If you're reading this, you are aware of the James Randi Educational Foundation's $1,000,000 psychic challenge. This is the real deal. We have the money in a Goldman Sachs account, we WILL pay if someone wins a test that they design with us, and we do test people. A lot of people dispute those facts, but they simply can't—we've demonstrated them time after time.
Some individuals think it's a simple thing to conduct a challenge, and they've concocted their own home-brew versions. As a fun diversion, I'm going to present two of them to you.
Here are two quick things you can do to fight the popularity of two different forms of non-scientific "medical treatment."
In the US, it's hardly news that the government is looking into universal health care. And while this enormous issue is beyond the scope of things that we cover in Swift, there is something you should be aware of. Stephen Barrett of Quackwatch.org sent us this:
Reported versions of the House and Senate health reform bills contain language that would mandate coverage of services (prayer) by Christian Science practitioners.
People who drink red wine in moderation tend to live longer than those who abstain from alcohol entirely. Unfortunately, alcohol comes with certain other unwanted effects that you may have noticed from your own experiences late at night or the morning after. Wouldn't it be great if we could figure out what is in the alcohol that improves health and put it in a pill that couldn't make you tipsy?
Global warming, or as it's more accurately known, global climate change, is one of the most divisive issues in skepticism. I was reminded of this recently when I gave a talk for Phoenix Skeptics. In the friendly chatter afterward, someone asked what I thought of the films An Inconvenient Truth and its counter, The Great Global Warming Swindle. As it turns out, I had watched An Inconvenient Truth on the airplane to Arizona, and I found it to be as I expected—too much Al Gore, and too little science. It was interesting, but it didn't convince me, and I know it left out some important pieces of data. As for the The Great Global Warming Swindle, I had not seen it (I've watched parts since), but I recommended that the group watch it.
One attendee was displeased with this. "It would be like watching Loose Change or Expelled!" And I agreed, it could be like that.
Australian chiropractor Joseph Ierano was rather upset with the Australian Skeptics organization recently. So upset was he, that he filed a complaint with the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission, a government body that keeps track of and prosecutes based on claims of malfeasance regarding medical issues.
So what was Joseph Ierano's complaint? He's upset that the Australian Skeptics republished an article by TAMLondon speaker Simon Singh. He sent Australian Skeptics a very detailed list of questions based on the article, even though they were merely reprinting it and not the original authors. When he hadn't received an answer in two weeks, he filed his complaint. In fact, a very detailed response was sent three weeks after the original request by Ierano.