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Last Week In Science-Based Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Written by Harriet Hall, MD, The SkepDoc   
Monday, 21 December 2009 16:52

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 in medicine.

Children of The Panda (Or, Happy Birthday, Dover) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Matt Fiore   
Sunday, 20 December 2009 18:51

There is a lot of cynicism directed at the US courts, even amongst skeptics. The media loves to highlight miscarriages of justice and frivolous lawsuits. But every once in awhile, the stars align (figuratively of course) and everything goes perfectly. Four years ago today, intelligent design received a major black eye.  Happy fourth birthday, Kitzmiller v. Dover. (You look like a monkey and you smell like one too.)

Bright-Sided PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bart Farkas   
Sunday, 20 December 2009 13:38

In Barbara Erhenreich's new book, Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America, Ehrenreich begins by recounting her own recent experiences with breast cancer and the oddities she encountered within the cancer-survivor positive thinking movement, which Erhenreich refers to as the “Pink Ribbon Culture.” It's hard to say whether it's sad or merely pathetic that when she expressed a pragmatic attitude -- instead of the ultra-positive attitude that's expected from those battling the dreaded scourge -- she was viciously attacked by those who would never even consider a negative thought about their disease. Ehrenreich recounts how many cancer sufferers wax philosophic about how their lives are so much better now that they've had life-threatening cancer, and that cancer itself is a "gift." Ehrenreich ultimately discovered that mere annoyance at her breast cancer was enough for other members of her support groups to castigate her and even attack her for her attitude.

To Fell The Truth PDF Print E-mail
Written by Matt Fiore   
Friday, 18 December 2009 16:08

There is a common perception that the polygraph has been removed from the American courtroom. Sadly, that perception is false. A quick Google news search yields a long list of recent unfortunate examples. In one story, a convicted child molester submits to periodic polygraph examination after release so that parents can feel more at ease. In another, a man is interrogated using a lie detector. One even shows that the results of a polygraph test can be used as evidence against you in a rape case. So what does American law really have to say about lie detectors? As with all legal questions that haven’t been directly addressed by the Supreme Court, the answer is “it depends,” and “it’s confusing as hell.” The relevant state and federal rules are a shifting patchwork of contradictory statutes and common law.

Written by James Randi   
Thursday, 17 December 2009 11:01

Well, my piece on AGW -- Anthropogenic Global Warming -- has elicited a huge response, both positive and negative. The subject, dealing with the influence of our species on the observed increase in overall temperatures around the globe -- said to be about 0.7º Celsius -- is apparently a matter of great contention, and I almost regret having entered into it. Almost...

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