Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Where all roads lead (2)

Posted in The Atheist's Way by Skepdude on August 20, 2008

[Back to Part 1]

We’d had the conversation before, but this time a new dawning crossed Laney’s face.

“Sweetie, what is it?” I asked.

She began the deep, aching cry that accompanies her saddest realizations, and sobbed:

“I don’t want to die.”

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

Sweden Rocks the Religious World.

Posted in Uncategorized by Skepdude on August 20, 2008

In a hugely controversial move, the Swedish government has moved to ban teaching religious doctrine in schools as if it were true.

Well butter my buns & call me a biscuit; here’s something I never did think I’d see. Sweden’s population is about 50% atheist, but this legislation is widely rumored to be aimed at religious fundamentalists, not the generally religious portion of the citizenry. According to the article:

There is little doubt that combating Islamic fundamentalism is the underlying aim, especially in conjunction with another new requirement that all independent schools declare all their funding sources. This would allow the inspectors – whose budget is being doubled – to concentrate their efforts on those schools most likely to be paid to break the rules.

In the background to these announcements comes the release of a frightening documentary film on Swedish jihadis, which follows young men over a period of two years on their slow conversion to homicidal lunacy.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “LEFT COAST LIBRUL’S WEBLOG”

Skepnews – 08/20/08

Posted in Skepnews by Skepdude on August 20, 2008

  • Bigfoot hoax revealed - The body of a supposed ape-man found in the North Georgia mountains was an empty rubber monkey suit embedded in ice, according to California Bigfoot enthusiasts who got a chance to examine the find over the weekend. The two Atlanta men who stood up at a news conference in California on Friday and tried to convince the world they had found Bigfoot apparently can’t be located, just like the real Bigfoot. The answering machine on a “tip line” connected to the pair’s Web site, which advertises $499 Bigfoot “expeditions,” said they’re out searching for Sasquatch, in addition to leprechauns, dinosaurs, unicorns, Jimmy Hoffa and Elvis.
  • The Jewel of Medina pulled from bookstores in Serbia – A novel about the Prophet Muhammad was pulled from bookstores in Serbia to avoid conflict with the country’s Muslim minority, its Serbian publisher, Beobook, said Tuesday. The book, “The Jewel of Medina,” by Sherry Jones, an American journalist, describes the relationship between Muhammad and his wife Aisha.
  • Judge orders girl in sect back to foster care – SAN ANGELO, Tex. (AP) — A 14-year-old girl believed to have been married at age 12 to the jailed polygamist sect leader Warren S. Jeffs with her parents’ blessing was ordered back into foster care on Tuesday by a Texas judge. The judge, Barbara Walther of District Court, said that there was “uncontroverted evidence of the under-age marriage” and that the girl’s mother, Barbara Jessop, refused to guarantee the girl’s safety. The girl, shown kissing Mr. Jeffs in photographs submitted to the court, must immediately enter foster care, the judge ruled.
  • KC church close to $10M settlement for child abuse charges – The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City and St. Joseph says a tentative $10 million deal has been reached to settle 47 sexual abuse claims against a dozen clergy or former clergy. The deal will settle all current sexual abuse lawsuits pending in Jackson County against the diocese and its priests for incidents alleged to have occurred between 1951 and 1992.
  • Church sues HIV positive ex-member- A CHURCH in Kampala has sued a woman living with HIV/AIDS and a pastor for defamation. Last year, Frances Adroa and Pastor Solomon Male accused the Universal Church of The Kingdom of God of taking Adroa’s car with promises of healing her but her condition did not change. The church’s leaders, Gilson Costa and Gerald Nkayi, were not in court but their lawyer Deepa Verma Jivram said Adroa and Male caused publication of defamatory statements which injured the status and character of her clients.

Why Are They “Praying For You”?

Posted in The Atheist's Way by Skepdude on August 20, 2008

In much of my work, emails come asking about the correct way to respond when someone says something directly attacking, or passively disparaging to Atheists. A majority of this is regarding the phrase, “I’m praying for you”. The comment, often supposed to imply that you are in someone’s thoughts, is remarkably thoughtless. It’s as if someone said to a woman without arms, “Why can’t you hug me?” It just doesn’t make sense to Atheists, and it certainly doesn’t mean anything to us. Yet, we don’t always have any visual clues during everyday interaction with most people as to beliefs, or lack of beliefs.

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

Recognizing Dubious Health Devices

Posted in Science Based Medicine by Skepdude on August 20, 2008

The public is often left to fend for themselves in the marketplace of medical devices and health aids. Current regulations in most countries are inadequate to prevent grossly misleading claims in advertising and to provide adequate evidence for safety and effectiveness for products on the market. So it is helpful for consumers to be aware of the red flags for dubious devices to watch out for.

I came across this ad for The Rebuilder, which purports to be a treatment for painful neuropathy.  About 2.4% of the population has some kind of peripheral nerve damage (neuropathy), which means there are about 7.2 million Americans with neuropathy. In most cases there is no cure (although there is effective treatment for some of the symptoms of neuropathy) so it is not surprising that neuropathy is a common target for questionable treatments and devices.

The ad is full of misleading or unsupported claims and blatant misinformation and provides an excellent example of the many features of quackery marketing to look out for.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “SCIENCE-BASED MEDICINE”

What year is it, anyway?

Posted in Pharyngula by Skepdude on August 20, 2008

In the reality based community, when you’ve got a problem, you call an expert with some skills and training to deal with it. In the rest of the world, you call a priest to blame evil spirits and do nothing for a small pile of money. How else to explain asking a wizened old Catholic priest to explain ‘perversions’ and STDs?

Promiscuity, as well as homosexuality and pornography, says 73 year-old Fr. Jeremy        Davies, is a form of sexual perversion and can lead to demonic possession. Offering what may be an explanation for the explosion of homosexuality in recent years, Fr. Davies said, “Among the causes of homosexuality is a contagious demonic factor.”

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “PHARYNGULA”

Bloggers Behind Simon Singh – Where The News Is At

Posted in Podblack Cat by Skepdude on August 20, 2008

My fellow Translucent Science bloggers, who have long been keeping a keen eye on the Dore developments

whilst I’ve been busy travelling for research purposes, have all the buzz for you on what’s going on with the British Chiropractic Association vs Simon Singh.

But first – there’s a brand new review out in the Wall Street Journal on Trick or Treatment today, all about the history and trends regarding alternative medicines, by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst:

…Based at the University of Exeter in England, [Dr. Ernst] leads a research group that has spent 15 years studying alternative remedies, trying to separate snake oil from science. Mr. Singh, his co-author, is a science journalist whose books include “Fermat’s Enigma” and “Big Bang.” Together they conclude, after cataloging the evidence, that most of the popular forms of alternative medicine are “a throwback to the dark ages.” Too many alternative practitioners, they say, are “uninterested in determining the safety and efficacy of their interventions.”

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT ” PODBLACK CAT”

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