Hello Skeptifans. I hope that many of you were able to attend a SkeptiCamp event yesterday. We had a blast in Vancouver, expect a blog post very soon!
Now, it would seem that not everyone loves Lolcats as much as me, so this week I’ll change things up a bit.
Should we question the fluoridation of water?
Lorne, David and Jocelyn all found this Fail in the Globe and Mail. It is a completely one-sided interview with the executive director of the Fluoride Action Network. This is, of course, an anti-fluoride organization. Why do these organizations never put “anti” in their name? While this person is an expert in chemistry, he provides no links or specifics about research that fluoridated water is harmful…but simply says that there “is research”. Of course the journalist asking the questions provides no facts on the other side and makes no attempt to debate what he is saying. If there are real reasons to question fluoridation, this article does not make a compelling case for them. For a quick rebuttal to this story, check out our own Jonathan Abram’s writeup on the topic.
Parents vote to shut off Wi-Fi at Ont. school
Here’s some more wi-fi craziness reported by CBC News. Several readers sent in this story. It’s the typical stuff. Parents are afraid. Health Canada is in bed with the wi-fi industry. Studies and evidence are talked about but none are actually linked or referred to in a way that you could track down the source. And, in more lazy reporting, parents are quoted but no real research done into the issue. It’s a fail of an article reporting on a fail of a situation. Erik found more coverage of the story in the Ottawa Sun. Their version is much more of a Win.
Stem-cell therapy for pets now offered – and disputed – in Canada
Scott found this story in The Globe and Mail. While some of the article seems to advertise the treatment, overall I’d say it’s a win. At every turn the author warns that medical experts say that stem cell science is still in its infancy, and real treatments are far off. The article also links to an excellent website http://www.closerlookatstemcells.org which helps patients and consumers analyze claims made by people selling stem cell treatment. The site appears to be a great resource for skeptics.
Do ‘medical miracles’ really exist?
This excellent article was sent in by both Art and Lorne, and was found in the Globe and Mail. A new saint was recently canonized by the Catholic Church. To be canonized, you need to have performed a miracle, which the church defines as “act of healing inexplicable in the light of present medical science.” The author uses this as a launching point to discuss Occam’s Razor, the nature of science, and the importance of science-based medicine. It’s a really big Win.
Fruitz Watches – The reduce your stress by wearing them?
Lisa found an ad for these watches in the local Vancouver 24 Hours newspaper. The manufacturers claim that the watches deliver “natural frequencies” to your body, and “brings you more in in harmony with the natural earth”. Claims like this are hard to prove or disprove, since they don’t really even mean anything. But they also claim that “Fruitz watches may relax and calm you, and reduce your stress level too”. This is definitely falsifiable, and bordering on a medical claim. Looks like this product is some woo to watch out for.
Need a job? Do NOT look for one
The author of The Secret is at it again with her new book, The Power. Luckily, the author of this story in Maclean’s is not buying it. Rhonda Byrne claims that money will be attracted to you if you just think positive. The article takes these claims apart in a funny and irreverent way. Here’s a taste:
The science: “The inside of your head is 80 per cent water!” Byrne declares. Why does this matter? Because “researchers” have found that “when water is exposed to positive words and feelings . . . the structure of the water changes, making it perfectly harmonious.” I have no idea what she’s talking about either—but think of all we can accomplish with our harmonious brain water! We can live for hundreds of years if we just put our minds to it, Byrne says. Mortality is for sad sacks.
Go read the whole thing. It’s a very definite Win.
Thanks for all your links this week. It was nice to see so many Wins in the mix. Keep those URL’s coming to links [at] skepticnorth [dot] com.