Randi in Holland, last week. Interviewed by Mr. Martijn van Calmthout, photographed by someone or other, and publicly overdosing on homeopathic sleeping pills. Don't worry, folks: He's okay. (And sorry about the shaky camera in the last cut -- for various reasons, I had to carry our tiny little camera in one hand.) - BKT
I hope you're planning on joining me at The Amaz!ng Meeting in less than two weeks, and this is your last chance to register before prices go up to late registration rates. Don't miss out!
Leading thinkers, science communicators, and best-selling authors like Susan Jacoby, Dan Ariely, Susan Blackmore, Jerry Coyne, Sanal Edamuruku, Faye Flam, Susan Haack, Marty Klein, Michael Mann, Cara Santa Maria, and so many more, are joining us for the first time this year, all focusing on scientific skepticism, and how to "fight the fakers." Happily for us all, many of our old friends like Penn & Teller, Steve Novella, Todd Robbins, Michael Shermer and Jamy Ian Swiss will be joining us again, as well.
As I've said so often before, TAM is unique, exciting, and memorable, and I can't point to any other such event that's as truly amazing. And don't forget that if you book before June 30, you will save $125 off of the late registration rate!
Each year at The Amazing Meeting, a presentation is made remembering the people of skepticism who have died since the previous year’s event. Advocates and supporters of skepticism and science are remembered of course, in the "In Memoriam" section of the presentation. But we also remember our cultural competitors who have passed on as well, in the "Passages" section. This year we also included some individuals who had died in previous years but who had been missed in previous presentations.
Here is the presentation as it appeared at TAM 2014 this year.
The presentation was designed and produced by Daniel and Cheryl Loxton. The information was researched by Tim Farley with help from Tim Binga, Kendrick Frazier, Sharon Hill, Jim Lippard, Hemant Mehta, Lei Pinter, Robert Sheaffer and Jamy Ian Swiss, among others.
Here is a recap of the stories that appeared last week at Science-Based Medicine, a multi-author skeptical blog that separates the science from the woo-woo in medicine.
The false dichotomies of CAM and “integrative medicine” (David Gorski) Victoria Stern uses faulty reasoning to argue that while alternative medicine is bad, integrative medicine (that integrates alternative with conventional medicine) is good. She seems to think that only integrative medicine can address the “whole” patient and that it is necessary to embrace quackery in order to form a “true bond” between doctor and patient.
“Atavistic oncology” revisited: Dr. Frank Arguello responds (David Gorski) Dr. Gorski criticized Dr. Arguello’s “atavistic chemotherapy” because it is untested, based on a questionable rationale, unpublished, and not even properly defined. Dr. Arguello demanded that he retract the article. His letters and e-mails (reproduced here in full) consist not of a rational response to Gorski’s criticisms, but of insults, ad hominem arguments, threats of legal action, letters to Dr. Gorski’s employers, excuses, and a challenge in the form of an experiment on a patient that would be unethical and that he had not even asked the patient about.
Pass the Salt (But Not That Pink Himalayan Stuff) (Harriet Hall) Three recent articles confirm the understanding that too much salt is bad for health but provide evidence that too little salt is harmful too. Existing guidelines may be too extreme. Pink Himalayan salt has been recommended (by unreliable sources) because it contains 84 trace minerals, but some of those minerals are radioactive and poisonous.
Vitamin K Refusal – The New Anti-Vax (Steven Novella) Some parents are endangering the health of their newborns by refusing the routine vitamin K injection that protects children for 6 months until they start getting enough vitamin K in their diet. Without this supplementation, there is a small but devastating risk of bleeding, brain damage, and even death. Irrational adherence to the naturalistic fallacy is largely to blame for both vaccine refusal and vitamin K refusal.
Tens of millions for CAM research – and it’s all on your dime (Jann Bellamy) The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 was enacted to empower citizens to hold the government responsible for wasteful spending. Millions are being spent on research into acupuncture, chiropractic, naturopathy, homeopathy, and improbable treatments like chelation for heart disease. It’s time to stop wasting government money that could be better spent on more plausible areas of research.
That’s So Chiropractic (Mark Crislip) A study attempted to correlate spinal health to overall wellness by dissecting 75 human cadavers and attributing diseases of the internal organs to misalignments of the vertebrae. Another trial with only 14 patients and no controls purported to show that chiropractic effectively treats autism. Such studies are methodologically horrible and useless. Chiropractors continue to discourage vaccination, to deny the risks of neck manipulations, and to offer unsubstantiated theories; and yet they want to become primary care providers!