Thomas Croke built the Croke-Patterson Mansion in Denver in 1891. Over the years it has been home to many different residents, as well as a doctor’s office, a dance studio, a radio station, an apartment complex and a bed & breakfast, while it remained unoccupied for many years. As an historical “castle” with a colorful past, the Croke-Patterson has a haunted reputation. At great expense, the house was recently purchased by architect Brian Higgins and converted into a boutique hotel renamed the Patterson Historic Inn, although he’s not so interested in history.
Recently, we received an email at the JREF asking us to help promote The Castle Project, Higgins’ new documentary about the Croke-Patterson Mansion. This begins with skeptics Matthew Baxter and Bryan Bonner bemoaning that the Mansion’s fascinating history is overshadowed by its ghostly lore and urban legends. Twisting this message, the filmmaker promises that he will unearth the “true” ghost stories. The Castle Project’s motto is, “Not based in a true story. It is the true story.”
For a moment there that headline might seem like preaching the converse of “The Secret”, the toxically ignorant book promoted by the toxically ignorant Oprah. But this isn’t about the notion that thinking bad – or good – thoughts produces bad or good results. That notion is just plain dumb. (It’s also hateful because it inescapably claims that bad things happen to people because they don’t think good thoughts.)
What I mean by “bad thinking” here however is poor thinking – the inability to think critically, the inability to understand or effectively utilize science and scientific reasoning. And when that kind of bad thinking is in effect, then in fact, very bad things do happen. Not to mention: to good people. And their children.
This was evidenced yet again a few weeks ago when a study published in the journal “Pediatrics” provided further evidence that the 2010 pertussis (whooping cough) outbreak in California was partly the result of increased numbers of parents opting out of vaccinating their children.
From Penn Jillette: "No one outside of my family means more to me than James Randi. It is no exaggeration to say that without Randi there would be no Penn & Teller. It’s also a fact that without Randi there wouldn’t be me the way I am today. It’s not just my career I owe to Randi, but so much of my life, so much of who I am. I asked him to look at the evidence that I’m becoming a bad guy and report on it."
Randi has responded and says a new monster is among us - Penn is BAD!
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.
Yes, Chris beat cancer, but it wasn’t quackery that cured (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/chris-beat-cancer/ Most claims of alternative cancer cures are based on misunderstandings. Chris Wark claims to have cured himself of stage 3 colon cancer with nutrition and natural therapies after he had surgery but refused chemotherapy. The truth is that with surgery alone, his odds of surviving 5 years were around 64%, and that amounts to a cure, since those cancers seldom recur after 5 years. With adjuvant chemotherapy, he would have increased his odds of 5 year survival by 12-16%. It was surgery, not natural therapies, that beat his cancer,.
Chiropractic Education for Primary Care (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/chiropractic-education-for-primary-care/The NHUS is training chiropractors to become primary care physicians. A study of diagnostic categories for patients seen in their teaching clinic purported to show that their training is adequate preparation for that role, but in reality it shows just the opposite.