscal Lesion Study (FIDELITY) Group. Arthroscopic Partial Meniscectomy versus Sham Surgery for a Degenerative Meniscal Tear. N Engl J Med 2013; 369:2515-2524December 26, 2013DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1305189

    1. nancy brownlee says:

      ” Pick out some of the words that somehow jump out at you, from among those used in defining the terms “medicine” and “science”.

      Shamanistic practices of beliefs

      Something, such as a ritual practice or sacred object, believed to control natural or supernatural powers or serve as a preventive or remedy.

      Christian Science

      Knowledge, especially that gained through experience

      All included in the definitions, none are science based.

    2. weing says:


      As pointed out above by nancy brownlee, definition of medicine number 5 is not science-based medicine. Science-based medicine is therefore a subset of medicine.
      Exhibit some intelligence and learn.

    3. windriven says:

      @Grayson Wood

      I don’t know what you’re talking about. And I’m pretty sure that you don’t either.

      Is your pedantic exercise in epistemology supposed to catalyze some organization wide epiphany? If so, help me out as I’m slow.

      Then you roll out the Sihvonen study in NEJM as, one infers, an exemplar of an unintelligently constructed study comparing sham surgery with actual surgery. But Sihvonen looks pretty good to me. So … what’s your actual point?

      “Anyway…. we don’t REALLY want you on a boat to the open sea.”
      Oh good. I’ll be able to sleep tonight.

      Instead of a fog of fluttering hands and oblique references, how about just saying what you mean?

    4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Graywood, it sounds like your objection can be distilled down to “science-based medicine is not scientific because it doesn’t support my belief that acupuncture is an effective medical intervention.” So I think I see why you have problems with the “science” part. I can clarify further if you would like.

      As for “intelligently designed acupuncture trials”, have you ever heard of GERAC? Or the toothpicks study? Or White et al. that showed needling location didn’t matter, but practitioner enthusiasm does? Or the use of sham retracting needles? Research consistently shows that it doesn’t matter where you put the needles, it doesn’t matter if you penetrate the skin, if patients think they’re getting real acupuncture, the most important factor is just how thick the acupuncturist lays it on.

  38. Sawyer says:

    The phrase “Science Based Medicine” was not chosen in haste or in ignorance. The fact that you feel it is redundant betrays far more ignorance about the history of modern medicine than you realize. The distinction between alternative medicine, evidence based medicine, and science based medicine is one of the fundamental reasons this website exists. The future of effective, affordable medical care may very well rest on having enough scientists, doctors, and patients grasp these distinctions. This has been spelled out dozens of times on this site by pretty much every single contributor. It’s not hard to find this information, but it takes more than 5 minutes. Please put some real effort into understanding what this website is about before continuing to waste everyone’s time.

  39. Great! I’m a long-time follower of Dr. Barrett, and a full-blown society seems like the logical next step to me. A word of caution: a Wiki of any kind is a magnet for abuse by people with an axe to grind, and keeping it from becoming a priesthood and a hacking target will take more time and money than a non-modifiable archive would. As some of the unmoderated comments here show, the Internet, like a New York coffee shop chain, is chock full o’ nuts.

    Anyway, best of luck with the effort.

  40. John Mayer says:

    I’d love to join; unfortunately, $85, while it might not seem much to a doctor, is a great deal indeed for a nurse, especially at a time when I’m spending every spare cent on Sharkbite fittings to repair frozen pipes. Maybe when the weather turns a bit nicer …

    Nonetheless, I am heartened to hear of this undertaking and fully supportive. I will be happy if it accomplishes no more than getting Oscillococcinum out of my food co-op. I was surprised to see that this, among the silliest of pseudomeds, makes specific (and false) health claims right on the package. I had thought that unlawful, but when I called the local FDA I was ruefully informed that homeopathy had been grandfathered out of truth requirements. I wish I could herald your new organization with drums and trumpets.

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