Evidence for Reincarnation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jamy Ian Swiss   
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 09:09

On January 5th, listeners to National Public Radio were treated to a story dubbed “Searching For The Science Behind Reincarnation,” in which the veteran journalist, Rachel Martin, interviewed Jim Tucker, a psychologist at the University of Virginia, about his work studying evidence for reincarnation.

The story, both audio and transcript, is here.

I was surprised, and not in a good way, to hear this piece on NPR, which usually does a decent job – better than most mainstream media in fact – covering science stories. Not that NPR covers a lot of science, but when it does, it’s usually pretty responsible.

Washed up: This week in Doubtful News for January 14, 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sharon Hill   
Tuesday, 14 January 2014 09:00

Here is a rundown of the stories that show us the great depths of belief, courtesy of Doubtful News.

First, an update to a story from last week. The techno-crop circle was solved causing no little consternation to crop circle advocates, or "croppies". 

The hot topic of the week was again something Bigfoot related that deserved NO attention whatsoever - A known hoaxer will hold a press conference on February 9 after milking every dollar and web hit out of this circus regarding his so-called Bigfoot body. 

Last Week In Science Based Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Harriet Hall   
Monday, 13 January 2014 09:00

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-woo in medicine.

Correcting the scope of practice of advanced practice nurses will not endanger patients (David Gorski)  http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/expanding-the-scope-of-practice-of-advanced-practice-nurses-does-not-endanger-patients/ Nurse practitioners receive advanced training in specific areas that prepares them for a limited scope of practice. State and federal laws vary: in some jurisdictions NPs are allowed to practice independently; elsewhere they must be supervised by physicians. Medical societies that oppose legislation to define and increase the scope of NPs are motivated by turf protection, not evidence. Studies show that NPs provide quality care.

Announcing the Society for Science-Based Medicine (Mark Crislip)  http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/announcing-the-society-for-science-based-medicine/ A new organization aims to create a community of like-minded individuals, both in and out of health care, who support the goals of Science-Based Medicine. You can register and/or join now at  http://sfsbm.org/ Goals include education and consumer protection. An SSBM wiki  http://sfsbm.org/wiki2/index.php?title=Main_Page will serve as a central source of information, incorporating the content of Quackwatch. Future plans include conferences, podcasts, curricula, a journal, e-books, and advocacy efforts.

Vitamin E for Alzheimer’s (Harriet Hall)  http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/vitamin-e-for-alzheimers/ A randomized controlled study showed that giving high-dose vitamin E to Alzheimer’s patients slowed functional decline when given alone, but not when given in combination with the drug memantine. The effect was modest, and there was no effect on the disease process itself. In this study Vitamin E appeared to decrease mortality, but earlier studies showed increased mortality. Several unanswered questions remain, and it would be premature to incorporate vitamin E into routine clinical practice.

Shocker – Skeptics and Believers Think Differently PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Steve Novella   
Friday, 10 January 2014 12:00

This is actually interesting research, but I do feel that too much is made of the fact that we see differences in brain activity when different groups react differently to stimuli. Everything you think and feel are networks firing in the brain. When research looking at the patterns of brain activity is reported, however, it often makes it sound like it’s surprising that such differences are “in the brain,” as if this makes the differences more biological or fundamental.

In any case, what this recent study looked at was 23 volunteers (12 believers and 11 skeptics) who were separated into their respective groups by a questionnaire – do you think that psychics can predict the future, etc. They “first imagined themselves in critical life situations (e.g. problems in intimate relationships) and then watched emotionally charged pictures of lifeless objects and scenery (e.g. two red cherries bound together).”

Man Doesn't Bite Dog PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jamy Ian Swiss   
Thursday, 09 January 2014 15:41

So it turns out the predictions made by professional psychics of events they expected to occur in 2013 were substantially wrong.

Or in other words: dog bites man!

The Internet makes it even easier these days to track these dolts and their fact-free babblings. Here’s a link at about.com that records for posterity the “Psychic Predictions 2013” of psychics Lamont Hamilton, Vicki Monroe, Psychic Nikki, Sidney Friedman, Judy Hevenly (Get it? Better than a stripper named Debbie Takitoff.), Blair Robertson, Craig and Jane Hamilton-Parker, and The Amazing (one man’s opinion) Kreskin.

Is there a bigger single page of wrong anywhere on the web? Hard to imagine. (I checked and there’s no site at wrong.com although somebody owns the domain name.)

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