Catchup #3: World Homeopathy Awareness Week.

This week just gone has been World Homeopathy Awareness Week.  I would not be surprised if you didn’t.  For an event that is supposed to promote Homeopathy, they are sure doing their best to keep it quiet.

A week ago I decided to try to help them out a little.  I jumped on their facebook page and started posting useful information in regards to homeopathy.  Websites that have been used in the last year already to promote homeopathy and its efficacy, such as and What’s The Harm’s pages on Homeopathy.  Surprisingly, I was booted from their fan page and have been rejoining twice at day at the very least ever since.  Continue reading

Catchup #1: Simon Singh wins!

Sense about Science - keep libel laws out of science.

Some fantastic news to start off the catchup with, and that is that in the case of Simon Singh vs the BCA, Simon has won!

I shouldn’t need to spell out the events to anyone, but just in case you’re not already aware from reading every other skeptical blog out there (I’m quite late to the party to say the least), Simon was sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association a few years back after an article he wrote for The Guardian.  The line in question was “This organisation is the respectable face of the chiropractic profession and yet it happily promotes bogus treatments.”.

Despite this line being clarified before and after it, the judge who was assigned this case decided to ignore that and use his own interpretation, that being, that Simon Singh meant the BCA knew these treatments to be bogus and his statement was a matter of fact.  This is not at all what he was saying. Continue reading

Anti vaccination liars caught out again.

One of the more common lies spouted by the anti-vaccination liars is that vaccines are often pushed on people with no information about what the vaccine is, how it works, or possible side effects of them.  They often claim to be “pro information and pro choice”, saying they’re just giving the often hidden information in regards to vaccines.

Well, an email went around the office I’m working in today offering the yearly Influenza vaccine free to staff.  Lets have a quick look at the information given in that email and see just how fair the anti-vaxxers claims are.  Keep in mind this is just the annual flu booster, it’s not even one of the “dangerous” ones like the H1N1, Pertussis, or MMR vaccines that leaves anti-vaxxers running for the hills. Continue reading

TAM Australia – First lineup announced.

TAM (The Amazing Meeting) is coming to Australia this year, the last weekend in November. This evening the first lineup of speakers has just been officially announced, and it is awe inspiring to say the least.

  • James Randi
  • D.J. Grothe
  • The Skeptics Guide to the Universe team — Dr. Steven Novella, Bob Novella, Rebecca Watson, Evan Bernstein and Jay Novella
  • Brian Dunning
  • George Hrab
  • Dr Eugine C. Scott
  • Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

The MC will be Dr. Paul Willis.

It is going to live up to its name and really be amazing, so keep an eye on the Australian Skeptics Inc. website for more details, or follow the #TAMOz tag on twitter.  I can’t wait.

Does being a skeptic mean someone is an atheist?

The topic on the link of atheism and skepticism comes up all the time in skeptic circles.  The general questions tend to hover around the topics of whether skeptics should be atheists, should skeptics cover atheistic topics and fights, can theists be skeptics, is theism a subject we should make taboo or not, and recently whether atheism is in fact skepticism as well.

For starters, atheism isn’t necessarily the skeptical stance when it comes to theism.  You see, there’s generally two paths that lead to atheism.  One being the Acharya S and Zeitgeist path which is full of conspiracy theories. It claims that christianity stole most if not all of its aspects from other religions etc.  The evidence put forward is full of examples where prior religions had similar traditions, symbols and mythology therefore christianity stole it.

Pagans for example celebrated winter solstice at or around the end of December, christians have christmas then, therefore christians stole that from pagans and/or used it to crush paganism.  The problem here is that it confuses correlation for causation.  Just because two things are similar does not mean one caused the other.  This is a logical fallacy often argued against by sceptics in all manner of topics.  This form of atheism is in no way shape or form sceptical. Continue reading

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Snakeoil SalesmanA man and his six year old son sit down in front of the TV one Saturday afternoon and turn it on.  An old black and white western is showing.  The father sits back and enjoys, while the child watches with intrigue.  A gentleman with an elaborately painted cart enters the screen and starts making boasts about a new medicine he has that will “cure what ails ya”.  A clearly sick person at the back of the newly gathered but inquisitive crowd wanders up and takes a sip of the salesman’s elixir.

Within minutes, the sick person’s face is clearing, voice is becoming less hoarse and energy is filling his body.  He buys two bottles of the elixir and wander off happily as the crowd behind him suddenly fill with excitement and start clamoring to be the next customer.  The sheriff then turns up, settles the crowd, shames them by telling them this man is nothing more than a snake-oil salesman and sends him out of town to the sound of boos and hisses.

Son: Dad, what’s snake oil?
Father: Well son, many a year ago men like that used to wander from town to town selling fake cures.  That first person who came up was actually in league with the salesman, a friend, acting and pretending to get cured.
Son: So the oil of snakes has no affect?
Father: No son.  It was all a scam.
Son: Wow dad, how did they fall for it?
Father: Medicine back then wasn’t what it is today.  There were many many more things it couldn’t cure or help with, and communication was also much slower which gave these people the ability to wander from one town to the next before word of their fraudulent activity could be passed on.  Today though, people are much smarter and medicine is much better.
Son: *laughing* Yeah, nobody would be silly enough to fall for that today.

Continue reading