Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Is Luke Perry a skeptic?

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on February 3, 2010

Who you say? You know that guy that used to play somebody on Beverly Hills way back then, when….well he’s a bigger celebrity than Jenny McCarthy anyway so there! Anyway here’s a portion of an interview he just gave to the New York Post.

PW: What appealed to you about this role?
Luke: I’m drawn to these modern day charlatans — because I’m skeptical. I don’t see how these guys keep doing this. It blows my mind every time I think about it — from the tarot card reader in the corner or the guys with big worldwide audiences.

That would be the Edwards and the Brownes of the world. And you’re not off the hook either Van Praagh!

PW: So you don’t believe in psychic powers?
Luke: No, I don’t.

PW: Did this part give you any insight into how the fakers pull it off?
Luke: I had a pretty good idea how they do what they do. What I loved is that the script built in all the right things about how they cold read people. Don’t get me wrong, these “psychics” aren’t stupid by any stretch of the imagination — quite the contrary. They’re often very charismatic, intelligent people who get you to believe what they want you to believe. Or in this case, figuring out what you’re looking to believe.

Nicely done Luke!

Wakefield creamed by MSNBC

Posted in News by Skepdude on February 3, 2010

In the continuing epic fall from grace Dr. Andrew Wakefield got creamed, this time by MSNBC.

A dozen years ago, a British physician named Dr. Andrew Wakefield published a paper in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet that did immeasurable harm to children.

At a press conference shortly after the paper came out, Wakefield urged parents not to give their children the combination vaccine.The British press went crazy over the report. The word and the fear quickly spread around the world.

The language was probably not strong enough. The Wakefield paper killed children and left others deaf and disabled from preventable diseases as their parents, in an effort to avoid autism, left them unvaccinated.

And Wakefield himself, supported by a fanatical anti-vaccine lobby that to this day cannot let go of the vaccine-autism connection, continued to spread fear of vaccines right up to the time of his disciplinary hearing.

Wakefield is no martyr. He is a scientist who would not give up on his theory no matter how much evidence accumulated that vaccines are not linked to autism. And that makes him guilty of letting his zealotry blind him to the harm avoiding effective vaccines did to many vulnerable children.

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Ore. parents found guilty of neglecting ill son

Posted in News by Skepdude on February 3, 2010

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT THE WASHINGTON POST

OREGON CITY, Ore. — An Oregon couple was found guilty Tuesday of criminally negligent homicide for praying over their ill son instead of seeking medical help.

The jury returned the verdict on the second day of deliberations in the trial of Jeff and Marci Beagley, both members of the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon City. Church members gasped as Judge Steven Maurer read the verdicts.

The couple, who remain free on bail, is scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 18. Because neither has a prior conviction, state sentencing guidelines call for 16 to 18 months in prison.

Prosecutors said the Beagleys had a duty as parents to provide medical care for their 16-year-old son, Neil, who died in 2008 of complications from a urinary tract blockage. The defense argued the teenager had symptoms more like a cold or the flu.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT THE WASHINGTON POST

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Breaking News: Australian antivax group to shut down

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on February 3, 2010

The great news keep on coming! First the bomb dowsing magic stick was discredited, then Andrew Wakefield first got torn to pieces by the GMC and then the Lancet retracted his 1998 paper that sparked the MMR-causes-autism scare, thus dealing a deadly blow to the anti-vaccine movement. And today we get news that Meryl Dorey the head of the grossly misnamed Australian Vaccination Network is resigning and unless huge amounts of donations come in the AVN itself will close its doors by the end of February. Woot!

After almost 17 years of running the AVN, it is my bittersweet duty to inform you that within the next 3-4 weeks I will tendering my resignation as President of this great organisation and moving on to the next stage of my own personal development as mother, wife, activist and researcher.

Alternatively, if a benefactor or series of benefactors come forward to establish a fund that would guarantee the AVN’s existence for at least the next 2-3 years, or if donations were to be come in during the next week that would give us the same financial sustainability, then I would be willing to continue in my role for the foreseeable future.

If nobody comes forward to take on the role of President or if the funds are not provided to allow us to continue however, the AVN will be ceasing operations on or about the 28th of February.

Yeah, they’re asking for all their supporters to give up 1% of their incomes to support the AVN. I hope that does not happen. The AVN, while it may be guided by a desire to do good, is seriously misguided and what it does is hurt the very same children it aims to protect. Unfortunately bad deeds can be done out of the best of intentions, so while I don’t doubt that the motivations of most of these folks are to do good, that doesn’t make them any less dead wrong! So yes I am happy to hear this news, and can’t wait to see what Thursday and Friday will bring us. Chalk another one up to reason!

The only bad news is that Dory hasn’t seen the light, metaphorically speaking. The decision to resign and possibly shut down the AVN was a purely financial one; it appears she intends to keep up her fight for the right to spread misinformation as a “researcher” and writer, which roughly can be translated in “there’s a book coming out soon enough”, am I right? It would have been better if she’d actually understood that she is wrong and had decided to accept reality, especially in the wake of the Wakefield scandal, but that does not appear to be the case, but I’m keeping hope alive. You just never know!