Sadness, conspiracies, double-standards, and more…

FSM Friends’ News and Articles

We are saddened to announce that The SkepDoc Dr. Harriet Hall has passed away: Over the years, we at FSM have often benefited from the writings of our Friend Dr Harriet Hall. It is deeply sad to lose such a pillar of the community. “Her contributions to promoting skepticism, particularly regarding dubious medicine and pseudomedical claims, are legendary, as was her pioneering role as one of the earliest female flight surgeons in the Air Force.”

XBB.1.5 COVID-19 variant — here comes the Kraken FAQ: New Year, New Variant. Skeptical Raptor has produced a reasonable FAQ on the ‘Kraken’ Variant, with sources listed. The name ‘Kraken’ was selected simply to make it easier to communicate than having to refer to ‘XBB.1.5’. It would appear that this variant is more transmissible than other Omicron subvariants and equally immune evasive, but does not appear to be causing an increase in hospitalisations.


How Finland is teaching a generation to spot misinformation classes:  “The Nordic country is testing new ways to teach students about propaganda. Here’s what other countries can learn from its success.”

Some might argue that almost all of the wellness movement could be considered a conspiracy: “In November 2020, he shared an image on his social media platforms which incorporated the ‘black sun’ – a symbol adopted by neo-Nazis and displayed prominently by the Christchurch shooter… Just like any of the more obvious ways into conspiracy theory rabbit holes, these seemingly helpful and informative communities and personalities can soon serve to pull people into conspiratorial mindsets and provide a leaping-off point into all manner of other more traditional conspiracy theories.”

Conspiracy believers more likely to endorse mythical causes of cancer: “These results suggest a direct connection between digital misinformation and consequent erroneous health decisions”.

Credulity and ignorance, alternative medicine, by Alejandro Vázquez Cárdena:All those who advocate pseudo-therapies, such as homeopathy and psychoanalysis, have an obligation to prove that their products are safe and effective. But none can do it, for the simple reason that they do not meet the basic requirements to be taken seriously in a research protocol. At most they resort to the so-called ‘fallacy of authority’, which is when they try to support a belief by its origin and not by arguments.”

Today’s Abused Health Concept

Double Standards. Medical ConservativesA high rate of COVID-myocarditis is “good news”, a low rate of vaccine-myocarditis is “deeply concerning” : Certain “Medical Conservatives” were willing to accept and minimise the dangers of COVID-myocarditis, but became implacable fear mongers for the much small risks of VACCINE-myocardititis. “…Having told young people not to fear death or anything else COVID might do to them, medical “conservatives” instead felt they should be very afraid of vaccine-myocarditis.” Dr. Prasad said 21 of 3,000 patients with COVID-myocarditis was “reassuring”. When discussing the much lower rate of vaccine-myocarditis, he said “That 1/3-5k ballpark is deeply concerning. We ought to make a concerted effort to lower harms in this group”, he said about the vaccine, of course.  Dr. Mandrola felt concerns about COVID-myocarditis were “fear mongering”, and that it was “good news” that 1.4% of athletes developed COVID-myocarditis on cardiac MRI. Good news! In contrast, with the vaccine and a myocarditis rate of 0.01%, he said we need more “caution” and that accurately quoting studies that describe vaccine-myocarditis as “mild” was a “trust shredder”. Doctors who repeatedly and blatantly contradict themselves are motivated by ideology, not evidence. They don’t deserve our trust.