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The Sheldrake Kerfluffle PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Brandon K. Thorp   
Wednesday, 02 December 2009 21:27

A week and a half ago, we published a request for information regarding some quotes attributed to James Randi in a letter sent to Skeptic. (That's the English one, edited by Chris French, rather than Michael Shermer's American publication.) The letter was from Rupert Sheldrake, the éminence grise of "morphic fields" and psychic canines, and it's scheduled for publication in Skeptic's next issue. Thanks to a handful of good friends with impeccable record-keeping habits, we now have Sheldrake's infamous source document in our possession. The quote in question:

Becoming an expert is a pretty simple procedure; tell people you're an expert. After you do that, all you have to do is maintain appearances and not give them a reason to believe you're not.

The quote was culled from a handout distributed at a seminar at The Amaz!ng Meeting 3, entitled "Communicating Skepticism to the Public." It's accurate, as far as that goes. But Randi didn't write it.

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Crocopetard PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Martin A. Lessem, J.D.   
Thursday, 03 December 2009 11:48

For the past few years, anyone who has been following the Creation vs. Evolution debate has come across the comment by Kirk Cameron, made on the The O'Reilly Factor, that there are no "transitional forms." His exact quote, which demonstrates his general misinformedness as to how evolution actually works, was:

"Plus, Darwin said in order to prove evolution, which is the number one alternative to God, you gotta be able to prove transitional forms. One animal transitioning into another, and all through the fossil record and life we don't find one of these. A croco-duck. There's just nothing like it. There is no one animal transitioning into another"

Not so fast, Cameron. The croco-duck has been found.

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Last Week In Science-Based Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Latest JREF News
Written by Harriet Hall, MD, The SkepDoc   
Monday, 30 November 2009 16:45

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.

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Science In Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Latest JREF News
Written by Harriet Hall, MD   
Monday, 30 November 2009 09:09

The Institute for Science in Medicine is a newly formed international policy institute that seeks to promote science as the best and only way to ensure not only safe, quality health care, but cost effectiveness as well. Its list of 42 founding members and 15 fellows reads like a Who's Who of prominent physicians, researchers, scholars and other professionals who are already noted for speaking out in support of science and reason in health care, and against a multitude of non-science-based therapies collectively known as "Complementary and Alternative Medicine." The list includes many long-time friends of the JREF.

The ISM has just issued its first press release, expressing concern about provisions in the health care reform bills that would require reimbursement of ineffective and potentially unsafe care by alternative medicine practitioners. "Congress will be giving a green light to practitioners who are unrestrained by professional ethics, the requirements of scientific evidence, or a defined scope or practice, thus paving the way for further waste, fraud and abuse."

There is still time to change the specific provisions that are listed at the bottom of the page. If you have any press contacts or know of anyone that should receive this information, please help us get the word out.

 
The Naked Emperor PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Hank Schlinger, Ph.D.   
Saturday, 28 November 2009 00:43

(Author's Note: After sending an email to a CNN reporter about his story on Rom Houben, the Belgian man who was misdiagnosed as being in a coma for 23 years and who is now able to communicate about his experience via Facilitated Communication, I was contacted by someone from Campbell Brown about a possible appearance on the show to talk about why we should doubt the validity of the communications.

It turns out that they did not use me, and instead interviewed neuropsychologist Joseph Giacino, who they also interviewed the week before when the story first broke. After watching the segment, I penned the following, which I have slightly modified for Swift.)

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