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on 10 January 2010
I can't believe A C Grayling gave this book a good review. 'Counterknowledge' will not save us from the tsunami of misinformation, falsity, error and distortion that infect our culture, because it is a part of that process itself. It simply pours scorn and abuse on anyone who for example, questions the official account of 9/11, without producing one iota of evidence that discredits any of the conspiracy theories.
This must be the most useless book I have ever bought.
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on 25 July 2010
I came late to this book and what a disappointment. The author has written a derivative pot boiler which draws heavily on well known works and arguments by the likes of Wheen and Goldacre. He adds little though I am grateful for being warned off 1421 and the Chinese discovery of the World. Part of the problem is that author has been so lazy that we learn very little about anything. He might have pointed out that all reputable historians do accept that the Chinese voyages of this time were epic even if not as claimed in this book. The fantasy account therefore builds on an element of truth. This typifies much of the book. The author is religious but attacks religious thinking he does not like arguing that there are effectively two standards of judging religion. He attacks the Daily Mail for its perpetuation of health fraud but accepts it as a legitimate source on the progress on Islamisation in Britain and so on. Some reviewers declare it funny - I couldn't see the jokes beyond the fraudulent ideas themselves. The author addresses a serious problem but in a completely cavalier way so that it becomes at times an embarrassment and reflects almost a join the dot conspiracy theory itself. I wonder if the author has not written this tongue in cheek - if not then rationalists who endorse this are in serious trouble.
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on 2 October 2008
If the last Diana inquest bored you to tears, or you are sick of listening to crap 9/11 conspiracies, get hold of this brilliant book now.

Conspiracy theories, along with quack medicine, fake history and bogus science, all form "Counterknowledge" - that is, `misinformation masquerading as fact.'

The problem is huge, and Thompson powerfully argues that the 21st century faces a `pandemic of credulous thinking' when, conversely, our ability to evaluate claims made about science or history is better than ever before.

With the arrival of the scientific enlightenment, ideas that no longer held their ground were banished to the fringes of society. Now, with internet communication, they have a larger following than ever before.

But it's not all turtle-neck wearing novelists and bible-crazy wackos - the City of Westminster University offers, astonishingly, a degree in homeopathy.

Readers of the Guardian's Bad Science column will love this book. Damian Thompson fights Counterknowledge tooth and nail using reason and, crucially, systematically tested evidence. With his razor-sharp prose, he not only rubbishes the credulous world we live in, but calls on us to challenge the `guardians of intellectual orthodoxy' and waken them from greedy, slothful indolence.

Without doubt, this is my book of the year.
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on 2 July 2008
Thompson seems genuinely angry at the dishonesty he encounters among those who would prey on our gullible natures. And there's also a sort of impish glee in the way he demolishes sloppy thinking. Thompson is a very funny writer and he's completely in command of his material. It's a mixture - decisive, pellucid argument, humour and savage indignation - that makes Counterknowledge a delight to read. I honestly think it should be a bestseller.
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on 26 December 2008
this book is so weak that i wonder how the editor throwed this on the market. it is short, lacks substrance and lacks truth.

it is a throwaway book that was made only to cover a niche, but makes a horrible attempt at it and fails badly.

no coherent justifications or arguments in this book, just a lot of fluff.
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on 15 December 2008
I really don't know where to start, as a complete dissection of the flaws in this book would require a longer, more reasoned and more factual study of the issues than we have here. It is clear that the author believes everything he is told by those "in authority", without stopping to consider whether there might be a political (in the widest sense) agenda at work. While there is some validity to some of his arguments he is rather too fond of demolishing straw men, and you could drive several buses through the gaps in his logic. Avoid this book.
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on 26 January 2008
Editor of Catholic Herald writes book encouraging us all to accept the general scientific and historical consensus...

400yrs ago he would no doubt have been condemning Galileo's ideas.

Avoid this - try reading something by an author with a less partisan approach.

After all, many would argue that the institutions which has made the most amount of money from peddling lies and inaccuracies are organised religions....
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on 8 February 2009
Much of this may be excellent, but anyone who lumps together all complementary and alternative medicine as 'quack medicine' and makes no intelligent, fact-based distinction between them and dismisses the large body of good-quality scientific evidence about some of them is guilty of throwing the baby and the bath-water out together, something no good rationalist would dream of doing. Goldacre, Ernst and others do much the same thing, and it does scientific debate no good at all.
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on 4 April 2009
Damian is a good spin doctor at his job praising the Vatican for the Catholic Herald. I suppose there are two kinds of truth for Damian, The Truth and Catholic Truth, but they don't always agree, and they can't both be true.
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on 13 February 2011
Talking about quack medicine, vaccines are the best

'Vaccines did not save humanity and never will. Vaccines have never been proven truly safe ...Smallpox was not eradicated by vaccines as many doctors readily say it was. They say this out of conditioning rather than out of understanding the history or science. Polio virus was not responsible for the paralysis in the first part of the 20th century. Polio vaccine research, development, testing and distribution has committed atrocities upon primates and humanity. Bill Gates is not a humanitarian. Vaccines are dangerous and should never be injected into anyone for any reason. They are not the answer to infectious diseases. There are many more sustainable and benevolent solutions than vaccines,.---Suzanne Humphries MD Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and The Forgotten History

Two quotes spring to mind here:

"You can fool some of the people all of the time; and those are the ones you have to concentrate on." -- George W. Bush

"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." --- George W. Bush

25% of the population, according to Bob Altemeyer are authoritarian followers, more or less impervious to reasoned arguments, and that % is all the leaders such as Bush need to get voted in. This book was written for them, and to debunk two major conspiracies, 911, and vaccine induced autism.

the rest of the topics are just padding. This book is exactly what it claims to be against: "misinformation packaged to look like fact" but that is the way with conspiracies, they tend to be run by very clever amoral people.

911 is such as easy conspiracy to spot, you would have to be just a reader of the Catholic Herald to be oblivious to that fact: decades long history of previous false flags, TWO MISSING PLANES, super-thermite residue(high tec explosive), all Pentagon CCTV evidence suppressed (as at Oaklahoma), all debris (crime scene evidence) removed and disposed of, three buildings reduced to dust and metal melted when it is impossible for jet fuel to do that, explosions heard in buidling, one building turned to dust without a plane strike!, and so on.

As to vaccine induced autism, there is a wealth of scientific evidence to prove mercury is a cause, see Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy, along with MMR vaccines.

Absolutely overwhelming evidence, including clinical evidence:

"We have about 30,000 or 35,000 children that we've taken care of over the years, and I don't think we have a single case of autism in children delivered by us who never received vaccines.......Every doctor now essentially in this country has done something as heinous as the Nazis did, unknowingly."----Dr. Mayer Eisenstein

I think this is an appropriate quote for a Catholic:

"Nancy Hokkanen came up with one of the greatest analogies ever to describe the autism and vaccine controversy and how it feels to us parents of kids with autism. She compared it to the Catholic Church's cover up of decades of sexual abuse."-----Nancy Hokkanen and Kim Stagliano - on the Cover up of vaccine damage and Autism

And the US Gov' has even awarded vaccine autism, one being Hanah Polling (as an aside the UK gov has awarded for MMR deaths, yet still claims MMR doesn't kill!!).

and of course we get the usual Elite bashing of alternative medicine, so that is 3 Elite conspiracies he is trying to cover up.

Just one well documented example, Vitamin C: 1,200 medical citation to prove it cures infections, read Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins

For addiction: The Vitamin Cure for Alcoholism: Orthomolecular Treatment of Addictions (Read How You Want) not just alcohol:

"We have developed a non-toxic, detoxication procedure where we can take the addicts off heroin or methadone with no withdrawal symptoms. The addicts have no desire to return to the drug and if they do take a "fix," it is like injecting plain water, the detoxication is so complete and rapid. ........Methadone is far worse on the body, from a metabolic point of view, than is heroin.........It is unconscionable to me to put a person on methadone maintenance with no way to get them off......Why is it that the media supports orthodox views so readily, rejecting all other avenues of scientific investigation?"--- THE ORTHOMOLECULAR TREATMENT OF DRUG ADDICTION by Archie Kalokerinos A.M.M., M.B.B.S., Ph.D., F.A.P.M., Glen Dettman A.M.M., BA, Ph.D., F.A.P.M.

Reverses heart disease: Stop America's #1 Killer

Prevents cot-death: Medical pioneer of the 20th century: Dr Archie Kalokerinos : an autobiography

and so on, all well documented and known for decades, dr Klenner MD was curing polio in 1951!!

If the truth over 911 comes out it would destroy the US politiocal Elite, and the military Elite, while vaccine autism truth (with 500,000 ASD people in the UK alone) would most likely destroy vaccination, and then the drug houses would follow suit as 98% of Pharmaceutical medicine is a hoax, not to mention the effects of the litigation.

all in all it doesn't make Thompson look too good does it? Yet people lap up this propaganda like starving cats.
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