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The Spinal Trap Strikes Back PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Naomi Baker   
Friday, 08 May 2009 00:00

On April 19, 2008, The Guardian published a piece by Simon Singh, called “Beware the Spinal Trap”.  (It was subsequently pulled, although I found it archived on the internet. He gives a brief overview of the procedures and claims of chiropractic, as well as statistics about the number of people who have been seriously harmed or killed by chiropractic treatment). In the article, he said:

The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) claims that their members can help treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying, even though there is not a jot of evidence.  This organisation is the respectable face of the chiropractic profession and yet it happily promotes bogus treatments. (emphasis added)

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Quacking Like a Duck PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Thursday, 07 May 2009 00:00

duckOne of the oft heard complaints about modern medicine is that it's dominated by "big pharma," that is greedy, soulless corporations who lie to us and suppress less expensive and more effective treatments for monetary gain. While it's true that corporations are out for monetary gain, and there have been irregularities as with any big business, let's take a look at the pot that's calling the kettle greedy here.

Consider a single product: Oscillococcinum.

Their site never actually says that the "FDA regulated drug" does anything... really, read carefully. It doesn't. They do claim it is a "Flu Medicine." And they claim studies have shown its effectiveness in reducing flu symptoms. We'll save examining the studies for another time, for the purpose of this article, let's focus on the ingredients.

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Patricia Putt Million Dollar Challenge Test Results In! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Alison Smith   
Wednesday, 06 May 2009 12:43

Patricia Putt, who claims she is psychic, took the preliminary test for the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge today. The test was conducted by Professor Richard Wiseman and Professor Christopher French. In order to pass her challenge test, Mrs. Putt was required to pen psychic readings for ten volunteers who were then asked to identify their own readings from the group. At least five volunteers would have had to correctly identify their own reading.

None did. Mrs. Putt's readings were correctly identified by zero out of ten volunteers.

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Patricia Putt Preliminary MDC Test PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Alison Smith   
Tuesday, 05 May 2009 18:59

Richard WisemanOn 6 May 2009, Patricia Putt, who claims to have psychic powers, will participate in the preliminary test for the James Randi Educational Foundation’s One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge.

Mrs. Putt will be tested at Goldsmiths University by Professor Christopher French, Professor Richard Wiseman, and psychology students Panka Juhasz, James Munroe, Suzanne Barbieri, and Fabio Tartarini.

"It's great that Patricia has agreed to be tested and accepted the protocol," said Professor Wiseman, author of Quirkology, "In my experience, the vast majority of psychics and mediums back down before this point, so this is going to be a relatively rare and exciting experiment.  My hope is that all will go well with the procedure on the day and thus we will get a clear result one way or the other."

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Shouting Fire PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Scott Hurst   
Tuesday, 05 May 2009 00:00

In the 1919 Supreme Court case of Schenck vs. United States, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. famously wrote "The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic." By "falsely," Justice Holmes clearly meant shouting fire while not believing there to be a fire. It goes without saying, shouting fire in the event of an actual fire would never be a cause for punishment. It appears that shouting fire while holding a mistaken belief that there was a fire, a terrible and possibly lethal error, would likely be no cause for punishment, either. But what if that belief was based on no good evidence?

A shipowner was about to send to sea an emigrant-ship. He knew that she was old, and not overwell built at the first; that she had seen many seas and climes, and often had needed repairs. Doubts had been suggested to him that possibly she was not seaworthy. These doubts preyed upon his mind, and made him unhappy; he thought that perhaps he ought to have her thoroughly overhauled and refitted, even though this should put him at great expense. Before the ship sailed, however, he succeeded in overcoming these melancholy reflections. He said to himself that she had gone safely through so many voyages and weathered so many storms that it was idle to suppose she would not come safely home from this trip also. He would put his trust in Providence, which could hardly fail to protect all these unhappy families that were leaving their fatherland to seek for better times elsewhere. He would dismiss from his mind all ungenerous suspicions about the honesty of builders and contractors. In such ways he acquired a sincere and comfortable conviction that his vessel was thoroughly safe and seaworthy; he watched her departure with a light heart, and benevolent wishes for the success of the exiles in their strange new home that was to be; and he got his insurance-money when she went down in mid-ocean and told no tales.

What shall we say of him?

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