The Sciences

What’s the harm?

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitFeb 12, 2008 8:00 PM


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Antiscience kills. It does. Chelation, exorcisms, alternative medicine that replaces real medicine... all these (and many, many more) do real measurable damage to people. But c'mon, folks like Sylvia Brown don't really hurt us, right? They tell us what we want to hear, and that's good. Right? Right? Wrong. Fantasy has its place, but when it replaces reality it hurts us. We don't seek cures, we don't heal, we cannot make rational decisions. But specific examples of this are hard to pin down sometimes because of the vast number of cases which are spread out all over the place. Well, not any more. Now when someone asks "What's the harm?" you can send them right to What's The Harm. This is a compendium of actual cases, real people who have been hurt or money that has been wasted due to magical thinking, from acupuncture to the Y2K scare. It's a very interesting place to click around. ... until you see how children get hurt by this. Little kids, babies, injured or even killed by parents who were not able to break free of the blinders they wore due to some brand of antiscience. This is no joke, and it makes my stomach churn. People, sometimes children, die because of this. Again, there are so many reasons to fight nonsensical thinking. But in the world, in the real world, it's because we need to save peoples' lives. What's The Harm allows you to submit cases yourself. Help them out, and let's make this a resource for people all over the world to help save the world.

I've had this post in my drafts for weeks, so my thanks to Skeptico for reminding me to post it.

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