I started this blog because sometimes I feel compelled to explore and critically analyze a claim or position and to share my thoughts, especially when I perceive gross misrepresentations that impact my town of Ashland, Oregon. This blog focuses (for now, at least) on two hot topics: immunizations and radio or microwave frequency electromagnetic radiation — and as of 2016, I added a third topic: chronic lyme disease.
While not an expert, I do strive to study, and link to, credible experts and reliable sources, reflecting my own journey to improve my scientific literacy and rational skepticism, including “baloney detection.” (See Baloney Detection Kit video below.)
If you are a hard-core anti-vaccination or “selective vaccination” adherent, or a firm believer that radiation from cell phones or base stations or from “smart meters” is dangerous, you probably won’t enjoy reading about those topics on this blog.
I was raised with a lot of garbage-beliefs, before acquiring a multitude on my own, such as when my mother yelled outside to me as a child: “Don’t eat that snow; it’s radioactive!” Decades later I blurted the same to a friend’s son. Her WTF reaction made me immediately realize how ridiculous I sounded. We all internalize dubious “facts,” lurking in the subconscious if not the conscious mind, wreaking havoc on our perceptions of reality.
I have fallen for (and probably still do but hopefully to a much lesser extent), and highly recommended to family and friends, many products that I later discovered to have little to no benefits while carrying potential or unknown risks. I have used high doses of certain vitamins, glucosamine and chondroitin, colloidal silver, so-called homeopathic Zicam cold remedy, “Fat Magnets” for weight loss, magnetic shoe insoles, homeopathic Arnica, desiccated bovine uterus or something like that, etc.. I learned how easy it is to mistakenly attribute improvement of symptoms to a dubious product or treatment.
I wish I had only spent a homeopathic (i.e. infinitesimal or non-existent) amount of money on these products. (Don’t even get me started on homeopathy.)
Since the early 2000s, I have been thrilled to see the skeptical inquiry and science-based medicine movements grow on the Internet. To me, these types of sources offer the best approach to sorting fact from fiction in the face of conflicting claims and studies and media headlines.
Thank you for visiting my blog.
Michael Shermer’s Baloney Detection Kit: