Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

NZ mother ‘drowned’ during Maori exorcism

Posted in News by Skepdude on May 4, 2009

A New Zealand family drowned a young mother by pouring water down her throat during a Maori exorcism, a court heard today.

Janet Moses, 22, died after family members poured water down her throat and into her eyes in an attempt to lift a curse on her, the High Court in Wellington, the capital, was told.

Ms Moses’ 14-year-old cousin also had her eyes gouged and water poured down her throat during the same ceremony.

Six women and three men, all members of Ms Moses’ family, are charged with manslaughter.

Crown prosecutor Kate Feltham told the High Court that Ms Moses drowned during an a cleansing ceremony at her grandparents’ home in Wainuiomata, near Wellington, the capial, in October 2007.

The family believed Ms Moses was possessed, Ms Feltham said.

During the ceremony, Ms Moses was restrained, while family members formed a circle around her, poured water into her eyes and down her throat.


A guest post from David McCaffery.

Posted in The Sceptics book of pooh pooh by Skepdude on May 4, 2009

I’ve lain awake all night in my bed, my mind processing all I heard or wanted to say at the debate. I was ready to speak up at anytime, but wasn’t directly asked a question. (Mind you, my wife was terrific when she spoke. She’s a wonderful, compassionate and intelligent woman.)

So here I go:

My daughter died a horrific death. Moments after she died I held her beaten little body as blood from her double transfusion ran down her arms, onto mine and then the floor. It’s a reality and I ‘know’ it happened.

She died from pertussis, contracted in a region in NSW where 66% of babies are vaccinated. When you combine that with the low adult vaccination rate of 10%(due to people not knowing their booster shots wane after 7 to 10 years), it’s the lowest vaccination rate in Australia, hence one of the most dangerous areas to have a baby.

Dana paid the highest price for our ignorance and apathy.


Oprah drinks the antivax Kool Aid

Posted in Bad Astronomy by Skepdude on May 4, 2009

I knew that Oprah Winfrey was prone to antiscience; she has all sorts of New Age nonsense on her show, and the one time Randi was on in recent years he found the experience frustrating; Oprah unabashedly promotes all kinds of superstitious garbage.

But now she’s gone way, way too far: she’s signed Jenny McCarthy — notorious for her misleading statements about vaccines and autism — on for a multi-platform deal.

McCarthy has advocated a link between autism and vaccinations for years. She has written and spoken about it at length in very large venues like Oprah’s and Larry King’s shows, but her claims are wrong. Worse, they’re dangerous: by claiming vaccines are dangerous, she is scaring parents into delaying or even preventing their children from being vaccinated.

I don’t think this threat to the health of our children can be overstated: we have already seen a dramatic rise in outbreaks in preventable diseases due to the rise in media presence of antivax claptrap, and there have been deaths of children, deaths of babies, because of it.

And now Oprah is giving the premier mouthpiece for this movement a huge loudspeaker.


Stupid quote of the day

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on May 4, 2009

“Football and basketball are sports that require a lot of movement and jumping,” Sheikh Abdullah al-Maneea, member of the official Supreme Council of Religious Scholars, said in a religious opinion published in Okaz newspaper Thursday.

He said such excessive movement may harm girls who are still virgins, possibly causing them to lose their virginity.

Sheikh Abdullah al-Maneea

Tip of the Skepticap to Evolved and Rational