Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Robertson Love

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on May 6, 2009

Dan Savage better watch out, Pat Robertson is getting into the  relationship (and God please keep him away from the sex) advice arena, and boy does he start with a load of stupid ass bullshit. I think I’ll stick with Savage Love for the time being.

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Can you spot what’s wrong with this statement?

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on May 6, 2009

After 18 years of pain Marilyn finally feels like herself again. It took two years of acupuncture, antibiotics, and trials of drug cocktails to effectively knock out her symptoms. Unfortunately, she knows they could come back at any time.

WMDT.COM

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Patricia Putt Million Dollar Challenge Test Results In!

Posted in JREF by Skepdude on May 6, 2009

Patricia Putt, who claims she is psychic, took the preliminary test for the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge today. The test was conducted by Professor Richard Wiseman and Professor Christopher French. In order to pass her challenge test, Mrs. Putt was required to pen psychic readings for ten volunteers who were then asked to identify their own readings from the group. At least five volunteers would have had to correctly identify their own reading.

None did. Mrs. Putt’s readings were correctly identified by zero out of ten volunteers.

According to the testers, Mrs. Putt took this failure well, and did not blame the test or the testers but rather her own powers for failing.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “RANDI.ORG”

Skepdude predicts that even though she took the failure well and blamed her powers, this symptom is only temporary and within a short period of time, less than a full month, she will rationalize it away and keep on doing exactly what she was doing before she failed the test.

Turkey wedding massacre

Posted in News by Skepdude on May 6, 2009

As reported at UPI.com

BILGE, Turkey, May 6 (UPI) — Turkish police arrested eight men suspected of a wedding party attack that killed 44 people, including the bride and groom, whose marriage the suspects opposed.

Women and children were among the victims of the 15-minute assault Monday in the town of Bilge in southeastern Turkey, Voice of America reported Wednesday.

Witnesses said men, armed with automatic weapons and hand grenades, opened fire on the 200 people attending the wedding.”

According to our first inspections, this happened because of a feud within the family,” Atalay said. “But our efforts to find out what happened are continuing.”

As reported at Times Online

The Hurriyet newspaper said that the chief suspect, Abdulkadir Celebi, told police: “We decided to exterminate all families there. We were also going to kill those who were not in the village at the time. If we did not kill everyone, including women and children, then they would have killed one of us in the future and there would have been a blood feud.

The suspect said that his side of the family had asked for Sevgi Celebi, whose father had been the village headman, to be given to them in marriage as penance for an earlier rape. “But they gave her to one of our enemies. We told them to cancel the engagement or else.”

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My Child Has Autism and I Vaccinate

Posted in Blogher by Skepdude on May 6, 2009

Have you or would you ever let your children travel by airplane? If your answer is “yes,” then you should re-examine any concerns about vaccinating your children. Both flying and vaccination carry real risks, but those risks are statistically unlikely to affect your family.

I know it’s more complicated than that, so keep reading. I also understand the fear behind not vaccinating, as I’ve been there myself. I clearly remember the stone age of 2003: my two-year-old son was newly diagnosed with autism, and I was desperate to help him.

The first thing I did was to enroll Leo in an ABA program, because that was the only method proven to help children with autism gain skills. But ABA is hard work and doesn’t promise miracles, and I wanted changes, fast. I craved a son who could tell me, “Mommy, I love you!,” so I started exploring alternative autism therapies.

And indeed, I found many self-appointed autism professionals willing to tell me to look past the challenging but loving boy I already had and focus on a theoretical Recovered Boy of the future. I tried not to be bothered that these people were (and still are) promoting scientifically questionable approaches, and focused on one of their popular theories: they thought that mercury in vaccines caused autism.

Those anti-vaccination people were passionate about “curing” our autistic children. I was passionate, I wanted to cure my autistic child. I did what they told me.

I stopped vaccinating my kids.

My youngest child was born in 2004, eighteen months after her brother’s diagnosis and during the thick of my alternative-treatment frenzy. I was so freaked out by being told, repeatedly, that Leo’s autism was likely caused by an injected environmental factor that there was no way in hell my new baby was getting a shot of anything. Not even vitamin K.

As that fortunately healthy baby grew and thrived, so did the evidence refuting a thimerosal/vaccine/autism link. Unfortunately, so did the rates of preventable and potentially lethal diseases. Turns out I wasn’t the only parent who’d freaked out and stopped immunizing his or her kids.

I needed to know if vaccinations had in fact affected my son, so I formally investigated the possible correlation between Leo’s autism and his immunization schedule: I enrolled him in a MIND Institute study that tracked the emergence of his autism symptoms via home videos, medical records, and my own journals.

The result: there was no evidence that Leo had regressed into autism after being vaccinated.

I thought long and hard. And decided that the risks of vaccinating my children were acceptable .

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “BLOGHER.COM”

Quack remedies spread by virtue of being useless

Posted in News by Skepdude on May 6, 2009

Eating a vulture won’t clear a bad case of syphilis nor will a drink made of rotting snakes treat leprosy, but these and other bogus medical treatments spread precisely because they don’t work. That’s the counterintuitive finding of a mathematical model of medical quackery.

Ineffective treatments don’t cure an illness, so sufferers demonstrate them to more people than those who recovery quickly after taking real medicines.

“The assumption is that when people pick up treatments to try, they’re basically observing other people,” says Mark Tanaka, a mathematical biologist at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, who led the study. “People don’t necessarily know that what somebody is trying is going to work.”

The World Health Organization is demanding better proof that folk medicines work before they can be approved. And the Malaysian government has rejected more than a third of the 25,000 applications to register traditional medicines it has received because the treatments are ineffective or dangerous.

Despite these efforts, quack medicine persists around the world. Some Nigerians treat malaria with witchcraft, a South African health minister recently claimed that garlic and beetroot treat HIV, and western health stores brim with unproven treatments for almost any disease imaginable. For instance St John’s wort does nothing for attention deficit hyperactive disorder in children, a recent placebo-controlled trial concluded.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT “NEW SCIENTIST”