Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

What’s the harm-Christianity

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on October 15, 2008


Many times we face the “what’s the harm” defense from believers in all kinds of woo, including religion…including Christianity. What possibly can belief in a supernatural god do to harm people? Let them have their innocent beliefs, respect them and don’t criticize them.

Well, hold your horses, I say.  Religions teach people not only to believe and not question their god, but also god’s representatives on earth, the churches and their clergy. And here is where a big problem comes in, as reported by

In a study of Christian church members who approached their church for help with a personal or family member’s diagnosed mental illness, researchers found that more than 32 percent were told by their pastor that they or their loved one did not really have a mental illness.

These are diagnosed mental illnesses we’re talking about here. Actual, real illnesses that are being waved away by pastors. Well, if not mental illness what are these people suffering from, you may ask? The good pastor has an answer for that too.

The problem was solely spiritual in nature, they were told.

And who can help you with spiritual problems? Well the clergy of course and not those elitist, science learning, educated doctors. Can you say exorcism?

Hold on a minute, you may say. Come on, how many people are going to go to their pastor with this sort of problem? People surely know to go to their doctors with this sort of issues. Do they?

Other studies have found that clergy, and not psychologists or other mental health experts, are the most common source of help sought in times of psychological distress.


“Those whose mental illness is dismissed by clergy are not only being told they don’t have a mental illness, they are also being told they need to stop taking their medication. That can be a very dangerous thing.”

No shit! So let me get it straight, most religios people go to their pastors, not their doctors, when they have mental illnesses. The pastors dismiss a priori all diagnosed mental illnesses, even encouraging mentally ill people to stop taking their medications. And people have the balls to say what’s the harm? Wow.

Oh, and here’s a parting gift:

Baylor researchers also found that women were more likely than men to have their mental disorders dismissed by the church.

In a subsequent survey, Baylor researchers found the dismissal or denial of the existence of mental illness happened more in conservative churches, rather than more liberal ones.

Come on, don’t be surprised!

Report: Some Bottled Water Not So Pure

Posted in News by Skepdude on October 15, 2008

Bottled water is widely considered to be a purer choice than tap water, but a new investigation finds that this isn’t always the case.

In its test of 10 best-selling brands of bottled water, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found mixtures of 38 different pollutants including bacteria, fertilizer, and industrial chemicals in some of the tested brands at levels that were similar to tap water.

Several samples of Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Choice brand sold in California were found to exceed that state’s legal limits of contaminants for bottled water.

“The bottled water industry really presents this image of purity, but our investigation demonstrated that it is really hit or miss,” EWG senior scientist Olga Naidenko, PhD, tells WebMD. “We found a lot of variation among the same brands which suggests that at the moment consumers can not have confidence in their water.”

But a spokesman for the bottled water industry denies the charge and accuses EWG of using “alarmist tactics.”


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Ugandan community outlaws female circumcision

Posted in News by Skepdude on October 15, 2008

KAMPALA (AFP) – A community in eastern Uganda that has practiced female genital mutilation “since time immemorial” has banned the ritual, a local official told AFP on Wednesday.

“The community decided that it was not useful, that women were not getting anything out of it, so the district council decided to establish an ordinance banning it,” said Nelson Chelimo, chairman of Kapchorwa district.

Chelimo said that historically people in Kapchorwa believed that a woman who married without first being circumcised would be stricken for life with various illnesses, but that “those beliefs are really outmoded.”


The Salad: A Tasty Logical Fallacy

Posted in Rational Moms by Skepdude on October 15, 2008

There’s a great local legend where I live, in the Los Angeles area. A local restaurant serves a salad that is supposed to make overdue women go into labor. It is called “The Salad.” And it’s delicious. Even if you are not expecting a baby, I recommend it! The restaurant actually has piles and piles of journals with entries from women who have tried The Salad. Some come back after they give birth to update that The Salad worked for them.

This is a great example of a post-hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Obviously, women who are past their due date are going to give birth any day. So they eat The Salad, go into labor, and attribute the onset of labor to The Salad.

One day, in a prenatal yoga class, a couple came by to show off their new baby. “By the way,” said the husband, “The Salad doesn’t work!” He detailed his and his wife’s efforts to induce labor. I was thinking that he had possibly learned that the whole myth of The Salad was a post-hoc fallacy, until he said, “What finally worked was Thai food! We ate it, and she went into labor that night!”


Skepquote of the day

Posted in Skepquote by Skepdude on October 15, 2008

But I also don’t want to back down and let the Christians win by default. They have a right to believe what they wish; they don’t have a right to demand and insist we all believe like they do and run our country, our society, our world into the ground with their religious fervor. I am trying to find a way to be vocal, to be public, to be a voice of reason without letting anger and frustration propel me in a direction I don’t want to go.


Congratulations to Randy Moore

Posted in Pharyngula by Skepdude on October 15, 2008

My colleague at the Twin Cities branch campus of the University of Minnesota, Randy Moore, has won an award from the Discovery Institute: The Award for Most Dogmatic Indoctrinator in an Evolutionary Biology Course. Congratulations to Randy! He won it for this paragraph:

The evidence supporting evolution is overwhelming and comes from diverse disciplines, such as molecular biology, paleontology, comparative anatomy, ethology, and biochemistry. There is no controversy among biologists about whether evolution occurs, nor are there science-based alternative theories. Evolution is a unifying theme in biology; teaching it as such is the best way to show students what biology is about and how they can use evolution as a tool to understand our world. [Evolution] is as important an idea as there is in science – it is a great gift to give to students.

The Discovery Institute claims there are at least four mistakes in that paragraph. Their summary of the “errors” is hilarious, and shows how delusional those guys are.


Albinos flee sorcerers and organ traders

Posted in News by Skepdude on October 15, 2008

“People say that the body parts taken from albinos are sold in Tanzania. They put them on gold mines and that brings the gold to the surface, then you just need to collect it,” said Ciza, fear evident in his pale blue eyes.

“Some fishermen also use the parts to bait large fish they think have gold in their bellies.”


On September 22, a 16-year-old albino girl by the name of Spes was attacked in her village of Nyabitsinda.

She was dismembered and her body parts disappeared. A few days later, it was the turn of a man in the village of Bweru. Officials have reported two other recent murders in other parts of the country.

Police have established that the limbs, organs and blood of the albinos were smuggled into neighbouring Tanzania and sold to local sorcerers who use them to concoct lucky charms.


It’s not just acupuncture; it’s laser acupuncture!

Posted in Respectful Insolence by Skepdude on October 15, 2008

Why, oh, why do I keep perusing

Why do I subject myself to wave after wave of neuron-apoptosing stupidity of a magnitude that even activation of NF-kappaB, Akt, and neuronal cell survival signaling pathways can barely keep the killing stupidity at bay? I guess it’s because it provides such good blog fodder for a skeptical blog dedicated to science- and evidence-based medicine. On the other hand, it often gives me a headache to read its contents. Really, it does. I mean, looking at how Mike Adams, the Woo-meister Supreme and Chief Tin Foil Hat responsible for the lunacy there, regularly serves up fare that alternates between the simply over-the-top hilarious (unintentionally, of course) and the truly vile (although leaning more towards the vile) that the alternating current of fun woo and dumb woo seriously stresses the electrical impulses flowing through my brain.

Perhaps I could use some acupuncture for that headache.

But not just any acupuncture. Oh, no. That would be too mundane, too boring, too…pedestrian. Needles? Stuck into the skin? Physically? How primitive! There might even be a tiny drop of blood! We can’t have that! No, I’m a 21st century kind of guy, and I need a 21st century form of woo. It needs to be high tech woo of the finest caliber. Just like Dr. Evil, I want my frikkin’ sharks to have frikkin’ laser beams.

That’s right: Laser acupuncture! Fellow woo-traveler of Mike Adams Dave Gabriele shows me the way right there on