In 2003, Randi challenged Dr. Emoto’s claims surrounding Tri-Vortex Technology, an “alternative medical technology” developed by Brian David Anderson (in the US) and Anton Ungerer (in South Africa).
Recently in India, Naveen Jindal, a Member of Parliament and one of the biggest industrialists in the country came across the "bangle" and its miraculous claims during his trip to South Africa and believes in its powers. He has recently senttweets to the effect that he has personally "personally from this" and that it is “unfair to dismiss the claims”.
Indian mentalist, magician and skeptic, Nakul Shenoy, has been applying publicscrutiny to these claims, which he believes are harmful to the public good. Randi.org interviewed Nakul on his public education and skeptical activist campaign.
JREF: First off, what is the exact claim and who is making it?
Nakul Shenoy: This "Tiranga bangle" campaign was inaugurated by our Minister of State (HRD) Shashi Tharoor and is avidly promoted by eminent industrialist and Member of Parliament Naveen Jindal, and will be distributed through his Flag Foundation. Then again, it is not just a tri-coloured band that would foster patriotism and the spirit of one-ness.
This bangle, supposedly powered by "Tri-Vortex Technology" and imported from South Africa, claims to cure a long list of ailments — everything from acidity to arthritis — and also purify water and even protect people from harmful cell phone radiation! Further, we are assured that it would "prove particularly beneficial for athletes and the elderly". There have been a number of mediareports that focus on the product launch of the bangle and its amazing properties.
This last Sunday, I appeared on Skeptically Yours, a relatively new show hosted by Emery Emery and Heather Henderson. My fellow guests were podcaster Ross Blocher and comedian and YouTuber John Rael.
The freewheeling discussion was fun, and explored the proper scope of skepticism, and recent debates online on the topic between JREF Senior Fellow Steven Novella and atheist blogger PZ Myers. We discussed why JREF is not an atheist organization, even though many of us who work and volunteer here just happen to be atheists. We talked about whether skepticism “majors in the minors,” as opposed to focusing on more important issues than just “Bigfoot skepticism.” We explored the best ways to engage those who hold unwarranted beliefs. We distinguished between the method of skepticism and the conclusions of atheism, and how atheism is not necessarily continuous with skepticism. We talked a lot about celebrating religious, political and ideological diversity, as well as other important kinds of diversity, within skepticism. And we explored whether or not scientific skepticism is overtly hostile to atheism or social justice issues.
The following is a contribution to the JREF’s ongoing blog series on skepticism and education. If you are an educator and would like to contribute to this series, please contact Bob Blaskiewicz.
In a recent article for Skeptical Inquirer, I wrote about the ways some Young Earth Creationists distort, misinterpret and mistranslate Beowulf and use it to support their discredited worldview. Briefly, the argument is as follows: Beowulf is a true story; all the monsters in the poem are really dinosaurs or similar reptiles; since the story is true and features dinosaurs, dinosaurs and men must have co-existed relatively recently; therefore, the theory of evolution is wrong. At the end of the article, I noted that this idiosyncratic interpretation of Beowulf has found its way into works intended for homeschooled children. In this post, I want to elaborate on the ways Christian homeschooling families approach Beowulf and English literature more generally.