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.
Animal rights activism: Petitions aren’t science (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/animal-rights-activism-petitions-arent-science/ British Parliamentary EDM 263 calls for properly moderated public scientific debates about the human cost of misleading results from animal experiments. Dr. Gorski was puzzled to find his name included on the list of targeted UK scientists. The organization responsible, For Life on Earth, claims that animal research provides no knowledge or benefit. Their arguments are easily refuted, but a public debate is not the place to do that.
Food for Thought (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/food-for-thought/ An outstanding free online course is being offered by 3 professors from McGill University’s Office for Science and Society. It covers facts and myths about food and nutrition and educates students about the scientific method and how to evaluate the published research with a critical eye. Over 20,000 people in 150 countries have already registered. Highly recommended.
JREF Senior Fellow, magician and scientific skeptic Jamy Ian Swiss, "The Honest Liar," presents JREF’s newest video series, aptly titled The Honest Liar. Follow Jamy as he uses critical thinking, skepticism, and a healthy dose of humor, along with his expertise in legerdemain, to explore the facts behind false claims.
In this installment of The Honest Liar, Jamy Ian Swiss recounts a tale of years gone by when he and his friend and skeptical colleague, psychologist Ray Hyman, appeared on radio along with a channeler, and the talking spirit of a 6th-century Irishman who spoke English and offered career advice to callers. HONEST!
The Amazing Meeting 2014 will be held at Las Vegas’ South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa, July 10th – 13th, 2014. More details will be announced soon so check back here and at amazingmeeting.com in the weeks ahead for more details on the event and to register.
In the meantime, please enjoy some new videos from last year's TAM below.
As of August 30, 2012, eBay discontinued auctions for witchcraft, psychics, and other metaphysical services. This decision was made in light of the difficulty in resolving disputes regarding these transactions, not because they don’t work! At any rate, this project hasn’t been entirely successful, and eBay continues to sell objects used in these rituals, such as crystals, herbs, incense and jewelry. One category that also survived is Collectibles - Religion & Spirituality, which is legitimate for the sales of medals and statues but is also an avenue for the sale of relics connected to Christian mystics. Current listings include a locket of hair supposedly from Saint Bernadette, to whom the Virgin Mary allegedly appeared at Lourdes in 1858. For a mere $3,600 you can buy a bandage that apparently bound Padre Pio’s stigmata.
Last week, on January 23rd, one Thom Nickels, identified as a “Philadelphia-based author/journalist,” contributed a piece on Huffington Post entitled “The Most Talented Psychic in Philadelphia.” Perhaps it should have been attributed to the most credulous “author/journalist” in Philadelphia.
Mr. Nickels is obviously a big fan of his proclaimed friend and the subject of his story, Arlene Ostapowicz. In the course of his breathless narrative, Mr. Nickels recounts that:
Ms. Ostapowicz “… has been a guest on many television and radio shows,” although the only specific show mentioned is one in which she was allegedly invited to appear on but declined.
“In the 1980s, [Ostapowicz] was in high demand with [Philadelphia] City Hall politicians and judges.”