Skeptic Fails and Wins this Week

Dilbert on Homeopathy

Jennifer spotted this awesome Dilbert about Homeopathy. It was posted back in April. This strip seems a little angrier than your typical Dilbert, which makes me wonder how many homeo-believers Scott Adams has argued with in real life. It’s inspiring to see stuff like this outside of strictly skeptical sites. However, the comments on the Dilbert site are less inspiring.

When it comes to regulating natural health products, who’s got your back?

Lisa spotted this win on MSN’s Lifestyle news site covering the lack of regulation on natural health products in Canada. The article is not concerned with the effectiveness of these products, but their safety. Under the Natural Health Products Directorite, companies are responsible for monitoring the safety of their own products. There is no independent watchdog tasked to protect consumers unless someone files a complaint. The article does a great job of covering the safety issue by presenting the facts.

Desensitization used to treat allergies

Michael spotted this fail on CTV. I really could start a whole column on free advertising that news organizations seem to give to homeopathy. This is yet another story about homeopathic treatment with absolutely nothing said about the lack of proof for this treatment. And this story goes one woo-filled step futher by blaming an organophosphate allergy on behavioral problems. I’m pretty skeptical of this allergy considering DNA is an organophosphate! Now there may be a particular chemical this person is allergic too (organophosphates are a pretty big group), but why wouldn’t they just say that? So now we are treating bogus disorders with bogus treatments! Maybe that’s a kind of double-negative that somehow works?

Eating for your genes

Macleans featured this fail on a new claim by Dr. Mehmet Oz. He says that there will soon be a DNA test that will tell you what types of food an individual should eat to lose weight. This concept has been dubbed nutrigenomics, and Oz has been talking to the press about the results of a study he worked on. So what is the problem? Well, this study has not been released to a peer reviewed journal, and yet the news media are reporting it like it is fact. It sounds like Dr. Oz is poising himself to cash in on this test before it’s even been proven to work. What do you think?

Well, that’s the fails and wins for this week. If you spot a story that you’d like to share, send it to

4 Responses to “Skeptic Fails and Wins this Week”

  1. ananas says:

    The food you should eat to lose weight = less :-D But I can do an expensive DNA test before I tell you that.

  2. Brian Lynchehaun says:

    Actually, Dr. Oz had a whole TV episode of his show on that topic.

    Ctv don't seem to keep episodes of his show that are older than a week, but Oz's article is here:

  3. Eamon Knight says:

    Gee, Scott Adams is anti-homepathy? Considering some of the stupid things he's said on other topics, I'm actually a bit surprised.

  4. Todd Kuipers says:

    While I think Rosie Schwartz has generally good intentions WRT regulations around natural health products, the idea that I would trust Health Canada to provide me with decent and skepticism-resilient information is a bit rich. Their take on BPA regulation proves as much.


  • Melany Hamill

    Melany proudly uses the titles of both geek and nerd. As a science-enthusiast and fan of debate, Melany likes to get her facts straight. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Chemical Engineering. Since then her career path has meandered to its current spot as a project manager at a video game studio. Melany lives near beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. She is not seeking treatment for her caffeine addiction.