Dying to believe: alternative medicine and the brutality of charlatanism

Scepticism is often confused for cynicism, a lip-curl sneer rather than a furrowed brow of investigation. Sometimes, sceptics groups can be guilty of an air of superiority, a dismissive elevation above the herd who are consuming magic water or who sit unsteadily on a flat Earth.

The best scepticism comes from curiosity and human concern, a desire to alert people that they may well be being misled, often for financial gain. The frequently furious author Harlan Ellison said: “You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.”

An opinion is not worth much if little effort has gone in to arriving at it. An opinion becomes dangerous if you decide to use it to persuade other people to take decisions on their own wellbeing based on it.

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