Skeptics Guide to the Universe: Brian Dunning PDF Print E-mail
Latest JREF News
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Wednesday, 17 February 2010 00:00

This week on The Skeptics Guide to the Universe:

Special Guest: Brian Dunning
News Items: Enceladus Update, Synthetic Organisms, Spray On Glass, Gasoline from Carbon, Oral Conception
Who's That Noisy
Name That Logical Fallacy: False Analogy
Science or Fiction

Listen and comment at Skeptics Guide to the Universe.

... just a very bad wizard. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jamie Hale   
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 14:03

During a recent episode of The Dr. Oz Show, Oz discussed Reiki — an alternative medicine that Oz says might be the “most important alternative medicine treatment of all.” Oz explained to the audience that his wife was a Reiki master, and from time to time she uses the treatment on him. “I can’t even tell when she’s treating me. Sometimes she secretly treats me,” says Oz. After a brief introduction to this alternative “energy medicine,” Oz introduces Reiki master Pamela Miles. At this point, there is a lady from the audience — with a headache — sitting in a chair in front of Miles. Before Miles treats the headache she explains, “Reiki is a balancing practice, and so rather than addressing the headache or whatever else is the problem, what it does is influences the person’s overall system towards balance.” After a brief intro on basic Reiki, Miles performs her magic, and presto: The lady’s headache is gone.


JREF Workshop in St. Louis: Exploring Dowsing PDF Print E-mail
Latest JREF News
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 16:25

Join us in St. Louis for a workshop to teach about the history, research and use of divining devices. Each attendee will make their own pair of dowsing rods and a pendulum and use them in an experiment to test their divination abilities. After the experiement, dowsing will be deconstructed for the group, allowing everyone to demonstrate and explain why many people are skeptical of the claims made by dowsers.

The workshop will take place at the Buder branch of the St. Louis Public Library on Saturday, February 20th. It will last approximately 3 hours. This event is a joint effort between the James Randi Educational Foundation and the Skeptical Society of St. Louis. You can register for the workshop at:

About the presenters:

Dr. Christina L. Stephens is a science writer and biomechanics researcher who writes for the JREF and at She is chair of the Fringe Science Investigations Committee of the Skeptical Society of St. Louis, a committee dedicated to research and investigation of paranormal, pseudoscience, and alternative medicine claims.

Zi Teng Wang is a scientist and amateur magician, and long-time skeptic with special interest in evolutionary biology and the American educational system. He is active in the Skeptical Society of St Louis as well as the St Louis atheists meetup group, and is excited to bring his knowledge to bear on matters of skepticism, pseudoscience and psychology.

Last Week In Science-Based Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Written by Harriet Hall, MD, The SkepDoc   
Monday, 15 February 2010 16:32

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 in medicine.


Skeptic, Be Not Proud PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Monday, 15 February 2010 12:42

One of the perks of basing conclusions on evidence rather than whims or emotions is that you tend be right more often. Yes, that sounds like an arrogant thing to say, but face it... the reason we're skeptics is because we love the truth and we're constantly searching to refine it. That tends to make us more informed on any topic than the general public who often seem to go with the flow and not question what they're told. I'm generalizing, but you get the point.

Be that as it may, it's easy to take pride in this fact. "Hey, I've done the research, and I'm right a lot of the time! Look at me!!!" Saying it like that may seem ridiculous, but it's not far from what I've been observing lately. I believe that such an attitude is not only counterproductive, it also ignores the best thing about being a skeptic, and that is... being able to freely say "Oops, I was wrong about that."

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