Harriet A. Hall, Skepdoc, and writer at the Science Based Medicine blog talked at TAM 2013 about medical screening tests. We all will likely be subject to them. Check this out and be surprised.
Also posted is the Science Based Medicine workshop session with Harriet, along with David Gorski, Mark Crislip and Steven Novella.
There was some outrageous news this week. Here is a rundown of the major headlines from Doubtful News.
Season of birth correlations is not astrology A new study claims to provide evidence that the season in which you were born may correlate with certain conditions. Such a claim is not new or unique. An examination of other such studies show great confusion in correlation and suggests that the effects may have some merit (lack of Vitamin D, illness of the mother) but insignificant and in some cases, contradictory. Anyway, such correlations have no connection to astrology nor validate astrological principles in any way.
Divorce decree: Possessed by jinn A woman in the United Arab Emirates is separated from her husband through divorce and denied any compensation because she should have told him she was possessed by an evil spirit. Yes, this is the 21st century and this sort of nonsense should not be happening. Yet it is.
Challenge issued to Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners In a twist on the Million Dollar Challenge, a Chinese doctor of western medicine challenges TCM practitioners to prove that it’s not nonsense, that it has some merit. Some have stepped up to try. In simple, direct tests, they fail.
Australia’s Head Of Science And Industry Research (CSIRO) Gets Dippy Over Dowsing What is going on in Australia? The new head of the largest scientific and industry research body in Australia says he seen dowsing for water and it’s 80% accurate. Wait, what? Does he not apply any critical thinking to this issue? Does he not know dowsing does not work?
Confirmed: Death of girl not a vaccine-related incident A distraught mother whose daughter died hours after receiving a vaccination announced her own uninformed suspicions to the media. They were wrong. The girl died from an overdose of antihistamine, not the HPV vaccination. However, the damage is done as many people still think the HPV vaccines is some plot or otherwise dangerous. It’s a giant error that only time and positive publicity can erode.
Finally, a man insists to his local council that Bigfoot should be placed on a list of protected species. New York Bigfoot advocate wants the critter on the endangered species list How do we know it shouldn’t be placed on the list of “extinct” species or the list of “totally imaginary” species instead? While we’re at it, let’s add unicorns and dragons to the lists; we shouldn’t kill those either. Meanwhile, humans kill off actually existing organisms and continue to destroy ecosystems that play a role in life on earth every day.
What can we do against nonsense and misinformation. At least you can stay informed! Visit DoubtfulNews.com for more stories everyday. Then respond when friends and family pass on these false stories and misinformation. Do your part. Spread the word. Share.
SWIFT is named after Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver's Travels. In the book, Gulliver encounters among other things a floating island inhabited by spaced-out scientists and philosophers who hardly deal with reality. Swift was among the first to launch well-designed critiques against the flummery - political, philosophical, and scientific - of his time, a tradition that we hope to maintain at The James Randi Foundation.