Pseudo-science is all grown up

Pseudoscience isn’t just for cranks chasing cryptids or building perpetual motion machines in their basement any more: it’s all grown up these days, a big business where it intersects with health care, and mostly indistinguishable from the real science, unless you really know your stuff, which hardly anyone does. The proliferation of bogus but authentic-looking “scientific journals” is the most obvious example of sophisticated pseudo-science, and hardly a day goes by some cranky chiropractor or mad massage therapist doesn’t throw some crap “study” in my face as if it proves something. Alternative medicine is an aggressive and highly profitable industry, and it has found many ways over the years to achieve the appearance of legitimacy, as well as simply evading the need for it by taking their sales pitch straight to consumers with scarcely a shred of legislation to get in their way: consumer protection laws and industry and professional regulation are all barely there or even counter-productive. And consumers have appallingly poor baloney detection kits, because public education in general (and science education in particular) has been eroding steadily for decades (in North America for sure).

We’re now in the early years an age of endarkenment in health care, and there’s no way we’re stopping it with anything less than a generation or two of hard work and a fair bit of luck.