Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Shame on Washington state

Posted in Pharyngula by Skepdude on August 28, 2009

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTYR AT PHARYNGULA

My home state! In a region with some of the highest percentages of godless people in the country! And they have this awful law on the books.

Washington’s law specifies that a person treated through faith healing “by a duly accredited Christian Science practitioner in lieu of medical care is not considered deprived of medically necessary health care or abandoned.” Other religions are not mentioned.

Christian Science is not science, and it is definitely not medicine. I presume some religious lobby got this evil exemption on the books years ago, but now it’s time to remove it—it’s killing people. The mention of the law comes from a story about a young man, Zachery Swezey, who died a slow, painful death from a ruptured appendix, with his parents looking on.

The day his son died, Greg Swezey told sheriff’s investigators he knew Zakk would die 10 or 15 minutes before the teenager passed away. His condition had gotten much worse about an hour and a half before Zakk died, he told the investigators, and he realized Zakk was exhibiting some of the symptoms of death he’d seen when older church members died.

He did not consider calling an ambulance, he told them.

Who did he call instead? Elders of his church, who showed up to splash oil on the poor kid and pray.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTYR AT PHARYNGULA

Open call – Writers/contributors needed

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on August 28, 2009

I need writers/contributors to come on board to help expand the quantity and quality of the entries posted at Skepfeeds. I am looking for people that are skeptical and want to share their thoughts with the world,but don’t particularly feel like they want to maintain a blog on their own. I am not sure how we’ll work it out here on WordPress. I think as long as you set up an account with WordPress you’ll be able to join in. Please e-mail me at thoushallthink@gmail.com if you would be interested. Thank you.

Uri Geller still at it – Good journalist will have none of it

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on August 28, 2009

Uri Geller! The spoon bender (or so he claims)! The New Times of Broward Palm Beach has an article on the man, which is not excessively skeptical, but takes a jab or two at the renowned “psychic” that is Geller, and my favorite is this one (emphasis mine):

When I called, he asked that I call back in about an hour. I did that too. After we discussed psychics, Randi, Randi’s Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge, and the skeptic community, out of the blue he asked if I still had a beard. He told me he liked it. “You look very cool,” he said with the grace of a lifelong showman.

That’s right, the most famous psychic in the world told me he liked my beard…over the phone! (If you google image search my name, the first picture shows me with a beard.)

That’s right! The best, and cheapest trick, this great “psychic” could come up with is a mention of the writer’s beard, an image of whom, with the beard, is readily available on the Internet! But that’s not even the fun part. The fun part is that Geller asks the journalist if he still has a beard. Shouldn’t this great “psychic” know that already? Needless to say, yet again I am not impressed.

Skeptify this poll

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on August 27, 2009

Vit Twitter @BadAstronomer points our skeptical attention to this poll on Fox News. It needs skeptifying! Click image to go to poll site and cast your vote for the correct answer!

foxpollswineflu

On which I must edumacate Vox Day…yet again!

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on August 26, 2009

It’s been quite a while since I had my mini fights with Vox Day. Now he has done and made me mad yet again, although this time it is not a skeptical/atheistic issue. This time it is about the Bahamas legislation about marital rape! So what does Mr. Vox think about this issue?

First, there is no such thing as marital rape. Once consent is formally given in public ceremony, it cannot be revoked; the form in which marital consent is revoked is well-established. It is called divorce.

*clearing throat* WHAT? On what planet does Vox live to make such a statement? Does he even understand what rape is? Rape is forcing another person, against their wish, to perform various sexual acts. Anyone can force someone else to do it! Marital status does not have anything to do with it. Furthermore, on what alternate universe does consent mean “unlimited access to my body regardless of my wishes“? I have gotten married myself, and I have been a witness in other people’s weddings and never have I heard the bride consent to her body being the unquestioned property of her husband. Never! The arrogance and stupidity that is betrayed by these words “there is no such thing as marital rape” is gigantic. I’ve known Vox Day was a sexist from his many blog entries, but this puts him right there with Ahmadinejad.

Vox let me educate you on this issue:  People are sovereign over their own bodies. Marital consent does not confer unlimited rights to the husband over his wife’s body. He does not have unlimited access to it. Every sex act requires consent by both parties, during every particular instance. If force is used to get sex it is rape, regardless of who is forcing who. Is that clear enough for you?

This isn’t a religious issue, although many on both sides will attempt to view it that way, it’s a simple matter of when consent is revocable and the specific form that revocation must take. I invite those who believe that consent may always be granted and revoked at will to consent to join the U.S. Army, then attempt to withdraw their consent.

Oh Vox, you’re so full of shit! First, it is a religious issue. Here is how people in the Bahamas are justifying the same position Vox is taking:

“It is ridiculous for them to try to make that a law, because I don’t think a man can rape his own wife. After two people get married, the Bible says that they become one – one flesh. How is it possible to rape what is yours?” asked Mr. Sutherland.

“Even if a woman says no to her husband it still can’t be considered rape because she is his wife. He already paid his dues at the church and she already said ‘I do,’ so from then on, even if [a man] forces sex on his wife, it isn’t rape,” he said.

“I disagree with the bill because I disagree that a man can rape his wife. The Bible tells me that a man’s body is his wife’s and her body is his. How could he rape her?” asked Ms. Sweeting.

Do you see a trend her Vox? Each and every opponent is specifically invoking the Bible or the church in their twisted opposing of the law. You’re only being a bit smarter (or more cowardly one may say) than them by not publicly voicing the same sentiment.

Secondly, your army analogy is too stupid to even waste time on it, but alas I must unless I be accused of not addressing your point. Consent takes many forms, but usually what one consents too is specified before said consent is given. In the army case you consent to join with the knowledge that you can only leave under certain circumstances. It is not an at will relationship. In a marriage consent is also given with specific knowledge, and being a sex slave to your husband’s desires is not part of what most women consent to, and claiming otherwise is patently stupid and can only be defended with equally stupid arguments…or religious ones. Pick and choose your poison!

The attempt to create a legal concept of “marital rape” is no less than an attempt to destroy the basic concept of marriage. If the husband or the wife has no more claim to the spouse’s body than anyone else, then the marital vows are meaningless and the marriage is a charade. Once consent is withdrawn, the marriage has ended.

There goes the “they’re redefining marriage” nonsense again! When will you stop with the bullshit Vox? You just contradicted everything you said so far. If once “consent is withdrawn, the marriage has ended” is true as you say, then the moment the wife does not consent to sex the marriage is over, thus the husband no longer can have her; she is no longer his property which is basically the point you’re trying to drive home, thus the using of the force to take her constitutes rape! And this is by using your logic! See this is what happens when you try to prostitute logic and reason to your predetermined conclusions, you get egg on your face! Most sane people do not constitute non-consent on specific occasion to mean marriage is over, thus the term marital rape. Still married and being raped by your husband. Is that really too hard for you to understand?

But, once married, neither husband nor wife has the right to reject the other’s marital claims. This does not mean that it is wise for anyone to abuse one’s marital rights, as doing so on a regular basis will tend to lead to the legally correct abrogation of those rights. One is always free to respect the other’s wishes and refrain from exercising one’s rights in the same way that most Americans fail to exercise their right to bear arms most of the time. But failing to exercise one’s rights is not the same as failing to possess them.

Oh I see, so only raping your wife on a regular basis is an issue, a rape here a rape there are all part of a healthy marriage right? And one is not always “free to respect the other’s wishes” one is bound to respect the other’s wishes, especially when the other’s body is at stake! And stop with these false analogies that only make you look stupider than I think you are. The right to bear arms has been specifically given to Americans; the right to unlimited access to my wife’s body has not been given to me, specifically or not! Come on Vox, you can’t be that dumb!

Men contemplating marriage would be wise to sound out their prospective brides on this issue. If a woman believes in the concept of marital rape, absolutely do not marry her!

Yes Dr. Phil! I actually would like to take this chance to turn this piece of crap advice around. Women contemplating marriage would be wise to sound out their prospective husbands on this issue. If a man does not believe in the concept of marital rape, absolutely do not marry him! Oh, and post Facebook updates on the jerk so no other woman can fall prey to him!

That the “marital rape” concept is not only legally oxymoronic, but deeply undesirable for both sexes, is exemplified by its implications for sex that by definition precludes consent. Let’s face it, any man or woman who believes in the criminalization of wake-me-up sex is not an individual with whom any decently hedonistic being would want to be saddled for a lifetime.

This is moronic! Not being raped is deeply undesirable? Yeah, I remember reading about all those women who had the misfortune of being almost raped and had to live with the void that a missed opportunity at a good rape leaves behind. Now on to the “wake-me-up sex” thing. I can only assume that what Vox means is the practice of gently waking up your sleeping partner so that the two can engage in sweet lovemaking! Sweet!  Unfortunately, reason fails Vox yet again. By definition wake-me-up sex involves waking up the other person, so that one may proceed to have consensual sex with them. He’s talking as if he thinks it means inserting your penis into a sleeping woman without waking her up, or her knowing what has happened, kinda like in the date-rape scenario. The former is perfectly fine Vox, because a recently woken person can still give consent, or not! The second is rape.  Should I draw a diagram for you Vox?

Autism/vaccine link still unfounded

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on August 25, 2009

I usally pick on The Examiner because of the ridiculous stuff you find in their site. But, I am aware that many reasonable people are trying to change that by becoming writers for the site. This is an example of a pretty good article on vaccines and autism on The Examiner website. Shocking!

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT THE EXAMINER

In this world where technology becomes increasingly relevant to our everyday lives, it’s only natural to look for reassurances that our modern conveniences don’t come with too high a price.  Never has that been more true than with the medicine we put in not only our own bodies, but in our children’s as well.  There are a wide variety of diseases out there that threaten our kids, and it is easy for some to take advantage of the anxiety we feel about the health of those we love to make us do foolish things, like not get our kids vaccinated.

It is vital for parents to educate themselves about the dangers of childhood diseases and also about the vaccines that help prevent them.  There is quite a lot of information out there about vaccines, what they do and what they don’t do, it’s hard for a concerned parent to separate real information from fabrications.  It is made harder still because of some who are well-meaning, but ignorant of the facts and who overreacting to misleading information with scare tactics designed to get past well-reasoned argument.  There are organizations all over that claim to provide facts about vaccines, but have nothing but rumors, propaganda and misinformation and are just plain wrong.

Those sources will say that vaccines have ingredients in them which cause autism.  However, the facts say otherwise.  What is in vaccines is no great secret.  Your doctor can tell you, or you can ask the Center for Disease Control.  It is their job to know more about these things than just about anyone else.  There is a wealth of information about vaccines out there for anyone who wants to look past the propaganda and fear, places like the National Network for Immunization Information.  It’s actually extremely easy to tell a good source of information from a bad one.  The good ones provide you with information and supporting evidence.  The bad one’s try to scare you.

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT THE EXAMINER

Low-Carb Diets and Heart Disease

Posted in Neurologica by Skepdude on August 25, 2009

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT NEUROLOGICA BLOG

Eat a balanced diet, containing foods from all the good groups, especially fruits and vegetables.

There – for the vast majority of people that is all the diet advice that you need for overall health. Get regular exercise, don’t smoke, maintain a healthy weight, and have good sleep habits – now we have covered most lifestyle risk factors. If people followed this basic advice they would significantly reduce their risk of the most common diseases and disorders.

Often, however, I meet or hear people who add unneeded complexity to what it means to have a healthy lifestyle, even while simultaneously ignoring more basic advice. I can’t tell you how many patients I have who spend hundreds of dollars a month on useless supplements while they still smoke.

The media, weight-loss, and supplement industries are no help. They offer a constant barrage of complex, often conflicting, misleading, or downright false health information. Meanwhile, many people have lost site of the basics.

Dieting for weight loss is the same. Everyone wants to know the secret to maintaining a thinner waistline. Low-carb diets have been all the rage for at least a decade, despite the fact that they don’t work. What does work is calorie control and exercise – eat a balanced diet in moderation and get regular exercise. Not always easy, but at least it is simple. (Again – this is for most people. Certain health conditions do require special diets.)

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT NEUROLOGICA BLOG

Homeopathy Totally Shown To Work

Posted in Fun, Humorous by Skepdude on August 22, 2009

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT THE SPOOF

A top scientist at a real university has done some really clever research, with numbers and everything, that totally proves homeopathy works and is not in fact a made up load of pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo.

A spokesman from the Society of Homeopaths said “This scientist is really clever and an expert in his field, despite nobody else having ever heard of him. His research, which most definitely wasn’t funded by the Society of Homeopaths, totally proves everything we’ve ever said. It was money well spent.”

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT THE SPOOF

Not for the faint of heart-this is the harm

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on August 21, 2009

Here we go again addressing the stupidest question that ever was “What’s the harm. Let them belive!”. This is the harm. This reading is not for the faint of heart. There is nothing that affects me more than children being hurt. This really ruins your day, but it must be read, just as a reminder that there’s good reasons why we do what we do.

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12 things you need to know about psychics-Skepdude style

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on August 21, 2009

I love the Examiner. It gives me so much material for my blog. Here’s the latest thing I came across, “The 12 things you need to know About Psychics”. Let’s examine it and critique it, Skepfeeds style.

1) A psychic is just like you, everyone is born psychic.

Ha, sure why not! Step one, kiss up to the people bringing the green in.

2) A psychic loves the same things just as you do. To be with family, friends, reading a good book, getting their hair done, a walk in the park.

With one small exception: commitment to reality and mental well being.

3) A psychic works with their intuition.

Oh, is that what they’re calling it these days?

4) A psychic may also have a part-time or full-time job working in main stream public.  Not all psychics work ful-time as a psychic.

There’s only so much gullibility to go around I guess. We can only support so many John Edwards and Van Praghs.

5) A psychic may use tools, astrology, birth times and zodiac symbols, Angel oracles cards or tarot in their readings with you.

Right, whatever made up bullshit toys to mesmerize the gullible.

6) A psychic is not a medium.

Why do they feel the need to make this distinction? Do they not ***gasp*** believe in mediums?

7) A psychic gives to you what they feel and know at that moment of time.

Right and they usually “feel” they have to give you lots of guesses for you to latch on.

8) Not all psychics work in integrity, get to know the psychic before going to see them for a reading.

Right, there are some quacks out there that give all psychics a bad name. Hmmm, now if only we could find a real psychic!

9) Not all psychic believe in angels & spirit guides.

Yeah, I guess different psychics specialize in different kinds of bullshit!

10) A psychic is not an individual to live your life by, but can assist you in your life to live.

Of course not, it’s just an individual to waste your time and money on.

11) A psychic should never ask you for huge sums of money to get rid of negative energy or bad karma. No one can… but you. Even if they sense it, they can only guide you as you are the only one who can get rid of anything negative.

Sure, they can only ask for huge sums of money to tell you you’ve got a problem, but only you can fix it, so don’t come crying to me if you can’t. It’s your fault!

12) A psychic might wear lots of jewelry or crystals, but do not be fooled to thinking they are any different, as they love beautiful things just like you.

Right on! Open up with butt kissing close with ass kissing! Wow, now I have a completely different attitude towards psychics.

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