Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

2nd Stupid quote of the day

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on May 29, 2009

If toothpicks work, does that mean acupuncture’s effect is all in head, just a placebo effect? There may be another explanation: the toothpicks may stimulate acupressure points. .

So for now, there’s no answer to how the needles work, or even if they do anything more than toothpicks, but just that toothpick touching itself may be healing.


Skepdude says-This is what passes for science reporting in the media today.  And these words were writen by a “doctor”. A doctor in what I might ask? Stupidity? ‘Cause with these statements this guy deserves a PHD in stupidity!


Stupid quote of the day

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on May 29, 2009

Alternative Medicine can also be referred to as unconventional medicine because it is medicine in a way that a lot of people are not used to. It is medicine that works for a lot of folks though, and it could be medicine that works for you if you open your mind and body to it.

The thing about alternative medicine is that it emphasizes therapies that also form the basis of treatments carried out in conventional healthcare. The difference is that it stays basic without any of the fanfare and fancy of modern medication. If you ask me, I’d say that is why it is the better option of the two.

The thing about alternative medicine is that it able to address conditions in ways that conventional medicine is unable to. To date, people have begun to express more faith in the alternative than in the conventional. And this has led many more to subscribe to it.

Some douche bag

On the status of science in society

Posted in Shirley Who by Skepdude on May 29, 2009


As the daughter of two scientists, it never occurred to me growing up that science as a profession or a method of inquiry could be controversial. How else were we to discover life-saving treatments, develop better technologies, or advance our understanding of the natural world? I took for granted the fact that science is the foundation of modern civilization and makes improved standards of living for more people possible.

My recent forays into blogging, however, have shown me that nearly everything is debated, even things that should not even seem debatable. Evolution is one of them, and, apparently, so is vaccination. My open letter to Oprah sparked an unexpected flurry of responses from many scientists, parents, and concerned citizens, giving me a taste of the kind of “discussions” people have on issues near and dear to them. I realized that people on both sides genuinely care about improving health, but also that productive conversation is elusive when the assumptions and objects of trust are different.

Needless to say, I trust those who use the scientific method to probe and learn about the world. Science is an iterative cycle in which we observe phenomena, make testable hypotheses concerning the phenomena, devise experiments to test these hypotheses, evaluate and draw conclusions from the results using rigorous statistical analysis, and form new hypotheses based on our improved understanding. The experiments, including controls, should be devised to help ensure that 1) the procedures we’re using to gather data are doing what they’re supposed to be doing, and 2) other hypotheses or explanations aren’t responsible for the outcome we observe.

There is inherent uncertainty built into this process – for one thing, we can’t definitively rule out all other possibilities because there are, in theory, infinitely many possibilities (but only a few that are reasonable). Then there is the fact that science can never disprove anything, it can only collect evidence supporting a hypothesis or not. If twenty independent and methodologically sound studies all produce the same finding and no other studies show the opposite, we are confident that the finding is accurate. But all it would take is a few studies (again, independent and sound) showing the opposite to make us modify our confidence. As more studies accumulate, the weight of the evidence usually tilts definitively towards one side or the other, and this – the accumulation of evidence – is what should form the basis for technology development, policy, and future science.


How To Fail At Atheism

Posted in Atheist Blogger by Skepdude on May 29, 2009


Well this is quite an amusing story, so I thought I’d share it with you. Earlier this month, I received a message on Facebook from a girl named Jennie.

I just have to thank you. In ways you may never understand, you helped me to become a Christian.

I used to be very much like yourself. Then, two weeks ago, as a result of reading your blog, I became one of those people you hate. Thank you so much. You are probably at least a little offended by this, but I felt I needed to let you know.

Obviously I was a little confused (and concerned) about her predicament. Confused because she seemed to think I hated Christians, and concerned because she had become one. I asked her to explain, and we sent a few messages to each other. She said I came across as very angry in some of my posts; I said I was only angry at justifiable things (like parents murdering children, or newspapers lying about students). She even prophesied this blog post, saying, “I’m sure you’ll be making fun of me on your blog eventually”. Of course such a prophecy was self-fulfilling, because her final response to me, where she finally explained how I was responsible for her Christianity, was just too funny not to post.


Wikipedia bans Church of Scientology

Posted in News by Skepdude on May 29, 2009


Exclusive In an unprecedented effort to crack down on self-serving edits, the Wikipedia supreme court has banned contributions from all IP addresses owned or operated by the Church of Scientology and its associates.

Closing out the longest-running court case in Wikiland history, the site’s Arbitration Committee voted 10 to 0 (with one abstention) in favor of the move, which takes effect immediately.

The eighth most popular site on the web, Wikipedia bills itself as “the free encyclopedia anyone can edit.” Administrators frequently ban individual Wikifiddlers for their individual Wikisins. And the site’s UK press officer/resident goth once silenced an entire Utah mountain in a bizarre attempt to protect a sockpuppeting ex-BusinessWeek reporter. But according to multiple administrators speaking with The Reg, the muzzling of Scientology IPs marks the first time Wikipedia has officially barred edits from such a high-profile organization for allegedly pushing its own agenda on the site.

The Church of Scientology has not responded to our request for comment.

Officially, Wikipedia frowns on those who edit “in order to promote their own interests.” The site sees itself as an encyclopedia with a “neutral point of view” – whatever that is. “Use of the encyclopedia to advance personal agendas – such as advocacy or propaganda and philosophical, ideological or religious dispute – or to publish or promote original research is prohibited,” say the Wikipowersthatbe.

Admins may ban a Wikifiddler who betrays an extreme conflict of interest, and since fiddlers often hide their identity behind open proxies, such IPs may be banned as a preventative measure. After today’s ruling from the Arbitration Committee – known in Orwellian fashion as the ArbCom – Scientology IPs are “to be blocked as if they were open proxies” (though individual editors can request an exemption).

According to evidence turned up by admins in this long-running Wikiland court case, multiple editors have been “openly editing [Scientology-related articles] from Church of Scientology equipment and apparently coordinating their activities.” Leaning on the famed WikiScanner, countless news stories have discussed the editing of Scientology articles from Scientology IPs, and some site admins are concerned this is “damaging Wikipedia’s reputation for neutrality.”


Go get your Galileoscope now!

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on May 29, 2009

It’s cheap, at $15 plus $9 for shipping in the US, you can have you own little telescope for under $24 total price. A great deal to support a great cause, the International Year of Astronomy. I’ve always wanted to own a telescope but they don’t come cheap. Thanks to the Bad Astronomer for the reminder. My order is in and I should be getting it soon so I can start spying on my neigh….I mean look at the moon!

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