Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Eggplant mania for cancer

Posted in Respectful Insolence by Skepdude on November 10, 2008

As I’ve said before many times, herbal or plant-based medicines are about the only kind of “alternative” medicine that has significant prior scientific plausibility based on what we know about science. That’s because plants often contain biologically active molecules; i.e., they often contain drugs. Of course, the problem with plant-based medicines is that they are, in essence, highly contaminated drugs, the predictability of whose responses is variable because the amount of active ingredient can vary widely.

There’s also a problem when claims for a plant-based compound become grandiose. It immediately makes me suspicious, even when there might be some biological plausibility that some compound with derived from a plant might have anticancer properties, when I see claims of “cancer cures” or the extensive use of testimonial evidence. Recently, I became aware of just such a “cancer cure” derived from, of all things, eggplant. The advertising for a cream based on this comound has it all: Testimonials, claims of near 100% efficacy in curing certain types of cancer, and claims of near miraculous efficacy. In essence, a man named Dr. Bill E. Cham takes a plant-based “treatment” and claims that it can not only cure skin cancer but regenerate and rejuvenate. In brief, he takes something that might have some efficacy and makes unbelievable claims for it.

In essence, Dr. Cham’s claim is that eggplants cure skin cancer? Naturally, I know it’s true because I saw it on the Internet, and I’ve even seen some credulous reporting on it:

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT RESPECTFUL INSOLENCE.

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Following 50 woo-ful facts: Nine woo-ful myths

Posted in Respectful Insolence by Skepdude on November 10, 2008

I had been planning on taking on a couple of articles about breast cancer to start out the week. However, between having to deal with a tsunami of leaves before Monday, when the giant trucks come along to pick them up today and a number of other issues, I didn’t have time. As much as I love taking a recent study and doing an in-depth analysis, such posts take probably twice as much time for me to do as the average post. Unfortunately, various issues this weekend prevented that, at least for today.

Fortunately, there’s always homeopathy.

Yes, homeopathy is always there for the easy post. Even better, there’s uber-woo-meister Mike Adams at NaturalNews.com. Even better still, Mike Adams has found a protégé, a homeopath, and this homeopath can churn out some of the most ridiculous articles on homeopathy that you’ve ever seen. I realize that homeopathy is inherently ridiculous by its very nature, but that’s what makes these articles so “meta-ridiculous,” if you will. Three weeks ago, I first had some fun with “50 woo-ful facts” about homeopathy. The homeopath writing such nonsense? Louise Mclean. And guess what?

She’s baaa-aack.

This time around she’s trying to dispel the myths surrounding homeopathy. Not surprisingly, she’s provided some grade-A first class woo. It starts right from the beginning:

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “RESPECTFUL INSOLENCE”

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URGENT: Forced Electroshock

Posted in activism by Skepdude on November 10, 2008

MindFreedom International — 7 November 2008
Human Rights Alert: Involuntary Electroshock

by David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International

The past Wednesday morning after the historic USA election what were you doing?

I know what Ray Sandford, 54, was doing.

Each and every Wednesday, early in the morning, staff shows up at Ray’s sheltered living home called Victory House in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, adjacent to Minneapolis.

Staff escorts Ray the 15 miles to Mercy Hospital. There, Ray is given another of his weekly electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatments, also known as electroshock. All against his will. On an outpatient basis.

And it’s been going on for months.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT THE TROUBLE WITH SPIKOL

The God confusion

Posted in Digital Bits Skeptic, Humorous by Skepdude on November 10, 2008

“It is said that men may not be the dreams of the Gods, but rather that the Gods are the dreams of men.” ~ Carl Sagan

Hello. My name is God, and I am an atheist. I don’t believe in gods because there are no gods who created me and there’s no one else here to compare myself to. I just have always existed. I didn’t evolve from anything. I am now just as I always have been, and will always be that it in the future. Messes with your head, doesn’t it? Think of how I feel!

But, what if there is a god who created me? I don’t see any other gods here except me, so why should I believe in another god? How about faith? Can faith establish that there is another god? No way! That’s just being silly. Even if I do have a creator, who created that god? No, that’s a faulty line of reasoning. I am the one and only. There is no other god but me. Right? Before I could know of another god, there must first be hard evidence and genuine scientific proof. That’s not going to happen, because I am God, I’d know of such things.

Okay, just me then. Now that I’ve got that question solved, what am I going to do now? There’s a lot of black empty space out here and I’m getting really bored! I gotta do something. Maybe I should create a “Big Boom” or a “Big Bam” or some kind of huge explosion and see what happens.

[A gigantic, mind-numbing, multiverse-shaking explosion ensues…]

…Okay, so I guess that was more of a “Big Bang”. Not bad, not bad at all. I’m an instant artist! Look at these beautiful stars, planets, and galaxies.

I’m impressed. I’m the greatest thing in this whole universe. But then, I’m the only one here, so I’m greatest by default. I suppose I could create other gods, and challenge them so that I can see for myself if I am indeed the greatest. On second thought, that may be a bad idea. What if they beat me? Or form evil alliances against me and revolt? That’ll be embarrassing. And what if they ask me who created me? Since I am the one who created them, they might think there must be some other god who created me. They’ll stop worshipping me, and look for other gods. Not acceptable. Moreover, they’re not gonna believe me if I said I just came into being out of nothing. Still, I could force them to believe whatever I want them to believe. Or I could punish the non-believers. I’ll have to give this some thought.

[Some time later…]

I’m bored. I’ve created everything I wanted to create. Am I going to be the only one admiring my own work?  That would be lame. …I know! What if, instead of creating new gods, I create some tiny little creatures on one or more of these planets? They won’t be as powerful as a god, so they won’t be a threat to me. I’ll design them unable to see me, but they can see all my genius works. They can admire my work and praise me for it. It’ll be fun seeing them trying to figure out what the heck is going on. I can see it now: some will claim that they know me and have spoken to me or I have spoken to them, and they’ll use my name to start a religion. Soon, there will be a whole bunch of them and they’ll be killing each other to prove which Me is the one and only “true” Me. And I’ll never speak to any one of them. Anything they think is my voice will be misinterpretation or self-delusion.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT DIGITAL BITS SKEPTIC.

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‘Child-witches’ of Nigeria seek refuge

Posted in News by Skepdude on November 10, 2008

Mary is a pretty five-year-old girl with big brown eyes and a father who kicked her out onto the streets in one of the most dangerous parts of the world. Her crime: the local priest had denounced her as a witch and blamed her “evil powers” for causing her mother’s death.

Ostracised, vulnerable and frightened, she wandered the streets in south-eastern Nigeria, sleeping rough, struggling to stay alive.

Mary was found by a British charity worker and today lives at a refuge in Akwa Ibom province with 150 other children who have been branded witches, blamed for all their family’s woes, and abandoned. Before being pushed out of their homes many were beaten or slashed with knives, thrown onto fires, or had acid poured over them as a punishment or in an attempt to make them “confess” to being possessed. In one horrific case, a young girl called Uma had a three-inch nail driven into her skull.

Yet Mary and the others at the shelter are the lucky ones for they, at least, are alive. Many of those branded “child-witches” are murdered – hacked to death with machetes, poisoned, drowned, or buried alive in an attempt to drive Satan out of their soul.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT THE TELEGRAPH.

Can’t we all just get along?

Posted in Skepdude, Video by Skepdude on November 10, 2008

For Christ’s sake let’s act Christianly! I don’t see anyone turning the other cheek. Seems more like everyone is trying to break other people’s cheeks!