Skeptical Fails and Wins This Week

Happy Thanksgiving skeptifans!  I hope you all enjoy a nice turkey dinner this week. Or a tofurky dinner.  Or at least a long weekend. Here’s the roundup of skeptical Fails and Wins in the media this week.

Pediatricians want kids to get rotavirus vaccine
This story was on the front page of the Vancouver Sun.  It’s a fair and fact-based article about rotavirus vaccine, and why doctors are now suggesting babies get it.  While they do toss a bone to the anti-vax group “Vaccination Risk Awareness Network”, most of the page goes to quotes from doctors.  I’d call it a big Win.

Rotavirus Vaccine – What’s a Parent To Do?
Of all the woo peddlers and conspiracy theorists out there, none make my blood boil like the anti-vaxers. This epic Fail turned up in the Vancouver Observer, as a response to the Sun article above.  It’s classic woovertising, written by a homeopath (who doesn’t identify herself as such in any obvious way in the article). Shameless plugging of homeopathy not withstanding, there is also some dangerous anti-vax rhetoric. In particular, the author casts doubts on the safety of rotavirus vaccines. There are so many misleading and false statements that I’m not going to correct them all here. You can check the comments on the article to see some skeptics that have already corrected her on some things.  One point that really bugged me, is that the author used the recent recall of some rotavirus vaccine as a way of suggesting vaccines were not safe.  Here is the story on that recall.  It was precautionary.  No harm was found.  End of story. Rotavirus kills HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of children each year.  Vaccines can prevent this.

Touch me, heal me
Mike found this Fail in the Ottawa Sun.  It’s more woovertising about Therapeutic Touch.  TT has weaseled its way into mainstream medicine, and is now offered in hospitals.  Many nurses seek training as TT practitioners.  As the article says, it’s based on the theory that we have a complex energy field around us.  Even though this was fairly famously debunked by an eleven year old girl, the practice is still widespread.  Of course this article is entirely credulous and makes no mention of the placebo effect, or even offer an opposing opinion on it’s effectiveness.

Can you believe Skeptic North has been around for over a year?  You should all give yourself a pat on the back. We couldn’t have done it without you, our readers!  And that’s literally true in my case….without you guys I could not write the Fails and Wins. So keep me going by sending your links to me at links [at] skepticnorth [dot] com.

2 Responses to “Skeptical Fails and Wins This Week”

  1. Blondin says:

    Happy anniversary and congrats!

    I always look forward to reading the weekly fails & wins. Great job!

    Dave Roscoe


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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.