Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Where all roads lead (1)

Posted in Religion, The Atheist's Way by Skepdude on August 18, 2008

I have 22 posts jostling for attention at the moment, but a Saturday night conversation with my girls has sent all other topics back to the green room for a smoke.

The three of us were lying on my bed, looking at the ceiling and talking about the day. “Dad, I have to tell you a thing. Promise you won’t get mad,” said Delaney (6), giving me the blinky doe eyes. “Promise?”

“Oh jeez, Laney, so dramatic,” said Erin, pot-to-kettlishly.

“I plan to be furious,” I said. “Out with it.”

“Okay, fine. I…I kind of got into a God fight in the cafeteria yesterday.”

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “THE ATHEIST’S WAY”

Jesus loves you! And he’ll show you just how much he loves you by lowering gas prices!

Posted in Religion, Religious Idiocy, Respectful Insolence, Skepticism by Skepdude on August 18, 2008

Back in the spring, when gas prices shot up to well over $4 a gallon in many markets, a level from which they’ve fallen back somewhat over the last month or so, there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth. Never before in U.S. history had gasoline cost so much, and we were starting to get a taste of what our European friends have had to put up with for a very long time. But just a taste. After all, I remember from my trip to the U.K. last August that gas was around £1 per liter, which at the time translated to over $7.50 a gallon. For those who lived in isolated areas or had low incomes, this spike in gas prices was a disaster, especially for truckers, cab drivers, and others whose jobs involved driving. On the other hand, I had little sympathy at all for all the yuppies who had bought enormous SUVs during the years when gasoline was cheap.

Naturally, when faced with a disaster of such proportions, some Americans, being the highly religious people that they are, had the perfect response. Indeed, to them it was the only response possible. No, it wasn’t to purchase more fuel-efficient cars (although some did start to drive less). No, it wasn’t to lobby the government to support the development of alternative fuels and to increase the CAFE standard. No, it was to Pray at the Pump for lower gas prices. And now that gas prices have come down around 20-30 cents from their historic highs, perish forbid that the fall in prices at the pump or the recent fall in price for a barrel of crude oil had anything to do with the economic principle of supply and demand or the recent strengthening of the dollar. Oh, no, it was clearly Jesus at work:

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “RESPECTFUL INSOLENCE”

Satan loves the Olympics

Posted in Muslims Against Sharia by Skepdude on August 18, 2008

NOTHING makes Satan happier than the Beijing “bikini” Olympics says Saudi cleric Muhammad Al-Munajid. In an interview aired on Al-Majd TV on August 10 and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, the unhappy cleric slammed the Olympic Games – past and present – for its debauched display of women’s bodies. “The world’s worst display of women’s clothing is the women’s Olympics,” he said. “No exposure of women’s private parts on a global scale could make Satan happier than Olympic games that include women’s sports.”

“What women wear in the Olympic games are among the worst clothes possible. The inventions of Satan, with regard to the exposure of the body in gymnastics, in swimming, in whatever, in tennis… Women have never got naked for sports like they do in the Olympics. It is aired to billions of people worldwide. The problem is not just with the spectators who are present. The whole thing is aired on TV…”

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “MUSLIMS AGAINST SHARIA”

Prayer Fails Again

Posted in Religious Idiocy, Skeptico by Skepdude on August 18, 2008

Gas Prices boardSee the gas price board on the right? This is from April, aka “the good old days,” when regular was under $4.00 a gallon even in San Francisco. Back then, someone called Rocky Twyman decided the solution to high gas prices was to ask God to lower them:

Twyman […] staged a pray-in at a San Francisco Chevron station on Friday [April 25], asking God for cheaper gas. He did the same thing in the nation’s Capitol on Wednesday [April 23], with volunteers from a soup kitchen joining in.

He repeated the performance again on May 28. Well guess what, he was successful! Yes, according to The BBC, Twyman is claiming:

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “SKEPTICO”

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Live forever!

Posted in Altie Meds, Denialism, Medicine by Skepdude on August 18, 2008

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “DENIALISM”

Look, whether you like it or not, you can’t live forever. I bring this up because there is always a new book or new add purporting to have “the answer” to long life and good health, which never includes modern, evidence-based medicine. Still, perhaps some of these books contains good advice. Or not. Let me explain.

First let me disabuse some of you of the thought that doctors don’t “do” nutrition and life-style advice. In fact, we do. And as attractive as the idea seems, life-style modification will never be the answer to all of (or even most of) our medical problems. Leaving aside the fact that many people cannot make permanent and beneficial changes in their life-styles, there are many other reasons. Human health and disease is complex. Most diseases are multifactorial. For example, type II diabetes is caused by a combination of genetic factors and diet. Some patients can remain off medication using diet and exercise. Some cannot, as even with a good body mass index, good diet, and good exercise habits, their blood sugars are still out of control. Another example is hypertension. Dietary sodium reduction has been shown to reduce blood pressure, but many patients will not have significant enough improvements in blood pressure through diet and exercise alone.

Another reasons that lifestyle changes aren’t the whole answer is that sometimes drugs provide benefit that diet and exercise cannot. For example, beta blockers reduce blood pressure, but they also prevent sudden and premature death in certain groups of patients (i.e. those with significant heart failure), independent of the effect on blood pressure.

Finally, many purely genetic diseases are not amenable to lifestyle modification. No amount of diet and exercise will fix cystic fibrosis or congential adrenal hyperplasia.

Living healthy is important, but there is no miracle to maintaining health and treating disease. No one book is going to help you live forever. Lifestyle modification is not the answer to every medical question, no matter how much we all wish it were.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “DENIALISM”

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