Skeptical Fails and Wins This Week

Hello skeptifans. We’ve got a fresh bushel of Fails and Wins this week.

Magical Mystery Cures
A bunch of you sent in this Win. The CBC has a new documentary show exposing some of the snake-oil cures out there. It’s hosted by Quirks and Quarks host Bob McDonald, who I wanted to marry when I was 9. Truth be told, I still do want to marry him. You can watch the show online.

Japan tsunami: Was ‘supermoon’ to blame?
What do you do with a hokey theory touted by non-scientists for which they provide no evidence? Run it as a headline. The moon definitely has a gravitational effect on the Earth. But does it cause natural disasters like earthquakes? That’s what supermooners believe. But their only evidence is that sometimes disasters occur when the moon in closer in it’s orbit. This could be explained by confirmation bias. There would need to be some evidence that earthquakes were more prevalent during these times, but there isn’t any. The real fail, however, is how the news media will report baseless theories if they sound sensational.

Oprah’s so-called experts
Lisa sent in this win. The article calls shenanigans on many of Oprah’s past “experts”. Millions of people trust Oprah. One appearance on her show carries a lot of weight. But her health experts are often untrained, unscientific hacks who sometimes can be dangerous. Susanne Somers and Jenny McCarthy are a couple of people who’ve endorsed some dangerous ideas on Oprah’s show.

That’s the Fails and Wins for this week. Send in your links to links [at] skepticnorth [dot] com.

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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.