Buttle's World

29 September, 2009

What’s The Harm?

Filed under: Posts — clgood @ 7:15

“What’s the harm in believing…?”

Ever heard that one?

The harm can actually be deadly.

A problem skeptics face is that, emotionally, anecdotes trump statistics. Lack of critical thinking skills is why a single sob story can beat a mountain of evidence.

I’ve added whatstheharm.net to the Honor Roll of links there on the right because they understand this problem. Not only do they present just how many people are killed and injured due to fallacious beliefs, but they put a human face on the toll. Highly recommended.

My thanks to Rebecca Watson for mentioning it on last week’s edition of my favorite podcast, The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe.

Update (and bumped):

David Gorski has some case histories of the price of anti-vaccine nuttery. It’s also worth noting that Science Based Medicine is back, running on a new and improved server.

All this biomedical woo comes at a cost. For instance, in one message Mary listed the monthly cost: $2,800 to $3,500 for IVIG, plus $500 for supplements and chelation therapy. But that’s just money. It’s always possible to get more money, even after pouring it down the rathole of quackery. What is not possible to take back the discomfort, fear, and pain that Saul was forced to endure for no potential benefit. Indeed, Mary even appears at certain points to have recognized this:

Sometimes I feel like a mad scientist and my poor kid is my guinea pig.

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