Belief buddies: a classic sign of pseudoscience

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There are lots of ways to tell the difference between science and pseudoscience. Most involve analyzing empirical claims. There’s an even easier way to tell the difference between websites and message boards that disseminate pseudoscience compared to those that adhere strictly to scientific evidence. Pseudoscience depends in large part on “belief buddies.”

Pigliucci and Boudry, writing in Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem, explain:

These groups collect and disseminate information on issues where scientific information and approaches are more or less relevant. They often feel that their views are neglected or stigmatized in society at large. As a result, these belief buddies consciously attempt to affirm contributions that further their agenda; dissent is discouraged lest it lead to a splintering of the group…

[B]elief buddies may not welcome criticism … Their job is to convey information that supports their core project and to reassure beleaguered constituents.

Science, on the other hand, involves critical communities. Their job is to challenge the information that supports their core project and everyone and everything is a target for criticism.

Simply put: pseudoscience takes place in supportive communities, while real science takes place in critical communities.

How can the lay person tell the difference? Sometimes it is obvious; a group of belief buddies may insist that their community will only allow members who support each other in their belief in the core project.

Over the years, for example, Mothering.com has been explicit in promoting its anti-vaccination message boards as places of “support.” In a charmingly Orwellian formulation, the editors explain:

… Though Mothering does not take a pro or anti stand on vaccinations, we will not host threads on the merits of mandatory vaccine, or a purely pro vaccination view point as this is not conducive to the learning process.

Therefore, a layperson can be sure that any community that exists to support a specific belief will be a community of pseudoscience and have nothing to do with science.

But what if the leaders of the community do not helpfully inform you that they have no interest in anything that disagrees with their core beliefs? That’s easy, too. Just look at whether the community allows or bans dissenting opinions.

For example, at every level of homebirth advocacy, from clowns like The Feminist Breeder, through organizations like Lamaze; from self-proclaimed “experts” in obstetrical research like Henci Goer to people with academic credentials like Darcia Narvaez, PhD, the delete button is integral to maintaining control over what people read and think.

As in the case of totalitarian governments, efforts to remove dissent and create the image that dissent never existed are tools to support beliefs that could never be defended in an intellectually honest way. Deleting and banning reflect the desperation felt by those trying to hold onto power that was gained by lying to people in the first place. Most importantly, women (and men) should understand that professional homebirth advocates are terrified of letting people have free access to information. Who knows what might happen if they treated women like intellectually capable human beings instead of like sheep?

When homebirth advocates tell you they have “educated” themselves, and done “research,” they mean that they have visited communities of belief buddies. But belief buddies deal in pseudoscience and that means that members are indoctrinated, not educated.

  • L&D_Nurse_Soon

    Hey Dr. Amy,
    I am working on a paper for my nursing research class. The topic I chose is Home Birth vs. Hospital birth–Perinatal Mortality & Morbidity. Hoping you can point me in the direction of your favorite studies. MANA has a comprehensive lists of the studies they feel support their position, and critique of the studies that don’t. I am looking to balance out that source of research. Thanks!

  • violinwidow

    Indoctrinated not educated. Love it and can’t wait for the next person that tells me they have educated themselves.

  • maria

    These pseudoscientists simply want to feel special, most of them are really dumb, probably had low academic performance and the nonsense they are promoting gives them a sense of achievement.
    Homebirth advocates can be compared to fundamentalists, I like to call them ‘homebirth Talibans’. And the people who believe blindly in these “scientists” are plain stupid, sorry to be so blunt. Initially I wanted to say ‘naive’ or ‘misinformed’, but ‘stupid’ describes them the best. They are the ones who are likely to believe other crap such as ‘the Earth was created in 7 days’ etc.
    Anti-vaccination supporters, in particular, are the living proof of ‘I haven’t passed my biology exams in school so I’m against modern medicine’.
    Let’s just acknowledge some people have low IQ and huge ego.

    • Lizzie Dee

      Clearly many are dumb or unthinking, but it seems to me that a huge ego can cancel out a high IQ, and they are the really dangerous ones.

      I am not dumb, but I have got myself into various muddles over vaccination at different times – maybe because I don’t always understand the science, maybe because my daughter IS vulnerable to bad reactions. At the start of the MMR scare, I was half convinced; because it did sound a bit plausible. I have now gone back to regarding them as a universal good, but can see why some parents are scared off by unreliable reporting and a kind of superstitious fear.

      • Kerlyssa

        Black and white thinking also is not your friend when it comes to medical treatments. Very few treatments actually ARE ‘universally good’. They have their risks and benefits, all of them, from a cast on the arm, to concentrated oxygen, to, yeah, vaccinations. It is far easier to lose ‘belief’ in vaccinations when what you believe is demonstrably untrue.The problem with vaccine denialism is not that they claim vaccines shouldn’t be universal, because the sweet spot really isn’t at 100%. The problem is that they then decide that they make the perfect arbiters of who should and shouldn’t be vaccinated, when they don’t actually have the relevant medical expertise.

        A mentally ill homeless person doesn’t pay taxes, so it’s ok for me not to right after throwing that wedding. The recovering car crash victim doesn’t have to help mop up after her shift, so I don’t either when I’m tired after a long night. People with extreme allergies/ certain immune disorders are advised against taking vaccines, so it’s a good idea for my baby, who gets a red swollen arm for hours after a shot, never to get vaccinated again.

        It’s seductive to think that one is the medical expert on one’s baby, simply by dint of being with it constantly, instead of taking into proper account the other experience and training required for the truly informed decision.

  • Serenity

    Dr. Amy, I was listening to NPR and heard about the book Expecting Better by Emily Oster, which discusses the risks in pregnancy like an economist. If you get a chance to look at the book, I’m interested in what you think of it. On the radio she just discussed risks like drinking or eating soft cheeses. I don’t know if she addressed risks of different kinds of birth.

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    OT

    It must be awesome to live in the world of NCB and homebirth where you can just make stuff up and other gullible people believe you.

    http://community.babycenter.com/post/a44250985/skeptical_ob_has_anyone_ever_heard_of_this_lady

    • amazonmom

      I am ashamed to admit I’m a member of that board! I quit reading it a long time ago after I found a less dramatic private group. I got tired of hearing about how I should have an HBAC surrounded by fairies and never let anyone inject my poor child with evil vitamin K.

    • realityycheque

      “She’s been sued multiple times and bounced from blog host to blog host. ”

      WAT!? They really do just make stuff up.

    • J

      “I also found her idea that natural birth and mandatory breastfeeding movement is markedly anti-feminist interesting.”

      There is a MANDATORY breastfeeding movement?

      • Bombshellrisa

        I find the concept of “baby friendly hospitals” code for “mandatory breast feeding” hospitals

        • J

          Perhaps, but here this woman, who is attacking Dr Amy and appears to supporting such a movement, calls it by that name. Interesting that they don’t want to even have the pretense of free choice, but then imply this movement is feminist in the very same sentence.

      • suchende

        Yes. Haven’t you heard the calls for Rx-only formula?

        • Young CC Prof

          Yup. And locking it up in the hospital, that’s a great idea.

        • J

          No. Yikes.

  • anh

    yes! I used to be a huge fan of “my ob said what” until I realized it was a giant echo chamber where we were supposed to cheer on women’s decisions no matter what they were. this included a woman who was so offended that her doc insisted on her bringing her baby into the hospital when his bili levels were 22. when I said that if I were a doc I’d probably be crazy insistent at that point too I was informed that this was “bullying”. most recently I’ve been blocked from the website when I tried to argue with a woman who claimed that formula caused babies to accumulate new fat cells but breast fed babies’ fat cells just grew. I can’t post, so it appears that this crazy woman “won” the argument. it sucks.
    what is wrong with people?

    • Sullivan ThePoop

      She is confusing a pretty recent and not well understood hypothesis that says that if you make too many fat cells as a child (all children) then you have a greater propensity for gross obesity after you stop making new fat cells and are only adding to existing ones. So, if you breastfeed and then the diet you feed your child in early childhood causes them to have a greater amount of fat cells they still have the same problem. Formula fed babies are sometimes fed too much formula after they start solids instead of offering more water. This seems to be less of a problem with breastfed babies and is where some of the information about formula feeding and later obesity comes from. It is not a problem with formula though. It is user error.

      • anh

        huh? study? that doesn’t make too much sense to me. I mean, I get it that if you’re super fat, you lose weight, it’s easy to get fat again because the fat cells don’t disappear, they just deflate, and they reinflate as soon as you overeat. but, it still seems there are plenty of super fat breast fed babies (who people cheer for, as opposed to fat breast fed babies) who will face the same problem?

        • Sullivan ThePoop

          The hypothesis is that if you produce a lot of fat cells while you are still producing them in early childhood then you have a greater risk for gross obesity when you are older and only adding to the fat cells you already have. It doesn’t matter if you breastfeed or not. Every child has the same risk. I was just also adding that it is a noted problem that some people feed their babies too much formula after they start solids which can help start this problem. That is the only difference I have seen between formula fed babies and breastfed babies as far as this issue goes.

          • anh

            gotcha! so by that theory, fat breast fed babies have the same risk?

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            yes, but most babies aren’t really fat. I had chunky babies, but they were thin children and are thin adults.

        • Young CC Prof

          Basically, the study is saying that getting obese in toddlerhood is a bad omen for later in life.

          There are some indications that when children are fed lots of juice and formula well into toddlerhood, they are more likely to become obese. Like Sullivan said, the problem isn’t bottle vs breast in infants, it’s bottle vs meals in two-year-olds.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            Thank you, I knew I must have not been explaining it well. Toddlers, yes.

  • I believe strongly that women are entitled to informed choice – that means the good, the bad, and the ugly that is associated with whatever choice they are making AND the good, bad, and the ugly of the feasible alternatives. “Communities of support” work to actively disentitle their members from “informed choice”, and that is awful. Want to choose home birth – great – but that means that you need to know what that choice means in terms of the health impacts to yourself and your child. Want to choose cesarean – also great – and again you need to know what that choice means in terms of the health impacts to yourself and your child. What about an old fashioned planned vaginal delivery in a hospital – wonderful. What is sad, is that in the current environment few moms have much of a chance of actually getting an informed choice in the matter as few moms really consider the benefits and risks of their particular choice AS WELL AS the benefits and risks of the choices that are being foregone.

    • amazonmom

      My OB spent my last appointment talking with me about planned repeat C/S versus VBAC. She knew I wasn’t wanting VBAC but wanted to make sure my decision was based upon the facts concerning rupture and the risk of brain damage/death for the baby. Had a great discussion about the risks of planned C/S versus TOLAC. We agreed to schedule the C/S but I may choose to proceed with TOLAC if labor starts before then. Of course I always have the right to change my mind and cancel the scheduled section but I highly doubt I will. I am glad I have an OB that makes sure I understand what I am choosing and what I am not choosing. That’s why I hired her, I don’t want someone who will just do whatever I want willy nilly.

      • Older Mom

        I am glad your OB was discussing the pros and cons of both options with you, but…saying that she wanted to make sure your decision for a C/S was based on the “fact concerning rupture and risk of damage/death for the baby” suggests that she thinks there was a WRONG reason to choose a C/S.

        For the life of me, I can’t figure out a WRONG reason for any C/S, let alone a REPEAT C/S.

        Curious about what misperceptions she thought she may have to disabuse you of.

        • Ducky

          No interventions is without its risks and benefits. There are well-documented risks of repeat C/S of which women should be aware, especially if they plan to have large families: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/c-sections/AN02070 .

          Though I understood from amazonmom that the doctor wanted to make sure she understood the risks of VBAC, not the other way around – in case she changed her mind at some point.

          In the meanwhile I think your comment, Older Mom, is a great example of why medical advice should be left to educated professionals.

          • Older Mom

            I wasn’t saying that a C/S is without RISK. Obviously, there are risks to mom and limits on family size, and it’s a doctor’s duty to spell those out. It was just that the way that amazonmom wrote that comment, it read as though the doctor’s attitude was that there was a WRONG reason to have a c-section. And I was quite curious to know what a WRONG reason to have a c-section might be.

            I was responding to this: Amazonmom said she had chosen a c-section and her OB “wanted to make sure my decision was based upon the facts concerning rupture and the risk of brain damage/death for the baby.”

            As it turns out, it was just an awkwardly-worded sentence, and as you suggested, the OB just wanted to make sure that mom knew the risks of a VBAC in case she changed her mind later.

          • amazonmom

            Sometimes I think I should want a VBAC because of the enormous social pressure out here to do so. I never was attached to the idea of pushing out a baby through my vagina. I remember during my first pregnancy I was thinking of ways to beg my doctor for a planned elective primary C/S. I never mentioned that to my OB, and convinced myself I could do vaginal birth right before my 40 week appointment. Of course during that appointment my doctor discovered my daughter’s breech, cord presentation, and double nuchal arms behind her hyperextended neck. She said “you need a C section, it is the only safe choice” and inside I laughed because I got my C/S without having to ask!

          • Something From Nothing

            You sound to me like you know for sure what you want. Book your c section, and , if yòu go into labor beforehand, get a commitment from your doctor that a desire for a caesarean will be respected, and that you would not get pressured into a VBAC. Then, see how you feel when, and if, labor happens. Make sense? I want to practice obstetrics in an environment in which women felt comfortable just saying that they prefer caesarean…

        • amazonmom

          We have had the misfortune of responding to two catastrophic ruptures together at work. She asked if I knew how often that happens in good candidates for TOLAC in hospital, since the two cases we responded to were poor candidates who attempted HBAC. She asked in case I really wanted VBAC but had misconceptions of the chances of catastrophic ruptures. I understand where you are coming from though.

  • Mommy V

    AMEN. Nothing would infuriate me more than the women who had done “extensive research” yet couldn’t even spell the name of the disease they were against vaccinating.

    New moms and mothers-to-be need a voice like yours to ring out from the crowd! Keep up this awesome blog!

  • I don’t have a creative name

    Though Mothering does not take a pro or anti stand on vaccinations, we
    will not host threads on the merits of mandatory vaccine, or a purely
    pro vaccination view point as this is not conducive to the learning
    process.

    This is one of the stupidest thing I’ve ever read. “We do not take a stand, but only one side of the issue shall have a voice.” At least be honest.

  • amazonmom

    Oh yes, this exact thing is going on with my online mom group right now. Some idiot HBAC pusher telling one of us to ignore her obstetrician’s advice that VBAC is a poor idea. Never mind she had an instrumental delivery with baby number 1 at 5 pounds 6 ounces and the C/S with baby number 2 at 6 pounds 8 ounces due to CPD with a baby in an ideal presentation. This mom has other factors that increase the rate of rupture. Of course all the idiots are telling her to get a new doctor. I told her that the doc said VBAC was more reasonable if the baby was smaller like the first one, and to discuss it further with them.
    I just need to avoid the VBAC threads. I’m the one in the group that was given an 80 percent chance of successful VBAC and chose a repeat C/S anyway. If labor starts before then we shall see. I guess there is really something wrong with me!

    • Amy M

      Even if a midwife could attend 3000 VBACs, and I suppose that would depend on whether or not this was in a hospital and which country it took place in, the stats don’t hold up. Theoretically, 1-2% is the rate of rupture, no? That’s 1 or 2 of a hundred, right? Sooooo…on paper, there should have been 30 ruptures out of 3000 VBACs? Certainly in real life, there could be more or less than that, but zero seems unlikely.

      • amazonmom

        Yeah that’s what I was thinking. Considering the no ruptures is what the midwife is using to convince moms to HBAC with her it makes me upset. Is this midwife saying ruptures really don’t happen? Does she have the secret to knowing which TOLAC will rupture and which won’t? She needs to publish immediately if that’s true instead of hiding out in rural WA state delivering homebirths.

        • Bombshellrisa

          If this midwife is who I think it is, women should avoid her in general.

          • amazonmom

            I have no idea of the midwife’s name, apparently she’s so proud of her record but doesn’t want people spreading word without her?

          • Bombshellrisa

            Ok, that doesn’t sound like “Highland Midwife” aka Lorri Carr, she likes being talked about

          • Older Mom

            I didn’t know who this was, but felt compelled to look it up. Holy jesus! Look at this: http://www.highlandmidwife.com/

            First, what’s with the angel? It’s like she KNOWS she’s making more angel babies with negligent care.

            Second, she says she provided “obstetrical” care. What does that mean? She’s a midwife, not an OB. Is she deliberately trying to mislead people?

          • Bombshellrisa

            It means she wants all the glory of being a women’s healthcare provider without any of the education or responsibility. Take a look at her links and the people on there, half of them are being investigated by the state right now for various reasons (related to midwifery)

          • amazonmom

            I am hoping the HBAC promoter in my mommy group has a successful delivery without complication. I don’t think anything would convince her to deliver in hospital at this point. If something happened I’m pretty sure she would be brought into where I work. The one saving grace is that her midwife refuses to deliver a premature baby at home, and all of her pregnancies have ended in premature delivery. If she has preterm labor the midwife insists upon hospital delivery. Funny how the midwife won’t touch late preterm deliveries but thinks HBAC is an awesome idea. (I am not saying she should do preterm deliveries out of hospital, just amazed at her lack of concern for complications of TOLAC)

          • Squillo

            It means she wants all the glory of being a women’s healthcare provider without any of the education or responsibility.

            That seems to be the common denominator for a lot of homebirth midwives. It’s an adolescent attitude that fits squarely with the facile and self-satisfied rebellion in which they seem to take so much pride.

          • Bombshellrisa

            And then they don’t understand why the rest of us see their titles and letters after their name as a pathetic attempt to prop up their self worth and self esteem while trying to garner respect that they didn’t earn and don’t deserve.

          • Mel

            She mentions in passing that 80% of the babies she delivers are “above average” size. That’s really odd since I would expect that at least 75% of the babies anyone delivers (besides high-risk specialist OBs) would end up in the average size range. When statistics are skewed that far in one direction, I question if a) the person is using a faulty definition of normal or b) is lying through their teeth.

            She also boasts that 40% of her deliveries end without tearing. I thought the beauty of a home-birth, trusting birth, blah blah was that your body would know what to do and not tear. Instead, she admits that 60% of her clients tear during delivery. I posit that tearing during delivery is a normal anatomical response to trying to fit a fetal head out of a vagina.

        • Serenity

          Lydi Owen has been a Las Vegas midwife since 1972 and only racked up 2727 total babies, not HBACs. http://www.powerbirth.com/. I don’t see how those numbers could be right at home. Over 20 years that would be 150 HBACs per year, one about every other day of just HBACs not including regular clients who must outnumber previous c-section patients by at least 10 to 1. Usually a homebirth midwife just takes on about 1 client per week.

      • Jessica

        So I’m still wondering if you are pro-life? Do you believe that a woman has the right to choose abortion? Please answer…..

        • amazonmom

          What does this discussion about VBAC have to do with abortion?

          • Jessica

            well I asked the question yesterday & got no response so I decided to find a more recent comment from Dr. Amy & ask the question.

          • PJ

            Let me guess–you want her to say she’s pro-choice so you can then dismiss what she says about preventable deaths of babies during birth?

          • Jessica

            No, just wondering if she thinks it’s okay to kill your baby on purpose? A lot of people do think it’s okay. I am all for preventing deaths of babies during birth(&before). personally I don’t feel I have the right to decide what’s right for anyone but myself. I think she would be a great voice for those that have no voice, meaning the unborn.

          • Dr Kitty

            I’m pretty sure Dr Tuteur is Pro choice, and believes that once you have made a choice to have the baby, you have a responsibility to do everything in your power to ensure that you and your child are as healthy as possible.

            If Dr T ever were to become an “advocate for the unborn” in a Pro Life sense, this site woud cease to be of interest to me.

            Believing that no one should be forced to endure a pregnancy against her will and that babies deserve the safest start in life possible are not mutually exclusive positions.

          • this site would cease to be of interest to me.

            eh… I disagree with Dr Amy on a lot of things, but I’ll keep reading as long as her points are intelligently argued and free debate is allowed.

          • Poogles

            “No, just wondering if she thinks it’s okay to kill your baby on purpose? A lot of people do think it’s okay.”

            Really? A lot of people are down with infanticide?

            Oh……you mean a fetus (or embryo, if before 8 weeks gestation). You know that’s not the same as a baby/person, right?

            “personally I don’t feel I have the right to decide what’s right for anyone but myself.”

            You realize that, by definition, this makes you pro-choice, right?

          • kumquatwriter

            Seriously? F-off until you ARE in those shoes.

          • LibrarianSarah

            Thank you! I was really close saying the same thing. If this blog did become a pro-life blog I’d have to stop reading and that would give me the sads.

          • anh

            yes! it doesn’t get much more succinct than that.

          • Bombshellrisa

            It’s never that uncomplicated. There are women who are put in that difficult place because they find out the fetus they are carrying has severe defects. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place.

          • LibrarianSarah

            Exactly, seeing that I live in one of the 31 states where a rapist can sue for custody of “his child,” I’m pretty sure that if I was raped and capable of getting pregnant that my decision would be pretty much made for me with that piece of info.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            I do not think infanticide has been an acceptable practice in our culture ever. There was a time back in Europe where our ancestors would leave their youngest child in the woods to save everyone else, but that was a very very long ago.

          • KarenJJ

            ” personally I don’t feel I have the right to decide what’s right for anyone but myself.”

            Then I think we’ll all get along just fine. That is exactly what I feel. It is up to women what they choose and to consult with their medical providers about.

            Nobody’s trying to make anyone’s decisions for them. What they are trying to do is point out the faulty information on the internet and elsewhere. It is very difficult to make the right decision if you are relying on bad information.

            I imagine you’re as outraged as the rest of us when it comes to undereducated people calling themselves ‘women’s health providers’ and giving out poor information in life threatening situations.

          • suchende

            Why are people always trying to recruit Dr A to some other cause? I guess she must be a very effective voice for her chosen cause.

          • LibrarianSarah

            And what does abortion have to do with trying to reduce the preventable deaths of babies during birth? Does everyone who want’s that also have to be pro-life?

          • Jessica

            is that being a hypocrite? To say it’s okay to kill the unborn on purpose, but not okay to choose how you birth your baby? Doesn’t make much sense to me….by the way that was not my intentions at all, you’re the one who said it. I don’t even know if Dr. Amy is pro-choice

          • LibrarianSarah

            First off you damn well know that their is a legitimate debate on whether a fetus should constitute a person.

            I don’t see Amy arguing that we should drag a woman to a hospital and force her to give birth there. That is what outlawing abortion would essentially do, well more likely it would force women to go back to the “homebirth midwives” of abortion providers.

            Did you know every time a person gives blood 9 lives are saved? Should we force everyone who is capable of giving blood to do so or is you dedication to saving lives just reduced to forcing women to give birth? The risk of donating blood is far less than the risk of childbirth.

          • stacey

            Jessica, you are totally clueless. You are creating a giant strawman, as no one ever said moms cannot have HB.

            As a pro choice person, I am totally against a mom not having their bodily autonomy, for the entire pregnancy from conception to birth. Mom DOES have the right to call the shots IMO. And this starts with abortion and ends with place and type of birth.

            I don’t have to like either of those things to accept that bodily autonomy is vital. Instead, I stand for proper care, and true informed consent.

          • Jessica

            the point that I was trying to make is this: In the state that I live in, it is legal to get an abortion from a trained professional. However it is illegal to have a birth attendant help you deliver at home. Why is that? You can’t argue that it’s for the safety of the unborn.

            I have had 7 homebirths & 1 in the hospital & believe me i did study the options. If someone plans a homebirth thinking that it is totally safe, it’s their fault if they think there are no risks. I do know from experience that it is basically impossible to find someone to help you deliver at home.
            Just because you disagree with me doesn’t mean that I’m “clueless” & I would never tell anyone to to “f-off” simply because I don’t agree with their opinons. I respect people & there right to have an opinion. I actually agree with Dr. Amy on some issues & I especially enjoyed her video on the right about homebirth & different types of midwives.

          • KarenJJ

            ” it is legal to get an abortion from a trained professional. However it is illegal to have a birth attendant help you deliver at home. Why is that? You can’t argue that it’s for the safety of the unborn.”

            It is for the safety of the mother. Backyard abortionists caused all sorts of issues in the past. Backyard midwives are doing similar in the US now to both babies and to mothers.

            And before you judge someone on the internet because she ‘simply disagrees’, the poster that said that has posted here for a long time and knows far more about this issue on a personal level then you do. It is not simply an opinion when someone has lived it. I remember reading her heartbreaking story on her blog some time ago.

          • Captain Obvious

            “is that being a hypocrite? To say it’s okay to kill the unborn on purpose, but not okay to choose how you birth your baby? Doesn’t make much sense to me….”

            Remember, a woman who wants an abortion doesn’t want the baby to live. A woman who is trying for a home birth actually wants the baby to survive. And it is more likely to have the baby survive if you deliver in the hospital. It is easier to perform a D & C than provide prenatal care and delivery. Both should have a trained attendant in the hospital.

          • An Actual Attorney

            It’s illegal to have an MD attend your birth at home? Or is it just that it’s illegal to have someone who isn’t a licensed medical professional attend to you at home?

          • Jessica

            sorry amazonmom! I thought that was Dr Amy’s response above.

          • Amy M

            I am not Dr. Amy, just happen to have the same first name.

        • Young CC Prof

          You don’t have to be anti-abortion to be outraged by folks who are deceiving women into taking severe risks with the children they have chosen to bear and desperately want.

  • auntbea

    Everyone knows that learning is best accomplished when new information is withheld.

  • Older Mom

    Thanks, Amy. This is a really good basic algorithm to use as a first-sort to see if your source is reliable.

  • PrimaryCareDoc

    Yup. I’ve been banned from MDC because of my posts in the vaccination forum. It’s a complete echo chamber over there.

    • Young CC Prof

      I used to hang out on Mercola.com, trying to act as a voice of reason while speaking gently enough that I didn’t freak out the locals. Sometimes it felt like draining the ocean with a cup, but I think I influenced a few fence-sitters.

      I actually managed to keep up the balance for months, then I got banned and all my posts were deleted. I think what got me banned was pointing out that a book about vaccines written in 1920 was not the best source of information about the ones in use today.

      Facts. They’re terrifying, in some circles.

      • Sullivan ThePoop

        It doesn’t have to be in some circles even. I have a friend who is a climatologist and very smart and rational about many hot topic issues like home birth, vaccines, and of course climate change but is insane about GMOs. It is so weird to me how she uses all the same logical fallacies that she hates from climate change deniers. Granted it is a little easier to do with GMOs since companies whose practices are pretty unethical are almost exclusively behind GMOs, but that doesn’t change physical laws or make people like me ready to lie for them.

      • An Actual Attorney

        What’s “cc”?

        • Young CC Prof

          Community College. PhD professor of mathematics and statistics, health statistics a longtime personal interest, currently pregnant with first baby. That’s me.

          • An Actual Attorney

            Thanks. And congratulations!