Skeptic Fails and Wins this Week

Fred and Scott both found this video on CTV warning that just because something is herbal, it doesn’t mean it’s safe. However, the video also gives some credibility to the claims of some of the products and a naturopath is consulted at the end. You can view the video here. Is it a fail or a win?

A major win for skepticism was the coverage of The Lancet retracting Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 paper linking vaccines to autism. It is heartening to see so many stories in the media on this, thoroughly covering what was wrong with his study, and discussing the damage he has done to vaccination rates around the world. Here are the stories you sent us: CBC, The Globe and Mail, Cyberpresse (in French), the Montreal Gazette, The Vancouver Sun, The Edmonton Journal.

Jason found this fail on Canada AM. This “man of science” talks about spiritual healing to a credulous interviewer. What do you think of his message to “just believe”. I think it’s a big skeptical fail!

Jim found this fail in the Welland Tribune. Dr. Gifford-Jones writes a regular medical column. I didn’t have to read too far before I felt a face-palm coming on. In this article he says “Dr. Linus Pauling, two-time Nobel Prize winner reported that humans, unlike animals, do not produce vitamin C. ” Apparently, Dr. Gifford-Jones does not think humans are animals. Apparently he has also never heard of guinea pigs, they also cannot produce their own vitamin C. Later, he also pulls out this old straw-man: that medical journals make money from pharmaceutical ads and thus are not interested in publishing articles involving non-patentable vitamin C. What do you think of his claims and arguments?

Thanks for all your links this week. Keep them coming!

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  • Melany Hamill

    Melany proudly uses the titles of both geek and nerd. As a science-enthusiast and fan of debate, Melany likes to get her facts straight. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Chemical Engineering. Since then her career path has meandered to its current spot as a project manager at a video game studio. Melany lives near beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. She is not seeking treatment for her caffeine addiction.