Skepdude

From the creator of Video Skepdude

The £10,000 homeopathic challenge!

Following in the footsteps of Randi’s million dollar challenge, a British professor by the name of Edzard Ernst has set up a £10,000 challenge to anyone who can prove that homeopathy works. Apparentley, the professor has run some 200 trials and not even one has shown anything resembling evidence. So we know the prize will go unclaimed until the good professor decides to stop the challenge, which he is bound to eventually. Sooner or later people need to move on to other projects.

Apparently homepoaths are not happy about this.

Homeopaths have reacted with anger to his £10,000 challenge, branding it a publicity stunt and they already had “more than enough proof”.

Yes, except that they get angry when someone asks them, and offers them money, for this “proof”. What kind of bullshit is that?

Dr Robert Mathie, of the British Homeopathic Association, said: “What is needed is more investment in homeopathy research, not facile enticements by scientists who should know better.”

Hey, why don’t they take the free 10,000 pounds and invest it in additional research? That’s no chump change I’ll tell you that much. As of today that amount is worth $19,906. That won’t fund any revolutinary research that’s granted, but it can easily take care of some overhead.

Frederiek Maddock, a homeopath from Crediton, said: “Dr Ernst does not appear to have done his research properly and is very selective in what he decides to believe.

“This is not a very professional way to do this. Whether anyone will take up his challenge is a matter for the homeopathic association.”

I will make a prediction. Even homeopaths are not stupid enough to do it, and even if they did and failed miserably (as expected) they and their followers will fall onto some sort of post-hoc argument and turn a blind eye to the results. Faith is always stronger than the evidence which contradicts it.

June 30, 2008 Posted by | Critical Thinking, Pseudo-science | , | Leave a comment

SkepNews-Week ending 6/20/08

  • One dead donkey, 15 child brides-In Pakistan a dead donkey has sparked a feud between clans, which has resulted in 13 deaths over 8 years. It was finally settled …by 15 child brides between the ages of 3 and 10 ! – 15 human beings to settle an argument over a dead ass! Unbelievable!
  • American school teaches that it is ok to kill – Text books at a private Islamic school in northern Virginia teach students that it is permissible for Muslims to kill adulterers and converts from Islam, and that Muslims are permitted to take the lives and property of those deemed “polytheists.” – They have a poll on the website asking if this school should be shut down. What do you think?
  • Smart people less likely to believe in God Professor Lynn, who has provoked controversy in the past with research linking intelligence to race and sex, said university academics were less likely to believe in God than almost anyone else. Professor Lynn said most primary school children believed in God, but as they entered adolescence – and their intelligence increased – many started to have doubts. – Ok, ok besides the fact that we’d like the results to be true, let’s be fair and point out a couple of things. First of all this was just a survey, not an actual study of any sort. Second, he did not measure IQs, he simply deduced that piece of information. So, while most atheists I’ve met tend to be smart, I do know quite a few that are dumb as bricks, so I’m not sure there is a direct correlation there.
  • Unlicensed Chiropractor kills man – A 76-year-old man operating an unlicensed chiropractic clinic out of his Oak Park, Calif., garage is suspected of killing one of his patients with a neck manipulation, according to Sacramento police. – Now I don’t want to pick on chiropractors, but when I read the word “unlicensed” it made me laugh, until I read the rest of the story. But seriously, does the word “licensed” even make any sense before words such as chiropractor, homeopath, accupuncturer?
  • Licensed chiropractor paralyzes womanA woman who says she became paralyzed after having her upper spine manipulated is suing the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors and the provincial government for half a billion dollars. “[I want] chiropractors to stop neck manipulation,” she says in the video posted on YouTube by rabbletv.ca. “Look what you did to me.”- I told you the word “licensed” is meaningless when it comes to quacks!
  • Gay brains similar to oposite sex brains The scans reveal that in gay people, key structures of the brain governing emotion, mood, anxiety and aggressiveness resemble those in straight people of the opposite sex. – Oh shit, you’re telling me they’re not immoral? Now how are they supposed to burn in hell for eternity, if it’s not even their choice? It has got to be wrong!
  • Norway law legalizes gay marriageGay couples in Norway will be granted the same rights as heterosexuals to marry, adopt and undergo artificial insemination under a new equality law passed Tuesday. – I always said that the Nordic countries are way up there when it comes to being civilized societies. They enjoy a level of open-mindedness and democracy, we can only dream off in the USA, or so I’ve been told, and this bit of news reinforces that belief.
  • Careful what you wear in IranPolice closed dozens of clothing stores and hairdressers and stopped cars and pedestrians in a crackdown on women who do not abide by Iran’s strict Islamic dress code and men wearing fashions seen as too Western, Iranian media reported Monday. – Closing down shops, even arresting people for their clothes? Hmm, and we are supposed to believe that their uranium enrichment is for generating electricity?
  • Saudi woman arrested for driving to pick up her husbandShe was stopped by a police patrol after driving six miles to collect her husband near their home in the town of Buraida. As her ‘legal guardian’ he had to sign a declaration that he would not let his wife drive again. – Wow, crime must really be at a low in that part of the word, since policy got nothing better to do than arresting women for driving and wearing regular clothes.
  • The Pope Cologne is here We believe that we have succeeded in capturing the same fragrance that he and those around him enjoyed so long ago. This is a truly extraordinary cologne with surprising freshness and notes of violet and citrus. – Who the hell would want to smell like anyone from 150 years ago? Well it turns out these these people would. Weird, weird shit!
  • Teacher who burned cross sign on student arms firedThe school board of a small central Ohio community voted unanimously today to fire a teacher accused of preaching his Christian beliefs despite staff complaints and using a device to burn the image of a cross on students’ arms. Freshwater used a science tool known as a high-frequency generator to burn images of a cross on students’ arms in December, the report said. Freshwater told investigators he simply was trying to demonstrate the device on several students and described the images as an “X,” not a cross. But pictures show a cross, the report said. – I say they should use the same device to burn “666” right on his forehead, but I think I’m being too harsh….nah I’m not, he deserves it. There’s more to the story. Apparently that’s not it. A lawsuit has been filed. The allegations assert that during the 2007-08 school year Freshwater violated the United States Constitution as well as the policy of the Mount Vernon School district, and has not been disciplined for those violations. According to the complaint, previous to April 2008 Freshwater displayed the Ten Commandments, religious posters and Bible passages within his classroom and kept several Bibles in his classroom which were not for his personal use. The suit further states that Freshwater taught intelligent design as early as 2003 and told students that information in the textbooks is wrong or not proven according to the Bible.

June 20, 2008 Posted by | Atheism, Crimes against Humanity, Morality, Pseudo-science, Religion, Science, Thinking Out Loud | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Louisiana Science (Mis)Education Act

The (Un)Discovery Institute has been very actively reporting here, here and here and countless other articles, on the so-called “Louisiana Science Education Act” which has already passed the Louisiana House of Representatives. Here’s a sample of their postings:

“The bill is a bold statement protecting the freedom of teachers to discuss both the scientific evidence for and against Darwinian evolution and other controversial scientific theories,” said Casey Luskin, an attorney and program officer for public policy and legal affairs at Discovery Institute. “The bill does exactly what it says, which is to allow teachers and school districts to ‘use supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner.'”

Except that Evolution is not a controversial scientific theory. This is a blatant lie, because it carries the implication that the scientific world is unsure about Evolution, and that is not the case. It is the anti-scientific world that is unsure about it. They are the ones who are up in arms screaming against it. The lawyers, politicians are the ones complaining not the scientists. And just exactly what does “supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials” mean? This definition is so broad as to include anything a teacher may fancy as “instructional” such as ….oh I don’t know “Of Pandas and People” maybe?

Another implication of the language is that the Scientific community does not seriously “analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner.” which is a slap in the face to the many men and women who are tirelessly toiling away to advance science at such personal expense, that the IDiots passing such laws wouldn’t even be able to begin to understand.

It is true that the bill has the following embedded in it:

“shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or non-religion.”

Just stop for a second and think. Why would an “academic freedom” bill which is supposed to be solely about science even need to say that? Could it be, because it is clear that it can be interpreted in any way one wants to, in order to advance any ideology one may hold? Of course that’s the case. It’s a smoke screen! It’s not about religion, they will say, in fact it specifically forbids any religious connotations. But of course that sort of language is completely useless, because the creationist are hiding under the ID banner now. So effectively, such bill opens the door to Intelligent Design as long as the IDer is not referred to as God. How may of us really think that pro ID teachers will not refer to the IDer as the “Creator” which in itself carries strong religious connotations?

Let’s be clear about one thing here. This bill is not about academic freedom. It is specifically about denying science. It is about replacing science with belief. It is not about academic freedom, it is about academic slavery to Religion.This bill is about granting teachers with strong ideological beliefs, which run contrary to mainstream science, the right to preach them to our children. These are not scientific ideas, these are purely speculative philosophical ideas at best, which now, at least in Louisiana, will be presented under the setting of a science class. Thus the kids will walk out of there thinking that there are in fact two scientifically equal theories of life, evolution and creation. That is very very bad news indeed for mankind in general, and Louisiana in particular.

Effectively, this bill is about introducing religious, creationist beliefs in the classroom. Science is not granted such special treatment during Sunday Mass. Therefore religion will be allowed to continue poisoning young children’s minds at the church and now in the classroom as well. Freedom all right, unlimited freedom to bigoted, stone age, childish beliefs to impose themselves where they don’t belong. Freedom to present scientifically unsubstantiated personal religious beliefs as science. What is Academic about that?

Anyone who is interested in reading the actual bill itself can head to this website.

June 17, 2008 Posted by | Evolution, Intelligent Design, Pseudo-science, Religion, Science | , , | 1 Comment

SkepNews-Week ending 5/30/08

  • Egyptian hotel cancels jewish reservation – A trip to Egypt by a Jewish group has been called off after rumors they were going to reclaim nationalized property prompted hotels to cancel bookings. Apparently there was some fear mongering among the Egyptians, due to allegations that the Jews were coming to take back property, confiscated long ago. This is so serious, it seems, that no hotel is willing to accommodate the visitors. Is say these guys are just a bunch of pansies!
  • Zombie Parade blasphemous to Church -“We ask forgiveness for those who yesterday insulted the body of Christ,” said Archbishop Antonio Canizares, quoted in newspaper El Pais. He told worshipers the procession, which also included a Virgin Mary and a Saint Peter, made a mockery of the Catholic celebration of Corpus Christi”. Well, does he really think the parade makes a mockery of the Catholic rituals? I mean they are the ones “eating” the body of Christ and “drinking” his blood! Isn’t that what zombies do?
  • Tax Nonprofits some say – Authorities from the local tax assessor to members of Congress are increasingly challenging the tax-exempt status of nonprofit institutions — ranging from small group homes to wealthy universities — questioning whether they deserve special treatment. Yes, they do deserve the special treatment. I work for a non profit. Why? Because of the mission, the quality of life I get, and the kind of services we provide to people in need. But not for the money. Non profits are already stretched thin trying to make ends meet. If they are forced to pay taxes guess where they’re gonna get the money from? By cutting benefits which is another big plus in recruiting and retaining good workers. Now what kind of incentive would I have to continue working for a non profit if in top of the lower salary my benefits were cut? Quite a few good people would leave and that would only hurt the people that rely on us for the services we provide. So yes, non profits do deserve tax breaks. However, if this goes through I demand that churches and all religious organizations be revoked their privileged tax status as well. And the article, to the author’s credit does mention the 6 evangelical churches that are being investigated for this specific purpose.
  • 37 killed in caste riots in India – Stupid, stupid, stupid! The Gujjars are seeking to reclassify their caste to a lower level, which would allow them to qualify for government jobs and university places reserved for such groups. The government has refused. 37 people died. Wait a minute, these people wanted to be reclassified as a LOWER caste? Am I missing something here? Does lower mean better in the Indian caste system? Any Indian readers of this blog that can clarify that for me?
  • Human rights activist jailed in Saudi Arabia – Apparently for no other reason than being a human rights activist, but we’ll see if more details come out. Who know he may have done something fishy after all, but given that it’s Saudi Arabia I really doubt that.
  • Shrine workers can keep their underwear on – Workers at a shrine in India were being forced to remove their underwear while working at the shrine, due to theft issues. This had been going on for about five years, and now it has been challenged by their union and they are now being allowed to wear them back.
  • Quebec refuses to remove crucifix – The government of the Canadian province of Quebec has rejected a proposal to remove a crucifix from above the speaker’s chair in the parliament.”We cannot erase our history,” said Mr Charest. The crucifix is about 350 years of history in Quebec that none of are ever going to erase, and of a very strong presence, in particular of the Catholic Church.” – Uhhh, by that same logic the German parliament would be justified in having a big swastika on its walls, because hey you cannot erase history. What kind of a crappy argument is that?
  • 19 arrested in Kenya for “witch” burnings – I had previously blogged about this issue. It’s good to hear someone is doing the right thing over there.
  • 3 dead, 17 wounded in Afghanistan over Quran shooting – so some young, bored soldier shoots a book and 3 people die because of that. What the hell is wrong with people that they’re willing to kill themselves and others for some paper and ink? And the president of the US says the soldier will be persecuted? PERSECUTED FOR SHOOTING A BOOK?
  • 15 year old Scientology protester out of the woods – He’s not gonna be charged. It’s a shame we have to rejoice, he shouldn’t have gotten in trouble at all to begin with.
  • Work harder dammit – 82%? Only 82%, get your butts moving atheists.
  • Iranian cleric doesn’t like feminists – he thinks they’re whores and spies. Oh, and women who do not wear the Islamic veil as instructed “turned men into animals.” I see, these guys can keep their penises covered so they want their women to cover up! Freaking geniuses! Oh no monsieur, I’m not a sick fuck…her forehead was showing!
  • Iranian man jailed for supporting feminism – I guess he’s not a whore but he’s probably a spy. And it seems he’s not the only one. Other “spies” have been jailed or are currently still locked up. How freaking insecure are these Iranian men? Is that why they want an atomic weapon (I’m speculating of course, but it makes for a nice pun!)
  • Brazil approves stem cell research – Glad to see that the stem cell research hysteria seems limited to the United States. Of course the Church objected. Why can’t these guys understand that the life of an actual human being is more important than a zygote?
  • Quran critic abducted and to be executed – I already send e-mails to both Obama and Clinton through their campaign websites to do something about this. I doubt they’ll listen, but if more people send in an e-mail maybe this guy won’t die. Let’s all pray!

May 30, 2008 Posted by | Crimes against Humanity, Critical Thinking, Pseudo-science, Religion, Science, Thinking Out Loud | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SkepNews-Week of 5/23/08

  • Astrologers to pick US presidential race winner – Given their accuracy track record, they’ll probably go for Rudy Giuliani. Wow, this astrology stuff is quite potent. Not only can it tell you what you will do, but also pretty much what every other American will do, since winning the presidential election depends as much on the voters as the candidates themselves. Pretty fucking mind blowing potent if you ask me!
  • Euthanasia, the ultimate ignored human right – Only Oregon has legalized euthanasia so far in the US. One man is trying to make Washington go Oregon’s way. Let’s all hope he succeeds, for the sake of human rights and human dignity.
  • 12 year old boy beheads man on video – peaceful religion my ass. Such outcomes are the reason why religion should be wiped out, regardless of all the supposed good things it does for us, such as give us false hope through lies, lies and more lies. I’ll take the cruel reality thank you very much.
  • Self appointed prophet wanted to bed 7 virgins – Is anyone really surprised?
  • Female genital mutilation legal again in Egypt – No doubt everyone who voted in favor had hardware dangling in between his legs….and nothing dangling inside their head….complete void and emptiness.
  • Dutch cartoonist arrested for drawing cartoons offensive to Islam – really dutch folk need to get their shit together. I was always looking at that part of the world as the example of some of the best democracies around. This kind of censorship makes you think twice. Have these people never heard of freedom of speech?
  • The Shroud of Turin to be tested…yet againit’s fake folks! It doesn’t matter how many times you test it, it will come back as a medieval fake. And what’s the rationale for this retest? Oh, it must have been contaminated by a yet unknown process which moved the carbon dating about 1,000 years ahead. It’s kind of pointless anyway, even if they show that it does in fact date back to the times of Jesus. How does that prove it’s authenticity anyway? It would simply mean that it was produced 2,000 years ago, not that it is authentic. What a waste of time and money!
  • Oregon court upholds gay marriage ban – Ok, we can’t expect Oregon to have all the good laws can we? They’re ok on the euthanasia front, and running with the pack on the gay marriage front. Still better than most other states, with the exception of California may be, I say!

May 23, 2008 Posted by | Crimes against Humanity, Critical Thinking, Pseudo-science, Religion, Science | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments