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Skeptic Summary #269

By The Staff
Posted on: 1/23/2010

Non-seriousness, relief works, Reiki doesn't, debunking, homeopathy facts and more!

Week ending January 23, 2010 (Vol 7, #4)

Welcome to the Skeptic Summary, a quick week-in-review guide to the Skeptic Friends Network and the rest of the skeptical world.

Forum Highlights:
Earthquake causes? - This guy can’t be serious.

Haitian relief - A complete train wreck.

Editor’s Choice: Reiki in Haiti - Disastering a disaster.

From the Archives: Debunking of Jimi’s points - Was it worthwhile, aside from the lulz?

Kil’s Evil Pick:
51 “Facts” About Homeopathy from the great Science-Based Medicine site — First off, I am really recommending both the article that is my pick for the week, and the whole Science-Based Medicine site. The article opens with this quote from Mark Twain:
Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.
Here is the intro which begins a response to an article by homeopath, Louise Mclean:
I use a Mac, so I know I think different. I also coexist on an alternative parallel world where people live on the same planet as me, but have such a radically different way of thinking that I wonder if we have the same ability to evaluate reality (1).

The best example of different ways of seeing the same thing is homeopathy. Homeopathy is utterly and completely ridiculous with zero plausibility or efficacy. Only therapeutic touch is its rival. Yet homeopath Louise Mclean can suggest there are 50 facts that validate homeopathy (2). These facts were presented as an attempt to counter criticism that homeopathy is only water with no therapeutic effects.

Lets evaluate each fact. There are two parts to the evaluations: whether the fact is true and what, if any, logical fallacy is being used. Deciding on which logical fallacy is being used is not my strong point, feel free to correct me in the comments, and I will add to the text later…
Read on and then go to the homepage of Science Based Medicine for more great articles. With contributors like Steven Novella and the SkepDoc, Harriet Hall, among other distinguished physicians writing about those things of concern to skeptics on the medical front, this a fascinating and very informative site.

How many people here have telekinetic powers? Raise my hand.
— Emo Phillips

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday: Awful Navy jokes got things going this week. Chat switched over to food, pound cake and blueberry gingerbread, and just when we thought it was safe was when the geology puns started. Boron announces that he and Jamie are going to have a girl, and everyone immediately starts giving name suggestions. From here chat went a bit down memory lane, reminiscing over some of the bizarre people who have posted here. Eventually we settled upon the Skeptic Times and especially tksgurl. Toward the end of the night we talked about skiing on the west coast, Lego bricks and the recent Massachusetts election. Chat ended with RISC and SISC computers and obfuscatory languages.

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:

Animal research study shows many tests are full of flaws

Downfall of Grammar

Dragons Den: Bruce’s Juice? SLEAZIEST Pitch Ever

The Fort Hood Report: Why No Mention of Islam?

Geert Wilders goes on trial, and so does the Netherlands

Imagine Sung by a Chorus of Deaf People

Jesus Protects Us From Being Poisoned

The miraculous quest for quantum woo

Our Search: Google Technology

Roll Over, Charles Darwin!

Secret of levitation in india

Surprise! Radioactive Water Jugs Not as Healthy as Advertised

A Tale of Two Qubits

US Military Rifle Scopes Imprinted with Bible Verses

What to make of the Yowie?

What’s New by Bob Park

Got some skeptic news items? Send them to us, and we’ll think about adding them.

Book of the Week:
Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be, by Daniel Loxton, illustrated by Daniel Loxton with Jim W.W. Smith.

‘The best damn evolution book for kids, period.’

— Michael Shermer

‘A wonderfully clear, up-to-date, and well-illustrated account of how evolution works. The scientific content is first-rate.’

— Donald Prothero

‘A full-throated defense and explication of Darwin’s theory… kept light and accessible by Loxton’s sense of humour and breezy prose style.‘

— Quill & Quire

Can something as complex and wondrous as the natural world be explained by a simple theory? The answer is yes, and now Evolution explains how in a way that makes it easy to understand.

Based on acclaimed articles from Junior Skeptic (Skeptic magazine’s science insert for kids) Evolution is a gorgeous hardcover with dust jacket, packed throughout with dazzling full-color art.

This spectacularly illustrated introduction to the theory of evolution takes us from Charles Darwin to modern-day science. Along the way, Evolution answers common questions (and clears up misunderstandings) that sometimes confuse people about the history of life on Earth.”


This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. The Supper
  2. Haitian relief
  3. Poll: Scott Brown to win Massachusetts
  4. New World Order happening right now!
  5. Funny FAILS
  6. The shallow end of the gene pool…
  7. Dr. Jeffery Life and Cenegenics
  8. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in!
  9. Quote Mine warning propaganda poster
  10. Earthquake causes?
  1. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  2. Evolving a Venom or Two
  3. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  4. TAM5
  5. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  6. Scientific Truth
  7. Skeptic Summary #268
  8. Miracle Thaw Tray
  9. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down?
  10. Cold Reading
There were 20,193 daily visitors this week.

More issues of the Skeptic Summary can be found in our archive.

The Skeptic Summary is produced by the staff of the Skeptic Friends Network, copyright 2008, all rights reserved.

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