Chief of the infectious diseases division of the department of medicine at Roswell Park Cancer Institute speaks at CFI Amherst
Brahm Segal, MD
Science and Pseudoscience in Medicine
What’s the difference?
Why does it matter?
Friday, January 14, 2011
Center for Inquiry, 1310 Sweet Home Road, Amherst, NY, 14228
Some people believe that the distinction between science and pseudoscience is in the eye of the beholder. Others argue that science is distinguishable from other fields because scientists rely on the systematic testing of hypotheses (educated guesses) to gain knowledge. Skepticism is central to the scientific method; claims generally become accepted in the field only after repeated testing, ideally by several independent investigators.
In contrast, pseudoscience attempts to mimic science, but fails to meet the scientific standard of objective, rigorous testing. Examples of pseudoscience include astrology, homeopathy, phrenology, “creation science,” and certain claims made in the acupuncture field. Pseudoscience can lead to false or misleading claims that are harmful to patients and obstruct progress in medicine.
Widely held views in science have been proven to be false, and claims once thought to be implausible have turned out to be correct (after rigorous scientific testing). Indeed, one of the major features of science that distinguishes it from pseudoscience concerns evaluating and re-evaluating “accepted knowledge.”
Brahm Segal, MD, is chief of the infectious diseases division of the department of medicine at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI). Prior to joining RPCI, Dr. Segal completed a fellowship in infectious diseases at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (part of the NIH), in Bethesda, Maryland. There, he completed post-doctoral training in innate immunity. He joined the staff of RPCI in 1999 as a consultant in the division of infectious diseases, department of medicine, and was appointed chief of the division in 2000. He is currently an associate professor of medicine with tenure at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and an associate professor of oncology (department of medicine) and an associate member (department of immunology) at RPCI. Dr. Segal has authored or co-authored more than 80 peer-reviewed publications as well as numerous book chapters.
This event is FREE and OPEN to the public!
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