Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

I deny the Holy Spirit and Eucharist desecration #1

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on August 25, 2008

Publishers ok book on Mohammed’s child wife

Posted in Muslims Against Sharia by Skepdude on August 25, 2008

Denmark is again ready to exercise its free speech and press principles by releasing a controversial novel about Mohammed’s child wife An American novel about the 6-year-old wife of Mohammed, Aisha, may end up being released in Denmark, after publishing…
An American novel about the 6-year-old wife of Mohammed, Aisha, may end up being released in Denmark, after publishing company Random House dropped its plans to print the book.

Danish publishers association Trykkeselskabet has given its blessing to Sherry Jones’ novel ‘The Jewel of Medina’ to be released in Denmark.


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Thanks, Jenny McCarthy! Thanks for the measles!

Posted in Science Based Medicine by Skepdude on August 25, 2008

I would like to take this opportunity to echo my co-blogger Steve’s sentiment and thank Jenny McCarthy.

What? You say. Has Gorski completely lost his mind? (Or maybe you used another word besides “mind,” a perhaps not so savory word.) Not really. I just agree with Steve that accomplishment should be recognized, and there’s no doubt that in her year as the new celebrity spokesperson for the antivaccination movement, Jenny McCarthy has pulled off a major coup.

She’s helped reignite a movement that was until her entrance (and especially the entrance of her far more famous boyfriend Jim Carrey, who’s said some things just as breathtakingly dumb as Jenny has) more or less moribund, to the point where it’s now become so effective that measles is coming back far faster than I had thought possible. Between her tireless prosletyzing on Oprah Winfrey’s show that vaccines caused her son’s autism and that “biomedical” quackery can “cure it”; her organizing of a march on Washington, D.C. this summer to push an explicitly antivaccine agenda disguised under the deceptive and disingenuous (but brilliantly Orwellian) slogan “Green Our Vaccines“; her holding celebrity fundraisers (complete with Britney Spears, Hugh Hefner, and Charlie Sheen, yet!); and her fronting WWE events to raise money for Generation Rescue, she’s done it all in a little more than a year. And she’s not resting on her “laurels” (such as they are), either. This September, she will be publishing the followup to her previous book on “healing autism” (with quackery), Mother Warriors: A Nation of Parents Healing Autism Against All Odds. No doubt she will again appear with Oprah to fawning acclaim to make the unfounded assertion that vaccines injured her son to make him autistic and that her favored forms of quackery have successfully “healed him.”

In light of these “accomplishments,” it’s only right that we all give Jenny (and Jim) the “thanks” they deserves for their role in bringing the measles back to the U.S.


A ghoul descends upon Christina Applegate’s “maimed” body

Posted in Respectful Insolence by Skepdude on August 25, 2008

This is getting to be nauseatingly frequent.

As my blog bud Mark Hoofnagle pointed out, the hard-core “alternative medicine” mavens, in particular that despicable promoter of quackery and distrust of scientific medicine who runs one of the two or three largest repositories of antiscience and quackery in existence, Mike Adams, seem to have decided that a lovely new tactic would be to descend upon every celebrity death or battle with serious disease, ghoul-like, and blame their deaths or suffering on conventional medicine rather than disease. Both PalMD and I noted this particularly vile tactic applied to the recent death of former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, and Adams has done the same thing in response to the deaths of Tim Russert (whose death he blamed on the heart medications Russert was taking), Heath Ledger, and Bernie Mac as well. Oddly enough, the ghoul appears not to have descended upon the corpse of Isaac Hayes yet, even though every indication is that Hayes, having suffered a stroke a while back, died of another stroke. Maybe it’s because Hayes was a prominent Scientologist, and even Adams is afraid of messing with the Church of Scientology. Maybe it’s because, before his turning to Scientology, Hayes was so über-cool that even Adams fears messing with his memory. Who knows?

Last week, it turned out that Mike Adams, at least, doesn’t even need to have a dead celebrity as an excuse to torture science. All he needs is a celebrity with cancer who decided to pursue science-based therapy. This time around, in response to Christina Applegate’s battle with breast cancer and decision to undergo bilateral mastectomies, Adams has published yet another of his spittle-flecked screeds, this time charmingly entitled Christina Applegate Maimed by Surgeons with Double Mastectomy Following Breast Cancer Diagnosis. This article is yet more indication that Mike Adams is about as low as they come. The word “scum” is too good for him. Just check out how his article starts out:


Why I Am Skeptical of Acupuncture

Posted in Neurologica by Skepdude on August 25, 2008

Acupuncture is the practice of placing very thin needles through the skin in specific locations of the body for the purpose of healing and relief of symptoms. This practice is several thousand years old and is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. As practiced today it is often combined with other interventions, such as sending a small current of electricity through the needles or burning herbs on the acupuncture points (a practice called moxibustion).

Acupuncture has recently been transplanted to the West, riding the wave of tolerance for unscientific treatment practices marketed as “complementary and alternative medicine.” While advocates have been successful at pushing acupuncture into the culture, the scientific medical community has still not accepted the practice as a legitimate scientific practice. I count myself among those extremely skeptical of acupuncture. I outline here the reasons for my continued skepticism.


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Skepquote of the day

Posted in Skepquote by Skepdude on August 25, 2008

Science requires unambiguous definition of terms and concepts. If acupuncture is said to be something scientifically then it must have some specific and unique characteristics. In medicine that means it should have a specific mechanism of action – and it is that mechanism that we would call acupuncture. Electrical stimulation is no more acupuncture than if I injected morphine through a hollow acupuncture needle and then claimed that any resulting pain relief was due to “acupuncture.”

“Why I am Skeptical of Acupuncture”-Steven Novella

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Anti-vaccination—old religion writ new

Posted in Denialism by Skepdude on August 25, 2008


I’m rather angry.

Strike that.

I’m furious. Indescribably outraged. Disgusted.

The rise of the antivaccination cults is finally affecting public health. If you want details, go and read Orac, or Steve Novella, or some of my other writing. I’m too angry to deal with details today.

Infectious diseases have stalked us across the millennia. Centuries of advances, from sewerage to inoculation to vaccination have saved billions of people from death and disability due to infectious agents. Having a child used to mean joy tempered with fear—fear that one of the “men of death” would come for your child, leaving them scarred, paralyzed, deaf, mentally disabled, or dead.

We’ve been largely liberated from these fears. We are now free to fear obesity. We are free to worry about good schools, the environment, poverty. Infectious diseases aren’t the scourge they once were. Who would wish it otherwise?

There is a cult of infectious disease supporters out there, and they are winning. Before the days of vaccination, we could let ourselves believe that childhood diseases were acts of God, to be accepted as part of a normal life. Perhaps they were even deserved. Disease and death became integral to religious beliefs about sin and its wages.

The language has changed, but the message is the same. Infectious disease prevention is to be feared. It is against the natural order of things. Instead of “vaccines are against God’s will”, it’s now “vaccines are against Nature’s will.” They’re “unnatural”, not “green”. In the old vernacular, interfering with God’s will could lead to “bad things”, like flood, famine, or other divine punishment. In the new language, it leads to “autism”.

It’s the same old song. Anti-vaccination is simply a cult, with cult beliefs that stretch back thousands of years and are tied to a fear of interfering with the “natural order of things”.

If it were just a matter of these cultists endangering their own health it would be a moderate outrage. But their cult of infectious disease promotion is spreading disease. And their leaders are dangerous. In fact, they are more dangerous than a madman with a gun.

The health care community needs to speak up, but more importantly, politicians, preachers, and other leaders need to call these folks out, and show them for what they are…a bizarre, fringe religion who’s goal is the spread of infectious disease. The voices of the cultists must be drowned out by the voices of the rational. Perhaps then we can reverse the damage they have done to public health.


Another Open Letter to Jenny McCarthy

Posted in Denialism by Skepdude on August 25, 2008


Dear Jenny,

Thank you! Thankyouthankyou thank YOU!

You see, my medical education had a few gaps. I was unfortunate enough to do my training during the last couple of decades, which means I never saw measles, pertussis, polio, and many other vaccine-preventable diseases.

Well, last year, I saw three cases of pertussis! Sweet! And it looks like, if I play my cards right, I may get to see some measles.

It’s not that I don’t know anything about measles. I mean, I’ve read Hippocrates, Rhazes, Osler, and all the other ancients. But to see the real thing, to experience the real fear, well, you just can’t buy that kind of education. I’ve never been able to experience the fear that my little girl–who loves to swim— might bring polio home from the lake. How am I supposed to relate to my older patients if I don’t know that fear?

If I were in charge of awards for medical education, I’d give you one. But, alas, I’m not. I guess we’ll have to find some other way to honor all your hard work, education, and expertise. I mean, my four years of undergrad, 4 years of medical school, and 3 years of residency can’t hold a candle to your experience as a Mommy Warrior. I wish we could just bottle that. Or perhaps isolate it in northern Idaho.

Anyway, if you’re on google doing research for your next cult, I have a few suggestions. First, try to find one with UFOs. UFOs are kinda cool. Second, find one that makes you cut off all your ties to the outside world. As much as I’d miss the educational opportunities of your public appearances, I’ll find a way to make up for it.

So thanks, and good luck! Keep up the personal growth! Move on to the next issue!



God on The Bible – Deuteronomy 23:1

Posted in Sins, Stuff God Hates, The Bible by Skepdude on August 25, 2008


Prepare thyself, he who reads this, to tremble and quake before the Incredible Word of God, as written by THE LORD HIMSELF!

Witness now the glorious truth of MY DIVINE WORD:

“A man whose testicles have been crushed, or whose penis has been cut off, must not be admitted to the congregation of Yahweh.”

In this passage of My Good Book, which just so happens to be the best-selling and most-read book of all time, I elucidate on the necessity of excommunicating any male who has lost any part of his genitals.

The reason for this is simple. If I hate a man enough to smite him so hard that he loses either his frank or his beans, then you had better believe I hate him and do not want him for My flock. No matter the seemingly random cause of your castration, I assure you it is a sign of My Profound Hatred for thee.

So if your testicles have been trampled by a horse, or shattered from the kick of an angry woman, or in any way otherwise destroyed; take heed – for you are no longer welcome in My Temple.

You are also not welcome in the House of the LORD if you have no penis. Forsooth, whether your penis was cut off by an angry woman or by a clumsy mohel, you are also not welcome in My Temple, for yea, thou art a cockless freak that disgusteth Me.

And do not think that you can use modern science to get around your eternal banishment. So if your wife cuts off your penis while you are sleeping, and then you find it in a field and have a bunch of faggoty scientists reattach it for you – this does not count. You are still not welcome in My Temple. As far as I am concerned, you and your ghastly new Frankenpenis can just keep away from Me and My People.

And lastly, if you are one of those human males foolish enough to get a vasectomy, then you have shunned the genitals I gave you and you are also no longer welcome in My congregation.

I, The Almighty LORD, have spoken.