Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Yet More Evidence Against a Link Between Thimerosal and Autism

Posted in Neurologica by Skepdude on January 27, 2009

A new study published yesterday (Monday) in the journal Pediatrics provides more evidence against any link between thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative in some vaccines) and autism or other neurological disorders. This study adds to the large and growing body of scientific evidence for the safety of vaccines, and contradicting the claims of the anti-vaccine movement that vaccines cause autism.

The study is a bit fortuitous in that it was not originally designed to probe this question. Rather, this was a safety and efficacy study of the acellular pertussis vaccine conducted in Italy between 1992 and 1993. But it created a cohort of children who were carefully screened and monitored, and randomized to different exposures to thimerosal. This allowed the researchers to go back 10 years later to survey and examine the children for neurological disorders.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT NEUROLOGICA.

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Tarot card reading can get confusing

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on January 27, 2009

Here is what appears to be a short, honest description of one person’s experience with reading Tarot cards. She picked up a deck, taught herself and proceeded in reading the futures of friends, and her own. I am ok with that, however I coudn’t shake the feeling that the person is herself a little confused about the supposed accuracy of the whole process. Here’s a couple of quotes:

I’ve had skeptics that approached me for a reading, only to dismiss everything I’d said. It was frustrating, because I knew I was wasting my time trying to convince someone who was already determined not to believe what the cards said.

Guilty as charged. I am fairly confident that Tarot cards are a bunch of BS. It seems to me that she is frustrated because the skeptics did not take her word for it, but that’s not very clear it’s just my interpretation of her words. Moving along!

I have been a slight skeptic from the start. I realized later that it’s good to have a little skepticism, because it has prevented me from becoming obsessed with Tarot cards and relying on them completely.

Ah, ok so we can’t rely on the Tarot cards completely. So how much do we on them, a little? How much is enough? What are the rules, the guidelines? I guess the skeptic had a point. Is it possible that this lady pretty much knows the cards don’t work and is trying to have her cake and eat it too? The above two quotes basically say: “It’s frustrating that the skeptics don’t trust the cards, nevertheless we can’t rely on the cards too much!”. Hmmm, head scratcher!

I had no problem reading the cards for others, but as the years passed I read them for myself less often. I felt that I shouldn’t have to rely on a pack of cards to tell me what I should or shouldn’t do.

Ok, and her problem with the skeptics was???? She doesn’t sound like she cares much about what the cards say anyway. They’re not reliable completely and don’t let them tell you what to do, or not to do. Then why waste time reading them? Entertainment value maybe? That I can understand.

Even so, I found that my readings became more accurate despite the fact that I read them so little.

Perhaps I had gained more insight. Maybe I cared for them more than I had realized. Whatever it was, I was more confident in my ability to read them accurately.

If the readings were getting more accurate, wouldn’t you expect her to practice even more? If she’s so confident in her ability why doubt the whole process? For doubt it she does undeniably. Here’s how she closes the article:

Whatever it is that happened, I know that I am in control of my own life, no matter what the picture on a card may tell me.

Therefore the only thing that the cards must have been accurately telling her is that she’s in control of her own life, and the cards can’t tell jacks@$t about the future. But we all know that don’t we? And something tells me she knows that too!

Tanzania: Government Bans Traditional Healers to Try to Save the Lives of Albinos

Posted in News by Skepdude on January 27, 2009

Tanzania’s government officially banned traditional healers last week in an attempt to stop the killing of albinos for medicine.

But local news services reported that healers were openly defying the ban. Many are registered with the government and belong to their own medical association, which opposes the ban, saying its members treat 30 percent of the Tanzanian population.

Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda announced Friday that the government was immediately revoking all licenses.

“These witch doctors are big liars,” he said at a public rally, the newspaper The Citizen reported. “They are fanning albino killings.”

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT NYTIMES

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