David H. Freedman

David H. Freedman is the author of Wrong: Why Experts Keep Failing Us—And How to Know When Not to Trust Them. He has been an Atlantic contributor since 1998.

  • How Junk Food Can End Obesity

    How Junk Food Can End Obesity

    Demonizing processed food may be dooming many to obesity and disease. Could embracing the drive-thru make us all healthier?

  • The Perfected Self

    The Perfected Self

    B. F. Skinner’s notorious theory of behavior modification was denounced by critics 50 years ago as a fascist, manipulative vehicle for government control. But Skinner’s ideas are making an unlikely comeback today, powered by smartphone apps that are transforming us into thinner, richer, all-around-better versions of ourselves. The only thing we have to give up? Free will.

  • What's Eating the Small, Loud Band of Alt-Med Critics?

    The author speculates on why a tiny but outspoken group of scientists continues to detest alternative medicine

  • Evidence, Not Anecdotes

    The author responds to Steven Salzberg's argument about the dangers of accepting alternative medicine

  • Placebo or Not, These Treatments Work

    The author replies to the directors of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

  • The Triumph of New-Age Medicine

    The Triumph of New-Age Medicine

    Medicine has long decried acupuncture, homeopathy, and the like as dangerous nonsense that preys on the gullible. Again and again, carefully controlled studies have shown alternative medicine to work no better than a placebo. But now many doctors admit that alternative medicine often seems to do a better job of making patients well, and at a much lower cost, than mainstream care—and they’re trying to learn from it.

  • Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science

    Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science

    Much of what medical researchers conclude in their studies is misleading, exaggerated, or flat-out wrong. So why are doctors—to a striking extent—still drawing upon misinformation in their everyday practice? Dr. John Ioannidis has spent his career challenging his peers by exposing their bad science.

  • When Is a Planet Not a Planet?

    Arguments for and against demoting Pluto


Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more


Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.


What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world